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The Perils of Gossip

March 26th, 2012

No Evidence Required; No Appeal Possible

More and more exculpatory evidence is coming out in the Zimmerman/Martin case.

This is only evidence. It’s not necessarily proven. But the burden of proof is on Florida, not George Zimmerman. He doesn’t have to prove a thing.

1. The police say Zimmerman was found with lacerations on the back of his head, plus a broken nose.

2. The police say Zimmerman had grass stains on the back of his shirt, and his shirt was wet in back.

3. Martin’s size has been upped from 140 pounds to 150 pounds and 6’3″, and Zimmerman’s height is said to be 5′ 9″. I’m wondering what Martin’s weight will turn out to be, after the medical examiner reports. The figure of 150 is pretty low for someone that tall, especially a football player.

4. Martin’s girlfriend’s remarks suggest Martin accosted Zimmerman (Martin spoke first).

5. Zimmerman claims Martin was trying to grab Zimmerman’s gun.

6. A witness saw Martin slamming Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk repeatedly.

7. A witness named Austin Brown says that in the moments before the shooting, Zimmerman was lying on the ground crying for help.

8. Zimmerman told police he was on his way back to his vehicle when Martin accosted him.

9. Zimmerman said Martin initiated physical contact by delivering a sudden punch which broke Zimmerman’s nose.

People are saying the “stand your ground” law applies. I don’t see it. It looks like Martin got mad, chased Zimmerman, and attacked him. It also appears pretty clear that Martin used deadly force. Slamming someone’s head on concrete repeatedly will eventually kill them.

If the facts are as they appear to be, Zimmerman didn’t stand his ground. To “stand your ground” is to stay where you are, when you have the option of leaving. If Zimmerman was on his back, helpless, with a taller assailant beating him, he could not leave. That would mean this is a very routine self-defense case. Not only that, it would show that our laws worked exactly as they should have. If the published evidence is not misleading, Martin was a violent criminal, and Zimmerman was a model citizen trying to protect his community.

That’s a far cry from what we heard last week. And I saw it coming. I knew it was stupid to judge this case before the facts were published. Nevertheless, everyone from Jeb Bush to Al Sharpton has condemned Zimmerman without trial, and they have elevated Martin to a status resembling sainthood, when he may turn out to be a common thug. We now know that he was in Sanford because his school suspended him for possession of drug paraphernalia. He was found with a bag that had contained marijuana. At the age of 14.

Even at this point, I’m not going to judge. Lawsuits and investigations have many twists and turns. Things look very good for Zimmerman, but I am not as close to the evidence as the professionals are. I’m not going to repeat the sin I criticized. Maybe Zimmerman will be convicted of something. Maybe even murder. Maybe a recording will pop up, and we’ll hear Zimmerman tell his buddies he’s going to kill a black kid for fun. But I’ll bet he is never arrested for homicide. Obama’s feds may try to nail him on some other offense, but my best guess is that the authorities will realize they can’t touch him, because he did nothing wrong.

The claims of police bias aren’t holding up, either. I’ve read the police report. It appears that they originally intended to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, but the facts led them to conclude he was innocent, so he was not arrested. If they showed up and found a live non-black “gunman” and a dead black teenager, and they fully intended to charge the non-black man, they can’t be credibly accused of anti-black animus. And we don’t know the races of the responding officers. Won’t it be interesting if one or more of them are black?

The Miami Herald has demonstrated what this case is really about. Sorry to say it, but I was right about that, too. They put a huge story up in Sunday’s paper, with a half-page staged photo full of crime scene tape. The story was not about the Zimmerman case. It was about our “dangerous” self-defense laws (which–remember–appear to have no application to this case). From the word “go,” the press’s dishonest coverage has been aimed at getting the “Castle Doctrine,” “Stand Your Ground,” and concealed-carry laws repealed by the legislature or gutted by judicial interpretation. That’s all the folks at the Herald care about. If the ghetto has to burn, and if black people have to die or become felons or lose their homes or jobs, that’s okay with our liberal nannies, as long as gun control increases.

Thanks to the press and people like Al Sharpton, we have hundreds of thousands of people who firmly believe Martin was martyred, and they are going to expect payback, and it’s probably not going to come. What then? Will TV heads spend as much time correcting their slanders as they did publishing them? Yeah. Right. They’re famous for that. We all remember how they trampled each other, trying to get to the cameras so they could correct the claim that George Bush lied about uranium ore.

I think violence is inevitable. If the authorities admit Zimmerman didn’t break the law, there will be trouble. It may be full-blown rioting, and it may be individual acts of hate and racism, but barring an extraordinary turn of events, it will happen. And the liars and gossips will be guilty of the very thing of which they falsely accused Zimmerman. The blood of the dead will be on their hands. But bloody hands are nothing new to some of them. Certainly not Al Sharpton, who seems to think rioting is a healthy way of expressing dissent.

If rioting comes, white people will sit safely in their homes, and people of color will die and suffer. Great work, liberal press. Is that your plan for helping minorities? Gun-hating journalists appear willing to sacrifice black lives and use well-meaning black people as pawns, as long as it advances the left’s agenda.

I wish people would shut up and let qualified professionals interpret the law and the facts. I’m a lawyer, and law is not simple. I had to get a doctorate in order to get a license to practice law. If you’re not a lawyer, you have no business arguing with me or any other legal professional. For that matter, most lawyers should be quiet. I’ve noticed that a lot of them are weighing in without thinking. An education is no advantage unless you put it to use.

Even though I’m a lawyer, in matters like this, I will defer to people who have actually studied the case and the law. I’ve looked it over briefly, but there is no way I’d ask a client to rely on the smattering of work I’ve done. If I were working for money, I’d get the books out for a few days and THEN talk. So while I’m light years ahead of 95% of the people who comment in the media, what I’m writing here doesn’t begin to live up to a real standard of professionalism. It’s just idle commentary.

It’s shocking how few people understand these things. Ignorant lay people are spewing worthless opinions so devoid of merit, they remind me of what Wolfgang Pauli said: “That’s not even WRONG.” Sometimes an argument is so stupid, it’s actually counterproductive to acknowledge it. It’s like trying to have a rational discussion with Charles Manson. This is why we are told not to cast our pearls before swine. It’s why we spank toddlers instead of debating with them.

I feel like we’re on a ship headed for a mine at three knots, and no one cares.

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11 Responses to “The Perils of Gossip”

  1. physics geek Says:

    I feel like we’re on a ship headed for a mine at three knots, and no one cares.

    Three knots? I wish that I shared your sense of optimism.

  2. Mike James Says:

    I was tempted to put a link to your post on a comment section on the Reason.com website, because you have the best explanation of the issues, for those of us who lack a legal education, and those people who pat themselves on the back as being devotees of Reason don’t seem to have a close grasp of what seem to be the most pertinent legal concepts, at least the way you explain it. Link below, for a post about four hours old at the time of this comment:

    Stand Your Ground’ May Have Nothing to Do With the Trayvon Martin Case

    I thought twice about it, I wouldn’t want to attract them to your blog without permission. With permission, I would post a link to your quick education in the legal issues, from a member of the Florida Bar.

    Thank you for a little enlightenment.

  3. Steve H. Says:

    I have to wonder if the guy who wrote that piece is a lawyer. It’s a real problem when non-lawyers start writing articles about law.

  4. Mike James Says:

    To be explicit, the reason not to attract Reason.com sort here is that there would be a high percentage of sneering atheists amongst anyone who followed a link back. So, I think I just answered the question I had about permission. I don’t like that adolescent sort of thing, myself.

    I didn’t mean to waste your time, it’s just that you’ve got the only truly worth-while editorial comment about the whole stupid, unnecessary business.

  5. Steve H. Says:

    Truthfully, I wouldn’t bother. I appreciate the positive remarks, but this is not a serious analysis, and I’m not all that interested in fielding comments from super-libertarian fruitcakes.
    .
    I checked Sullum’s bio, and there is nothing in it about law school. Big surprise there.

  6. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    A couple of people have asked me about my opinion of the case.
    I told them that it is not my job to have an opinion of the case.
    I have no idea about the facts of this case and that’s what we have jury’s and prosecutors for.
    Ask me what I think about Obama …

  7. og Says:

    Oh, I care. And I even see the minefield. At the moment, I can’t think of anything productive to do but pray, and I’m doing a wad of that.

  8. Steve H. Says:

    Somewhere I got the idea that Martin was 14. Probably from the backdated photos the press has been putting up on the web! Anyway, he was 17.

  9. Mike James Says:

    I don’t know if this, by itself, has much significance, but good boy Trayvon was sort of adorned with tattoos and had an interesting Twitter handle, and such impressive looking friends:

    Was Trayvon Martin A Drug Dealer?

  10. Steve H. Says:

    The drug-dealing evidence is pretty weak. Lots of people ask their friends for dope when they run out.

  11. My only comment on Trayvon Martin | The Twisted Spinster Says:

    […] okay, from the conservative side, here is the most level-headed analysis of the case I’ve come across so far. I really haven’t […]