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Samizdata quote of the day

Much like the good folks over at Samizdata I had no interest in commenting on the recent trial of Mr George Zimmerman for the killing of Mr Trayvon Martin – not in my fields of interest and I knew nothing about it. However following the jury decision to find Mr Zimmerman innocent it turns out that a lot of my friends are psychic and know that Mr Zimmerman deliberately went out of his way to murder mr Martin due to his colour. Now sadly these friends weren’t able to make their unique skills available to the court, but I would suggest that they need to get themselves a super hero identity as their skills are vitally needed. Until they do that all we have is the rule of law where a person is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers having heard all of the available evidence (and I believe the same applies across the pond where the trial took place). Now I’ve not heard yet anyone claiming it was a mistrial or that evidence was withheld or tampered with, I’ve not even heard anyone claiming that the law was at fault – at least not amongst my amazing psychic friends.

- Anonymong

41 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • RickC

    Out of morbid curiosity, I was just reading an article and comments at Slate here in the U.S. While the article was reserved and seemed reasonable (rare for Slate) most of the comments are unhinged and unfazed by either the facts presented in the case or the article. I’m sure someone somewhere has thought this before, but it crossed my mind reading this and other articles/comments over the last few days regarding the Zimmerman case that never before have so many held such strong opinions concerning something about which they know so little and which had no measurable little impact on themselves.

  • Veryretired

    It was, is, and forever will be politics, politics, politics, and nothing else.

    From the moment the case was discovered by the racial victimization industry, which includes most of the mam, weeks after the incident occurred, the law, justice, and legal due process went out the window, and pressure politics took over.

    Endless racial antagonism is required by the progressive victim industry to fuel ever more controversies, real and manufactured, and keep the various tribal groups at each others’ throats.

    The utterly blatant cynicism of it all amazes even an old, hardened cynic like me.

  • Veryretired

    Above should read msm, obviously.

  • jerry

    Aw, geez, Veryretired –
    I thought for a second that you had discovered ANOTHER ‘racial victimization industry’
    and got that ‘arrrrgh – just what we need !’ feeling !!! ;-)

  • stef

    All those I’ve run into who think GZ was at fault arrive at that conclusion by reacting to the idea that GZ followed TM.

    Our ever astounding Eric Holder is playing into that emotional reaction by bringing up the irrelevant “Stand your ground” law.

    Confusing. Apparently both groups would like a duty to retreat to apply only to some people (some racial identities?) some times.

  • Veryretired

    Jerry—you know you should save that “arrrgh” for talk like a pirate day!

    Don’t waste it on some mundane Tuesday comment, geez…

  • Lee Moore

    I know why anonymong is poking fun at his psychic friends, and I sympathise. But I suspect he is making the usual error. Zimmerman was – so far as I could see from the reports I saw – rightly acquitted as the prosecution failed by a country mile to prove he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, ie they failed to prove that he did not have a reasonable self defence justification. But that is an equally long country mile from proving he was innocent – ie actually rather than presumptively innocent. Once we move outside the law courts, where very properly all sorts of rules of evidence and burdens of proof obtain, we move into the court of public opinion, where supposition, speculation and hunches are, very properly, allowed free rein. The psychic friends may be entirely right that GZ is a murderer, and are perfectly at liberty to say so. (Though more at liberty in the US than they would be here, where the laws of libel are beastlier.) There is no contradiction in saying that “I think Zimmerman is a murderer, notwithstanding that he was acquitted.”

  • The Wobbly Guy

    If so many fools are so willing to go with the lies being perpetuated by the media, what does it say for the future of the US as a republic? Even worse yet, what if those same fools are pre-disposed to tribal mindsets, possessed of lower-than-average intelligence to boot, and generally not mentally equipped for the high tech world we live in now?

    The future of the US looks bleak. Europe seems to be in a slightly better position, but not by much.

  • Eric

    There is no contradiction in saying that “I think Zimmerman is a murderer, notwithstanding that he was acquitted.”

    That may be true, but in this case there was literally no evidence that supports the contention Zimmerman did anything wrong. None.

  • Veryretired

    The only “evidence” needed was that Zimmerman was a white Hispanic, a totally invented and indefinable racial group which had never been discovered before.

    This was an exercise in identity politics, and guilt or innocence had nothing to do with it.

  • Lee Moore

    I confess I didn’t spend the last fortnight glued to MSNBC but I thought there were several people who testified that it was Mr Martin’s voice screaming for help, which – if true – would indicate that Mr Zimmerman could not reasonably have believed that he was in danger. I would think that “literally no evidence” would be a pretty hard argument to support given that. (That there may have been more, and perhaps better, evidence that it was Zimmerman shouting for help, is irrelevant to the question of whether there was “literally no evidence” for Zimmerman’s guilt.

    I think the better argument is that the evidence for Zimmerman’s guilt was weak, rather than non existent.

  • Eric

    Martin’s brother initially said he wasn’t sure and later decided it was Martin. All the other witnesses said Zimmerman. And the only damage to Martin’s body pre-bullet was on his fists. It’s hard to imagine he was screaming like a little girl and pounding another guy’s head into the pavement at the same time.

    There’s a reason the DA didn’t want to prosecute. The government didn’t have a case and they knew it.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    First the police found that it was straight self defense and there was no case to answer. This was “wrong” according to the justice department who had the chief of police replaced with someone with the “right” opinion on pursuing a trial.

    When they got their trial, it also produced the “wrong” result so they started talking about federal or civil rights prosecutions. When informed these were equally unlikely to succeed, Holder decided that it is the laws that are “wrong”, and that they should be changed so as to produce the “right” result.

    So everyone from the AG down to rioting savage on the streets of LA now subscribes to the idea that justice == the verdict I want.

    Is it just me or is the Obama administration looking more and more like a failed totalitarian state every day?

  • Kirk Parker

    Actually, though, there was misconduct–on the side of the prosecution.

  • Is it just me or is the Obama administration looking more and more like a failed totalitarian state every day?

    Failed how? They control the most powerful apparatus of surveillance and repression in human history and preside over the largest prison population per capita in the world. I would say it is far from ‘failed’.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Indeed Perry, that was the wrong word to use. I was going to write “looks increasingly like a Banana Republic”, but was worried I’d be accused of making a racial comment. In retrospect it was the better expression for what I meant, regardless of what people might erroneously read into it.

    By “failed” I meant that they’re no longer even trying to stay on message or talk the talk. They now openly assert that the function of the courts is to give the verdict the powers that be want, and they get very huffy when things don’t go their way. Holder is acting like the head apparatchik of a tin-pot dictator.

    On the plus side, the fact that the justice department stuck its oar in repeatedly and still didn’t get its way says a lot for the independence of the police and judiciary in the United States.

  • John

    Lee – unfortunately, both legally and morally, if Zimmerman killed in self defence (which the jury held he did, that being his defense against the manslaughter charge) he is not a murderer – and of course did not commit manslaughter either. Morally, he exercised a legitimate right to self defence – and what is particularly serious about the case besides the massive prosecution misconduct in repeatedly withholding evidence from the defence and introducing arbitrary additional charges literally on the last day of the trial is the openly political attempt to delegitmise that right when it is exercised by people the state thinks it worthwhile to persecute for political gain.

  • There is nothing new or even modern about the cynical politics behind the Zimmerman trial. It is the ancient tactic of divide and rule. The elite divide the people into arbitrary groups – and there are few categories more arbitrary than “race” – and manufacture grievances to set them against each other. Then they offer to protect each group from its rivals and trick the people into trading their freedom for a promise of security. Machiavelli and Caesar would have found it all very familiar.

  • John

    John — The jury did not hold that Zimmerman killed in self-defense. They held that there was no evidence to decide that he did or didn’t. They did not reject the null hypothesis, which is not the same thing as accepting the null hypothesis.

  • Dom

    The last comment was mine, not John’s. It was directed at John. Sorry.

  • Tedd

    Jaded:

    On the plus side, the fact that the justice department stuck its oar in repeatedly and still didn’t get its way says a lot for the independence of the police and judiciary in the United States.

    That’s a very important point. What has changed is not so much the system and its merits, but rather faith in the system. I’m reminded of the case of Yoshihiro Hattori, the Japanese exchange student who was shot to death by Rodney Peairs in 1992. That was also a very controversial incident at the time and, while I’ve forgotten most of the details of the case and the trial, one thing I remember very clearly was that, when the verdict was announced, the President made an unequivocal statement that Peairs had been tried by a jury of his peers, acquitted, and that was the end of it.

    I don’t mean to undermine the significance of the prosecution going ahead with the trial on such slim evidence, apparently motivated by political pressure. Those are things all Americans should be concerned about. But the rest of the system appears to have worked.

  • Lee Moore

    John is, as Dom (masquerading as John) says, making the mistake I was warning against. The jury did not vote for Zimmerman’s story, thereby establishing it as their authorised version of the truth. They merely voted that the prosecution’s story was not established beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s all that juries do. They do not exonerate the accused, that’s not within their powers.

    Some people find this disappointing, but in reality, it’s a good thing. If you could only get acquitted on evidence that would exonerate you, there’d be a lot more innocent people in jail than there are now.

  • Laird

    “If you could only get acquitted on evidence that would exonerate you, there’d be a lot more innocent people in jail than there are now.”

    Well, there certainly would be a lot more people in jail than there are now. How many of them would have been “innocent” is another matter entirely.

    Not that I am finding fault with the system as it is. On the contrary, I agree with Lee that having juries find people “not guilty” rather than “innocent” is a good thing.

  • Mr Ed

    The criminal Common Law presumes innocence, unless the presumption is rebutted beyond reasonable doubt.

    The civil Common Law works on the balance of probability (in the main), a sharp knife-edge, that cuts from time to time.

  • Julie near Chicago

    In point of fact (or as factual as it gets on the Net), George Zimmerman is part-Negro on his mother’s side (see Wikipedia). Some other postings have said he’s 1/4 “black.”

    There’s not a whole lot of interest in fact-checking to be found in certain quarters, definitely including the MSM.

  • Kalashnikat

    Actually there was withholding of evidence, but it was of exculpatory evidence by the Prosecution, blatant enough to cause their IT tech to take it, along with his own attorneys, to the Defense and the press…there were photos and text message records on Trayvon’s cell phone to the effect that he was definitely a drug user, possibly a drug dealer, and a street fighter of some experience…but that couldn’t possibly have handicapped the Defense team, so they just concealed major parts of it. The local AG/Special prosecutor have now fired the forensic IT technician, telling him he was disloyal and untrustworthy…well, if you’re going to violate the Rules of Evidence and of Discovery, then I would certainly hope someone would blow the proverbial whistle on such clear prosecutorial misconduct and malfeasance. A man’s life, or at least 20 to 30 years worth of it, were at stake here. Trayvon’s drug of choice, though available over the counter, in high or chronic doses can act like PCP or Ketamine…look it up, the truth is out there.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/07/17/10-Facts-the-media-Arent-telling-you-about-the-zimmerman-case

  • Plamus

    I’ll just leave this here.

  • Paul Marks

    For the record – there is no evidence whatever that Mr Zimmerman (a brown man) had any hatred towards black skin.

    People who try and drag “race” into this matter are engaging in propaganda with the intention of stirring up (agitating)hatred and division, in order to serve the “Progressive” cause (it is called agitprop).

  • Johnnydub

    The thing that sticks in my throat about this case is that between the time that Trayvon died and no, over 11000 young black men have been murdered by other young black men. Nobody seems to give a shit…

    Now that is racist…

  • Dom

    Paul — Zimmerman used the word that rhymes with “goon”, but I guess a case can be made that this is a minor slur; even Martin used “cracker” (Notice I didn’t need to give a rhyming word. I wonder why that is?)

    Johnnydub — 11,000 seems high to me. In 2011, only 6,000 blacks were murdered in total. Besides, the Zimmerman case is about a death in which no one was arrested.

  • RickC

    Dom – I thought the coon thing was proven to be false, the media outlet that reported this even issued a retraction. And it appears the decision to not arrest Zimmerman was correct. That the DA, Corey, had to lie to bring it to trial is an issue and she should be brought before the bar for it. Alan Dershowitz pointed this out a few days ago.

  • Apparently those psychic friends are following this advice and aiming to be superheros. They’re taking to the street and beating up tons of villains (as decided by their psychic abilities of course.)

    Zimmerman is still alive. That’s what confuses me. Now, I think it’s race baiting bull but why aren’t they rioting in his general direction?

  • Dom

    I don’t know enough about the case (or the law) to decide whether or not Zimmerman should have been arrested. But certainly the number of blacks who died these past 500 or so days (the point that Johnnydub made) is not relevant to those who said he should have been arrested.

    There were also blacks who were murdered by whites these past days. They did not provoke protests because they were arrested.

    And in any case, the number 11,000, mentioned at a number of sources, does not pass the smell test. It is too high.

    Thanks for the info about the Rhymes-with-goon thing. I didn’t know that.

  • Lee Moore

    Not sure the coon reference was “proven to be false.” More like “proven to be unproven”

    http://www.ibtimes.com/it-was-cold-not-coon-cnn-backtracks-its-claim-zimmerman-used-racial-slur-911-call-434466

  • Dom

    I’ll tell you one thing about that word. No one uses it anymore. It’s a 1950′s slur.

  • Jered: Zimmerman is still alive. That’s what confuses me.

    What confuses you about that? Handguns are really excellent close quarter weapons and Zimmerman had one, which generally trumps someone banging your head against the pavement as long as you play said trump fairly promptly.

  • Kev

    Do British libertarians live in a goldfish bowl? Stephan Molyneux has got a viral video going on YouTube, currently over 680,000 VIEWS, with mostly positive feedback. For the record, this is a big thing. How come it has passed your radar? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF-Ax5E8EJc&list=TLET9VWrmAjgw

  • Well Kev I think British libertarians have a finite amount of interest in foreign murder trials. I know I am well and truly Zimmerman’ed out as I have written all I want to say about it and frankly we have other things to worry about now.

  • James Waterton

    There are two sorry facts about this tragic event. The first is that a young innocent was shot dead. The other is that this shooting has unnecessarily become a racially divisive event.

    According to Wikipedia, George Zimmerman’s mother is from Peru and his father is of German descent. Dealing in the hypothetical can be problematic, but I am pretty damn confident that if the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin had a mother who was of German descent and a father from Peru, we would never have heard of the names Trayvon Martin or George Mesa.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    I came across this excellent comment, by someone called “SilverAge” over at the Pajamas Media site. It is worth quoting in full:

    “Do you know why David Duke is only a fringe political figure? Because white people got together and said “you’re an idiot, you’re a racist, you don’t speak for me, kindly STFU”.

    “I’m waiting to see when the black community finds the integrity to do the same with Sharpton and Jackson. Because as much as there’s all this call for a “national conversation” I’m not really interested in talking to people who allow monsters to speak in their name while villifying people like Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell.”

    Exactly. As others have said, while there is still, alas, old-style white-on-non-white racism out there, it is not anything like as bad as in the past. But there appears, in some quarters, to be a clear and unpleasant level of racial resentment against whites that is often fostered and encouraged by hustlers such as Sharpton and others. These people are ideologues and rogues of the first order.