Zimmerman case: more evidence

Neighborhood Watch. This is what George Zimmerman was trying to be.
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In an amazing display of political correctness, major media correspondents and lay commenters, including regulars in the CNAV comment space, still misconceive the Zimmerman case. The original case narrative was a cut-and-dried story of a member of a gated community spotting a probable trespasser and, perhaps against his better judgment, facing him alone, with a tragic result. The mainstream media have rewritten the story to say that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin out of spite, and that the Sanford (Florida) Police did not investigate as they should have. The public record, and the story of the one impartial witness, support the original version.

Background on Zimmerman

George Zimmerman lives in The Retreat at Twin Lakes. This is a gated community, that usually no one is supposed to enter if he does not live there. Sadly, the security in that community seems to be woefully inadequate. The Sanford Police Department has a long list of reports of burglaries in that community.

Sanford, Florida does have a Neighborhood Watch program. The city also publishes a 17-page handbook for neighborhood watch members and captains. According to that handbook, the police offer to train neighbors in watching their neighborhoods. But they do not forbid a neighbor to keep such watch without this training. Neighborhood Watch is not an official licensure program. Nor is it a posse comitatus. No one has to swear any oaths to take part.

Neighborhood Watch. This is what George Zimmerman was trying to be.

A Neighborhood Watch sign in Picayune, MS. Photo: User Ente75/Wikimedia Commons; released to public domain and with an unrestricted license

The handbook reads like a recruiting tool. Half of it argues for the concept, by saying that those who take part in Neighborhood Watch are not mere busybodies or tattlers. The authors know that they are fighting an attitude that most people develop while in grade school. That is: the authorities are not their friends, and what anyone does, even to someone else, is nobody’s business but that of the doer and the “do-ee.”

In this context, George Zimmerman seems to be the only member of that community who cared enough to do something about the rash of burglaries that the community had suffered. Perhaps the neighbors assumed, incorrectly, that the community association would handle security. But as mentioned, their security was a disgrace. George Zimmerman knew it, and wanted to act. Sketchy reports say that Zimmerman read what he could on crime prevention and how to observe people. (Why he did not accept the city’s Neighborhood Watch training, or whether he actually did or not, no one will say.) And for eight years he acted as the one-man Neighborhood Watch force for The Retreat at Twin Lakes. In those eight years, he made about forty-six 911 calls. At least one of the officers who would respond to his February 26 call, answered some of those earlier calls.

Background on Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, age 17, was not a regular resident of The Treat at Twin Lakes. He was staying with his father at the time. He did have a Facebook page. This screencap shows that he had a “friend” who had “business” to discuss with him three weeks before the fatal date.

Background information on Martin is sorely lacking. This site fills in some details that the media, conveniently, leave out. For instance, The Kansas City Star reports that, a few days before the shooting, his school suspended him for ten days. The report says that school authorities caught him in an area of the campus that he shouldn’t have been in. Why that alone would rate a ten-day suspension, no one will say. (Nor is anyone likely to find out; the Martins’ lawyer has sealed the school records.)

And if Martin was not a violent person, why did he name his Twitter account with a racial slur that he seemed to want to throw into people’s face? And why did he assault a bus driver a few days before he died?

What happened on February 26

On February 26, Zimmerman called 911 after he saw someone, whom he did not recognize, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, walking alone in the rain and looking at some of the townhouses as if he were trying to spot their weaknesses. He spoke to a dispatcher who advised him to stay back from this person and not follow him. This dispatcher was not a police officer. So his advice, good or bad, did not have the force of an order to stay clear.

Zimmerman did not stay clear. He got into his car and drove up to Martin. He got out. The two started arguing. This happened shortly after 7:00 p.m., as the police report suggests.

Officer Timothy Smith was on his way. Then the police dispatcher told him that several other neighbors called 911 to report shouts of “help” and gunfire. When he came to the scene, he saw Martin lying face down on the ground and not moving, and Zimmerman standing over him. Zimmerman told Smith that he had shot Martin. Smith put the handcuffs on Zimmerman. Soon afterward, Officer Ricardo Ayala drove up, talked to Smith, then tried to resuscitate Martin using classic “cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.”

All attempts to revive Martin failed. But the report also clearly says that the back of Zimmerman’s shirt was wet and showed grass stains. Zimmerman was also bleeding from his nose, and from a scalp wound in back. Officers and Sanford Fire Department paramedics gave Zimmerman first aid at the scene, and then the police took him to headquarters.

This is the part that all the mainstream media have missed. Investigative detention is not the same as arrest. So, though the police never place Zimmerman under arrest, that did not mean that they merely let him walk quietly to his apartment that night. They took him to headquarters for questioning. The media could have reminded people of that fact, but never have. By repeating, often loudly, that “George Zimmerman was never under arrest,” they imply that the police took his word for what happened and did not talk to any other witnesses. The police report clearly says that the police did talk to the other neighbors and did question Zimmerman at their headquarters.

More recently, one of those neighbors has since told a local television station, and the Internet site WND, that he saw Martin lying on top of Zimmerman and pummeling him with his fists. He yelled at Martin to stop, and warned him that he would call police. Then he rushed upstairs to pick up his own telephone. He heard the shots, looked out, and saw Zimmerman standing and Martin lying down and not moving.

Misreporting

The mainstream media have no excuse. The City of Sanford keeps a separate Web page with most of the links that CNAV uses here. That none of the media had access to this treasure trove of evidence is utterly inconceivable. Only two media organs seem to be doing their jobs at the time of posting.

The comments on CNAV‘s earlier article bespeak ignorance of the Neighborhood Watch program and concept, the true background of Trayvon Martin, and the crime history of the community where Zimmerman lives. At least one regular commenter comes from a society in which even regular law-enforcement officers do not carry firearms. This society does not recognize the American right of the people to keep and bear arms. To such a person, no person carrying a firearm can mean anything but ill toward his neighbors or anyone he meets.

Today a special Florida State’s Attorney is investigating this case, to see what evidence to take before a grand jury. Sadly, another outside group has made a deadly effort to take the judicial process into its own hands. If that effort goes beyond the “big talk” stage, the mainstream media will have none to blame but themselves.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

106 Responses to Zimmerman case: more evidence

  1. DinsdaleP says:

    Interesting how your focus on evidence relies on much speculation about Martin without proof, while ignoring the established facts of Zimmerman’s history with domestic violence and his arrest fo assaulting a law enforcement officer.

    One interesting thing you did present as evidence was tbe PDF of tbe Neighborhood Wat h Guide. Take a look at pages 2, 3, & 15, especially the section of page 2 that says “What you will NOT do…”, and explain how Zimmerman was not acting more like a self-appointed vigilante then a legitimate watch captain.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “46 911 calls in 8 years?”

      Nope; 46 911 calls since the beginning of 2011. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/17/v-fullstory/2700249/shooter-of-trayvon-martin-a-habitual.html

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        If you want a true picture, the article has a direct link to the 911 call history.

      • Fergus: Re: Your March 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm comment:

        Your comment is hadly worth responding to.

        Who made you the judge and arbiter of how many times a neighborhood watch person should call 911? Do you live in that neighborhood? Do you really know what it is like, there?

        I live in a relatively peaceful neighborhood and I’ve been known to call 911 as a responsible home owner, – and, I’m not on any neighborhood watch.

        Again, I find your comments be overly reactive and defensive about this whole situation.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          I live in a peaceful neighbourhood and I’ve never had to call 110 at all.

          If I did call 110 to report someone “acting funny” and having “a hand in his waistband” I’d fairly quickly find the Oberwachtmeister at my door for a chat about being an irritating busybody with an offensively long nose.

          Zimmerman made 46 911 calls and an unknown number of calls directly to the police department in the space of just over a year. Only nine calls actually concerned suspicious activity; the rest were whinges about people leaving windows open and the like. SO WHAT? What business is it of Zimmerman’s if his neighbours want to leave windows or garage doors open?

  2. yarnoiser says:

    This again? All right:

    ROUND 2!

    46 911 calls in 8 years? That seems excessive. That number is reserved for emergency situations only. Seeing someone you don’t recognize walking alone in the rain does not qualify. There is usually a local police number that can be called for suspicious activity. Use of 911 for non-emergencies can be considered a crime. This strongly supports the mainstream media’s portrayal of Zimmerman as a tattle.

    “To such a person, no person carrying a firearm can mean anything but ill toward his neighbors or anyone he meets”

    This a generalization, that you are trying to apply to an individual, based on where he comes from. Need I say more? It gives the article a sloppy appearance, and makes the writers look prejudiced. I highly doubt that it is physically impossible for an individual from the UK to understand that someone carrying a firearm may not mean any harm to another.

    I think people did a good job of covering pretty much everything else in the comments section of the last story. This doesn’t seem to change the fact that this was a tragic loss of life, caused primarily by Zimmerman. Are you trying to emphasize that this may have been caused by lack of judgement rather than malice? It doesn’t seem to change much. Both are dangerous and may not be mutually exclusive.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Read the Neighborhood Watch Handbook, to which I supplied a link. You are supposed to call 911 if you see anything at all. That’s the whole idea.

      And if I’m generalizing, I have plenty of instances from which to form a pattern. This is typical hoplophobic boilerplate; I’ve heard it too often to count.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        Hoplophobia? Nice one; I had to look it up and, although not actually a recognised phobia, it did amuse me.

        I think you’re missing the point somewhat, though. Apart from the usual suspects nobody here is criticising guns; they’re criticising Zimmerman, and perhaps a legal climate that lets untrained people go around armed in public for no very apparent reason.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Once again: you are criticizing Zimmerman for even carrying a gun, much less owning one when he is a mere civilian. How dare a mere civilian presume to the privileges and immunities of the constabulary!

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “you are criticizing Zimmerman for even carrying a gun”

            Yes Terry, I am. That’s because untrained people carrying loaded guns in inappropriate circumstances lead to people getting unnecessarily shot.

            “How dare a mere civilian presume to the privileges and immunities of the constabulary!”

            Correct: how dare he. The constabulary undergo extensive training and are subject to thorough oversight before being granted those privileges and immunities. A properly trained policeman – or even someone with proper firearms training, like me – would never have put himself in a position where an incident like this happened.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            How dare you presume to tell any person what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate, in this context? Again, you are behaving like a privileged character, defending not only your privilege but the exclusivity of that privilege.

            But how can I expect you to understand? You’re not an American. You are the spiritual descendant of the very Redcoats that my own ancestors faced down in battle.

            That’s right: I would qualify for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, if I chose to apply for such membership.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “How dare you presume to tell any person what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate, in this context?”

            Why not? That’s exactly what you are doing, just from the other side of the argument.

            You think it’s appropriate for a man with no firearms or law enforcement training to prowl the streets with a gun, and killing the occasional late-night shopper. I don’t. This isn’t a ridiculous presumption on my part; it’s simply a disagreement with you. Except your way leads to dead teenagers, and mine doesn’t.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Read the Neighborhood Watch Handbook, to which I supplied a link. You are supposed to call 911 if you see anything at all.”

        Ironically, one of the things you’re supposed to call 911 about according to the handbook is “A vehicle driving around your neighborhood repeatedly.” Sound like anyone involved in this incident?

        Are you aware that one of Zimmerman’s (black) neighbours, who Zimmerman had approached and encouraged to buy a weapon, told the press “I have a weapon, but I don’t carry it when I’m walking about!” The newspaper added that the neighbour in question didn’t walk about due to Zimmerman’s fixation on blacks as potential criminals. As a result of, ahem, ethnically specific emails from Zimmerman he preferred to stay in his house while in the neighbourhood because “I don’t want anyone chasing me.” Do you see a pattern here?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial”

            WHO is incompetent and WHAT is irrelevant and immaterial? If one of Zimmerman’s neighbours found his behaviour threatening enough that he chose not to walk around the neighbourhood I’d say that’s VERY relevant, wouldn’t you?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            “Incompetent” means that “what you say does not prove anything and cannot prove anything.”

            “Irrelevant” means “what you say does not relate to the facts of the case as established.”

            “Immaterial” means “what you say does not matter.”

            Those are legal terms, each of which has a strict legal meaning. I have had lawyers explain them to me, and that is how I used those terms in this case.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Irrelevant” means “what you say does not relate to the facts of the case as established.”

            OK, that’s a clear reply and you took the time to make clear that it’s a legal term. Thanks for that.

            Now, one of Zimmerman’s neighbours has stated that Zimmerman’s conduct made him, as a black man, unwilling to walk around the neighbourhood because he didn’t want to be followed. How does that not relate to the facts of a case that involved Zimmerman following a black man then killing him?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            But Zimmerman is not charged with a deliberate and long-standing campaign of harassment against those who are not members of either of the two races that make him up (one of his parents was Latin). He is not even formally charged with anything. Someone accuses him of shooting one man without provocation. And other witnesses say that he had more than ample provocation.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “I highly doubt that it is physically impossible for an individual from the UK to understand that someone carrying a firearm may not mean any harm to another.”

      Especially someone from my background, which Terry is very well aware of.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        Specifically: you have shown that you know of no reason why a civilian has any business carrying a firearm. You hold yourself, the Bobbies, Scotland Yard, MI-5, Interpol, and various and sundry other constabularies to be a privileged class.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          “you have shown that you know of no reason why a civilian has any business carrying a firearm.”

          Bollocks. Civilians can carry firearms to and from the range. They can carry them while hunting, which is very popular where I live. They can even carry one if circumstances mean that their lives are threatened and they need a personal protection weapon.

          However letting random untrained people carry pistols in the street leads to needless deaths. Neither the Security Service (MI5 to you) nor Interpol go armed, by the way.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            And that is where you and I will always differ. Your police-state mentality, the product of your British upbringing, will not permit you to understand why an American zealously guards his right—not privilege, but right—to keep and bear arms.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Your police-state mentality, the product of your British upbringing”

            Huh? Terry, did you smoke the contents of Trayvon’s baggie or something?

            Let’s talk about a police-state mentality. In what country was I, a 42 year old man, asked to show photographic ID before being sold a jug of beer? In what country was I forced to give fingerprints at the airport? In what country was I questioned exhaustively and tediously about all the entry stamps in my passport? What country demanded that I pay for the privilege of paying to fill in a ridiculous list of questions before flying there?

            Not Britain.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I’ll be the first to admit that the model of top-down security, that the present and immediate-prior administrations have had in place since the Manhattan/Pentagon Incident, is flawed.

            I challenge you to admit that your model, by which no civilian is automatically presumed to have the right to keep and bear arms, suffers from a more fundamental flaw.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “your model, by which no civilian is automatically presumed to have the right to keep and bear arms”

            Oh but they are presumed to have that right, just like they have the right to be a doctor. And, just like being a doctor, they’ll be able to exercise it just as soon as they’re appropriately trained.

            Do you know much about guns, Terry? I do. They are EXTREMELY dangerous items and to let untrained people own and carry them is just stupid. How many US gun owners accidentally kill themselves because they weren’t trained first? That doesn’t happen a lot here.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            According to you, they are “presumed” to have the right to seek the training that will grant them the privilege of owning and carrying a gun. That is not the same as presuming that they have the right to own one to begin with. And they can “flunk” such training any time the government says that they have “flunked,” according as the government cares to define “flunking,” any time the government cares to so define.

            For your information, I own a twelve-gauge, breach-loading shotgun, and have fired that gun a few times, on the hunt and on the range. I know how to handle a gun safely, and I know how important such safe handling is.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I’ll be the first to admit that the model of top-down security, that the present and immediate-prior administrations have had in place since the Manhattan/Pentagon Incident, is flawed.”

            Well, it’s not top-down security that’s the problem as such; after all, if local standards are set then terrorists will just enter through the point with the weakest standards. That’s the problem in the EU at the moment. Immigrants get into Spain, Greece or Italy, get local papers then have the right to travel anywhere in the EU.

            However that doesn’t have a lot to do with ridiculous demands that you carry photo ID at all times if you want a beer, does it? I’m certainly not accustomed to barmen asking for my passport in Germany. In fact if a barman did ask me for my passport I’d be wanting to speak to the manager about it.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Now you are confusing security identification with measures designed to interdict the sales of alcoholic beverages to minors.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Your police-state mentality”

            Here’s another thing, Terry: you’re criticising me for my “police state mentality” while defending a guy who hassled people walking through his neighbourhood and called the police to report people who left windows and garage doors open.

            Personally, I feel like I have a right to leave my windows open whenever I like. If someone called the police about it, and the police bothered to contact me (they wouldn’t) I’d be round at that neighbour’s door to tell them to butt out of my life.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            George Zimmerman was not and is not an agent of the government. Nor was he acting in that capacity. He was acting in the capacity of a man trying to secure his house and his neighbors’ houses. Such a person is entitled to challenge anyone who enters the neighborhood, especially when said neighborhood is gated, and ask that person to identify, and give an account of, himself. Martin not only refused; he charged Zimmerman.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Such a person is entitled to challenge anyone who enters the neighborhood”

            And the people that he challenges are, quite frankly, entitled to tell him to ram his challenge up his hoop. Where does the Constitution give people the right to walk around acting like Gestapo agents?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Not if they are trespassing.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Not if they are trespassing.”

            Was Martin trespassing, or was he walking down the street?

            Hint: Zimmerman gave a street location for him…

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            In a gated community, any non-resident is a trespasser. Whether Martin was a legitimate house-guest of a resident, is still not clear. And by now, the larger media community are realizing their earlier mistake.

            George Zimmerman has a version of events that physical evidence, and the accounts of not just one witness, but several, backs up. Trayvon Martin has a back-story that looks more embarrassing, for him, with every day that passes.

            And by the way: since many of your comments are repetitious, I am not going to allow all of them to appear.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Now you are confusing security identification with measures designed to interdict the sales of alcoholic beverages to minors.”

            Well no, not exactly. We weren’t talking about security measures; we were talking about a “police state mentality.” And I was asked for ID in the USA.

            Now, I can understand asking a 19 or 20 year old to prove he’s old enough to drink beer, but ME? Terry, I’m 42. I’m balding and have grey in my beard. Anyone who asks me for ID is a Gestapo-Lite idiot.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The government licensure of establishments that serve intoxicating liquor is another debate entirely. The behavior you complain of, bartenders must engage in, if they want to keep and renew their licenses.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The behavior you complain of, bartenders must engage in, if they want to keep and renew their licenses.”

            In the USA maybe. Not here. We value the few poor little freedoms we have, Terry, and one of them is the freedom for adults to decide that the balding guy with the grey beard is indeed over 16 and can therefore buy a beer without having to produce his passport first.

  3. Terry,

    I came across this site [linked below]. Interesting, indeed:

    I always thought that the media’s portrayal of Trayvon Martin was like an adolescent’s picture. This website apparently, reveals more of what he looked like, at age 17, along with some other interesting information. It leads one to believe that Trayvon Martin wasn’t the daisy that the news media would like everyone to believe.

    As this blog states:

    “There has been a lot of analysis about the character of George Zimmerman in the media, and surprisingly little about Trayvon Martin…….”

    http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/was-trayvon-martin-a-drug-dealer

    By the way – when I came across the aforementioned site, I posted it on my general Facebook page last night and it was, (apparently) deleted about 5 times. I wonder if this “wagist.com” site is the same you referenced in your commentary, which I was not able to access. ???

    Clearly, I am left with the impression that there is a suppression of information about the youth who met an unfortunate demise. I’m lead to believe that that “suppression” of information carries over to Facebook, censoring some informational news as my comment with the news link disappeared multiple times.

    • DinsdaleP says:

      Linehan’s piece is speculative, and a distraction from the point that Martin was simply walking home and minding his own business doing so. Even if Zimmerman thought he looked out of place, he violated the rules of being in a neighborhood watch by creating a confrontation instead of observing and reporting.

      People who care about freedom and individual liberty should be far less sympathetic to someone who appointed himself as empowered to interfere with the free movement of a citizens in their own neighborhood.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “People who care about freedom and individual liberty should be far less sympathetic to someone who appointed himself as empowered to interfere with the free movement of a citizens in their own neighborhood.”

        So I’m not the only one who finds it ironic that we supposed liberals are actually the ones sticking up for the right of people to go about their business without interference?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That depends entirely on what that “business” is.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Well, whatever his business was that night it doesn’t appear to have been drug dealing, unless there’s a hitherto unknown street corner Skittles trade.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Zimmerman did not and could not know that. You keep forgetting that this community had suffered burglary after burglary, because the neighborhood association’s security was disgracefully inadequate.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            No, he couldn’t know that. However it wasn’t his job. He’d done his bit and commendably called the police about something that worried him. So far, so good.

            From that point on, though, he was criminally irresponsible.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Except that what Martin actually said was, “Do you have a problem?” When Zimmerman said that he had not, Martin abruptly said, “Well you have one now,” and charged. That’s how the fight started.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Except that what Martin actually said was, “Do you have a problem?” When Zimmerman said that he had not, Martin abruptly said, “Well you have one now,” and charged.”

            OK, what’s your source for that? Not Zimmerman, I assume.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The Orlando Sentinel

      • Dinsdale: Re: Your March 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm comment,

        I didn’t find the wagist.com article “speculative” as you claim. What is it with you, that you seem not to care to know more about this whole sad event so that law enforcement and the legal system can then come to a fair and just conclusion of this sordid matter?

        I think that the link I posted is worthy informational news (for web readers) that can be added to the whole, to help sort out the reality of this tragedy, unless you deliberately take offense to it, and are part and parcel of the Black Panther type mentality, lynching crew.

        While I’m here posting a reply to your apparent defensive comment, I’ll take the opportunity to repeat the informational piece and another news piece (link):

        http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/was-trayvon-martin-a-drug-dealer

        Also:

        http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/26/2714778/thousands-expected-at-trayvon.html

  4. Fergus Mason says:

    “He spoke to a dispatcher who advised him to stay back from this person and not follow him.”

    And what do we call people who ignore police advice to stop following people, Terry? We call them STALKERS.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      By that logic, if a burglar enters the neighborhood and starts “casing the joints,” then as soon as any of the neighbors starts shadowing him, he becomes a stalker.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        Yes Terry, exactly. If you suspect that a burglar is “casing the joints,” you call the police and let them handle it. Otherwise you end up wasting a lot of time following potential home buyers and architecture stuents, who will (if they live) go home and tell all their friends about the weirdo in the truck who was stalking them.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Unacceptable. Police take far too long to respond to a crime-in-progress call. And courts have said that the police have no duty to protect. All they do, therefore, is take notes, take inventory of what’s missing, and write something up that you can file with your income-tax return as you claim a Schedule A Itemizable Deduction for a theft loss.

          And your prospective home-buyer or architecture student wouldn’t be wandering around on a rainy night with no protection other than a hooded sweatshirt.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Police take far too long to respond to a crime-in-progress call”

            Looking at houses, even for nefarious motives, isn’t actually a crime.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            A suspicious youth looking at houses as if sizing them up as targets was enough to prompt the SPD to send an officer to the neighborhood. That officer was, as it happened, on his way before the gunfire reports came in.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And your prospective home-buyer or architecture student wouldn’t be wandering around on a rainy night with no protection other than a hooded sweatshirt.”

            Then again there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was “casing out” any “joints,” is there? In fact the evidence suggests that he was walking back from a shop talking to his girlfriend when he became concerned that someone was stalking him and, taking her advice, decided to leg it. What crime was he actually committing, Terry? Walking While Negroid?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The girlfriend’s testimony now becomes suspect in view of her narrating something at variance with the account of a witness on the scene.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The girlfriend’s testimony now becomes suspect in view of her narrating something at variance with the account of a witness on the scene.”

            Oh no, there’s no variance. All the witness “John” saw was Zmmerman and Miller fighting. He had nothing to say about how the fight started, who started it or whether or not Martin was on the phone to his girlfriend – which, anyway, T-Mobile have confirmed he was.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The girlfriend never said anything about any fight. To hear her tell it, Martin yelled for help into the phone, and then POW, POW, POW! But that’s not what happened, was it?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Oops, that would be Zimmerman and MARTIN fighting. I keep forgetting his surname because I get stuck on his ridiculous forename.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “To hear her tell it, Martin yelled for help into the phone, and then POW, POW, POW!”

            Well, not exactly. To hear her tell it, Martin said that someone was following him (which is true; Zimmerman was) then heard Martin saying “What are you following me for?” and the response “What are you doing here?” Finally she says she heard sounds of a scuffle (also apparently true…) and the connection was cut off.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            And Zimmerman has a witness who in effect says that she is lying.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And Zimmerman has a witness who in effect says that she is lying.”

            Does he? Who?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The witness whose voice appears in the linked video, of course.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The witness whose voice appears in the linked video, of course.”

            The witness whose voice appears in the linked video, of course, says no such thing. He says that he saw them fighting. He doesn’t claim to have seen anything before the fight, he doesn’t claim to have heard any of Martin’s conversation with his girlfriend and he certainly doesn’t claim that no conversation took place – which, as we know it did>/i> take place – is just as well for his credibility.

  5. Fergus Mason says:

    “no person carrying a firearm can mean anything but ill toward his neighbors or anyone he meets.”

    Utter nonsense. There are many legitimate reasons for carrying a firearm; I’ve spent much of my life carrying them myself, including hardware a lot more serious than Zimmerman’s cheapo 9mm gangsta special. The difference is, of course, that I am properly trained in how, and more importantly when, it is approproate to use them.

    However if someone with no legal requirement to do so, no firearms training and a record of stalking and violence is carrying a pistol as he follows people around the streets at night, it seems ridiculous to argue that this is not dangerous. There was no reason at all for Zimmerman to be going around armed – something that legitimate Neighborhood Watch members are specifically told not to do – and predictably enough it has led to an unnecessary death. There is a big difference between supporting legitimate gun ownership and supporting the “right” of chubby Walter Mittys to carry concealed weapons on some one-man crusade to clean up the streets.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You see? That’s what I mean. You hold yourself privileged to carry a firearm. Whereas, under the Constitution of the United States, the keeping and bearing of firearms is a right. “Legal requirement” means a privilege. That is not the way we do things in America. Try to remember that you are talking to an American, not an Englishman or a Scotsman.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “under the Constitution of the United States, the keeping and bearing of firearms is a right.”

        As you know I now live in Germany, and the keeping and bearing of firearms here is also a right. However before buying one you are required to be appropriately trained to keep it and there are limits on where you can bear it. Those limits do not permit you to carry one loaded in the street, for the fairly obvious reason that guns are by design dangerous things, and it’s best if people don’t wave them around in public. Needless to say someone with Zimmerman’s record wouldn’t have been allowed to own one anyway.

        Just FYI, some neighbourhood watch schemes in Germany are actually issued>/i> guns, once they’ve been properly trained. Now, what are the murder rates in Germany compared to the USA? Do you think the difference in deaths might be worth telling 300lb Wyatt Earp wannabes that they can’t stick a cannon down their stretch pants in public any more?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          You clearly misunderstand. In Germany, under the regime you describe, the keeping and bearing of firearms is no longer a right. It is a privilege. The kind of training you describe is akin to driver’s education—and driver’s education requirements are lawful because, and only because, driving is a privilege, not a right.

          A right is something you may do whether the government likes it or not.

          The Germans, from your description of their neighborhood watch programs, appear to be managing that privilege intelligently. Thus far. But if ever again they elect another chancellor like You Remember Whom, they’ll recall and confiscate those weapons as fast as they’re issuing them now. That is what makes the keeping and bearing of firearms a privilege, not a right. It is no less a privilege for being available to more than LEOs and military.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “In Germany, under the regime you describe, the keeping and bearing of firearms is no longer a right.”

            It’s a right, available to all who are qualified. Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and away from inappropriate situations isn’t turning gun ownership into a privilege; it’s merely a sensible safety precaution.

            I’m considering getting an L1A1 rifle, which is the old British service rifle. Although it’s actually illegal in most of the USA, because it’s classed as a machinegun unless rebuilt with nine American parts, I’m quite entitled to own one here, as long as I can demonstrate that I’m not a criminal and I know how to use it safely and legally.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            “A right, available to all who qualify”? That is a privilege, not a right.

            As to criminals: that specific deprivation would fall under the heading of “punishment for a crime, whereof the party involved shall have been duly convicted.” That is not what you described. What you described is a pre-condition on the exercise of a right. Such a concept is oxymoronic in Constitutional law.

            It’s a privilege.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “A right is something you may do whether the government likes it or not.”

            The US government doesn’t want convicted criminals owning handguns. Can convicted criminals own handdguns in the USA? If not, isn’t gun ownership in the USA also a privilege rather than a right?

            And if they CAN own handguns, oh dear, what are you thinking of?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            You’re getting off the subject again. Punishment for a crime does entail withdrawal of civil rights. But what you describe is a kind of pre-condition that would apply to one who had never been found guilty of a crime. That’s what would make it a privilege.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “what you describe is a kind of pre-condition that would apply to one who had never been found guilty of a crime.”

            Yes, that’s exactly what it is. The preconditions for being given a weapon license are that you demonstrate – usually by joining a gun club and using their weapons for a year – that you are competent to use firearms safely, and that you pass a written exam in firearms law.

            The gun I’m thinking about getting is a NATO battle rifle capable of killing at well over a mile. I’ve seen one blow a hole in three thicknesses of brick; I’ve seen another one bowl over a sheep 400 yards away and practically turn it inside out. How would you feel if one of your neighbours acquired such a weapon without having had to prove that he could operate it safely and knew the law?

  6. […] Zimmerman case: more evidence […]

  7. yarnoiser says:

    *Reads Comments*
    I feel an epiphany coming… Aha, Gun Control!

    The same significance to this conversation as the number 42 to Arthur Dent. The thing that everyone is after, but really doesn’t mean anything.

    What I’m getting at is that there was a problem before the gun was fired. In a society without guns this still might have broken out into a fight, heck someone still may have even died (quite possibly Zimmerman, and that would still be a tragedy).

    However, I’m gonna go pro gun on this one. If we momentarily accept the following as true “guns don’t kill, its the people who use them” what about this story changes.
    ………………….
    ………………….
    ………………….
    I got nothing. Zimmerman picked a fight, got the pulp beaten out of him, then shot Martin. This seems to be more a lesson in personal conduct than one on the right to right to bear arms. Anything from a knife to hockey stick could have been used to do him in, and this story would still be in the news.

    Remember kids, only YOU can prevent yourself from killing people.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Of course, gun control.

      Read the next article, that is already out. While a certain US Senator, and a certain allegedly ordained minister, are both making jackasses of themselves and saying that the State must reimpose the “duty to retreat,” the Department of Homeland Security have quietly ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition and 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammunition. Why?

      Gun control, or rather gun confiscation, has been what this case has been about, even more than any racial angle.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “the Department of Homeland Security have quietly ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition and 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammunition. Why?”

        Because those are the standard calibres used by federal agencies. They ordered it “quietly” because “feds buy ammo for fed guns” isn’t exactly news.

        “Gun control, or rather gun confiscation, has been what this case has been about”

        No. What this case is about is why a private citizen took it upon himself to follow another private citizen, confront him and kill him.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          This order is much larger than any previous order. It is enough to shoot every man, woman and child in the USA, and to do it a second time to half of them.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “This order is much larger than any previous order.”

            Good idea. Ammo’s cheaper when you buy larger quantities.

            “It is enough to shoot every man, woman and child in the USA, and to do it a second time to half of them.”

            It is indeed. However it is to say the least unlikely that this is what it’s intended for, and it’s also about as much as you’d need to do annual refresher training and weapon qualification for 100,000 people.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            A hundred thousand people. Hmmm—about the right beginning size for an Internal Security Force.

  8. Fergus Mason says:

    “about the right beginning size for an Internal Security Force.”

    Also about half the number of people the DHS already employs. This ammo purchase is a complete non-issue. The numbers look big to you, but they really aren’t. A single person doing pistol training can go through hundreds of rounds in an hour. Assault rifles eat ammo even faster. The Customs Service alone has over 45,000 sworn officers. Say they each do pistol training once a month and fire 100 rounds a time. That’s the best part of 5 million rounds a month. The Secret Service has over 4,000 agents and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t go on the range at least every week. More rounds gone. The Federal Protective Service has 2,000 employees and 15,000 contracted guards. The Coast Guard has 42,000 people, all requiring military-standard weapons training: thousands of rounds per man per year. Then ammo for carriage. Say three 15-round mags per man. Millions more rounds required, which need to be periodically replaced.

    This is really not much ammunition.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Then you admit that the DHS is getting ready to organize itself as an ISF.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Then you admit that the DHS is getting ready to organize itself as an ISF.”

        Huh? Where did you get that from? I am merely pointing out that the DHS has lots of sub-agencies which, between them, employ tens of thousands of armed personnel. So many armed personnel, in fact, that the 450 million pistol rounds you’re so exercised about will be lucky to last a year.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          You admitted that DHS has 200,000 “employees.” You then said that the ammo would outfit a force of 100,000. That’s all they need. (Well, actually, it is all they think they need, but that’s another topic.)

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “You admitted that DHS has 200,000 “employees.” You then said that the ammo would outfit a force of 100,000.”

            Yes Terry, that’s right. It’s enough ammo for half the people they already have. Do you think the DHS’s armed personnel need range time? Do you think they need ammunition for their srvice weapons? I do, and that’s what this ammunition is for.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Still, that’s 4500 rounds of ammunition per employee. That’s an awful lot for practice rounds only.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Still, that’s 4500 rounds of ammunition per employee. That’s an awful lot for practice rounds only.”

            Not really. Like I said, assume the average employee fires 100 rounds a month. Then consider the Secret Service. The standard of shooting they require can only be maintained by firing several hundred rounds a week.

            When I did my Annual Personal Weapons Test I’d usually fire 200-300 rounds in the morning on basic application of fire, another 400-500 after lunch on advanced application of fire then do the test. That’s a thousand rounds in a DAY. Then there’s the biffs that need to redo the test two or three times, live-fire battle drill practice (where you can easily fire 300 rounds in 10 minutes) and routine training throughout the year.

            Unless you’re arguing that the Secret Service, US Coast Guard etc are trained to a significantly lower standard than a (non-Infantry) soldier in the British Army, I think you’ll find that 4,500 rounds isn’t very much ammunition at all.

  9. rpeh says:

    Terry, are you going to retract any of this now we have video evidence that Zimmerman was unharmed during the incident, thus proving that this “witness” was lying?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      No. You forget that Zimmerman was cleaned up and treated at the scene. And blood won’t show up on a red jacket at such low resolution.

      • rpeh says:

        So your claim is that video evidence showing no injury, no bandage, in fact nothing at all – is less noteworthy than one unsupported witness who didn’t speak up until a couple of days after the incident? Is that your claim? Seriously?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Exactly. Grainy, washed-out, shot after the paramedics cleaned him up and swabbed him off—and you dare sit there and suggest that that has the slightest probative value? So funny I forgot to laugh.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        Dried blood? Sure it would. It would be much darker than that jacket. Also, if he had a laceration on the back of his head that was treated at the scene how come there’s no dressing on it? Scalp woulds bleed badly, Terry. There’s no sign of one on Zimmerman’s head, which we can see quite clearly thanks to his rather fetching skinhead haircut.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That video is grainy and washed-out, as surveillance videos tend to be. And you’re trying to judge it as if it were professionally shot news video, or better yet something that Sir Alfred Hitchcock might have produced?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And you’re trying to judge it as if it were professionally shot news video”

            Nope. I’m asking, where is the four inch square adhesive dressing stuck over the laceration on the back of his head. I’m also asking why we’re seeing a fairly handy-looking skinhead instead of a hapless fat guy who couldn’t fight off a ten stone teenager.

            As you said above, the police said that Zimmerman was bloody around the head and hands. Yes, that would be the case if he had been punched on the nose and had the back of his head lacerated. However it would also be the case if he’d just shot someone in the chest at point blank range.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The latest, as I understand, from The Daily Caller is that Zimmerman has a spot on the back of his head consistent with a dressing, that the graininess of the video makes easy to wish away.

            Now how you can explain blood on the back of his head, from his having shot someone point-blank, is beyond my comprehension.

            I already know that you pour contempt upon any person who defends himself, his neighbors, and his gated community from what he perceives (correctly or incorrectly) as a threat. I also know that you would confiscate all weapons if you became Attorney General of the United States. So why don’t we just drop this charade?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Zimmerman has a spot on the back of his head consistent with a dressing”

            The sort of dressings that police and paramedics put on scalp lacerations aren’t spots, Terry. They’re three or four inch squares of gauze with an adhesive backing. If he had one on there’s be a big white square covering most of the back of his head. There isn’t.

            “Now how you can explain blood on the back of his head, from his having shot someone point-blank, is beyond my comprehension.”

            No doubt it is, so I’ll explain it for you.

            Bullets rip people up. As it penetrates the target it creates a large cavity, at least two or three inches wide, through hydrostatic shock and tissue vapourisation. This immediately collapses and all the blood and bits that are in it are blown explosively through the entry and exit wounds. If you’re close you get sprayed with little droplets. And if you have a nice shiny bonehead hairdo, and it’s raining, some of that is going to run down the back of your scalp.

            “I already know that you pour contempt upon any person who defends himself, his neighbors, and his gated community from what he perceives (correctly or incorrectly) as a threat.”

            No, I only pour contempt on trigger-happy idiots who don’t do what they’re supposed to do and decide to stalk people round the streets. As for someone who kills another person because he incorrectly>/i> perceives a threat, well, what else should I feel for him?

            “I also know that you would confiscate all weapons if you became Attorney General of the United States.”

            You know that’s utter rubbish. I like guns; why would I want to confiscate them? I thoroughly approve of responsible civilian gun ownership. I just don’t want untrained people carrying lethal weapons around in public, leaving loaded pistols where their kids can find them or using them as props in some law enforcement fantasy.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Your explanation of how the blood could get onto the back of the shooter’s head, does not explain why the paramedics had to treat Zimmerman for a wound in that quarter. Now unless you are asserting that the Sanford Police Department conspired with the Sanford Fire Department to falsify official incident reports in this matter, and to implicate at least three officers (and possibly five or six) in that piece of bunco—well, if I were a county prosecutor, and you brought me such evidence, I would not only have to decline to prosecute, but if by some chance I was forced to go into court, I would be ready to plead nolo prosequi.

            And your protestations of innocence in the matter of anti-gun ideology do not satisfy me, either.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “does not explain why the paramedics had to treat Zimmerman for a wound in that quarter.”

            Then where is the wound?

            “And your protestations of innocence in the matter of anti-gun ideology do not satisfy me, either.”

            Of course they don’t, because that doesn’t suit the agenda you have attached to this case. However the fact is that you have no evidence whatsoever that I oppose private gun ownership, do you?

            Hint: Opposing what Zimmerman did has nothing to do with opposing gun ownership. The problem here isn’t guns; it’s Zimmerman.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I set you a hypothetical quote that I felt summed up your attitude neatly:

            I don’t approve of unauthorised, untrained, and un-sworn civilians walking about the streets armed with deadly weapons.

            I gave you a chance to disavow that sentiment. You did not.

            Nor am I the only person to dispute the claim, bandied about on the Internet and off it, that the grainy, washed-out, and definitely not-up-to-Pinewood-Studio-standard police surveillance video somehow proves, beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty, that George Zimmerman did not receive a wound to the back of the head, or suffer a blow to his nose.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I gave you a chance to disavow that sentiment. You did not.”

            Why would I disavow it? I fully agree with it. It still doesn’t mean I’m opposed to gun ownership; it just means that I know what happens when untrained people carry lethal weapons as they stalk people down the street.

            If Zimmerman had followed the simple rules for Neighborhood Watchers he wouldn’t have been carrying that pistol, and if he’d been trained to use it properly he wouldn’t have fired it. I certainly wouldn’t have, because it would never have seemed even remotely necessary to do so. This case, overall, seems to prove my point quite nicely.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Or so you think. And so, apparently, the Black Panther Party thinks, and now they are putting a million US dollars on the line, seeking that man’s summary execution. (Whether they have a million dollars is something else again.)

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Or so you think.”

            I assume you’re referring to the fact that I say I wouldn’t have fired a shot. That’s right: I wouldn’t, because the training you despise so much would have made it unnecessary.

            “And so, apparently, the Black Panther Party thinks”

            I do hope you’re not equating my views to theirs.

            “now they are putting a million US dollars on the line, seeking that man’s summary execution.”

            No Terry, they’re seeking his MURDER. And they should be identified and arrested for incitement to murder.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      Hmmm, interesting video. I know there’s been comments about how Martin was a lot bigger than he appeared in the initial photos, but Zimmerman isn’t exactly looking like the helpless chubby chap we’d heard about either.

      He also clearly hasn’t just been punched on the nose.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        The paramedics cleaned him up and swabbed him off. Besides, that video is grainy and washed-out.

  10. Fergus Mason says:

    Today’s news is reporting that Zimmerman lost a job as a security guard in 2005 for being over-aggressive.

    A former co-worker said “Usually he was just a cool guy. But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped. He had a temper and he became a liability. One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted.” The woman in question suffered a twisted ankle after being aggressively manhandled by Zimmerman.

    Do you think it’s possible that his behaviour in following and confronting Martin, after being told by the police not to, could be described as losing his cool and over-reacting?

  11. […] again the context of the trial of George Zimmerman. He saw someone walking around in the rain. Someone whose manner […]

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