Thursday, April 12, 2012

George Zimmerman was not a Neighborhood Watch volunteer

The Neighborhood Watch movement was started formally in the US in the 1960s, and has spread to various other countries as well.

They vary, of course, but all have several key features in common:

1. People do not patrol alone. They ALWAYS go out at least in pairs, often more.
2. People do not carry offensive weapons. In some programs organized and trained up to 50 hours by local police forces, they may wear a kind of uniform and carry pepper spray. Most groups only carry phones.
3. People to not engage with people they find suspicious in any way--they phone the police. Period. They are trained to avoid contact. They are additional eyes and ears for the police. That's it.

George Zimerman patrolled alone, armed, and hunted his prey.

So by all three "prime directives" of all national and international neighborhood watch organizations, he was not a neighborhood watch volunteer, and such organizations are wringing their hands at the disrepute he's bringing up them.

George Zimmerman was a vigilante, and the mainstream press have proven once more that they aren't right wing or left wing--just lazy. If they were left wing--or speaking accurately--they'd call him a vigilante. They'd only call him a neighborhood watch volunteer if they were right wing--or lazy. Most journalists are registered Democrats, so you have to conclude that intellectually "lazy" best describes them.

Don't let people refer to Zimmerman as a "neighborhood watch volunteer." It's easy to explain why.

Also, I suspect that the special prosecutor threw the book at him because she found that was lying--starting with calling himself a neighborhood watch volunteer, following up by claiming that Trayvon hunted him down and attacked him, trying to kill him. In all likelihood the physical circumstances gave the lie to Zimmerman's alibi.

In addition, Trayvon had no history of violence; Zimmeman did.

True, in general prosecutors often over-charge people so they can plea bargain them into an easy conviction, running up the DA's record so he can run for governor on a getting tough on crime campaign. But not all do this, and not all do this all the time. Especially in a case that's being followed internationally. Most prosecutors don't want to do anything slimy when it's getting that much attention.

In all likelihood Zimmerman got lost in a fantasy where he's a heroic cop, and where people-who-look-like-crooks were to be driven off "his" turf. And black people "looked like" crooks just a bit more than others. Every police department knows about the wannabes in their territory. Many find work in private security, having failed to get into actual police forces. There's even a dark comedy about this: "Paul Bart, Mall Cop."

But when the Keystone Kops start shooting real bullets, the comedy disappears.


Anonymous said...

You make it sound like Zimmerman is some bloodthirsty vigilante who racially profiled some little kid, hunted him down, and in cold blood, blew his head off.

You know that's not true. Your discription of a 'typical' neighborhood watch volunteer is accurate, but Zimmerman was part of a 'watch', he had a history of making dozens of calls to the police, as he did that night. He was legally armed, it was dark, it was raining, and Trayvon, who is over six feet tall and bigger than Zimmerman, had no business in that neighborhood.

Yes, Zimmerman did not handle the situation according to Hoyle, he should have made the call, reported the situation, and let it go at that, but where the rubber meets the road is when Trayvon turned on Zimmerman, jumped and beat him.

It is proper that an arrest has been made, there will be a trial, and Zimmerman will be exonerated. A tragic situation, but self-defense nontheless, and justifiable homicide.

Ehkzu said...

This characterization of what I said and of the case are both consistent what what's coming out of the right wing blogosphere and Fox TV, through GOP spokesmen like Sean Hannity.

As such it's inconsistent with what I said, the facts currently publicly known, and the charge of second degree murder leveled against Zimmerman.

It's inconsistent with what I said because calling someone lost in a cop fantasy is hardly "bloosthirsty vigilante", I expressly said I thought Zimmerman's motives were only partly racists, I never said Trayvon was a "little kid," and I never said he murdered Trayvon in cold blood. That would be "premeditated murder," which I never said it was.

Moreover, I never said his being armed wasn't legal--just that it meant he wasn't any kind of neighborhood watch person because "neighborhood watch" and "armed patrol" are incompatible terms--and facts.

Saying that Trayvon "had no business in that neighborhood" is revealing. Unless that communitiy's CC&Rs (Community Covenants & Restrictions) prohibit visitors--which I doubt would be constitutional--Trayvon had every business to be in that neighborhood at that time. Unless the CC&Rs prohibit black visitors? Is that what you meant?

As for the rubber meeting the road...we've heard Zimmerman's alibi, repeated ad infinitum by his relatives, and you've endorsed that alibi 100%. do you account for the special prosecutor not buying it? If she thought the case was iffy she'd have gone with manslaughter, not Murder II--not in a case being followed internationally. And Florida's government is solidly right wing. Not like she's a raving Lefty, eh?

As for self defence...sounds like Florida's Stand Your Ground law applies to Trayvon, not Zimmerman.

And you didn't account for Zimmerman being the one with a history of violence--while Trayvon had none.

How did this become a national case and not just another local homicide?


Feel free to offer alternative explanations.

Ehkzu said...

PS: the fact that the Sanford po-lice tested Trayvon's body for drugs/alcohol but not George's, and because they didn't do the evidence preservation/searching for that would accompany any normal investigation of a homicide, the Sanford Police Department compromised any subsequent investigation and their behavior casts a shadow over this whole affair.

And why did they take Zimmerman's word for it and not investigate further? They cited the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, but the guy who wrote the bill there said it didn't apply as of the moment Zimmerman got out of his vehicle.

Of course all police departments agree that these Stand Your Ground laws are pernicious (and are now being used by gangbangers to evade prosecution), but it doesn't apply to Zimmerman in this case.

Self defense applies at least theoretically, but not Stand Your Ground.

To blacks both Zimmerman's actions and the Sanford Police Dept.'s actions look like a duck, quack like a duck. I don't like giving the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world any justifications for their self-serving demagoguery.

But however you might dislike such people, just because they say something doesn't automatically make it false.

I don't think much of Mitt Romney, but I think what he said about illegal immigration is true, and what my guy--the President--says about it is false.

But then I'm an independent, not a political tribalist.

Anonymous said...

All any of us know of this situation is what is reported in the media, and according to those in a position to know, prosecutors routinely 'over charge' in order to ecourage a plea deal... which, because this case is very defendable, will never happen.

After all the special interest and political extremism is filtered out, and the case is ultimately delivered to the jury, the verdict will be based on the moment of truth... yes, the moment when 'the rubber hit the road'.

Zimmerman was armed and Trayvon Martin was physically more imposing, so it defies logic that Zimmerman initiated the physical assault. Martin didn't like being followed, he was bigger than Zimmerman and couldn't see, and had no way of knowing, that Zimmerman was armed. It follows, logically, that Martin turned on Zimmerman and instigated the beating.

Everything else is just posing and posturing by factions on both sides. The verdict will be formed by what the jury believes happened at the moment of physical contact... and logic dictates self-defense and justifiable homicide.

Ehkzu said...

I wouldn't speak with such certainty unless I were a criminal trial lawyer with recent experience in Florida, knowledge of the prosecutor, and of the presiding judge, and of the way case law has set relevant precedents in that state.

None of those things are true, so I can only speculate about this sociologically.

And unless you have those qualifications and experience I don't know where your certainty springs from.

But after this case is tried, I hope you return here and either crow in triumph or eat crow--and explain why you were so right. Or wrong.