Tuesday, April 28, 2015
(formerly titled “Its about more than Mike Brown or Darren Wilson.”)
by Glenn Littrell
These incidents are not occurring just because someone filmed the event. They are being exposed because for the first time the average citizen is capable of capturing evidence of the event. It is a double-edged sword that can provide proof of both culpability and innocence in situations that in the past would never have seen the light of exposure. Because prejudices and bias would have rendered one party or the other as untrustworthy.
These incidents are not just now occurring. They have been occurring for decades, but we are just now realizing through technology that they are just the tip of the iceberg. They reflect a systemic problem that has been too long ignored. Hopefully the group that will be most liberated by the exposure of the ‘bad cops’ will be the ‘good cops’ who no longer have to, or feel pressured to, look the other way because now the ‘citizen camera’ will vindicate their doing the right thing: holding others in their profession to the same high standard they aspire to.’
The impression that people of color are more prone to criminality is no more valid than the impression that cops hate people of color. It is the devastating effects of some that paints the many with the negative stereotypes that divide us and cause us to fear each other.
Some perspective on protest and riots:
“The city of Baltimore, Maryland, has been besieged by riots Monday night — and police are on the scene ready to serve, protect and subdue.
This has become an evergreen narrative in the aftermath of reactions to state-sanctioned violence against black people. But that it persists sends a troubling message about how officials and, by extension, many of the people they serve regard rioting: specifically, when there's white people involved versus mostly black people.
Usually, if a riot involves black people, it's connected to intense episodes of where systemic racism is undoubtedly at work. These episodes include the 1992 Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King beating verdict, the riots in Oakland after the 2009 BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant, and the national outcry immediately following the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That outcry included the city of Baltimore, where blacks now represent roughly 2 out of 3 residents.
But when a mob of mostly white people take to the streets, vandalizing cars, storefronts and street signs in the process it usually means someone either won or lost a game.”
Instead of focusing on the race of the protesters and the rioters we should be dealing with and discussing the root causes, and considering solutions. Continually dividing us into factions: cops versus blacks, black versus whites, us against them, is no more than declaring animosity of neighbor versus neighbor.
When one of the The Five hosts kept on rambling about ‘where are the civil rights leaders’, Shepard Smith had had it.
“I also don’t know where we are. We’ve got a major American city that has decades of turmoil within this neighborhood,” Shepard Smith said. “Decades! You’ve heard the stories from Doug McKelway a little while ago of people being arrested for nothing, a violent crackdown for years and years, of them feeling powerless and hopeless and nobody listening to what they were saying. One quarter of the youth locked up. Clearly there is a big problem. Then all of a sudden an African American man is taken into a vehicle and he comes out of it and dies. And you get nothing from authorities except a suspension. And those who would do harm take an opportunity to do harm. And here we are. But it is what has happened between all of that and today that that has led to this. There is no escaping that reality.” Shepard Smith, in response to his networks coverage of the Baltimore situation.
If you believe that Darren Wilson was unjustly maligned then when you demand an apology from those who wronged him don’t forget to demand an apology from his fellow police officers that created and promoted racist attitudes and emails such as the ones exposed in the DOJ report, don’t forget the policy makers that established law enforcement as a means of revenue production, the officials who mishandled the situation from the second that Mike Brown was shot to the minute the DOJ report was completed, and unfortunately, on into tomorrow..
If you believe the DOJ report totally exonerated Daren Wilson then don’t ignore the remainder of the report which establish the factors that led to the protest (along with the shooting). When you look at that report, and then look at other factors in play in Ferguson, you should consider that protest and unrest were inevitable. There was a problem festering before Mike Brown… a firecracker looking for a match.
I’m sure there are good officers in Ferguson, but like Wilson, they have to accept some responsibility for the toxic attitudes and practices in their department. If not for participating then at least for tolerating it.
- "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
Justice finds pattern of race bias in Ferguson
“Alec Karakatsanis, a lawyer at Equal Justice Under Law, said that the findings in the Ferguson case are indicative of larger issues with criminal justice systems around the country.”
“The lesson isn’t that Ferguson is uniquely bad, the lesson is that we have an American problem that Ferguson is helping shed light on.”
“The protests are no more to blame for his actions than The Catcher in the Rye was for the murder of John Lennon or the movie Taxi Driver for the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan,” he writes. “Crazy has its own twisted logic and it is in no way related to the rational cause-and-effect world the rest of us attempt to create.”
“Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is,” he writes. “Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy.”
It has gotten to be so typical that so many of us choose to fixate on singular aspects that just serve to further divide us, have little to do with the real problem and bare no relevance in truth or relativity. Facebook and right-wing media has erupted with condemnation of the riots by emphasizing that: “…whites didn’t riot after the OJ Simpson verdict”, as if this proves something. Of course the underlying reference here is to the stereotype of African-Americans as being more inclined to this type of violent behavior. The right-wing media puts forth this malicious falsehood and their bloggers post the graphics to insight further dissatisfaction. But it is a false comparison. On the face of the simplistic statement it festers on racial stereotypes, everyone who post and repost the graphics are not looking beyond their own latent prejudices, they may not themselves be knowingly cooperating in a racist message, but they are, nonetheless participating in a sham that has been perpetrated on themselves as well as African-Americans.
You want to believe that blacks riot more readily then whites then consider this:
- In over 90 days of protest the overwhelming number of peaceful days/protest were peaceful. While there were arrest during that time the number is small and not all the arrest were related to violence. Civil disobedience protest routinely involve non-violent arrest.
- In the past ten years how many riots by African-Americans can you name? Violent riots, not peaceful demonstrations. 1? 2? Google it and get back to me.
The number of riots by non-blacks are fairly numerous. After World Series Championships (San Francisco), Superbowls (Seattle), after a Coach was fired for protecting a child-molester (Penn State), After a college coach was fired (Tennessee), at a pumpkin festival (Keene State College)! etc., etc., ( http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/white-people-rioting-for-no-reason.html )
Now before you start rationalizing a difference between Ferguson and these riots, before you start trying to put in any context, before you point out that a minority few were guilty of violent behavior, lets remember that the promoters of the “…whites didn’t riot after the OJ Simpson verdict” theme neglected to add context or the explanations of a ‘difference’. The right-wing critics of the Ferguson riots have failed to put into their comparison the role of agitators, drunkenness, and idiots.
I’m am not defending the Ferguson riots, I condemn them and but I condemn all riots, but I am also condemning the stereotype and defending the peaceful protesters. If you want to talk about riots and their cause, or even who is their cause, fine, but lets talk about all of them because in that discussion is where we will discover the root causes
It wasn’t the players on the San Francisco Giants that started a riot anymore than it was the peaceful protesters that started the Ferguson riots. Its fine to examine the contributing factors and circumstances that contributed to conditions that accommodated a riot, but let’s do it in context, let’s not just chalk it up to race or spontaneity. That’s a little weak-minded.
In further regards to the “…whites didn’t riot after the OJ Simpson verdict” comparison, in actuality it just further makes the point that there is a believe that options for whites are more plentiful for whites. When the family of Simspon’s victims didn’t receive satisfaction they sought civil action, without moral outrage from the country, yet the family’s of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown both have been vilified for even considering such an option.
Monday, April 27, 2015
"We fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."
“If I would have to do it all over again, I would.”
"Well, listen. I'm not qualified to debate the science over climate change."
Sunday, April 26, 2015
So, deadbeat dads beware, poking that girl on-line may land you in custody.
Hiding assets from your spouse? Then don’t tell the world your taking out the new boat on a fishing trip this weekend.
Avoiding wage garnishments? Then don’t friend your new boss.
Did you just friend the repo-man who’s looking for your Bentley?
Do you have a stalker out there you’re hiding from?
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive…. bad-boys, bad-boys what u gonna do. What you gonna do when the repo-man comes for u…..
Saturday, April 25, 2015
The essay formerly titled “If Your Against Gay Marriage,Then Don’t Marry Someone Who’s Gay!”, September 10,2012, has been edited, updated and retitled, “The Myth of Conventional Marriage”. You can find it by clicking here.
UPDATED: October 8,2014
Original Post Date: September 10,2012
Friday, April 24, 2015
A man has only 2 balls and they take up all his thoughts.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Read to the end...a new twist.1) The bandage was wound around the wound.2) The farm was used to produce produce .
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse .
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger, neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France .. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lockUP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special .
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP . We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP ..
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP , so...it is time to shut UP !
Oh ..... one more thing:
What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U P.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
by Glenn Littrell
On April 15, 2015, in solidarity and support for families struggling to live on minimum wage jobs,please boycott McDonald’s this Wednesday.
Why should you care about the minimum wage? State and federal governments spend more than $150 billion a year on four key antipoverty programs and almost 75% of the families helped by these programs are headed by a worker. “…taxpayers are providing not only support to the poor but also, in effect, a huge subsidy for employers of low-wage workers, from giants like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart…. …four key antipoverty programs used by working families: Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps and the earned-income tax credit, which is specifically aimed at working families." source
Why McDonalds? McDonalds isn’t the only transgressor, nor is the food service industries. McDonalds is a symbolic choice because they are both a leader in their industry and the one of the most identifiable brands in the world. The food service industries are the biggest advocate for a low minimum wage and the greatest oppressors of their workers with a minimum wage and no to little benefits.
“The low-wage business model practiced by many of the largest and most profitable employers in the country not only leaves many working families unable to afford the basics, but also imposes significant costs on the public as a whole,” Sarah Leberstein, a senior staff lawyer with the National Employment Law Project, testified recently before Connecticut lawmakers.
Why not just find a better paying job? Really? Changing jobs in what is one of the most unstable job markets (low wage workers) in America is a high risk venture. Not all minimum wage jobs are filled by teenagers, and over the last 20 years more and more well paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced by minimum wage and part time jobs. More employees at McDonalds are heads of households, retirees trying to supplement a fixed income to battle increased medical bills, and people having to work a second job. In the minimum wage sector the employer has all the power. Good workers are desperate and training cost are low. The end result is high turnover rates don’t hurt the employer as much as they use to.
Will raising the minimum wage increase the cost of your BigMac? Not necessarily. Outside the U.S., McDonalds labor cost makes up 45% of all expenses while in the U.S. labor cost make-up only 25-33% of all expenses, yet McDonalds in Europe makes more revenue than McDonalds in the U.S.
Businesses have two choices when cost go up: raise the price or reduce the profit margin. They could also do both, but according to Forbes:
“…a doubling of, or a halving of, or any other change in, the wages of McDonald's workers will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the price of a Big Mac or the dollar menu. For prices are not set by the cost of production of something, but by the supply and demand for that item.” source
Won’t a higher minimum wage hurt businesses, the economy, and cause workers to be laid off?
- Business: Wages are a part of the cost of doing business, one of the most fundamental cost. Another is the cost of producing a quality product. Successful business do not skimp on the quality of their product, yes they try to reduce cost as much as possible, but they pay what they must to maintain quality. In the service industry the employee is a significant part of the product. You may not care if the guy in a steel foundry has clean fingernails, but you do if they’re handling your food. Good wages encourages good employees, good workers, and professionalism.
With siblings Christy & Jim Walton (of Wal-Mart) being the 8th and 9th richest people in the world and worth more than $40 BILLION EACH how much would it hurt them to pay their employees a decent, livable wage?
“Wal-Mart's (WMT) highly publicized pay hike is a victory of sorts for its 1.3 million employees, but American taxpayers will foot the bill for the large subsidies that will still be needed to compensate for the discount retailer's low wages.”
“The four primary Walton heirs held a fortune that rose by $20.9 billion from March 2014 to March 2015. For roughly half of that amount, or $10.8 billion, the Waltons could give every one of Wal-Mart's 1.3 million U.S. workers a $5 hour raise and still keep the other $10 billion, the ATF research found.”
“Wal-Mart benefited from $6.2 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies because many of its employees make so little they need food stamps, Medicaid and six other taxpayer-funded programs to get by.” source
- Economy: The effect on the national economy is very controversial, which means that both arguments for and against a raise in the minimum wage are debatable, but a 2013 Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) review of multiple studies since 2000 indicated that there was "little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage." The study indicated 11 reasons for this finding, the most important including: "reductions in labor turnover; improvements in organizational efficiency; reductions in wages of higher earners ('wage compression'); and small price increases." Another CEPR study in 2014 found that job creation within the United States is faster within states that raised their minimum wage. In 2014, the state with the highest minimum wage in the nation, Washington, exceeded the national average for job growth in the United States.
- Layoffs: Possibly, but lets make two distinctions:
- Corporate America: Corporations work on a model where the least amount of employees are employed at any given time. Layoffs occur for many reasons other than rising labor cost. To maintain productivity an increase in the minimum wage would have little impact on them. The added cost, like all cost increases would be factored in, across the board, with other cost in making workforce decisions.
In the current business environment worker productivity is at all time highs. As a result we see corporate profits and executive pay skyrocketing, but worker pay remains stagnant. So how is it that in times of high productivity and profits, any mention of raising the wages of everyone, except the minimum pay workers, is applauded and seen as an incentive and reward, but when the minimum pay worker suggest a pay increase it results in a claim that their pay increase would lead to layoffs?
And let’s not forget, that a wage increase is another tax write-off for the employer.
- Small businesses: At one time it was believed that 95% of new small businesses failed within the first 5 years. Now the figure is pegged at 50% in the top ‘failure’ category. The interesting thing is that after reviewing 10 websites on the subject of why small businesses fail ( Google: small business failure reasons) not one of them mentioned labor cost. The only mention of employees as a reason was about keeping them engaged. The good news for small business owners are that 42% of employees at small companies are happy compared to less than 30% of employees at bigger companies. While wages are still important, job satisfaction always rates high with good employees.
The problem for small businesses is big businesses. In every business related discussion that comes up, particularly in the political arena, corporate America, their lobbyist, and politicians whip out the ‘small business card’. Corporate America continually uses the small business as the the potential fall guy for anything that might happen to them. It is this co-mingling of interest that on the one hand scares the small business man to death and on the other hand gets him sucked down the drain before any real damage is done to the big floating carcass of big business. While corporate America is in a position to survive 99% of the things that could actually hurt the small businessman they use the small business argument to hurt the small businessman through small business customers. The customers being the employees of the big companies that would benefit from a pay increase. These employees would pass the increase on as consumers to the small businessman.
In other words, big businesses employees,the general public, small businesses, and eventually big business would benefit from new money being put back into the hands of the consumer.
What small businesses need to do is separate themselves from the political rule of the big companies. The first step would be to change the definition of a small business. Right now businesses with up to 38 million dollars in receipts or up to a thousands employees, businesses that dwarf what the average person would call a small business, can obtain status as a small business. These so-called small businesses benefit from, and compete with true small businesses for, small business grants, loans and contracts. By redefining a small business the truly small business would find it easier to obtain exemptions to many impediments that now burden them.
- Corporate America: Corporations work on a model where the least amount of employees are employed at any given time. Layoffs occur for many reasons other than rising labor cost. To maintain productivity an increase in the minimum wage would have little impact on them. The added cost, like all cost increases would be factored in, across the board, with other cost in making workforce decisions.
Since its inception(1938) the federal minimum wage has been raised 23 times. With its inception and the 23 wage increases, along with state minimum wages and increases, overall negative effects on employment, business and the economy have not been proven. Yet, one thing we all should realize is that the more Americans who have spending money… will spend it, and this is always good for the economy. by GlennDL
Saturday, April 11, 2015
The coming Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal (TPP) has left many retirees concerned that their prescription drug costs will increase if a deal passes. TPP will likely limit the ability for the federal government to regulate drug prices and restrict competition from generic drugs. Moreover, “fast-track” legislation for TPP would, if passed, bring the agreement up for a vote without an opportunity to amend the agreement.
At the recent Alliance Convention in Oregon, Fiesta said, “Americans already pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. Seniors have a huge stake in this trade deal.”
The Alliance encourages members to call their member of Congress to express their opposition to the trade deal. More from NW Labor Press at http://tinyurl.com/m334h9k
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
by Glenn Littrell
George Zimmerman is at the least:
A concerned citizen, Who followed a young man he deemed suspicious because he didn’t recognize him. Who called the police to report the young man.
Trayvon Martin was at the least:
A young man who was walking from and to his residence to purchase an evening snack. Was not high, drunk, acting agitated or behaving suspiciously before Zimmerman saw him. He was, during the time Zimmerman observed him, talking on his cell phone.
but, George Zimmerman also:
As director, and only member, of the neighborhood watch broke the rules of neighborhood watch programs by arming himself, putting a bullet in the chamber. and against the advice of a police dispatcher did not return to his car (the police would arrive within 5 minutes).
and Trayvon Martin was:
Carrying a bag of skittles, a drink, a cell phone and within yards of his home.
Are any of the above in dispute? No. Of course there is more to Trayvon and George than what we minimize above, but these are the established facts. There is more to the events than what we minimize above, but these are the known facts.
The last fact: less than three and a half minutes later Trayvon was dead.
There would be many ‘observations’, accounts, testimony, and forensic evidence presented in the case, and all of it would be disputed by the opposing counsels. There would even be counsels out-of-court stabs at each other. The prosecution and defense would attempt to discredit the others witnesses and evidence. That’s what they are supposed to do. That’s your proverbial day in court.
Did I watch the trial? No. Because everything I need to know is above. Everything else is speculation and...
the minute I heard the definition of the charges against Zimmerman and the instructions to the jury, and that Zimmerman would not plead protection under the ‘stand your ground’ laws it became apparent that the prosecution was not going to be able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It had nothing to do with the make-up of the jury, if they followed the law and instructions an acquittal was inevitable. The charges filed by the prosecution were virtually impossible to prove with the evidence they presented. Could they have filed lesser charges and got a conviction? Probably, and one can only hope they consulted the Martins on this. If Zimmerman had used the stand your ground defense could the prosecution have won? Yes, not saying they would have but in the case of the stand your ground defense the burden of proof is on the defendant, Zimmerman, who would have had to ‘prove’ he was acting in self-defense. Since he didn’t use the stand your ground defense the burden of proof was on the prosecution to prove he didn’t act in self-defense. That is a higher standard of proof when the only witness is the defendant, that’s why Zimmerman didn’t testify.
It is important to remember three things:
- Innocent until proven guilty
- Justice is supposed to be blind
- and therein lies the reason we pronounce defendants ‘not guilty’ instead of ‘innocent’.
The last fact: less than three and a half minutes later Martin was dead, and that is what is wrong with the end result of the above facts.
A young man leaves his home to got to a 7-eleven to get a snack. While there he commits no crime, pays for his drink and skittles, and his behavior is not suspicious. At least not suspicious enough to prevent the store clerk from turning his back on the young man as seen in the 7-Eleven video. A member of the neighborhood watch, armed and in the limited protection of his car spots the young man that he doesn’t recognize in the neighborhood, deems him suspicious and calls 911. In spite of living in the neighborhood, having been on neighborhood watch for months, and having called 911 before, he seems unable to identify his location clearly. He shows frustration in his language concerning someone being in his neighborhood, and against neighborhood watch policy and police dispatcher instructions continues to follow the teen ager on foot.
The young man sees what he perceives as a stalker, in the dark of night, and runs from the stalker’s view. The perceived stalker, the neighborhood watchman, clearly says the young man ran away and he doesn’t know where he is. If the young man was indeed a criminal casing houses to break into, he would have either fled the area or returned home before being spotted again. Living in the neighborhood this means he would have headed home, which he evidently did,.but if the young man was in fear of a stalker he would have done the same.
Then comes the confrontation that ends in the young mans death.
- In the 911 call Zimmerman is to meet the police at the club house, where he was when he called 911, yet the confrontation occurs off the street, out of site, between two buildings over 200 feet away? On foot how was Zimmerman going to meet the police heading in the opposite direction. Evidently Zimmerman again did not follow the dispatcher instructions, even after agreeing to and he himself established the meeting point.
- Zimmerman had a gun, legal. Zimmerman violated neighborhood crime watch policy, legal. Zimmerman did not follow dispatcher instructions twice, ill advised but legal. Zimmerman mis-directed police to his anticipated whereabouts, stupid, intentional, ill advised, but legal or illegal I don’t know. Zimmerman proceeded into a darkened area in pursuit of a suspicious person he perceived to be a criminal, stupid, very stupid.
- At this point the young man has not been observed committing a crime. He was not carrying contraband, unless it was the skittles and drink.
Regardless of how the confrontation started or how it played out, up to this point it is Zimmerman who is pursuing, it is Zimmerman who is escalating the situation, the tension and the questionable behavior.
Was Zimmerman frustrated by his inability to stop the crimes in his neighborhood? Was Zimmerman, a police officer wannabe, trying to prove he was good enough to be on the police force? Was he inclined to ignore crime watch procedures, police dispatcher instructions, misdirect the police, pursue someone down a darkened area because he carried a gun? Did his knowledge of the stand your ground laws and his possession of a gun embolden him to make choices that, unarmed, he wouldn’t have made?
My opinion: yes, yes, yes-yes-yes-yes…YES, and YES… just my opinion. If Zimmerman had not had a gun he would not have created and escalated the events to the deadly confrontation. This is not a condemnation of guns, I own two. It is a condemnation of Zimmerman's actions and choices, regardless of whether he sought the eventual outcome, or his good intentions and false bravado led him to a situation he couldn’t control.
The stated facts above is followed by my logical reasoning of why I feel what I feel about this case, and that reasoning is based on those facts and just the words of George Zimmerman himself.
I do not include the testimony of Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend or other witnesses. No witness was more than a partial witness to any event, none saw the shot, none witnessed the initial, whole or final part of the confrontation and all who saw anything were doing so in the cloak of darkness and distance, according to their testimony. I ignore the expert witnesses. Like the so called crime scene witnesses their testimony can be disputed, rationalized and viewed in varied lights of opinion and biased. I ignore the questionable, much fabricated, and overblown histories of Zimmerman and Martin (by both Zimmerman and Martin supporters). For the most part these histories only serve and are meant to agitate us into taking one side or the other. I ignore the history of the Sanford, Florida and American justice system and all of its failures and successes. I ignore the role of the media, perceptions of race, actions of the two families. I ignore the speculation of what Zimmerman or Martin was doing, did, thought or was capable of… All of these things can be debated and argued as items that need to be corrected, stopped, encouraged, continued or dealt with as part of societal problems or solutions, but none clear up what happened, they only create shadows and flickers that affect our perceptions.
Martin is dead and can not tell his side or dispute Zimmerman’s side. Zimmerman is silent and refused to testify in his own behave, his right and not an indicator of guilt, but his choice. He chose not to elaborate on the facts so we are left to the known facts and Zimmerman’s words in the 911 tape, and Zimmerman’s words are what put the burden of responsibility on him.
Thank goodness for civil suites because this guy is guilty of creating the fatal confrontation, even if he tried to back out of the confrontation, tried to take back his stupid moves.
Did the police or the prosecution, prior to the trial ask why Zimmerman was going in the opposite direction of where he directed the police too? If Martin ambushed Zimmerman how was it that Zimmerman ended up closer to Martin’s destination than the meeting place he directed the police to? Coincidence, not if he was still pursuing Martin?
If Martin was in fear of a stalker he would be prone to fight or flight, that is instinctive. It is also the only logical action to take. According to Zimmerman he(Martin) demonstrated a consideration of both, he first chose flight, but with continued stalking it would have been natural to choose fight before exposing his residence to a stalker. Zimmerman never identified himself to Martin as a member of the neighborhood watch before the confrontation, so in the eyes of Martin, it was Zimmerman’s behavior that was suspicious. It was Zimmerman’s actions that put Martin in fear. Fear that triggered a self defense reaction. It was Zimmerman who created the hostile confrontation, not Martin.
If Martin was acting with criminal intent the logical behavior would have been to hide and stay hidden if he couldn’t make it home. Since he hadn’t done anything wrong, obvious to him and now obvious to us, why would he confront Zimmerman unless Zimmerman cut off his retreat to his home.
There was no witness to either George or Trayvon’s actions other than in bits and pieces. To use those bits and pieces to establish exactly what happened is impossible. Putting a picture puzzle together with missing pieces would be more conclusive. Any conclusion based on the evidence presented in and out of the trail in this case is OPINION! While that opinion is based on a review of the facts and testimony it is at some level influenced by our bias, feelings, and perceptions. We may be able to clinically remove our conscious bias, feelings, and perceptions from the process, but none of us are capable of removing our sub-conscious bias, feelings, and perceptions because we are ignorant of them. The same holds true for that Jury, the difference being they also were to try and only consider what was presented in court.
None of us are capable of completely removing the bias, feelings, and perceptions we have. We are human, and the fact that we are human is what makes the jury system imperfect. Imperfect or not, it is the best system we have. The best in the history of mankind. Yes it can be abused, it can be unduly influenced, it can even be corrupted, but what is the alternative. Systems of the past: tribunals with professional jurors, trial by fire, trial by intellectuals, trial by the elite, trial by clergy, trial by appointee, and trial by public opinion have all been proven to be less effective, less fair and more prone to abuse and corruptions. Systems of the future hold little promise because most of them would just be systems of the past restructured or combined. The only future system that would be new would be trial by computer. A cold blooded review of facts, ignoring extenuating circumstances, ignoring the role of fear, human nature and environment. Does anyone want that system? No, the only ones who would are those who foolishly believe they would never have to face such a judgment.
Our jury system is the best because it is not autocratic. It has its mechanical elements but it is based on a jury by our peers, or if we choose a bench trial (Judge serves as jury). Our peers are imperfect beings, capable of compassion and yes damaging or favorable biases. Just like our justice system as a whole it is perfect on paper and imperfect in reality, but its imperfections continue because as a society as a we do little to improve it until we are incensed by events like this case, and then over time we fall back into apathy.
It is apathy more than corruption or bigotry that damages our system, and it is the ill defined and self-serving legislation of vote seeking legislators.
Up to now I have not mentioned race… because whether or not race enters into the equation is negated by the fact that:
A teen age boy should be able to, in a good neighborhood or bad, walk to the 7-Eleven and back with a bag of skittles without fear for his live. Regardless of race that is true. The parent of a child killed for doing so should be entitled to expecting the killer be retained and held until an investigation, hearing, or bail is set. Regardless of race. A community should be entitled to a justice system and police force that treats everyone, victim or perpetrator, fairly under the law. Regardless of race.
Everybody should agree with that. Most do, but when we consider race we enter into a discussion of differences. Not on how it should be, but on how it really is. Things have improved, but they still have a long way to go. It is not dependent on on society, or even community, to fight for improvement. It is dependent on the individual to drive the community and society and until enough individuals, black, white and otherwise realize and act on that realization we will have far to go. Unfortunately almost everyone who believes that still see things through a set of eyes anchored to a black or white perception.
Too many whites give breath to the call for a color blind society, but fail to act on that by simply trying to see things through someone else's perception. If you can’t do that you can’t understand the problem and you can’t identify a solution beyond lip service and wishful thinking. Of course the same is true in reverse, but lets not fall into the ‘what's good for the goose is good for the gander’ trap.
The idea that racism cuts both ways equally is ridiculous. You have an oppressor versus the oppressed dichotomy, based in history, current statistics, and simple observation. When a big bully calls his smaller victim a ‘sissy’ it does not have the same repercussions as the victim calling the bully a ‘sissy’. It might make the bully mad but its is not as hurtful. If the bully pushes the smaller victim it does not have the same effect as the victim pushing back. When a man hits a women it is not the same as when a woman hits a man, legally it might be, but society views it differently. When our forefathers fought for independence against England it did not mean the same thing to citizens in England as it did citizens in America. Americans saw it as a path to freedom, Englanders saw Americans as free subject like themselves. Americans saw their houses burned, their towns shelled, their leaders arrested. The citizen in England saw none of this. Tit for tat between the oppressed and the oppressor is not equal, especially when the oppressed have no option but to accept the situation or struggle quietly to fight or equality.
The ability to see things through the perception of others is possible. It only relies on imagination and intent, but the intent must be there. It comes down to the simple desire to walk in someone else's shoes, or even more simply put, to put into daily practice the instructions to love thy neighbor and to do unto others…
Who’s the culprit here?
- Zimmerman had a role, a deadly one.
- The neighborhood had a big role. Why couldn’t they muster up more than one volunteer for the neighborhood watch? How effective could one person be.
- The neighborhood association had a bigger role. If a watch was necessary why would the association accept a watch under the limitations, not to mention the liability, of one person. If the problem was that big then private security or gating the community were other, more appropriate, choices.
These two entities took what we are told was a problem and through apathy: non-involvement, lack of commitment and indifference made it worse.
- The Sanford Police Department, the local media, and the local prosecutors.
It is apparent that the situation was mis-handled and shuffled into oblivion before the Martin family acted.
- The imperfections of our justice system, the exaggerated influence of extremist, the ‘Stand your ground law’, and the continued inability of our society face the fact that in spite of what progress has been made there is still much to do in regards to racial harmony.
please excuse the typos and misspellings, I wrote in haste.
UPDATE: July 15, 2013
“…They parked next to the SUV containing Davis and his three friends who were listening to rap music on their way home after shopping at Black Friday sales at a mall.
Dunn asked the teens to turn down the volume of the music, but, his attorney said, the teens turned up the volume, threatened Dunn and brandished a shotgun. Dunn grabbed a pistol from the glove compartment of his car and opened fire, before driving away, authorities say. Police said no weapon was found on the teens…”
Described as passionate about politics and gun control, and with a few drinks in his system, is there any doubt that he was aware of the ‘Stand your ground law’? The ideal that only criminals commit crimes with guns has to be amended to include otherwise law abiding citizens will kill when they convince themselves that the law protects them if they know how to use it. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/28/15513847-florida-man-pleads-not-guilty-to-shooting-teen-to-death-over-loud-music?lite
- The Courts Failed Trayvon Martin: Can the Church Step Up? Rev. Chuck Currie
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
"Most poor folks are not on welfare, they work every day. They catch the early bus. They work every day.. . . They clean the streets. They cut the grass. They rake the leaves. They work hard every day. They raise other people's children. They work in hospitals. They mop the floors, and clean up the germs. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever, rub their bodies down and when they get sick, they clean out their commodes." Jesse Jackson, 1988
"Our labor unions are not narrow , self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours, and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor." ---President John F. Kennedy 1962
"The trouble with the profit system has always been that it... is highly unprofitable to most people." E. B. White, 1944
"Labor, n., One of the processes by which A acquires property for B." The Devils Dictionary, A. Bierce, 1906
"The American people have the Constitutional right to be wrong" Warren Rudman 1987
"I believe in God and no more, and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in DOING JUSTICE, LOVING MERCY, and ENDEAVORING TO MAKE OUR FELLOW CREATURES HAPPY." Thomas Pain, Age of Reason, 1794.
I am for living wages, health care for ALL, women's rights, fair trade, immigrant rights, global justice, fair wages, safe working conditions, equal pay, unions, Worker POWER, corporate accountability, climate justice, green jobs, racial EQUALITY, student power, refugee rights, public transportation, job security, organizing the unorganized, the Bill of Rights, the 1st and 2nd amendments and LGBT rights...
I'm just saying..... GlennDL
Sunday, April 5, 2015
On the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, JR, while speaking in Cleveland, Robert Kennedy gave an even more inspirational speech on ‘The Mindless Menace of Violence’. Nine weeks later, Robert Kennedy, like his older brother President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King, would also be assassinated.
Robert F. Kennedy
Cleveland City Club
April 5, 1968
This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.
It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on.
Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by his assassin's bullet.
No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.
Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.
"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."
Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition they desire.
Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.
Some looks for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.
For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.
This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies - to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.
We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear - only a common desire to retreat from each other - only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers.
Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is now what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.
We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.
Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution.
But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.