We hit on gun policy, terrible journalism about Chicago crime, why I harbor some human sympathy for George Zimmerman, and why Tom Wolfe would have been such a superb observer of the urban scene–if only he weren’t such a horrible novelist.
Tags: Chicago, crime, Glenn Loury, Treyvon Martin
Posted: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 at
Tags: Chicago, crime, Glenn Loury, Treyvon Martin24 Comments »
Nothing quite like a wide ranging discussion from A to B, between two people who agree about everything important.
BTW, the Zimmerman conversation seems bizarrely oblivious to the possibility that Zimmerman’s account of what happened is the truth, and if he hadn’t had the gun, he would have simply ended up dead on the ground, with the back of his skull caved in. Now, I’ll grant it’s most certainly possible that his account is a load of BS, and he’s a murderer. But it just seems strange to simply take it as a given, without a moment’s consideration that it might have happened any other way. Like any other possibility is just not worthy of consideration.
But if Zimmerman hadn’t had a gun, he wouldn’t have felt empowered to pursue Martin in the first place. Zimmerman wouldn’t have ended up dead on the ground, because there would have been no confrontation. Even those who argue that Zimmerman acted reasonably after the confrontation began have no argument that the confrontation should have happened, do they? No one has ever come up with any evidence that Trayvon Martin was actually doing anything wrong before Zimmerman decided he was “acting suspiciously”. Does anyone seriously suppose that Zimmerman would have challenged Martin if Zimmerman hadn’t had his little equalizer?
“No one has ever come up with any evidence that Trayvon Martin was actually doing anything wrong before Zimmerman decided he was “acting suspiciously”.”
It takes a rather selectively incomplete knowledge of Zimmerman’s account to think that’s so. The gated community Zimmerman lived in, and was part of the local watch for, was experiencing a string of break-ins, and Zimmerman said that Martin was acting like he was casing the homes. I’ve seen a timeline which indicates that Zimmerman and Martin would likely not have encountered each other if Martin had taken the quickest route, which you’d normally expect if it were raining.
As I say, it’s quite possible that Zimmerman is guilty, what struck me was that the conversation took that for granted, and he hasn’t even been tried yet, nor is the publicly available evidence all that one sided.
So you call the police. (Which Zimmerman did. And he was told to stay away from Martin. But he decided to play hero with his shiny toy and ignored the request.)
I think you are ignoring this critical point that Herschel makes:
But if Zimmerman hadn’t had a gun, he wouldn’t have felt empowered to pursue Martin in the first place. Zimmerman wouldn’t have ended up dead on the ground, because there would have been no confrontation.
But he denies that he pursed Martin. Remember?
According to Zimmerman, Martin is the one who initiated the face to face confrontation.
I didn’t say otherwise, but it’s irrelevant. There would have been no confrontation if Zimmerman hadn’t been following Martin (which the police told him not to do). Zimmerman wouldn’t have been following Martin, in my view, if he hadn’t had a gun. I have no doubt that Zimmerman actually did think Martin was up to no good, and under the circumstances would probably assume or at least fear that Martin himself had a gun.
Hershel, according to Zimmerman’s account, he lost track of Martin, who then found and accosted him. But, let us assume that Zimmerman confronted Martin. What’s your scenario here? Zimmerman up and shoots Martin, who then proceeds to beat the crap out of Zimmerman before succumbing to his fatal wound? Without Zimmerman firing another shot during the beatdown?
Remember, Martin only had two injuries: A fatal gunshot wound, (Entry in the front.) and bloody knuckles. Zimmerman had a broken nose, and severe contusions on the back of his head. Perfectly consistent with Zimmerman’s account of Martin attacking him, and his shooting Martin in self defense while Martin had him down, and was beating his head against the pavement.
It’s really hard to construct a scenario from that where Martin isn’t the guilty party; You’re not, after all, allowed to beat the crap out of somebody if they “confront” you. Most “confrontations” end in conversations, not a dead body and a visit to the emergency room.
But, again, what struck me is that both parties to the conversation seemed to just take it as a given that Zimmerman is guilty, and that the gun caused a death, rather than just seeing to it that the aggressor died, rather than the victim.
Brett, he shouldn’t have even been KEEPING track of Martin. Call the police, go back to your house, let them take care of it.
Zimmerman was not a police officer. He decided to act like one, and shot and killed an innocent boy. He’s a danger to society.
I think “confront” is pretty ambiguous here. We don’t actually know, do we, what happened in the initial stage of the contact. It’s one thing to say something like, “Excuse me, can I help you?” and another to say,”Hey, what the hell are you doing here?” and then maybe grab a shoulder when the person walks away.
Remember, the evidence you cite is consistent with Zimmerman losing the fight. It tells us nothing about who started it.
No, that’s true, it IS possible to invent a scenario where Zimmerman is the agressor. Armed agressors facing unarmed opponents don’t usually end up beaten within an inch of their life, while the victim ends up with bloody knuckles and a single gunshot wound, but stranger things have happened.
And it’s possible that Zimmerman was following Martin after being directed not to, though that’s not what he says happened, and I don’t care to speculate why you insist on assuming he’s lying about it.
But it’s also possible Zimmerman’s version of events is what really happened, and I’m simply asking why Glenn and Harold didn’t consider that possiblity even worth considering. Perhaps it doesn’t conform to their model of the world, where people who carry guns must be the bad guys unless they draw a government paycheck, and black kids are never the agressors?
I’m fine with them thinking that’s what really happened, it’s going to be up to the court, not them, to decide which version of events is plausible. I’m just asking why the possiblity of Zimmerman being a victim who defended himself doesn’t seem to be worthy of consideration.
There would have been no confrontation if Martin hadn’t attacked Zimmerman. Martin didn’t have a gun, however, he did physically assault a man and beat his head in. So your conclusion seems that Zimmerman’s gun is vitally important to the confrontation seems off base. Extending your conclusion to Martin, Trayvon shouldn’t have felt empowered because he didn’t have a gun.
If a large, angry man of a different ethnic persuasion had tracked Mr. Bellmore for 1/2 mile in an SUV, then jumped out of said SUV and confronted him, Mr. Bellmore would not have hesitated to whip out his Sig P226 MK25 in 9mm and ventilate the chaser as an act of “self defense”. That Mr. Bellmore is now arguing that the one who was being chased is at fault is quite telling.
= = =
Are you following him?
Ok, we don’t need you to do that.
Alright sir what is your name?
= = =
= = =
Are you following him?
Ok, we don’t need you to do that.
Alright sir what is your name?
= = =
Shows how little you know, Cranky: I favor a Taurus.
Would I have evaded him, and then after losing him, circled around and attacked him? Not bloody likely. That would be murder, and like most people, I’m not a murderer. Project much?
Look, AGAIN, Martin suffered only two injuries: Bloody knuckles from beating Zimmerman like a rug, and a single gun shot wound to the front. Zimmerman got a broken nose, two black eyes, and contusions to the back of his head. Unless you think Martin delivered the beatdown after receiving a fatal gunshot wound, Martin was the attacker. Not Zimmerman.
And that’s so even if you think Zimmerman should have wet his pants and ran away on meeting a black man at night in a rainstorm.
I don’t care to speculate why you insist on assuming he’s lying about it.
Well, Zimmerman has amply demonstrated that he’s willing to lie quite blatantly, so I’d say he doesn’t have a ton of credibility.
Even leaving that aside, I don’t think Zimmerman’s story contains any actual information. I think he would be telling the same story whether it’s true or not. It could be true, of course, but his statements are no evidence of that. Suppose for a minute, Brett, that the pro-Martin version is correct. Do you think Zimmerman would be confessing to that? I don’t.
I’ll tell you something else. Zimmerman might actually not be lying at this point, even if his account is false. He may well have convinced himself that it’s true.
Good conversation but I have to disagree about Wolfe, he’s is great. Not everyone is a highly introspective self-aware 60 year old trying to understand “what it all means.” Some people really do cheat on their wives, feel bad about it, and then get mad at their wives for making them feel guilty. And the story of Bonfire takes place over a relatively short time, so don’t compare it to a novel about the entire course of one person’s life, that’s apples and oranges. If Wolfe wrote, Bonfire II and we met all the characters in New York in 2008 and they were still all the same, yes then you’d have a point.
Tom Wolfe is 81. Tomorrow (March 2, 2013), he’ll be 82.
What I think about the Martin/Zimmerman discussion is that it’s really entirely too convenient for Brett that George Zimmerman’s story is the only one of the two available. That is what is fundamentally wrong with “stand your ground” which is no doubt beloved by stalkers everywhere.
Actually, I don’t find it convenient, the ideal for me would have been a security camera with sound recording the whole affair. Even better would have been testimony from both because Martin didn’t die. ‘Cause I really do care what the truth is, and with very few exceptions indeed, I prefer people to not die. Now, some people appear to think that the truth of the matter has been proven by the races of the individuals involved, and the fact that one had a gun without a government pay stub in his wallet. But that’s not me, I like relevant evidence.
But, to repeat, Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes, multiple contusions on the back of the head. Martin had bloody knuckles, (Of the sort you get by producing two black eyes and a broken nose…) and a single gunshot wound to the front. This is objective evidence, and it is perfectly consistent with Martin striking the first blow, (The ONLY blows, in fact!) and proceeding to beat the crap out of Zimmerman until he shot Martin. It’s not really consistent with any other scenario. This is, in case you’re wondering, why Zimmerman wasn’t arrested until this became a media affair: Because with evidence like this, there would normally have been an open and shut judgement of self defense.
Now, this doesn’t *prove* that Zimmerman isn’t the bad guy. He could have threatened Martin, Martin could have gotten the drop on him, and Zimmerman could have been so focused on using the gun that he didn’t land even one blow before shooting him, as he got beat badly. Not bloody likely, but conceivable. But the weight of the evidence is that, no matter how the ‘confrontation’ started, Martin was killed in self defense, legally.
A lot of people don’t seem willing to give that possibility, the one the physical evidence makes most likely, the time of day. They must find SOME way to make this a murder. Why?
I guess it’s because of why we heard of this case in the first place: Because Zimmerman has become exhibit A in a fight to overturn Florida’s “Stand your ground” law. Which law establishes that Zimmerman damned well DID have the right to be where he was, and wasn’t obligated to run away if somebody he didn’t know was friendly appeared. And because a gun can NEVER have benefits unless you’ve got that government paycheck, so any time it looks like it might have, some other interpretation of the events must be found.
Sorry, all the available evidence, despite doctored tapes, and dated photos, backs up Zimmerman’s account. Sometimes reality just doesn’t agree with ideology.
From Martin’s autopsy report:
“…a small abrasion on Martin’s left ring finger,
There is a small 1/4 x 1/8 inch abrasion on the left fourth finger
From police investigator report
“Zimmerman “has abrasions to his forehead and bleeding/tenderness to his nose, and small laceration to the back of his head. All injuries have minor bleeding.”
From Doctor report, day after shooting
Regarding injuries to Zimmerman’s head: two cuts: one two centimeters and one half a centimeter. Neither required stitches, nor bandages. His head was “normocephalic and atraumatic” — normal and without injuries.
That pretty much takes care of “Bloody Hands,” and “Head Bashing.”
Harold at the two minute mark:
I wouldn’t discount the gun issue entirely, I think it is genuinely a major reason why we have so many homicides.
From James Baker’s and John Dingell’s recent NYT Oped, Bipartisan Hunting Buddies:
But the harsh truth is that too many Americans are dying from gun-related shootings — more than 30,000 each year and more than one million since 1960.
One million since 1960? Good Lord…
One million anecdotes stretching beneath this post of mine….
One million paragraphs in a nearly endless Joe Nocera Gun Violence column…
Hm, how many people have died since 1960? Something on the order of a hundred million? 2.5 million died last year. Roughly 1% of them were shot.
But I suppose it is pretty impressive to the innumerate.
Hm, what percentage of all deaths are intentional or unintentional? About 10%. The rest is basically health/disease. 10% of all non-disease related deaths is rather significant.
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