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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » How to kill a child and get away with it (Page 10)

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Author Topic: How to kill a child and get away with it
Rakeesh
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Do we know that Martin wouldn't have approached a car following him and started an altercation through the (I guess open? In spite of rain?) window? Well, no, we don't, anymore than we know I wouldn't have just ignored someone staring at me as I walked in to work after it happened.

Back in the real world, though, we look at Martin's history to determine if he was ever violently aggressive and if so, when and how and why.

In any event, had Zimmerman actually listened to what 911 had told him, this overwhelmingly almost certainty wouldn't have happened. But for some that's still not enough to prohibit bringing guns into it.

(I would say 'police', but then someone would invariably point out 'but 911 isn't police!' which is true while missing the point, that you're supposed to do what they tell you on the phone.)

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lem
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quote:
It seems that an armed and larger Zimmerman threatened Martin. Martin acted in the spirit of "Stand your ground", but without the help of a gun, and died. Zimmerman acted in the spirit of the Old West as portrayed by Hollywood, played vigilante, and killed someone.
This is what I think happened.

quote:
In any event, had Zimmerman actually listened to what 911 had told him
I think not enough people are looking at the 911 call in the right light. The dispatcher did not tell him not to follow Martin. He said we "don't need you to do that."

I wish the dispatcher would of said, "Please don't follow him anymore. We have trained professionals on the way."

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I can't imagine why THC is interesting or relevant, here.

Well, it's pretty good evidence that the kid was in the throws of reefer madness!
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Rakeesh
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Who knows how many lives Zimmerman saved!!!!!1!!
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Kwea
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At least one, it looks like. His own.
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Kwea
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Where is the proof that Zimmerman ever threatened anyone? All that I've seen so far is that he shot him at very close contact, which seems, at least on the surface, to support his claim that he didn't even draw until he was assaulted.

Well, it doesn't contradict that statement, at least.


You are speculating just as bad as anyone else.

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Rakeesh
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You're welcome, of course, to show at your leisure where I am speculating 'as bad as everyone else', Kwea.

How on Earth does Martin's being shot at close range 'prove' Zimmerman didn't draw his gun until Martin was (without provocation, no less) attacking him? The only thing it proves is that he shot Martin at very close range. That's all.

Ugh. 'His own' indeed. If we're actually going to talk about how Zimmerman could have saved his own life, getting out of his car on a rainy night with a gun to confront a total stranger when the police had already been informed? That might have been a step to avoid, if we're so deeply concerned about Zimmerman's life.

But I guess this is like Zimmerman's injuries 'prove' Martin assaulted him, yes? That he attacked Zimmerman without provocation, yes? It still boggles the mind. There very well may be evidence yet to come to light that demonstrates that's what actually happened, but until then I would still like to know why the behavior of Zimmerman 911-open-garage-door is to be treated with so much credulity, and why we should be so quick to believe Martin just charged him and commenced with a beatdown.

I'm not asking what you would say on a jury. That's not the discussion we're having. I'm asking why on Earth anybody should view anyone, much less the guy who deems potholes an emergency, questioning 'suspicious people' while armed unless they're a cop. Imagine, if you can, that you or your son was walking home and someone you never met in your life began demanding answers from you out of nowhere-or perhaps after following you for no reason you can tell. Now imagine they're armed, and tell me you think that you wouldn't experience a surge of anxiety at best for a moment or two, that you wouldn't regard this person like a strange and possibly dangerous animal.

Saved his own life, ugh. Even supposing for some damn reason we believe Zimmerman's story straight down the line, is Martin supposed to have carjacked him or something? Please.

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Rakeesh
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(Also, boy, if I'm allowed to 'save my own life' from suspicious teenagers who don't take kindly to a stranger demanding they account for their activities at night in the rain, man, it's gonna be like GTA in here. Well, assuming I come to the job armed at least.)
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Kwea
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Lol...if he beats you before you shoot him, yeeah....you probably could. After all, you ARE allowed to go where he is, if he is allowed there in the first place.
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Kwea
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I'd call the cops. I'd head to a public place. I'd probably shoot video of it all.

I wouldn't come back to him after he lost sight of me. I wouldn't attack him unless I had to. I wouldn't head back to his car. I wouldn't be walking between houses, looking at them.

You ARE speculating, by claiming Zimmerman attacked him, that Zimmerman shot him in cold blood, that Zimmerman was provoking him or being aggressive, or that he drew his gun to threaten him.


It's not all or nothing, man. It is possible (to say the least) that Zimmerman shouldn't have done what he did but that he broke no law. You are NOT allowed to start beating the crap out of someone simply because they are following you in public.

And if you do....well, you might die. And that sucks, but it doesn't mean that the guy who shoots you is a racist, or a crackpot, or trying to be a vigilante.

So far, I haven't heard anything that supports a guilty verdict. Not unless Zimmerman can be tried for being a moron.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
You ARE speculating, by claiming Zimmerman attacked him, that Zimmerman shot him in cold blood, that Zimmerman was provoking him or being aggressive, or that he drew his gun to threaten him.
By all means, show me where I've done that, but note that saying it is unwise to take Zimmerman's word for events isn't the same as saying he is 180* from the truth.

quote:
I wouldn't come back to him after he lost sight of me. I wouldn't attack him unless I had to. I wouldn't head back to his car. I wouldn't be walking between houses, looking at them.
Jesus. See, whereas I say, 'Man, I don't trust Zimmerman because of his history of poor emergency judgment and his willingness to act as neighborhood watch armed and-even if he is absolutely telling the truth-his decision to personally question Martin,' I get bagged on for 'speculating' and such. Whereas when you post what I just quoted...that's not speculation? Or something.

I don't, in fact, disregard everything Zimmerman has said about events, though it seems impossible for many to hear criticism of his actions without hearing that as well. You've seen pictures of where Martin was standing, and you know one way or another whether it was a yard frequently shortcutted through (which of course begs the question how *Zimmerman* knew)? You know he followed Zimmerman back to his car after the latter returned peacefully and without saying anything? You know Martin threw the first punch?

No, you don't actually know any of those things anymore than I do. But when I say, "Zimmerman's judgment is questionable because of his past, and his word is suspect because he might face a murder charge otherwise," that somehow reads, "Martin was a saint and Zimmerman obviously attacked him.

As for crackpot, well hey, to me the decision to call 911 for open garage doors is one which is outlandishly irrational at best. Strapping up for a trip to target is another. Playing junior cop after ACTUAL police have been called to question a 'suspect' would be a good sign too. I've asked several times now, with no satisfactory answer I can recall: what is your first thought when hearing about someone who calls 911 for an open garage door or scalding coffee?

As for vigilantism, by some though not by the most common definitions Zimmerman was absolutely a vigilante, even if he is telling the 100% truth. He was not supposed to do what he did, as part of a neighborhood watch (and if you want to get into just how much of a member he was, we can). Even if we accept all of his statements as true, he strayed into cop territory when he decided to follow and question a 'suspect' while armed. If Zimmerman wants that sort of authority, or if others think it should be afforded him, he ought to be held to similar standards of responsibility.

And yeah, you can be tried for being a moron. Whether he is provably guilty of a crime remains to be seen, but I am sick of this vigilante-worshipful rhetoric that gets bandied about, that he 'saved his own life', because it's misleading. If that was the actual primary concern, there wouldn't be any argument that he ought be criticized for getting out of that car. No. He 'saved his own life' while packing heat and literally going looking for trouble.

Because it's not easy enough to shoot people in this country, apparently. We need to ensure people can be cops with less oversight. For safety.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
At least one, it looks like. His own.

*blink*

though I want to passively observe the rest of this conversation, this conclusion is mindbogglingly telling.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by lem:
quote:
In any event, had Zimmerman actually listened to what 911 had told him
I think not enough people are looking at the 911 call in the right light. The dispatcher did not tell him not to follow Martin. He said we "don't need you to do that."

I wish the dispatcher would of said, "Please don't follow him anymore. We have trained professionals on the way."

+1
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Rakeesh
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It would've been nice if the dispatcher had spoken in disclaimer-ese in this case. Perhaps the dispatcher didn't realize they were dealing with the Lone Watchman, armed with a firearm and a determination that no suspicious looking black kids can be left waiting for questioning, not even for fifteen or twenty minutes. How was Zimmerman to have known whether Martin wouldn't eat one too many skittles, begin foaming at the mouth, and just start breaking down the first door he saw to rob the place? Someone had to take action!!! That's what the police are for? No, to hell with that, neighborhood watches are like associate-police!
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm sure it's a nice feeling, writing something as emotionally charged as that, but I wonder, other then self gratification, what purpose does it serve? It seems to serve the function of mocking the very wish that the 911 operator (who often times -are- a part of the police btw) had been a little more authoritative, suggesting what exactly? I mean, is it not okay for us to voice that someone along the way might have had a chance to prevent this tragedy if they had acted differently and to wistfully wish it was so? Or are you so cemented into your position that this "crackpot with proof of lack of judgment" is so clearly and solely to blame that anything that deviates from that -must be resoundingly put in it's place through mockery-?
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Rakeesh
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Man. Not listening some more:) I wasn't mocking the dispatcher, or even the wish that he/she had been more clear. The latter is perfectly valid.

I was mocking the notion, "Well, he wasn't technically told not to follow much less question..." which while hasn't come up in these last few posts, has most certainly been expressed by defenders of Zimmerman's actions. I was mocking it because for a responsible citizen with good judgment, you don't have to tell them, "Alright, the police will handle this. You know, the trained and entrusted people who are charged with enforcing the law and service and protection?"

That is what I was mocking. Yes, it would've been best had dispatch said, explicitly, "Let the police handle this." He shouldn't have needed to be told. And yes, this is a common theme when what dispatch said comes up.

(Also, thank goodness you're here to point out the perceived shortcomings of posters you don't like! Man. What a valued service. Hey, along with this stiff dose of hypocrisy on your part, can I get another shot of 'whatevs, I'm over it!' please? That stuff goes down like buttered pancakes.)

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Rakeesh
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And, yknow, just for fun, you're welcome to point out where I've said or suggested Zimmerman is solely and clearly to blame. Note: suggesting that if he hadn't exited his car this wouldn't have happened, and pointing out his judgment is suspect at best prior to the shooting, isn't actually an example. Other posters and I have explained why.

Back to your regularly scheduled whining!

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Stone_Wolf_
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Mmmmm, pancakes.
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Rakeesh
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Wow, hey, look at all that not offering any sort of examples that would be easy to find that illustrate your point! Listen, whatever you do, don't selectively reply to direct challenges to your arguments because they're made in an unfriendly way. That would make it look as though you didn't actually have a serious answer, and man, that would be dreadful!

ETA: Whoops! This post was from a few hours ago. Guess I didn't hit 'post reply' in this tab. Man, this post is awfully prescient!

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Kwea
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I don;t have to illustrate crap. You've done it for me, multiple times.

I don't believe everything Zimmerman says. But since you seem to be taking the "look at the poor innocent black kid who was killed" angle, even though all of the initial claims about Zimmerman were pretty much bullshit (he was hit, he did have injuries, he didn't call anyone a coon, he didn't have a violent history, and the 911 call and the video were edited to inflame the public) you seem to be accepting any and all criticism of him at face value, I thought someone should offer another view.

You know, from someone who thinks that people with a licence to carry aren't crazy to wear a gun to a store, as that is where they fear they might get jumped or robbed.

Your prejudices are on clear display the past 10 pages. I don't see the need to quote them again at this point. Everyone else can seem them clearly already, and you'll never admit to them anyways. [Dont Know]

I think that the trial will be interesting, and if he wasn't near his car, if a credible witness saw what happened.....well, then things change.

But so far all I have seen is a kangaroo court held in the public eye, where all sorts of unfounded and unproven claims are being made regardless of any actual proof.

And God help you if you question any of it. Martin's family goes on and on how innocent and angelic their kid was....then we find out he has suspensions for drugs, and had THC in his blood. But if you mention it....you are a RACIST! You MUST mean he DESERVED to be shot! (you couldn't simply be countering the claims of his parents.) If you point out that the picture of their kid was when he was 14, and that when this event happened he was17, and over 6' tall and 165 lbs....well, YOU are EVIL because you doubt his poor parents!!!

It's not just this thread, or the conversation with you, Rakeesh....I am just responding to the whole freaking way it seems to be presented down here in FL.

You can wear a gun and not be trigger happy, even to a Target. You can worry about your neighborhood and not be a vigilante. And I hate to say it, but even if Martin wasn't doing anything wrong.....Zimmerman have EVERY BIT AS MUCH OF A RIGHT TO BE WHEREVER THIS WAS THAT MARTIN DID.

It doesn't matter if you like him, or if you agree with his actions. He had a right to be there....and we have NO evidence that Zimmerman attacked Martin at all before he was shot. No marks, bruises, no credible witnesses. We DO have proof that Martin beat the crap out of Zimmerman before he was shot.

So he gets the benefit of the doubt from me, until the trial. I won't say he is innocent, because I have no clue if he is or isn't at this point. But I will say everything that HAS come to light so far has backed what Zimmerman has said happened, not what Martin's camp said. No, he wasn't standing over him when he fired. He wasn't far away, he was 18 inches or less from him. Yes, there were signs of a struggle, and Zimmerman did have injuries consistent with his story.

I'd say the prosecution has their work cut out from them, as far as I can tell right now.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Also, thank goodness you're here to point out the perceived shortcomings of posters you don't like!

Any chance it would be better received if the shortcomings were pointed out by a poster who does like you?

'Cause I certainly like you! I think you're often wicked smart, even when I disagree with you.

But I also think that (maybe it's when you get annoyed?) you sometimes indulge in very patronizing, sarcastic, contemptuous mockery that doesn't serve you well, in my opinion.

Sometimes it seems to be in response to genuine hostility on someone else's part, sometimes not. But in either case, I wish you would do that less. I think that if you did, your posts would be even more consistently a delight to read. [Smile]

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Rakeesh
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Kwea,

quote:
I don't believe everything Zimmerman says. But since you seem to be taking the "look at the poor innocent black kid who was killed" angle, even though all of the initial claims about Zimmerman were pretty much bullshit (he was hit, he did have injuries, he didn't call anyone a coon, he didn't have a violent history, and the 911 call and the video were edited to inflame the public) you seem to be accepting any and all criticism of him at face value, I thought someone should offer another view.
I don't think you believe everything he says, but you've said things more than once that suggest it is somehow reasonable to take very important pieces of Zimmerman's account at face value. You'll dispute that of course, and I've provided examples over the course of this thread, but they weren't compelling, to you at least. So we're not going to get anywhere on that.

You claim I'm taking any criticism of Zimmerman at face value. I don't know why you would say that, since by now I must have stated at least a half dozen times, specifically, that it's definitely possible that Martin did attack Zimmerman. I've never, even once, denied that either by suggestion much less outright statement.

So I'd ask-again-that you backed off that claim, but it's not the first time I've asked. I doubt this time will be any different. It would be nice if you would show me where I'm saying the things you claim I'm outright stating, but I'm pretty sure you'd have a very hard time doing that.

quote:
You know, from someone who thinks that people with a licence to carry aren't crazy to wear a gun to a store, as that is where they fear they might get jumped or robbed.
Again, any individual is perfectly entitled to be afraid of being 'jumped' just going to the store...however incredibly rare that actually is for a fully grown male human being in anything but a high crime neighborhood. But whatever, forget the actual facts about violent crime in America, forget how much likelier an owned gun is to either not be needed for self defense or to be used improperly or accidentally. There's plenty of wiggle room on this, of course-we can't know how many crimes are prevented by gun ownership (well, we can hazard some pretty good guesses, but we can't KNOW)...therefore, yes, one should absolutely strap up just for a trip to Target. A civilian. Needs a gun to go grocery shopping. Perfectly reasonable, I guess, in some world where violent crime statistics are radically different.

None of that has anything to do with the problem of being an armed neighborhood watch. You're welcome to find me a police association anywhere in the country that recommends that, Kwea. I'll wait.

quote:
And God help you if you question any of it. Martin's family goes on and on how innocent and angelic their kid was....then we find out he has suspensions for drugs, and had THC in his blood. But if you mention it....you are a RACIST! You MUST mean he DESERVED to be shot! (you couldn't simply be countering the claims of his parents.) If you point out that the picture of their kid was when he was 14, and that when this event happened he was17, and over 6' tall and 165 lbs....well, YOU are EVIL because you doubt his poor parents!!!
And here I thought this nonsense would be confined to sensationalist media. Are you even aware what Martin was suspended for? THC in his blood? Well yes, that certainly serves to refute the claim that Martin was a good boy! He smoked pot!!!!1!!! It may very well turn out that Martin did have a record of violence, and robberies, and even violent robberies. Until that happens, though, he was a kid who was maybe standing in a suspicious way, drinking tea and eating skittles.

quote:
You can wear a gun and not be trigger happy, even to a Target. You can worry about your neighborhood and not be a vigilante. And I hate to say it, but even if Martin wasn't doing anything wrong.....Zimmerman have EVERY BIT AS MUCH OF A RIGHT TO BE WHEREVER THIS WAS THAT MARTIN DID.
We'll see, won't we? Perhaps he did. And no, you don't hate to say it. But how Zimmerman came to be in that place remains to be seen, it's very relevant, and Zimmerman's judgment is questionable at best. Alright, fine, for the sake of argument, going armed to grocery shop isn't something that merits a cautious step back. Have you even looked at what he's called 911 for, Kwea? If I'm not mistaken, you were an EMT at some point, yes? Then you should have a better idea than most of how dangerous and reckless that sort of bad judgment can be. Bad enough to say, "Wait a second, why should we take your word for it this kid was 'suspicious'?

quote:
It doesn't matter if you like him, or if you agree with his actions. He had a right to be there....and we have NO evidence that Zimmerman attacked Martin at all before he was shot. No marks, bruises, no credible witnesses. We DO have proof that Martin beat the crap out of Zimmerman before he was shot.
A broken nose and some cuts to the back of the head, sure, injuries. Not really beaten the crap out of by any way I've heard that phrase used, but hey. Subjective. Of course, on the other hand, we do have tox reports on Martin because, hey, he got shot. But for someone who got 'the crap beaten out of them', Zimmerman refused medical care, what, three times? Can't have it both ways, Kwea. Of course we'll probably never know now what was in HIS blood at the time of the shooting, thanks to this lovely law which makes it harder for police to investigate when someone is killed by gunfire. Which is something we need in this country, I guess. It needs to be harder. To investigate death by gunshot.

Well I guess since we get so many it makes a kind of sense: reduce the workload.

quote:
So he gets the benefit of the doubt from me, until the trial. I won't say he is innocent, because I have no clue if he is or isn't at this point. But I will say everything that HAS come to light so far has backed what Zimmerman has said happened, not what Martin's camp said. No, he wasn't standing over him when he fired. He wasn't far away, he was 18 inches or less from him. Yes, there were signs of a struggle, and Zimmerman did have injuries consistent with his story.
He's had the benefit of your doubt since you began posting on this topic, which is fine. I wish you'd cop to it, though-and for all of your repetion about 'all the evidence', we've actually gotten very limited evidence about the condition of Martin's body-about the physical injuries, there's only the funeral director to go on, I think. But anyway, as for every bit of evidence turning Zimmerman's way, it's not surprising how conveniently you omitted the voice samples-more reliable that an eyewitness in the dark, by the way, if they compete.

Only in America does a kid buying skittles turning up dead not meet with universal outrage. You know, I wouldn't be questioning Zimmerman's judgment nearly as much if this had happened in, say, England, even if he had gotten out of the car. Because he wouldn't have had a gun on him. The possibility for lethal force would've been incredibly low. Only in America do people claim the need for lethal violence capability just because they might, someday, need it.

Zimmerman should not have been where he was with a gun. It's entirely possible he didn't start it, but he didn't need a gun to ask questione. Cops should have guns when they ask questions. Not wannabe neighborhood watch types!

*sigh* Hooray for our culture of fear.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Only in America does a kid buying skittles turning up dead not meet with universal outrage.
Really? Have you examined the situation in every other nation in the world?

quote:
A broken nose and some cuts to the back of the head, sure, injuries.
Can you explain how he got cuts to the back of the head, Rakeesh, if someone else wasn't beating his head on the ground?

And can you envision a scenario in which someone is beating your head on the ground and isn't a clear threat to your life?

Zimmerman's side has been proven right, Martin's side has been proven wrong. It's over.

[ May 22, 2012, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Zimmerman's side has been proven right, Martin's side has been proven wrong. It's over.

I agree with you that the evidence we're privy to suggests pretty strongly that the two got into a physical fight, and that Martin had the better of Zimmerman. I believe that Zimmerman felt that his life was in danger when he fired.

It also looks like Zimmerman was the instigator of the whole incident, though. Do you feel like that has any bearing on questions of culpability?

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Aris Katsaris
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I don't understand how exactly you use the phrase "instigator of the whole incident". If Zimmerman e.g. called Martin a racial epithet, Zimmerman would share some portion moral culpability. I don't know the particulars of the law to determine whether he'd share legal culpability.

But if we're talking just about having a neighborhood watch member watch over the neighborhood, that's not "instigation" that makes him morally culpable in my view; a causal link isn't the same as moral blame.

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Rakeesh
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I can envision a few scenarios where Zimmerman could have received such wounds to the back of his head without Martin pointedly doing so, yes. But in any event, while the injuries do corroborate some details of Zimmerman's account, they do nothing at all to answer the most important question: who started it, and how?

I have no trouble imagining that Zimmerman might have, for example, approached Martin who ignored him, either out of annoyance, anxiety, or even not hearing him. Or even because Martin was just being a jerk. Zimmerman, through (over)zealousness for 'public safety', grabs him by the shoulder and tries to turn him around.

Now, before one of a few people seize on this scenario and attempt to lambast me with it, I don't say that's what happened. I only say that such a scenario fits what we know of Zimmerman's mindset, and that we'll have to see what all of the witnesses say, and how credibly they say it, and the rest of the evidence, to see if we can determine what happened in those couple of minutes before the shot was fired.

But until that time, we've got more reason to believe Zimmerman might have advertently or inadvertently (as in that scenario) started that fight than we do to believe that Martin just snapped or something and decided to administer a brutal beating for rude questioning.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Zimmerman's side has been proven right, Martin's side has been proven wrong. It's over.

This quote goes up into my "hmm, really?" area too.
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Destineer
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quote:
But if we're talking just about having a neighborhood watch member watch over the neighborhood, that's not "instigation" that makes him morally culpable in my view; a causal link isn't the same as moral blame.
You're right that it's not the same. But in this case, I think it's hard to deny that Zimmerman at a minimum shares some of the moral blame, given that:

(1) He took an ill-advised action when he pursued Martin.

(2) If he hadn't done that, Martin would still be alive.

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Stone_Wolf_
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(3) You are not allowed to be armed on neighborhood watch.
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Samprimary
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For good reason, but this neighborhood watch decided to go rogue and ~play by its own rules~, gritty crime drama style.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
But if we're talking just about having a neighborhood watch member watch over the neighborhood, that's not "instigation" that makes him morally culpable in my view; a causal link isn't the same as moral blame.
You're right that it's not the same. But in this case, I think it's hard to deny that Zimmerman at a minimum shares some of the moral blame, given that:

(1) He took an ill-advised action when he pursued Martin.

(2) If he hadn't done that, Martin would still be alive.

Destineer, do you think one can grok any broader moral principles of culpability/blame from these guidelines?

Because maybe I'm misunderstanding them... but I can think of some arguments in other, very different circumstances that use these two guidelines to assign blame in some really gross and unacceptable ways. Do you see what I mean, or should I elaborate?

That makes me think these guidelines have some serious flaws.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Dan, I appreciate your discipline of applying micro filters to macro problems to test their validity, but I think in this case it isn't a "guideline" more a mater of facts. The thought being along the line of, "If you change even a single one of these facts, no one dies." instead of a universal principal to be used in assigning moral guilt.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Hey, I just realized something! The tragedy of Martin's death is a great example of how pepper spray is such a great alternative to carrying firearms.

  • If Zimmerman had pepper sprayed Martin, he would have (in all likelihood) succeeded in stopping the physical fight, and thus protecting himself (his stated reason for shooting him).
  • It is legal (actively recommended I believe) to carry pepper spray on neighborhood watch.
  • Davron Martin would still be alive.
  • Our country would not have another racial divide to overcome.

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Orincoro
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Moral culpability is usually, by the law anyway, regarded as an aggregate of wrongs which, in sum, either add up to guilt or don't.

For instance, the decision to carry a gun was not the wrong that would make Zimmerman guilty, nor is the decision to approach someone, when advised not to. It is not illegal, per se, to carry a gun, to accost a stranger, or even to shoot and kill someone. But taken together, these acts may, in the view of a jury, make him guilty of murder.

ETA: Incidentally, SW, I find your comments to be far from the point. Aside from the question of whether Zimmerman would have approached someone had he not been bearing a gun (a question to ask the wind), it is perfectly possible to assault someone violently and unlawfully with pepper spray. And we had that discussion. And had it. And I would have thought you wouldn't want to revisit that experience.

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Destineer
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quote:
Destineer, do you think one can grok any broader moral principles of culpability/blame from these guidelines?
The only guidelines I have in mind are: always do the thing that you can reasonably expect will have the best overall outcome, and conversely, never do something that risks a very bad outcome unnecessarily. If you don't do that and someone gets hurt as a result, you're at least partly responsible.
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Rakeesh
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*shrug* Pepper spray is a pet issue of his, and he's right: in this context, pepper spray is quite a lot better as an option than a firearm. He didn't say everyone should carry it all the time (at least, not here; I don't remember the other discussions well enough to say about them), and he didn't say someone couldn't wrongfully attack and hurt someone with pepper spray.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
SW, I find your comments to be far from the point.

What point? I was just tacking on my pet point of Yay yay pepper spray.

quote:
...it is perfectly possible to assault someone violently and unlawfully with pepper spray.
Sure, but generally the assault victims of pepper spray attack live.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Destineer, do you think one can grok any broader moral principles of culpability/blame from these guidelines?
The only guidelines I have in mind are: always do the thing that you can reasonably expect will have the best overall outcome, and conversely, never do something that risks a very bad outcome unnecessarily. If you don't do that and someone gets hurt as a result, you're at least partly responsible.
Right.

Do you see that there are times in which these guidelines are used, in other situations, to assign blame in horrendous, misguided ways?

I'm not quesitoning the guidelines themselves, by the way. I'm questioning your last line, that is, the idea that failing to follow these guidelines makes you morally to blame for what follows.

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Destineer
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Given that I'm only talking about partial blame, I'm not sure I see the problem, but definitely go ahead and trot out an example or two.
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Destineer
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Really I'm asserting that someone is "to blame" whenever we can rightly say to them, "You made the wrong decision and something bad happened as a result."

Probably we'd need the caveat that the particular bad result that occurred needed to be foreseeable as well, to rule out weird cases.


To speak to the example the thread is about: it may be that Martin is largely responsible for his own death, but we know enough at this point to say that Zimmerman is at least partly responsible.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:

quote:
...it is perfectly possible to assault someone violently and unlawfully with pepper spray.
Sure, but generally the assault victims of pepper spray attack live.
Oh, good, so you DO want to throw around ridiculous, unanswerable and irrelevant hypotheticals about this situation so you can talk about your pet idea for personal defense, which has nothing to do with it. Great, for a second I thought myself cynical for believing you had such little tact or sense as to bring this up in the middle of this type of discussion. Thanks, now I know better. Glad you got to being up pepper spray again.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Sounds like you are asserting who is responsible, not who is to blame.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Is it tactless or senseless to discuss how to prevent possible future tragic deaths?
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Given that I'm only talking about partial blame, I'm not sure I see the problem, but definitely go ahead and trot out an example or two.

Well, it effectively leads to blaming the victim, doesn't it? Even partially.

I mean, let's say a woman has been raped by a stranger in a dark alley. Now, let's say you see someone say this:

quote:
I think it's hard to deny that she at a minimum shares some of the moral blame, given that:

(1) She took an ill-advised action when she went down that dark alley.

(2) If she hadn't done that, she wouldn't have been raped.

That seems unequivocally horrible, to me.

You could complicate it a bit (and make it more analogous to Zimmerman) by saying someone attempted rape and she shot and killed them.

But I think this...

quote:
I think it's hard to deny that she at a minimum shares some of the moral blame, given that:

(1) She took an ill-advised action when she went down that dark alley.

(2) If she hadn't done that, her would-be rapist would still be alive.

Is still horrible.

Even assigning "partial blame" to her in these scenarios seems to be the epitome of blaming the victim.

Do you see what I meant now?

PS: To cut off potential responses, I'm only likening this scenario to the Martin/Zimmerman thing insofar as Destineer's guidelines apply to both. I don't actually have a real opinion on whether or not Zimmerman is responsible.

I simply don't think that, if he is responsible, the reason is because he chose to walk somewhere or talk to someone while carrying a gun. If Zimmerman is responsible, it would be because he actively picked a fight with Martin.

The fact that "if he had not approached Martin, Martin would still be alive," is not evidence that he is culpable for Martin's death. That's the point I'm making in the example above.

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kmbboots
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Dan, once again you are taking a specific situation and pretending that it must be taken to extremes.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Is it tactless or senseless to discuss how to prevent possible future tragic deaths?

It is sometimes tactless to do so, yes.

It is rather moreso to bring up your pet argument, particularly in the way that you did, with the knowledge of how it has been received here in the past, merely to point out, irrelevantly to this discussion, something which *is not true*, the idea that pepper spray could have prevented this situation. Because, golly gee whizz, Zimmerman could have chosen to use pepper spray, but he didnt. He chose to carry a gun. And I bet it wasnt because he hadn't heard about PS and its many good points. And your argument isn't for the banning or heavy restriction of firearms, because if it was, I would agree with you. So you've made a non-point involving a hypothetical where all the conditions are the same, only the gun is replaced with pepper spray, ignoring ALL the points made in your ill-fated other thread about how inane that kind of thinking is, and to what purpose? Hmm? Do tell.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Dan, once again you are taking a specific situation and pretending that it must be taken to extremes.

I'm taking what Destineer proposed as broad moral guidelines (I even asked if he thought they could be taken as such!), and doing so.

If they don't work the way Destineer intended them, then that's an important criticism, isn't it?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Sorry, had my share of drama for the moment, maybe later dude.
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Orincoro
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No, you stopping exactly where you have is perfectly fine with me.
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Destineer
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I was thinking a bit about rape examples like that this morning, then for some reason it slipped my mind.

Anyway, I think there are two things going on in your examples. One is that we don't normally blame people, morally, for the harm done to them as a result of relatively innocent mistakes. We normally blame people for bringing about harm to others. That seems right to me. The second thing is that there's quite a bit of social pressure to deny that a woman is ever morally to blame for something that occurred as a result of sexual violence. That's a good rule to follow in almost all cases, but I don't think it's universally true.

So, I would say that while the woman in your first example is not to blame for the harm done to her, the woman in the second example may be to blame to some small extent for the attacker's death.

BUT

The way we think about your second case should also be influenced by the chances that something equally bad or worse would've happened, whether or not she'd gone down the dark alley. If the guy is hanging out there waiting for any old victim, probably he would have gotten someone eventually (maybe the next night). So it's very likely that his death is the best possible outcome of the situation where he's lying in wait and the gun-packing woman is thinking about whether to go down the dark alley. In that case, she would actually be bringing about a better outcome than what would've happened if she'd made the wiser choice, and so we'd be wrong to blame her.

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