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Zimmerman Case: More On That Credibility Thing

Following up from my previous post on Marissa Alexander, where I spoke about credibility when you’re making a self-defense claim, we have yet another example of that. Turns out that Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system when he was shot by George Zimmerman. Generally speaking, pot tends to render most people dangerous only if you’re a bag of Cheetos, but in some people it can drive feelings of paranoia. The family is outraged:

That revelation drew a furious response from Martin’s family.

“The only comment that I have right now is that they’ve killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation,” Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, said at the time.

I believe we ought to be sympathetic to a mother who has lost a son, but at the same time I also think we need to recognize that grief is a highly effective emotion at shielding sufferers from reality. Sybrina Fulton’s clingers-on were happy to call out the media dogs to destroy George Zimmerman in public, and now lament that facts have come out showing the precious snowflake was not the choir boy he was originally been made out to be. Grieving mothers should be pitied and given sympathy. But they should not form a basis for rational discussion of public policy, and they certainly shouldn’t form the justification for a lynch mob who aims to circumvent the legal system and condemn a man in a court of public opinion before he’s even had a fair trial. Ultimately, I don’t blame Sybrina Fulton for what she’s doing. She’s going through something horrible, regardless of how legitimate Zimmerman’s self-defense claim ultimately turns out to be. But I do blame the media, and the charlatans that have exploited this case. Ultimately they are the ones who have rendered this injustice, both on George Zimmerman, the public, a grieving mother, and the memory of Trayvon Martin.

UPDATE: More detail here, which describes the levels of THC found in Marin in greater detail. If only the media like CNN, those paragons of journalistic integrity, had gone through this much trouble to educate the public on the subtleties of self-defense law. But unfortunately for the charlatans at CNN, that wouldn’t fit the narrative, so now the headline is that clearly the death is unavoidable. Their article above is actually informative, but unfortunately, it is distracted from by their attempt to main the narrative at all costs. CNN has long had no integrity, and I feel for the folks who did the good research on this article, to actually inform us of what the toxicology report actually said.

32 Responses to “Zimmerman Case: More On That Credibility Thing”

  1. Divemedic says:

    The state will try to paint Zimmerman as a reckless vigilante who provoked poor, defenseless Trayvon(TM) into having to defend himself, armed only with his bare hands against an attacker with a gun.
    The defense will simply get one or more of the state’s witnesses to testify that some people on marijuana are known to be paranoid and violent, thereby making it necessary for the state to discredit their own witness.

  2. Patrick M. says:

    I clicked on the NY Daily News link above and I see they are STILL using the pictures of Trayvon from 5+ years ago…

    • Ronnie says:

      Finally, finally, finally, it is now possible to see video of what “Saint Trayvon” looked like on the night he attacked George Zimmerman and got shot in the process. See it here:

      7-11 surveillance video shows Trayvon Martin

      If you watch these surveillance videos from the 7-11 in Sanford, Florida, it’s obvious why they were not made available sooner by the media – it’s because they totally show a large, broad-shouldered, athletically-built teenager, wearing baggy jeans, and with a black hoodie DRAWN OVER his head INSIDE a 7-11 store, as opposed to a smiling pre-pubescent boy in a red Hollister t-shirt. Trayvon kept his hoodie drawn over his head the entire time he was inside that 7-11. It looked as if he was about to rob the place or something. I guess this explains why I have actually seen signs outside stores that tell people to remove their hoods from their heads prior to their entrance.

      It is also rather easy to see in this video how Trayvon was clearly bigger than the 7-11 employee, and we have all seen how George Zimmerman is not really all that big of a guy himself.

  3. Dave says:

    “they certainly shouldn’t form the justification for a lynch mob who aims to circumvent the legal system and condemn a man in a court of public opinion before he’s even had a fair trial”

    True enough, but many in the gun community have already done the prosecutions work for them by painting Mr. Zimmerman as, among other things, a “mall ninja”, vigilante and a host of other vile accusations that as we see now with the fuller set of details revealed could have easily been any gun owner, trained or untrained.

    Martin’s reputation may be under assault now, but many in the gun community murdered George Zimmerman’s reputation already.

    • Sebastian says:

      People go on what information they have, and the gun community is no different. The initial evidence pointed to a heaping spoonfull of mall ninjary, with a dash of racism, and has come to appear more as a pinch of mall ninjary with absolutely no racism. The question is, can you accept new evidence as it comes that changes the narrative, or do you emotionally invest yourself in the initial narrative and try to convince yourself you could never be duped by charlatans. I’ll be the first to admit I was harsh on Zimmerman based on the initial evidence, because I didn’t think that people could be that fucking evil as to outright fabricate a narrative from whole cloth as the Parks and Crump charlatans did.

    • Sebastian says:

      They key is, do you bind your mind to the evidence and the law, or do you bind your mind to what you know in your heard just must be true?

  4. AntiCitizenOne says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dave here. What is the real measure of justice now when you can be easily character-assassinated in the court of public opinion not only by those who you know oppose you, but from people who you thought were your friends.

    With cable news and political blogs misinformation can spread at the speed of light – no wonder why our enemies want to control the 1st Amendment as well.

    I consider myself guilty now, when I initially labeled Zimmerman as a mall ninja – and now I’m not sure of what to believe in this case now.
    —————————————————————-

    “And now they’re trying to destroy his reputation” – I’m sorry, Ms Fulton – but a toxicology test doesn’t lie.

    And considering that cannabis is the nation’s most widely used illegal drug, with movies made about it and discussed rather openly on some cable shows, not to mention a huge counter-culture on par with the gun culture – how much of a stigma against cannabis really is there among the general public? If this is what you’re trying to get at, Ms Fulton, you’re only perpetuating the myth of stigma.

    • Pyrotek85 says:

      Yeah I personally don’t care all that much that he used pot, but it is currently illegal, so it doesn’t help Martin’s image in court (if that can even come into play, I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know).

  5. The full autopsy report is available on CNN.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/05/17/martin.autopsy.pdf?hpt=hp_t1

    I’ve read through it and it is extremely thorough. One thing that struck me was that they said he had “mild focal anthracosis”. While anthracosis is also called black lung, it can also be from exposure to smoke. I’m guessing he might have been using pot a lot more than his parents realized.

  6. Richard says:

    A former boss of mine had a sign on his desk that said “Wait”. This is always good advice, if the option is available. As a blogger, it is available to you.

    • Sebastian says:

      True, but as a blogger, I’m expected to comment on the happenings of the day, and I was never of the opinion that this guy should be tried by a lynch mob.

  7. Dave says:

    “I’ll be the first to admit I was harsh on Zimmerman based on the initial evidence, because I didn’t think that people could be that fucking evil as to outright fabricate a narrative from whole cloth as the Parks and Crump charlatans did.”

    Kudos to you for publicly admitting it. Unfortunate that some of the rest of the people who purport to be in our camp couldn’t be bothered to hold their fire.

    That said, everyone here who actually believed 1) initial media outlet reports 2) that the media would feed accurate information on a shooting involving a permit holder – raise your hands.

    Anybody? Bueller?

    The thing is that the media now includes bloggers. Call it what you will; media 2.0, new media, whatever but either way there is a substantial element of the gun community that has been and still is part of the “drive by media” lynch mob of which you speak. All of us who called Mr. Zimmerman some kind of pejorative, insulted his actions, Monday morning quarterbacked his tactics without accurate information are just as guilty as the so called charlatans for landing Mr. Zimmerman in jail, charged by a grandstanding district attorney with the indictment being criticized by every attorney capable of independent thought. This could be any one of us.

    You can try to tell yourself that you wouldn’t do what Mr. Zimmerman did, and you are trained at avoiding trouble but the plain fact is that sometimes trouble finds you, despite your best efforts. This scenario, could be any one of us right now. Think about how you would feel with all manner of racist, hate mongers putting bounties on you or your family, fomenting tension to get a trumped up prosecution so they can bankrupt you into submitting to some plea putting you in jail. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

    Another trap we had best not fall into is getting all righteously indignant about the pot from the autopsy report. Yes, it might be illegal, so is it for 18-20 year olds to get a beer, but that doesn’t make it evil and more importantly this is a common ruse thrown about at the gun carrying RKBA activists. Criminalization or enhanced penalties for carrying while or after having a beer or doing some kind of drug. If we get all indignant about Mr. Martin having pot in his system, the antis will come back on us with it legislatively. It’s how they roll.

    Regardless of what your thoughts are on pot, don’t give the antis ammunition against us. The last thing we need are more laws, and more government power.

    • Divemedic says:

      No, but what the pot DOES do is discredit the ‘innocent choir boy’ picture that has been attempted. Taken with the multiple suspensions for drug paraphernalia, possession of stolen property and burglary tools, and vandalism, along with the internet posts that make it appear as though he was dealing, and I think it is a clearer picture.

      • Pyrotek85 says:

        Agreed, I don’t care about the pot itself that much, but it is illegal whether we like it or not.

    • Pyrotek85 says:

      “That said, everyone here who actually believed 1) initial media outlet reports 2) that the media would feed accurate information on a shooting involving a permit holder – raise your hands.
      Anybody? Bueller?”

      I expected the media to spin things to their liking, but this sets a new standard for lying, as they made up things outright and are seemingly trying to start a race war. I know the media can jump the gun and make honest factual mistakes or assumptions, but that isn’t what happened here, they knew what they were doing.

      • Harold says:

        Tawana Brawley anyone? Or follow the link back to Al Sharpton for worse, calling him a “racial arsonist” is about right, just about literally so WRT to Freddie’s Fashion Mart.

        I’m sorry, I’m really harsh here, perhaps too much to you young whippersnappers—I’m 51 and watched how the media slandered and libeled Reagan and his people, but then again you all watched that happen to G. W. Bush, especially WRT to Katrina and race, right?—but anyone this naïve about the “drive-by media” has no business blogging or commenting on current affairs.

        • Pyrotek85 says:

          What’s even crazier is that they gave Sharpton his own talk show. How anyone can listen to him is beyond me.

        • Patrick H says:

          Don’t forget the Duke Lacrosse case. Anyone who remembers that should never believe anything the media says.

    • Patrick H says:

      Well, but if the original story was true- we couldn’t defend what he did. We don’t want to put the narrative out there that we support people stalking and murdering just because they have a gun.

      So we did have to distance ourselves from him a bit. I thought here everybody was pretty well reasoned from what we knew of the evidence. My first reaction was that he was a police wannabe who get some innocent kid.

      And as more comes out, we are also changing our minds. I now think GZ is totally innocent.

      • Harold says:

        So we did have to distance ourselves from him a bit.

        Disagree; why not say, “OK, we’ve heard from one side of the conflict, let’s wait and hear the other side of the story.”

        A lot of the problem on our side was a rush to judgment, perhaps trying to say “I’m not one of those”; Zimmerman was very definitely thrown to the wolves, despite people having no excuse for not assuming every word the media said was a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.

        Don’t know, I smelled BS from the very first, it was too perfect, too much a standard trope of our enemies. Then I saw the young picture of Martin and knew I was being lied to.

  8. AZ Fortune Cookie says:

    I’m always irritated when I click on a link about this story and the only picture of Trayvon Martin they have is several years old. Where’s the current pictures of him?

  9. Chas says:

    Sybrina Fulton continues to rave on. It seems that raving on is one of her core values, hence her son’s name.

  10. emdfl says:

    Where was this greiving mother when lil’ treyvie was being expelled multiple times from school and when she sent him to stay with the sperm donator and his latest girl friend? ZERO symphth here for her.

  11. Dave says:

    Richard Jewell? Steven Hatfill?

    The media often play the role of government sock puppet. You can see this all the time in “repeated” or parroted press releases from police departments about “enforcement campaigns”, and the like. A lot of times they report an AP wire story with permission and proclaim no responsibility for any inaccuracy no matter what the damage to someone’s reputation.

    I don’t think this media behavior is all that outrageous in the context of what the media have done to others in their quest to ruin people for a headline. It is outrageous, certainly. But it’s happened before.

    My point was that we were just as bad, if not worse at throwing a permit holder right under the bus for no other excuse than to say ‘hey, I’m a blogger/forum geek/blowhard & it’s kind of expected behavior’. Even using the same buzzwords as the drive by media helps paint a picture for the casual web reader that the shooter was guilty, facts be damned.

    • Alpheus says:

      I don’t agree with that sentiment at all. It’s one thing to “throw someone under the bus”, but it’s another thing entirely to take what you know are the facts, and discuss them under the light of self-defense law as we understand it.

      Given the facts when the media first reported on this, we can justifiably suspect (and did) that Zimmerman was a “mall ninja”, who put himself in deep legal water. Now that the facts have been clarified, we know better…and we know that Zimmerman’s claims of self defense are a lot more solid than previously understood.

      In the press, there’s this notion that if you rush to get a story out, you are likely to get mistakes wrong. While Sebastian didn’t “rush” things, he certainly did due diligence to make sure his information was correct, to the best of his understanding; and he corrected his information as better info came out.

      And I think Sebastian is right: the amount of downright deception the media has injected into this case is surprising, to say the least!

      • Harold says:

        Given the facts when the media first reported on this….

        BZZZT!

        The media reports that a “white male” (but obviously very Hispanic male in any picture you see of him prior to his first court appearance) CCW holder gunned down an innocent black teen. It’s my contention that unless you’re fool, straight up, or of the “knows not that he knows not”, i.e. naïve when you have no excuse (I’m assuming we’re all old enough to remember the more recent media atrocities mentioned above), you’re not going to believe a word they say, including ‘and’ and ‘the’, until you hear some more about the case or do some investigating yourself.

        Which in this case would have taken a few minutes with your favorite search engine to find the contemporaneous account of “John” to the media (and now you can read his full account to the police, taken 90 minutes after the shooting). I’m sorry, I still cannot find anything to excuse this behavior.

        • Alpheus says:

          When I first started hearing that Zimmerman was anything other than white, I tried Googling for pictures for him, and I never found them. All I ever fourd were pictures of a 12-to-14-year-old Treyvon Martin.

          The media was very good at covering their bases, at least, at first. Realizing this little bit just makes me astounded at how hard the media pushed their particular narrative of this story.

  12. Marty says:

    Law has been preempted by media in this case. If we listen to the media we will get only partial information. Rather than having the case tried by the court of public opinion which is fueled by misleading and incomplete facts, let all the details come to light in a court of law.

    Hopefully this will remind people that we as gun owners have a responsibility to practice gun safety. We need to continue to get training and to practice using our weapons in a controlled environment. We deserve to take self-defense courses that teach us to be aware of and accurately assess our environment.

    With these sorts of tools we can use our weapons appropriately and save lives in the process.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Looking back in my archives, the first thing I had to say about the case was here, which I don’t think is remarkably harsh toward Zimmerman. This post seems to be about as harsh as I got, and some of the statements in there I’d still defend. So where was I wrong?

    • I think it was harsh to suggest Zimmerman was a mall ninja. Whether he’s a cop wannabe, or just someone who really cares about his neighborhood is hard to say. I could buy either at this point.
    • Information has since come up about the neighborhood’s crime history that make his suspicion seem more reasonable, but I still believe his suspicion level was higher than was warranted by the facts he had, unless some new piece of evidence comes out. But police often get this wrong too. The police said this incident was avoidable, and I still believe it was. But that doesn’t affect legal guilt in the case as many believe.

    I still classify Zimmerman’s behavior as unwise. I think what makes people react the way they do to news like this is two-fold.

    The first is whether we can imagine ourselves in the same situation. For me the answer is no, because I never would have gotten out of my car to follow the kid. I also would not have viewed a black male walking down the street as suspicious, even if there had been break ins that were committed by a black male. What I’m still interested to find out as this case moves forward is what Zimmerman meant when he said Trayvon was “acting weird.”

    The was mentioned earlier by Patrick H:

    Well, but if the original story was true- we couldn’t defend what he did. We don’t want to put the narrative out there that we support people stalking and murdering just because they have a gun.

    We tend to want to distance ourselves from CCW holders we feel made horrific mistakes in judgement, and that seemed to be the case with Zimmerman at the beginning. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad instinct, which is caused by the fact that most bad CCW shoots end up in the media. You don’t want to necessarily defend someone who later proves to be a murderer.

    But as the facts emerge, it seems that Zimmerman’s mistake in judgement was minor, though I would argue still a factor. I still would not hold him out there as a CCW poster boy, since he still offers lessons in what not to do, but his mistakes weren’t quite enough to rise to some of the initial impressions many folks had of him, including me.

    • Harold says:

      I would think the first step in trying to put yourself in Zimmerman’s shoes is trying to imagine what it would be like living in a community that was “under siege” like his.

      I know you’ve visited some nasty places (Philadelphia, NJ…); have you ever lived in a high crime location for a long time? For instance, the sort of place where locksmiths use Abloy locks?

  14. Dave says:

    “The first is whether we can imagine ourselves in the same situation. For me the answer is no, because I never would have gotten out of my car to follow the kid. I also would not have viewed a black male walking down the street as suspicious, even if there had been break ins that were committed by a black male. What I’m still interested to find out as this case moves forward is what Zimmerman meant when he said Trayvon was “acting weird.”

    I think this is an unrealistic rationalization. First, the 911 call doesn’t affirmatively say “black male” zim. says ‘I think he’s black’, which we can extrapolate to mean darker complected than most caucasians, perhaps taller than most asians, but that’s not really significant. As we know now, Mr. Martin was a biological adult, either fully grown or almost fully grown and in prime physical condition. You might not have have gotten out of your car to follow the kid but what about a fully grown adult, in a full hoodie, behaving suspiciously? The significant question is one of context and it’s the context of the whole situation, not what has been delivered by the media, and commented on via the internet. You seem to be focusing on Mr. Zimmerman choosing to respond to the police 911 dispatch that the suspect was -he thought, black. I liken this to accusations against some police by race baiters that traffic stops disproportionally detain black motorists … The thing is, it’s pretty rare to be able to identify the race of the driver when you come up from behind them or even if you pick them off from the side of the road UNTIL you actually begin the interaction after the vehicle stops.

    Here, the suspect was wearing a hoodie, covering his head & face. Mr. Zimmerman didn’t say ‘come get this suspicious black guy’, only when prompted by dispatch did he even offer that information, and it was equivocal. Your point here seems to suggest that you suspect racial motivations drove Mr. Zimmerman. It’s unclear from the full post, so I’m not saying you’re a racist. I’m just not sure. <- This is similar to the questions raised above about Mr. Zimmerman.

    One thing that we seem to have gone back on is giving the permit holder the benefit of the doubt. We are quick to hype on the background checks, the legal disqualifiers and the training required to get a permit but when this shooting came up it was Mall ninjary! Now it’s transitioned to ‘maybe mall ninjary’, possibly cop wannabe.

    Your comments still identify Mr. Martin as “the kid”, this is part of the media narrative and a proven meme. We’re past Mr. Martin as “a kid” now.

    The police narrative is that the confrontation was avoidable. That’s rich. Police departments kill people for ridiculously minor stuff weekly here in the US under the guise of the drug war, traffic stops, no knock warrants, take your pick. 100% of traffic stop shootings by police are avoidable. We could go on and on about unnecessary killings by the police. The point here is that the police narrative is one that is released to our enemies in the media to secure public support for a conviction, or their actions in an “event”. The police narrative will always have something indicating an arrest is warranted.

    You don’t think that you would have gotten out of the car, but really, is that even relevant? How do we know that Mr. Martin hadn’t “marked” Mr. Zimmerman as a victim from the time he first spotted Mr. Zimmerman? Do we know for example if Mr. Martin wouldn’t have gone up to Mr. Zimmerman’s car and began beating him in the car seat? It’s possible that Mr. Martin identified that Mr. Zimmerman was “watching” him from his vehicle and made a beeline for him. He could have even lured Mr. Zimmerman out of the vehicle intentionally and Mr. Zimmerman fell for a con, or a trick.

    We should fall into the drive by media trap of feeding the “preferred narrative”, even passively.

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