Thoughts on Martin/Zimmerman

Clifton 
Here are some opinions I have re: Martin/Zimmerman that I hope some superior intellect will disabuse me of: 
one, if you suspect someone near you of being a dangerous criminal, you should not pursue them, but instead run away from that person, hide, and contact the police;
two, if you are being followed by someone and you think they’re a threat, you should not punch them in the face, but instead run away and hide from them.
Marie  “Wrong. Both wrong. Fighting to the death is the only honorable choice.”
—Jean-Claude Van Damme
Merica From their own perspectives: one, heroes don’t hide; two, always stand up for yourself.
Thom In my martial arts training we were taught to always flee if possible. Anything else you’ve learned as a martial artist is a last resort.
Clifton Yeah, Thom, you may know that I once got to the rank of black belt in taekwondo. To my memory, my instructor always endorsed the “flee from (potential) knife/gun” maneuver.

Marie It’s just like that Baz Luhrmann movie, I forget what it’s called, where Romeo slays Tybalt and the Prince banishes Romeo instead of killing him through justice. Now the country is all ticked at each other because these two cats couldn’t control their tempers.

"My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding"
—Prince, aka US

Clifton Yeah, Marie, I saw that one. It’s called Australia. In your analogy, I’m thinking black people must be the Montagues and white-Hispanic-black people must be the Capulets. Mercutio would clearly be the jury and Tybalt would be Rachel Jeantel. Obama is Pete Postlethwaite.

OK. I don’t really want to make light of it. I think it’s a sad story for everybody and it involves a lot of bad judgment all around. I really just hadn’t seen anybody formally declare a middle position here and wanted to be the brave soul to do so. I was hoping that someone would explain to me why there is absolutely no middle position, though.

Josh 
‘The Wire’ Creator David Simon on Trayvon Martin Case: ‘Ashamed’ to Be an American

“The not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin has outraged many people across the country, including "The Wire" creator David Simon.”

Clifton Thanks, Josh. I love that guy, but I disagree with him. Zimmerman looks Hispanic to me and has probably lived his life to a much greater degree than you or I or Mr. Simon as a Hispanic. This, to me, strains the race angle. There’s also a decent argument that Zimmerman himself is part black and may identify as such.

The thing that I find the most problematic with people on the anti-Zimmerman front (I regrettably include The Onion and The Daily Show) is that they seem to be absolutely certain that (a) Zimmerman followed Martin after being told not to and/or that (b) Zimmerman initiated the confrontation.

As it happens, I don’t think the evidence supports steely certainty about a position either way. So, not guilty is the only evidence-based verdict.

However, I think that it is especially appropriate here to note that "not guilty" is not the equivalent of "innocent," a distinction that I was disappointed to find that The Daily Show felt no need to make.

In conclusion, viva The Wire!

Marie I think it is good that the legal system relies on the burden of proof. I would rather a guilty person go free than an innocent person lose their freedom. But I also believe in a higher court that will pass judgment on us all when we die.
Clifton Yeah, Marie, I agree with you on the burden of proof part. I think you probably know where I stand on your other belief. 🙂

Also, I think I understand part of Simon’s and others’ impulse to consider race when thinking of this case. The US population is roughly 12% black, but the US prison population is roughly 40% black. Given that there’s no biological reason we know of for black people to be criminals more than any other racial group, it seems reasonable to think that some of the fault for such a statistic is society’s. If we grant that there’s still work to be done to correct injustices to black people in the US, we can perhaps grant that, had we done more to correct such injustices previously, Martin and Zimmerman might both have behaved differently.

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