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Scenes From Postracial America


I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if the race of the perpetrator and victim were reversed, the police would have actually charged the perpetrator appropriately.

Although, in fairness, the menacing youth in question was armed with Skittles. Skittles! Better shoot first and ask questions never; those things can really hurt your teeth.

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  • rkd

    So the defense against an attacker armed with Skittles is the same as one armed with a banana.
    Good to know.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Or rasberries..

      Shouldn’t joke, but the study of the classics armors us against life’s vicissitudes.

      • RepubAnon

        Tragically, a homeless man in San Diego about 10 years ago was armed with a tree branch with a sharp end – in essence, a pointy stick. One of the officers got behind the man with a police dog. The police dog bit the homeless man on the posterior and the man lurched forward. Whereupon, the officers responded by shooting the man with their revolvers.

        • SP

          I’m surprised they weren’t worried they might hit their own dog. They’re not monsters, after all.

  • DocAmazing

    The problem here is the law. The facts of the case are pretty obvious, and vile; however, Florida’s armed self-defense law, with its specific lack of a requirement to de-escalate prior to use of deadly force, makes this case less clear. Basically, the law, as I understand it, may well permit a 28-year-old armed white man to kill an African-American teenager and reasonably claim to have felt threatened.

    • Judging from this, I’m not sure that defense applies if you seek out a confrontation with someone who was not committing a crime. The exception to “duty to retreat” applies in your home and business, not anywhere at all.

      • joe from Lowell

        That page is from 2004. The Florida legislature changed the law on this in 2005.

        I can’t really say how, exactly, the new law would handle this situation.

        • L.M.

          Whatever bullshit Florida wants to use to legitimize lynching this time around, Zimmerman (a “neighborhood watch block captain” who apparently understood himself to be acting under color of law) had better find himself facing federal criminal charges for civil rights violation under §242. It might not be called “murder,” but it still exposes him to LWOP or the death penalty.

    • RepubAnon

      It’s like Wall Street – once the laws are sufficiently weakened, one can’t blame law enforcement for the result.

      It is encouraging to know that we live in a post-racial society. Otherwise, the thought that a white man can legally shoot and kill a young black man because the white man felt threatened, but a black man cannot legally shoot a young white man given the same fact scenario might lead people to wonder whether, perchance, race played a role in who can legally shoot people.

      I’d also hope that federal civil rights violation prosecution and a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit are in the offing.

      • DocAmazing

        From what I understand, Florida law actually makes it very hard to sue in a case like this. The armed self-defense law that is in place is impressively pro-shooter.

        There was an interesting case a few months ago wherein a bullied kid stabbed to death another kid who was harassing him and walked, due to the no-retreat notion. Again, we’ve got the spectre of Bernhard Goetz hanging all over this.

        • This seems like the opposite of that: the bully did the shooting. The shooter outweighed the kid by 100 pounds and had a gun and a vehicle; the kid was unarmed and on foot.

          • DocAmazing

            As I said, there’s no question about the facts.

            The law, on the other hand, may make it impossible to punish Mr. Zimmerman.

            • I’m sure you’re right, but I’d rather remain in my awkardly strained denial for now.

            • RepubAnon

              That’s why I’m thinking federal rather than state law. Letting vigilantes shoot down unarmed people on the street would seem to be a civil rights violation.

            • joe from Lowell

              There is one question about the facts: who initiated the physical altercation. We know that Zimmerman initiated the verbal confrontation: he drove up to the kid, got out of his SUV, and confronted him. At some point point thereafter, he ended up with grass stains on the back of his shirt and a scrape on the back of his head. He appears to have been knocked on his ass.

              So, what happened between him getting out of his SUV and accosting the kid verbally, and him firing the shot? That’s a question of fact.

              • DocAmazing

                Just me being snotty, but I imagine that Mr. Zimmerman might simply be unaccustomed to the recoil of a large-caliber pistol.

                • joe from Lowell

                  That’s an interesting thought. According to the story, he outweighed the kid by quite a bit, but he’s the one who landed hard on his back.

                • MAJeff

                  “Landing on his back” could just as easily result from tackling someone that he was chasing and having the momentum of the chase cause them to roll over.

              • It would seem to me that the fact that the shooter apparently ignored a directive from law enforcement to stay in his car should end the discussion here.

                • Furious Jorge

                  Yes, but this is Florida.

                • joe from Lowell

                  It certainly opens him up to charges right there, but which ones? What exactly followed, and what they can prove followed, matters in figuring that out.

                • Heron

                  You’re forgetting the crucial fact that this killing accorded over a month ago and that the police have chosen not to investigate the incident, and not press charges. If the police and prosecutors aren’t willing to bring charges then it doesn’t matter what you did from a legal perspective. Plenty of things about this case disgusts me, but the police chief’s attitude, which he gave in another story, that having to live with killing the kid is punishment enough for Mr. Zimmerman is particularly odious. I wonder how many black men his department has investigated on murder charges -men they didn’t even known committed the killing unlike this situation- received that sort of sympathy from him.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I’m thinking that, with all of the attention the case is getting, charges will be forthcoming.

                  Or maybe I’m just an optimist.

              • rea

                Well, asume the kid knocked him on his ass. That’s not legal justification for shooting him.

                • DrDick

                  Especially, as seems clear from the facts we do know, if he had attacked the kid in the first place. Some guy jumps out of his car, chases after me, and grabs me, I am going to knock him on his ass as well.

              • Njorl

                I’m inclined to think if the kid did knock him on his ass, it was self-defence. Someone stalks you, then accosts you with a gun, you are likely to feel like your life is in danger. If you make someone feel that the only way they will live is if they attack you, it isn’t self defense if you kill them.

                • Njorl

                  I see what I wrote above may be confusing. When I said,

                  I’m inclined to think if the kid did knock him on his ass, it was self-defence.

                  I mean self-defence by the kid.

      • ema

        because the white man felt threatened

        I would love to hear Zimmerman explain how, exactly, a random pedestrian threatened him, a guy in a car, armed, who’s just been told that officers are on the way and not to pursue/engage.

        • R. Porrofatto

          Also, how can an unarmed person running away from you, which Zimmerman said the teenager was doing at the end of his 911 call, ever be described as a threat?

    • DrDick

      Somehow I have the feeling that the law would find it quite easy to prosecute if the shooter had been black. Florida is still the South, after all.

  • Why does a gated community have a neighborhood watch? Or is “neighborhood watch captain” the new term for “heavily armed self-important vigilante fuckwit”?

    • DocAmazing


      • NBarnes


        • LosGatosCA

          Meet the new fascist, racist term same as the old fascist, racist term.

  • ralphdibny

    Typical liberal–always quick to play the race card. I’d bet that Zimmerman has some black friends. He probably has some black co-workers and, once he got to know them, he realized that they weren’t like “them”–they was good people, ya know? I’d even bet that there are some black folks living in this neighborhood. No, the problem was that this kid was a stranger. I mean, sure, lots of residents of the neighborhood have guests come visit, but they drive cars like real Americans. Walking is suspicious, unless you have a dog with you, or you are old, or you look like you are exercising. And this kid was wearing a hoodie, people! A hoodie! I bet his pants were hanging low, too. I mean, c’mon–you see a kid with a hoodie and his pants hanging low, walking in your neighborhood–that’s suspicious. And then, the kid has the nerve to get upset when accosted. As you can clearly see, race had nothing at all to do with it.

    • joe from Lowell

      I mean, sure, lots of residents of the neighborhood have guests come visit, but they drive cars like real Americans. Walking is suspicious, unless you have a dog with you, or you are old, or you look like you are exercising.

      This is sadly true, especially in Florida. You make yourself a target if you walk down the street in suburban America.

    • JoyfulA

      I got the impression the kid’s father lived in the gated community; the young man was said to have died 100 feet from the front door of his father’s home.

  • mark f

    In 2010 a young black man from Massachusetts was shot and killed by police outside a bar near his college in New York. He was his friends’ designated driver, but police were on the scene due to reports of some sort of altercation. A cop told him to move his car, and another cop unaware of that order shot him in the face “in self defense.” The cop who shot him received a citation; he was named Officer of the Year.

  • RepubAnon

    Fear makes people irrational – this tragedy is largely caused by all hype that OMG THE CRIMINALS ARE EVERYWHERE AND ONLY A GUN AND THE WILL TO USE IT CAN SAVE YOU!!!!!!! There have been a number of road rage shootings in Florida with no prosecution as well.

    Funny how the open carry laws and “self defense” laws don’t seem to folks suspected of belonging to a street gang.

    • mingo

      I wonder how much the “I have a gun, I totally need to use it on something/someone!” comes into play. Lots of lone-hero, swaggering, make-my-day fantasies come with a few guns.

      • joe from Lowell

        That’s what I was thinking. Does he drive up on the kid and get out of his SUV if he isn’t armed? Almost certainly not.

      • RepubAnon

        Yeah, the National Rifle Association’s “you need a gun to defend yourself and those you love from the monsters living under your bed” seems to lead to many bullet holes in the floors under the bed, and few dead monsters.

        This is what’s so tragic – the shooter almost certainly thought he was bravely defending his community from vicious criminals, just like those folks in New Orleans that were shooting (black) people trying to flee the flooding because of unfounded fears of widespread mobs of looters.

        The face of true evil isn’t a comic book bad guy, doing evil for evil’s sake. The true face of evil is someone who feels that their fears justify their actions. I expect the shooter here undoubtedly feels fully justified in his actions – how could he have known the black kid wasn’t in fact some king of islamofascistcommy bent upon looting?

        • joe from Lowell

          When confronted by figures about how much more common suicides, accidents, and people being shot by their own gun are than people using their gun in self-defense, the NRA responded by putting out a figure purporting to show how many times people prevented a crime by just showing their gun.

          The number, IIRC, was eleventy-two billion. Their methodology was to poll gun owners on whether this had ever happened to them.

          No doubt, everyone who ever responded to a George Zimmerman by grabbing his skittles and iced tea and running away was reported as a violent crime averted by brandishing a gun.

          • sparks

            “Dear Guns & Ammo,
            I never thought this would happen to me! It started when I was fondling my Glock in my parked car…”

            • LosGatosCA

              Here’s a guy who just happened to have filed a reverse discrimination case, carried a handgun in his glove compartment and finally saw the chance to use it and wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.


              “Gilbert then slid into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away, striking four cars in the process, the affidavit said. None of the cars was badly damaged, according to Hey. “It was more like he bumped into them while trying to squeeze out of the space.”

              A shot rang out, and witnesses saw Gremminger pointing a .38-caliber handgun at the Bonneville, where Gilbert lay mortally wounded. Gremminger was standing about 17 feet from the car, and he placed his gun in the security guard’s vehicle when ordered to after the shooting.

              Judy Gremminger told reporters that her husband returned to his car, took out the gun and fired because he thought the security guard was in danger.

              What’s the point of owning a gun if you can’t shoot the shit out something? Even better a shoplifter. Who’s black.

              At least Gremminger did time.

          • Furious Jorge

            John Lott claimed to have done a lot of research into this subject and came to those same conclusions. Trouble is, he never could show his work, or even his raw data, once someone called him on it.

            • muddy

              Mary Rosh defended him with much ferocity, that’s enough proof, c’mon.

        • c u n d gulag

          You’re referring, of course, to Hannah Arendt’s classic description of Adolf Eichmann – “The Banality of Evil.”

      • R. Porrofatto

        Yeah. The ever-present racial discrimination in this story is a sad commonplace. What turns it into a tragedy is America’s insane, adolescent love of guns. Every fucking time.

  • mingo

    This is making me so sick – what can we even do about it? Nothing, if we are not violent ourselves. I’m not, and I imagine most of the rest of you are not either.

    So what if the kid’s father shot George Zimmerman? You know, because he felt threatened, as he might well feel??? This is my dark fantasy, and I can’t even wish for that to happen, because the kid’s father is likely not a sociopath, and would be hurt himself by shooting Zimmerman. Not to mention that he is the wrong color to be allowed a self-defense excuse…

    • Anderson

      Exactly. When Florida writes its laws to allow killing without moral justification or legal recourse, it’s promoting revenge killing.

      The whole point of having a legal system is supposed to be discouraging such “self-help.”

  • TT

    The comparison to Wall Street above is apt. Reactionaries will always write and then manipulate laws in order to give an inherent advantage to those who already possess and benefit greatly from economic, political, and social power.

  • Paul Gottlieb

    The reports made it quite clear that Zimmerman had already notified the police about the “mysterious” stranger, and the cops had specifically told Mr. Zimmerman not to intitiate contact. So naturally, he initiated contact and killed an unarmed kid. I’m sure he had been “patrolling” every night just praying for the opportunity to finally get to use that gun.

  • c u n d gulag

    Remember folks:
    Skittles don’t kill people.

    People kill people.

    Especially black teenage male people with Skittles in their pockets who have he audacity to walk through their white chocolate world.

  • heckblazer

    The case against Zimmerman is getting stronger. Additional 911 recordings of neighbors calling in seem to show a warning shot, followed by someone pleading for their life, followed by a second shot. There were also previous complaints about Zimmerman and his tactics while playing cop.


    • mpowell

      Wow. This guy needs to go to jail for a long time.

    • Ed

      Nor is this the first time the Sanford Police Department’s treatment of white-on-black violence has come to public attention:


      “Zimmerman told police that was him crying for help and that Trayvon started the fight. He claimed self-defense and was not charged, flaring deep-seated racial tensions between blacks and police, who have a long history of distrust. On at least two prior occasions, the Sanford Police Department was accused of giving favorable treatment to relatives of officers involved in violent encounters with blacks.”

  • DrDick

    If the races of the attacker and victim were reversed, the killer would be on death row. But always remember, an armed America is a safer America, at least for rich, white fuckwits.

    • If the races of the attacker and victim were reversed, the killer would be on death rowhave been shot while resisting arrest.

      Say it with me now: “I thought he had a gun. Those Three Musketeers wrappers are really shiny.”

      • DrDick

        That is certainly true, if this had happened in NYC. Different jurisdictions handle it differently and a lot of places in the South like their show trials before they fry the n****r. Gets more publicity that way and helps keep the rest in their place.

        • Good point. The decision tree is different if you can count on the jury to back you up.

  • Horrible.

    I’m a little surprised at the weakness of the 911 dispatchers instructions:

    “”Are you following him?” the dispatcher asks.

    “Yes,” Zimmerman responds.

    “We don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher says.”

    Why not, “Sir, please stop following the person now. Officers are on the way. You can meet them at the entrance. Do not continue following.”?

    In any case, I just can’t see how Zimmerman walks away without being arrested. (I mean, besides the obvious. I fail to see that there is any sane, non-racist way that he’s not arrested.) Aggravated manslaughter seems perfectly obvious. I mean, wtf.

    • Heron

      As folks have pointed out upthread, Florida has rather stringent “self-defense” laws which allow one to use deadly force if one “feels threatened”. He walked away from this encounter because the cops didn’t bother to look for any witnesses, didn’t bother to question anyone about the incident, and simply accepted his story at face value.

  • c u n d gulag

    We’ve sure come a long way since 1955, when Emmett Till whistled at a white woman, was tortured, shot, and then had his body weighed down as it was thrown into a river, haven’t we?

    Well, haven’t we?

    Oh, and the guys who killed the Till kid, also walked.

    “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…”

    Though, in all honesty, things HAVE improved.
    Thankfully this poor kid’s murder’s an anomaly – not the norm.

    We’ve got a long, long, way to go…

  • TN

    So if I’m a poor barrio mother in Miami, and I feel like some middle-aged white man is trying to rob me – say, for instance, he’s trying to sell me some overpriced insurance that I’ll never need and will never pay off on my claims anyway – would I be justified in shooting him?

    • DrDick

      No, but if you were white and he was Hispanic, the answer would be “Hall yes!”

  • Julian

    To speak from a (largely useless) legally formalistic position, this guy seems dead in the water. Even with a no duty to retreat law supporting him.

    IANAL and haven’t read the Florida law, but I think that most if not all states require proportionality for a self-defense claim to work. You can’t shoot to kill unless you are in fear of significant bodily harm, death, etc. Trayvon had no weapons – I suppose Zimmerman can claim that he didn’t know Trayvon had no weapons, but that still leaves the fact that it seems like he initiated the confrontation. I don’t think you can avail yourself of a self-defense claim if you initiate the aggression; maybe if you use less-than-lethal force and the other party responds with lethal force.

    • Publis

      Well, you know, those fleet footed young bucks all hopped up on food stamp t-bones…

      This is just horrible. There are no words.

  • Paulk

    If by perpetrator you mean “the one not shot,” then I agree.

    What strikes me about this is that had the young man managed to take the gun from him or in a struggle of it, Zimmerman ends up dead, I think there is no question that they arrest the boy on the spot.

    • Ian

      If by perpetrator you mean “the one not shot,”

      Please tell me this is trolling. If Zimmerman hadn’t stalked, assaulted and shot an innocent, unarmed man he might have tasted the rainbow?

  • commie atheist

    OT, but I’m curious if anyone here has any views on Appellate Court judge Henry Friendly. This gushing review of a book on Friendly in the WSJ mentions that he “won a level of esteem nearly rivaling that of (Learned) Hand; a citation of “(Friendly, J.)” in a brief or opinion is the judicial gold standard.” Apparently, Friendly’s “sense of balance, embodied in his opinions and other writings, had an influence far beyond the federal courthouse in New York.”

    Also, he “helped reform certain excesses of the modern administrative state created by the New Deal,” and “helped to rein in the “due process explosion” (as he put it) that was sparked by Goldberg v. Kelly, the 1970 decision in which the Supreme Court had controversially ruled that the government could not remove a welfare recipient from the dole without a prior hearing.” Apparently John Roberts clerked for him.

    I ask because I never heard of him before (granted, my knowledge of law and the judiciary is fairly limited), but I would be interested in hearing from others more familiar with his career.

    • DocAmazing

      I’m more familiar with his brother in law enforcement, Officer Friendly.

      • commie atheist

        “Golly, Officer Friendly, we guess Jello Biafra was right after all. You really do unjustly beat, arrest, or even kill innocent people.”

        • Kurzleg

          Love the first comment on that comic:

          Grung_e_Gene said…
          Having a Paramilitary Police Force is essential if you wish your Plutocracy to bloom!

  • It’s been my suspicion that the law was written specifically to make incidents like this legal. Wanna kill a brown person? It’s all A-OK as long as you say you thought they were dangerous.

    • DrDick

      Well, at least a brown person in the wrong place (like within 100 yards of a rich white fuck).

  • James E. Powell

    For me, the big question is, where is Nancy Grace on this?

    • Nancy Grace

      Where da white women at?

      • Anonymous

        Where da white women at?

        What a racist statement…

        • DocAmazing

          Irony deficiency is treatable!
          Recognize the symptoms!

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if the race of the perpetrator and victim were reversed, the police would have actually charged the perpetrator appropriately.

    I’m going to agree with Scott.

    But in all fairness, I’ve used this same argument to demonstrate racial favoritism in other areas and you dismissed it completely.

    *NOW* Scott looks for an objective truth. Good for him in this one instance, but only when it promotes his racial preference agenda.

    • Furious Jorge

      Not knowing who you are and what those arguments were makes it impossible for anyone to evaluate your claims.

      • Anonymous

        Who gives a shit.

        1) I wasn’t addressing YOU.

        2) Statements stand on their own (AssClown).

        Say it ain’t so.

        • Furious Jorge

          Who gives a shit.

          a) This is a COMMENT section. Of a BLOG. If you want to address Scott and Scott alone, send him a fucking email, dumbshit.

          b) Yours doesn’t because you provided NO examples. Argument by assertion doesn’t mean dick.

          Your turn.

      • Anonymous

        Tell me that you don’t promote a racial preference agenda.

        Say that ” …if the race of the perpetrator and victim were reversed…” hasn’t been dismissed when white people complain about race preference (racism).

        Oh, YEAH..Now it’s important. Where were you when other races were getting short-changed (asshole)?

        Where was the detached objectivity?

        • commie atheist

          Gee, anonymous, this thread is about an unarmed black teenager being shot to death by an armed, over-aggressive white vigilante. What happened to you? Did you lose out on a getting a job to an equally-qualified minority? I can totally see how that would be totally the same thing.

          • DrDick

            I think this has that special frisson that comes from a racist white fuck losing a job to a much better qualified woman of color.

            • Anonymous

              …racist white…

              Can you not READ?

              “I’m going to agree with Scott.”

              It appears that calling your perceived enemies “a white racist fuck” is the ‘answer’ for every question.

              How stupid you would feel if you could see my color. Probably as stupid as you truly are.

              • commie atheist

                If you are the same “Anonymous” who wrote:

                Tell me that you don’t promote a racial preference agenda.

                Say that ” …if the race of the perpetrator and victim were reversed…” hasn’t been dismissed when white people complain about race preference (racism).

                Oh, YEAH..Now it’s important. Where were you when other races were getting short-changed (asshole)?

                Where was the detached objectivity?

                …then assuming that you are a white racist fuck seems appropriate.

                • DrDick

                  Pretty much the evidence I was relying on.

                • Anonymous

                  Hell, everyone that disagrees with you is a “white racist fuck”.

                  I’m not white…..DUMBBASS!

                  And there are plenty of people of diverse colors that think that white asshole like you are what’s screwing up the race problem.

                  Asians don’t think you’re helping anyting with your racism. And there’s a lot of Hispanics that believe people like you racists are the problem.

                  You’re just as bad as the KKK. YOU’RE the white racist fuck.

                • Hell, everyone that disagrees with you is a “white racist fuck”.

                  I’m not white…..DUMBBASS!

                  Hokay. How ’bout this: your rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of a white racist fuck. Better?

                • DrDick

                  Oh, great. I get the only thread with a purple people eater racist. Also what GeoX said. Your bullshit is straight out of Stormfront and I don’t care what fucking color you are, your as still a racist fuck.

                • Njorl

                  Two outta three ain’t bad.

          • Furious Jorge

            He was the hand model in the notorious Jesse Helms commercial.

        • Heron

          Obvious troll is obvious. Next!

  • Jon H

    Interestingly, Zimmerman could probably pass for Latino.

    • commie atheist

      Probably because he is:

      George Zimmerman is Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family, the statement says.

  • Mike Schilling

    Perhaps, but there’d be no guarantee of a conviction, because the laws in Florida appear to grant equal opportunity to pick a fight with some random person, start to lose it, pull out your concealed handgun, shoot him, and claim self-defense.

    • DrDick

      When the victim is black, nothing else much matters.

      • Mike Schilling

        Death penalty? First, let’s ask for the barest semblance of a police investigation.

        • DrDick

          True, but they don’t really keep statistics on that.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty much the evidence I was relying on.

    What evidence??

    What a stupid, STUPID thing to say.

    What an ASSHAT!!

    • DrDick

      Your own racist comments fuckwit. Now get back over to Stormfront, where you belong.

  • gocart mozart

    Well anon, it is certainly more evidence then you were willing to provide for whatever point you originally were trying to make.

    • Heron

      I think his point was “Because the Sanford PD handled this case in a way many have called discriminatory, every job or college placement a black person gets is awarded unfairly, and stolen from a more deserving non-black.” I’d guess the “equally qualified means inferior when comparing a black person to anyone else” is implied in that as well.

      • DrDick

        Yep. He pretty clearly lost a job to a better qualified black woman and that is somehow all my fault and racism. Coherence and logic are obviously not his strong suites. Psychotic rage on the other hand….

  • Holden Pattern

    It’s interesting that Anonymous and Honorable Bob returned at the same time.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Objection — assumes facts not in evidence. Manipulating sock puppets require the possession of opposable thumbs…

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