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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Zimmerman acquitted
Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:



"White-ass" is an intensifier adjective for "cracker." "Cracker" is an epithet meaning "ignorant racist white."

Is it? I thought it meant poor southern white, usually from the Appalachian mountains and most likely of Scottish descent. I've never heard it used to mean racist. It originally meant "braggart," but as the people became poorer, more anemic, and paler from living in the forested mountains, it also started to refer to their skin color. I do agree that it is the equivalent of the "n" word when directed at a white by an African American and points to Martin being much more of a racist than any evidence we have that Zimmerman is.
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Gwai
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# 11076

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In my experience, the way "cracker" is used in the U.S. is regional. When living in Texas, I definitely heard it used the way Porridge describes, but have not heard it used that way since I left.

--------------------
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A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:



"White-ass" is an intensifier adjective for "cracker." "Cracker" is an epithet meaning "ignorant racist white."

Is it? I thought it meant poor southern white, usually from the Appalachian mountains and most likely of Scottish descent. I've never heard it used to mean racist. It originally meant "braggart," but as the people became poorer, more anemic, and paler from living in the forested mountains, it also started to refer to their skin color. I do agree that it is the equivalent of the "n" word when directed at a white by an African American and points to Martin being much more of a racist than any evidence we have that Zimmerman is.
Maybe there are regional differences. I've lived most of my life in the North, and have only ever heard this term when used by African-Americans as derogatory toward whites exhibiting racism toward them.

As to whether black victims of racism are being racist when they apply derogatory terms to whites, that's a whole 'nother discussion I frankly don't want to have. I've had it many times before, and I think it's a potential (possibly actual) endlessly circular unresolvable Dead Horse. If you or someone else wants to raise that question, I hope it's on a different thread. Hasn't this one grown enough tentacles already?

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Sylvander
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# 12857

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian: No, there remains a SIGNIFICANT difference between providing for self-defence in the event that your suspicions prove to be true and the suspect attacks you and carrying a weapon in order to kill the suspect.

No difference whatever to the person who ends up dead because of it. [/QB]
You could use the same reply if someone said: "There is a fundamental difference between the execution of Nicolai Ceaucescu and the butchering of Sharon Tate."

Is it your brother? Run off with the family brain cell maybe?

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Sylvander:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian: No, there remains a SIGNIFICANT difference between providing for self-defence in the event that your suspicions prove to be true and the suspect attacks you and carrying a weapon in order to kill the suspect.

No difference whatever to the person who ends up dead because of it.

You could use the same reply if someone said: "There is a fundamental difference between the execution of Nicolai Ceaucescu and the butchering of Sharon Tate."

There is still no difference to the one who winds up dead.

Carrying weapons is stupid and wrong in my book, always will be.

[ 30. July 2013, 14:57: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:

As to whether black victims of racism are being racist when they apply derogatory terms to whites, that's a whole 'nother discussion I frankly don't want to have. I've had it many times before, and I think it's a potential (possibly actual) endlessly circular unresolvable Dead Horse. If you or someone else wants to raise that question, I hope it's on a different thread. Hasn't this one grown enough tentacles already?

Wasn't it you who just raised the idea by suggesting that when Martin called Zimmerman a "white-assed cracker" he was demonstrating, not his own racism, but that he saw Zimmerman as a racist and so was even more justified in attacking Zimmerman? I find that wildly far fetched.

As to whether or not African Americans are being racist when they call whites by derogatory racist names, I was unaware there was any question about it. If you believe one race is superior or inferior to others (or as MLK said, "judge people by the color of their skin") you're a racist. Full stop. It's not an opinion, it's the dictionary's definition.

I see no reason to start another thread for my first post in 12 days. This is a discussion thread, you know, not Porridge's Collected Essays on White Privilege.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
No, there remains a SIGNIFICANT difference between providing for self-defence in the event that your suspicions prove to be true and the suspect attacks you and carrying a weapon in order to kill the suspect.

No difference whatever to the person who ends up dead because of it.
In one case the person will end up dead regardless of what they do, in the other they will only end up dead if they attack the person who is keeping an eye on them. I'd call that a fairly important difference.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I do agree that it is the equivalent of the "n" word when directed at a white by an African American

The hell it is. That one feels the need to use a substitute for one and not the other is indicative of the this.

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
No, there remains a SIGNIFICANT difference between providing for self-defence in the event that your suspicions prove to be true and the suspect attacks you and carrying a weapon in order to kill the suspect.

No difference whatever to the person who ends up dead because of it.
In one case the person will end up dead regardless of what they do, in the other they will only end up dead if they attack the person who is keeping an eye on them. I'd call that a fairly important difference.
We live in the most deprived ward in England, it is not a 'safe' neighbourhood. Both of my sons have been attacked by people carrying knives. I am VERY pleased they were not, they could have attempted to retaliate with terrible consequences. In both instances they ran like the wind away from trouble - sensible boys imo.

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Porridge
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# 15405

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Wasn't it you who just raised the idea by suggesting that when Martin called Zimmerman a "white-assed cracker" he was demonstrating, not his own racism, but that he saw Zimmerman as a racist and so was even more justified in attacking Zimmerman? I find that wildly far fetched. [/QB]

I find it far-fetched, too. Perhaps you could point out where I stated that Martin was justified in attacking Zimmerman.

In point of fact, I think each party to this tragedy made unjustifiable assumptions about the other party, and each party performed actions that far exceeded what the situation called for.

--------------------
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Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
In point of fact, I think each party to this tragedy made unjustifiable assumptions about the other party, and each party performed actions that far exceeded what the situation called for.

Poor word choice. Whether the assumptions were justifiable is up for debate (and has been for 15 pages).

I should have said the assumptions were unsupported. Zimmerman had no evidence that Martin was a burglar; Martin had no evidence that Zimmerman was racist or white.

[ 30. July 2013, 15:33: Message edited by: Porridge ]

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Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Killing people for being black certainly is a crime. Insulting people for being black is too.

Huh? Insulting people for any reason is not generally a crime in the US. There's this little thing called "free speech" -- you might have heard of it.

There are situations where insulting someone for being black is criminal -- at work, for example, because racial harassment in the workplace is against the law. But it is not illegal for one person not acting in a public capacity to insult another on the street.

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Because carrying guns/knives/any kind of weapons can so easily lead to just that in the heat of an adrenaline fear filled moment - especially one stoked by the many imaginings of a vigilante mentality.

No, there remains a SIGNIFICANT difference between providing for self-defence in the event that your suspicions prove to be true and the suspect attacks you and carrying a weapon in order to kill the suspect.
No difference whatever to the person who ends up dead because of it.
This is the perfect illustration of the knee-jerk 'somebody died and I don't like it so there must be a crime' response that I have been commenting on regularly throughout the thread. Including in my last response to you.

A criminal trial is about the degree of responsibility. The fact that someone died is a given fact. Often, who killed them is ALSO a given fact. WE STILL HAVE A TRIAL because this doesn't automatically lead to a criminal conviction. I mean, how more obvious can it be? This case illustrates it, for goodness sake.

Of course it makes no difference to the person who is dead. But I'm sorry, the criminal justice system is not about the victim, and trying to make it into a place to make victims or the families of victims feel good is a recipe for injustice and is frankly one of the things wrong with popular perceptions of the legal system.

If you want to move to a system of 'a person is dead and someone has to pay' then we can do that, but be prepared for the consequences.

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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And yes, I realise you didnt say crime in the post quoted. You said it both before and after, in a way that illustrates you throw the word 'crime' around to mean 'bad thing I don't like'.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Wasn't it you who just raised the idea by suggesting that when Martin called Zimmerman a "white-assed cracker" he was demonstrating, not his own racism, but that he saw Zimmerman as a racist and so was even more justified in attacking Zimmerman? I find that wildly far fetched.

I find it far-fetched, too. Perhaps you could point out where I stated that Martin was justified in attacking Zimmerman.


Porridge quote: "It's also about whether a black person in such a context might reasonably perceive racism in a white person's words or actions even if none might be intended. This is also part of the problem. Recall the "cracker" comment by Martin, a term traditionally used by blacks about whites who are seen as racists."

It sounded to me like you were saying the use of the cracker word meant Martin must have thought Zimmerman was a racist -- based on nothing but his skin color -- and so he "might reasonably perceive racism." If not that then what?

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I do agree that it is the equivalent of the "n" word when directed at a white by an African American

The hell it is. That one feels the need to use a substitute for one and not the other is indicative of the this.
It might also be indicative of the fact that people lose careers for saying one and not much happens for saying the other. Ask Paula Deen about it.
------------------------

As to Orfeo's point, I too, have noticed the same things said over and over since the case started:

If Zimmerman had stayed home a child would still be alive!
An innocent child killed on his way home with candy!
A child is dead!
His parents are devastated!
Where is the justice?


All of those things could be said if a child ran into the street in front of a car. Not every death requires the death of another, even when the death is intentional.

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

If you want to move to a system of 'a person is dead and someone has to pay' then we can do that, but be prepared for the consequences.

Can we declare Zimmerman's gun deodand at the same time?
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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
Twilight: As to Orfeo's point, I too, have noticed the same things said over and over since the case started:

If Zimmerman had stayed home a child would still be alive!
An innocent child killed on his way home with candy!
A child is dead!
His parents are devastated!
Where is the justice?


All of those things could be said if a child ran into the street in front of a car.

This depends very much on whether the driver tried to avoid hitting the child.

--------------------
I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Porridge
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# 15405

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Wasn't it you who just raised the idea by suggesting that when Martin called Zimmerman a "white-assed cracker" he was demonstrating, not his own racism, but that he saw Zimmerman as a racist and so was even more justified in attacking Zimmerman? I find that wildly far fetched.

I find it far-fetched, too. Perhaps you could point out where I stated that Martin was justified in attacking Zimmerman.


Porridge quote: "It's also about whether a black person in such a context might reasonably perceive racism in a white person's words or actions even if none might be intended. This is also part of the problem. Recall the "cracker" comment by Martin, a term traditionally used by blacks about whites who are seen as racists."

It sounded to me like you were saying the use of the cracker word meant Martin must have thought Zimmerman was a racist -- based on nothing but his skin color -- and so he "might reasonably perceive racism." If not that then what?

Alas, I failed Mind-Reading 101, and (also alas) I am guilty (like most of us on this thread) of speculating about things I don't actually know.

All I was trying to raise here was the possibility -- as happened in the story I shared on this thread about being accused of racism by a former staffer -- that, in a context (US culture) where widespread racism is known to have existed for centuries, and where evidence of racism continues occasionally to crop up, it's understandable and unsurprising if Person A of one race interprets other-race Person B's words/actions as racist. Further, this could happen even in the complete absence of any consciously racist intent by Person B.

Of course I don't know what Martin thought. To me, the "white-ass cracker" remark sounds like he thought Zimmerman was white. To me, it also sounds very hostile. It might even suggest that Martin, at 17, approaching legal adulthood and beginning to interact more with the world outside his school and family, might have encountered racism on any number of previous occasions -- but that's sheer speculation.

If he had, though, he might be angry. He might lash out at a "white" stranger who seemed to be following him. Does any of this justify a physical attack? Only if, before the attack, Martin saw Zimmerman's gun handled in a way which suggested that Z might shoot M, and M's attack was an effort at self-defense. But that is simply more speculation.

Are/were either of these people overtly racist? I think it's possible; I can't say yes or no for sure. Are/were they unconsciously racist? I think it's possible; I can't say yes or no for sure. Did racism play any actual role in this death? I think it's possible; I can't say yes or no for sure.

What I am pretty sure of, though, is that the US's long history of racism has played a substantial role in how this case, and the jury's verdict, was received by the general public.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Twilight: As to Orfeo's point, I too, have noticed the same things said over and over since the case started:

If Zimmerman had stayed home a child would still be alive!
An innocent child killed on his way home with candy!
A child is dead!
His parents are devastated!
Where is the justice?


All of those things could be said if a child ran into the street in front of a car.

This depends very much on whether the driver tried to avoid hitting the child.
No it doesn't. The but-for causation gets satisfied either way. But for the driver leaving home, the child wouldn't have been hit.

This is precisely why this kind of causation argument is so useless. But for the American Revolution causing the British to use Australia as a penal colony, I wouldn't be sitting here in Hawaii typing on this message board.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I do agree that it is the equivalent of the "n" word when directed at a white by an African American

The hell it is. That one feels the need to use a substitute for one and not the other is indicative of the this.
It might also be indicative of the fact that people lose careers for saying one and not much happens for saying the other. Ask Paula Deen about it.
I meant what I posted, but I let anger control my response and I should not. I do not wish to play racist word comparison. Racism is wrong, no matter the direction.

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Hallellou, hallellou

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Gwai
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# 11076

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Well said, Porridge! That's a pretty good summation of a lot of the things I've been thinking and trying to say as I've been reading and posting this thread.

--------------------
A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
orfeo: This is precisely why this kind of causation argument is so useless.
I don't believe much in causation argument, but I like the 'should have done anything reasonable to avoid' clause in the Dutch self-defence law.

Sticking with the example for a moment, if a driver hits a child, leaving his house in his car doesn't fall under 'doing anything reasonable to avoid'. Refraining from playing a cat-and-mouse game in his car with a kid does fall under 'doing anything reasonable to avoid'.

--------------------
I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
Sticking with the example for a moment, if a driver hits a child, leaving his house in his car doesn't fall under 'doing anything reasonable to avoid'. Refraining from playing a cat-and-mouse game in his car with a kid does fall under 'doing anything reasonable to avoid'.

The key thing for me is whether it's down to the prosecution to prove that the driver intended to hit the child, or whether it's down to the defence to prove that he'd done everything reasonable to avoid doing so. Do you assume innocence until guilt is proved, or do you assume guilt until innocence is proved?

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
Marvin the Martian: The key thing for me is whether it's down to the prosecution to prove that the driver intended to hit the child, or whether it's down to the defence to prove that he'd done everything reasonable to avoid doing so. Do you assume innocence until guilt is proved, or do you assume guilt until innocence is proved?
It isn't about intent: it's about having done everything within reason to avoid a dangerous situation.

In Zimmerman's case, it would be very easy to prove that he didn't do everything within reason to avoid a confrontation, becasue he didn't heed the police officer's advice to stay away. So, under Dutch law he would be guilty.

--------------------
I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
It isn't about intent: it's about having done everything within reason to avoid a dangerous situation.

It's about whether you have a presumption of innocence or not. Having to prove that you've done everything reasonable to avoid a dangerous situation looks an awful lot like a presumption of guilt to me.

Not to mention that a legal requirement to avoid dangerous situations is effectively a criminals' charter. No police in the immediate vicinity? Then go for it - nobody else is allowed to stop you!

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
Marvin the Martian: Having to prove that you've done everything reasonable to avoid a dangerous situation looks an awful lot like a presumption of guilt to me.
In this case, Zimmerman wouldn't have to prove that he'd done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation. The burden can be on the prosecution: it's easy for them to prove that he didn't.

quote:
Marvin the Martian: Not to mention that a legal requirement to avoid dangerous situations is effectively a criminals' charter. No police in the immediate vicinity? Then go for it - nobody else is allowed to stop you!
For the umpteenth time, people can still try to stop the criminal, within limits (these limits exist in the UK too). The only thing is: they can't claim self-defence if they kill the criminal in trying to stop him, much less if they already brought a weapon.

--------------------
I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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goperryrevs
Shipmtae
# 13504

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
becasue he didn't heed the police officer's advice to stay away

I still think advice is too strong a word (even though it's weaker than the "dispatcher told him to stay in the car" interpretations). As other posters have described, the dispatchers are explicitly told not to advise callers, so as not to put themselves in the position where they could be sued.

I don't think it's unreasonable that Zimmerman interpreted the conversation (and here's the transcript again)

Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Zimmerman: "Yeah"
Dispatcher: "OK, we don't need you to do that."
Zimmerman: "OK"

in a way that, although it wasn't required that he followed Martin, that he was doing the police a favour by doing so. If I knew a friend needed something from the shops, and I was on the phone saying that I could pick it up for them, them saying "I don't need you to do that" probably wouldn't mean "Don't do it", but more like "Don't put yourself out".

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LeRoc

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quote:
goperryrevs: I still think advice is too strong a word (even though it's weaker than the "dispatcher told him to stay in the car" interpretations).
It doesn't matter much how you call it; Zimmerman was explicitly offered a way out of this situation. Under jurisdictions that only accept self-defence claims if you've taken a reasonable effort to avoid the confrontation, this would be enough.

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goperryrevs
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
It doesn't matter much how you call it; Zimmerman was explicitly offered a way out of this situation. Under jurisdictions that only accept self-defence claims if you've taken a reasonable effort to avoid the confrontation, this would be enough.

Sure, but as we've gone over already those jurisdictions are ones where vigilantism isn't ingrained in the culture, and it's illegal to carry weapons.

So, trying to transplant the Zimmerman case into an alien culture is ultimately a futile exercise, and unhelpful in that it totally ignores the US context.

Which is why the problem is US law and culture, and not Zimmerman. He just did the same as thousands of other Americans would have done, and would have felt morally and been legally entitled to do.

Dealing with the issue by wanting to change self-defence laws but ignoring gun laws and vigilantism, to me, is like straining the gnat but ignoring the camel.

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LeRoc

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quote:
goperryrevs: Which is why the problem is US law and culture
With this part I completely agree.

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LeRoc

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quote:
goperryrevs: Dealing with the issue by wanting to change self-defence laws but ignoring gun laws and vigilantism, to me, is like straining the gnat but ignoring the camel.
Oh, I have as much issue with the gun laws (if not more) than with the self-defence laws. The fact that I singled one of these aspects out on this thread doesn't mean that I don't have issue with the other.

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goperryrevs
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Fair do's.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
goperryrevs: I still think advice is too strong a word (even though it's weaker than the "dispatcher told him to stay in the car" interpretations).
It doesn't matter much how you call it; Zimmerman was explicitly offered a way out of this situation. Under jurisdictions that only accept self-defence claims if you've taken a reasonable effort to avoid the confrontation, this would be enough.
Saying he was offered a way out of this situation makes a lot of presumptions about the situation he was in. You can't use hindsight to say it was clear the situation was going to end in a physical confrontation!!

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LeRoc

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quote:
orfeo: Saying he was offered a way out of this situation makes a lot of presumptions about the situation he was in. You can't use hindsight to say it was clear the situation was going to end in a physical confrontation!!
No, but under a saner self-defence law (for which I take the Dutch law as an example) you can only claim self-defence if you've done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation. Zimmerman was offered a way to avoid a confrontation, and he didn't take it.

Under a saner gun law, bringing a weapon with you also means that you're already preparing for the possibility of a physical confrontation.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
No, but under a saner self-defence law (for which I take the Dutch law as an example) you can only claim self-defence if you've done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation. Zimmerman was offered a way to avoid a confrontation, and he didn't take it.

Unmitigated nonsense. At the point to which you refer (the conversation between Z and the 911 dispatcher), there was no "situation" and no "confrontation". Following someone from a distance of tens of yards (which Z must have been doing, given that he lost sight of M) is not confrontational. It might be unnerving and/or scary, but it is not confrontational.
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LeRoc

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quote:
Leorning Cniht: Following someone from a distance of tens of yards (which Z must have been doing, given that he lost sight of M) is not confrontational. It might be unnerving and/or scary, but it is not confrontational.
I'm sure that under some jurisdictions, it will count as 'not having done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I'm sure that under some jurisdictions, it will count as 'not having done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

By which logic, a man walking down the street who is attacked by a mugger and defends himself is likewise guilty of 'not having done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation' because he should have taken a cab - he should expect that if he walks down these streets looking like he might have valuables that he's going to be attacked.
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LeRoc

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quote:
Leorning Cniht: By which logic, a man walking down the street who is attacked by a mugger and defends himself is likewise guilty of 'not having done everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation' because he should have taken a cab - he should expect that if he walks down these streets looking like he might have valuables that he's going to be attacked.
No, this doesn't fall under reasonable.

Avoiding to walk on the street because you might be attacked doesn't fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

Avoiding to look for a person when a policeman already has suggested that you shouldn't does fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation', especially if you bring a weapon which shows that you're prepared for a confrontation.

This isn't rocket science.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:

Avoiding to walk on the street because you might be attacked doesn't fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

OK, good - we agree.

quote:

Avoiding to look for a person when a policeman already has suggested that you shouldn't does fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation',

We have had the discussion about whether the 911 dispatcher's comments were a veiled instruction to stop, or a standard liability-evading device, or what. I don't think it's relevant.

See, in the example of the man walking down the street, he may well have been advised by a policeman that he shouldn't walk through that part of town wearing nice clothes, because he'll probably be attacked.

To me, that is sensible public safety advice, along the lines of "keep your windows locked and don't leave bags on display in your parked car." All sensible advice, but if I do leave my window open, or my jacket on the passenger's seat in my car, I am not in any sense responsible for causing a thief to break in.

quote:

This isn't rocket science.

No, it isn't, but we seem to be using different units anyway.
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LeRoc

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(Once again, I'm well aware that Dutch law isn't valid in Florida, I'm only using it as an example because I think legislation was a big part of the problem here, and to stress this I'm giving an exemple of a different legislation. And oh yeah, IANAL.)

quote:
Leorning Cniht: See, in the example of the man walking down the street, he may well have been advised by a policeman that he shouldn't walk through that part of town wearing nice clothes, because he'll probably be attacked.
I guess if he did walk through this part of town anyway and was attacked, and his only resort was to kill his attacker, he would be able to claim self-defence.

I think that a Dutch judge would consider that if you do something to prevent a crime beyond calling the police, you are already entering a situation with potential risk, for yourself, for your suspect and for the bystanders. This doesn't fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'. Worse if you bring a weapon (even if it's only a brick) because this indicates that you're aware of the risk.

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Porridge
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It might at this point be useful to recall that both Z and M were walking around inside a "gated community" in which Z lived and M was visiting.

There is a reasonable expectation that the "gate" excludes those with no business to be there.

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Golden Key
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Yes, I've been wondering how "gated" it really was.

I visited a gated community, once. There was a gate, and a guard, and you had to check in. (Both day and night.)

Presumably, the gate was intended to be staffed all the time. But would there have been someone to cover breaks?

These days, I imagine residents have card keys to use at the gate. But having a guard would make people *feel* safer, at least.

Somehow, though, there'd been a series of burglaries in Z's gated community. So the burglars either found a way in, or were from inside.

(Just thinking out loud.)

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Yes, I've been wondering how "gated" it really was.

Here is the community on google maps. You can see actual gates across the entrances on Twin Trees road to the North and East, but there is easy pedestrian access across the grass to the North West from Oregon Ave, cutting between buildings on to Retreat View Circle. This is probably the route that Martin took to get back from the 7-11.

So it's "gated" in the sense that there is some impediment to a strange car getting in, but no impediment to a strange person.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I think that a Dutch judge would consider that if you do something to prevent a crime beyond calling the police, you are already entering a situation with potential risk, for yourself, for your suspect and for the bystanders. This doesn't fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

So basically, we shouldn't ever intervene to prevent a crime because if we do and something goes wrong we'll be convicted as murderers and sent to prison for a long time?

Still looks like a criminal's charter to me.

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LeRoc

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quote:
Marvin the Martian: So basically, we shouldn't ever intervene to prevent a crime because if we do and something goes wrong we'll be convicted as murderers and sent to prison for a long time?

Still looks like a criminal's charter to me.

You are starting to sound like a broken record on this one. Shall I just tape my answer too?

Trying to prevent a crime is still allowed (with limits). But if you end up killing the criminal you can't claim self-defence anymore, because it it you who initiated a potentially dangerous situation.

(Besides, the criminal didn't get away with anything in the example you gave here. In fact, he ended up dead.)

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I think that a Dutch judge would consider that if you do something to prevent a crime beyond calling the police, you are already entering a situation with potential risk, for yourself, for your suspect and for the bystanders. This doesn't fall under 'doing everything reasonable to avoid a confrontation'.

So basically, we shouldn't ever intervene to prevent a crime because if we do and something goes wrong we'll be convicted as murderers and sent to prison for a long time?

Still looks like a criminal's charter to me.

While I can see the logic of a "leave it to the professionals" approach to crimes purely against (insured) property, those aren't the only sorts of crime. Burglars usually limit themselves to filling their pockets with your grandmother's jewellery and a few DVDs, but sometimes they also assault or rape.

Is it right to risk a confrontation to prevent a mugging? A sexual assault? A murder? And even if you* think it wrong, or unwise, to do so, is it really your position that someone who rushes in to prevent a gang rape, and when one of the attackers turns on him, hits back, should be guilty of murder and actually go to prison for most of his life if the would-be rapist dies?

I think there probably are occasions when letting some trivial crime go is the sensible thing to do because it isn't worth anyone getting hurt over. I'm not going to try to tackle someone I see leaping the ticket barrier, for example. But if someone braver or stronger than I am did challenge that, and the fare dodger tried to hit her, I certainly wouldn't think the challenger had lost her right of self-defence as a result. And for any crime more serious that fare-dodging, intervention is surely even more justified and appropriate.


(* to LeRoc - I'm broadly agreeing with Marvin)

[ 02. August 2013, 13:22: Message edited by: Eliab ]

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LeRoc

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quote:
Eliab: And even if you* think it wrong, or unwise, to do so, is it really your position that someone who rushes in to prevent a gang rape, and when one of the attackers turns on him, hits back, should be guilty of murder and actually go to prison for most of his life if the would-be rapist dies?
The judge might lower the punishment because of the circumstances, but he would be guilty. Probably more so if the would-be rapist turned out to be innocent.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Eliab: And even if you* think it wrong, or unwise, to do so, is it really your position that someone who rushes in to prevent a gang rape, and when one of the attackers turns on him, hits back, should be guilty of murder and actually go to prison for most of his life if the would-be rapist dies?
The judge might lower the punishment because of the circumstances, but he would be guilty. Probably more so if the would-be rapist turned out to be innocent.
I find that more shocking that Zimmerman's acquittal.

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LeRoc

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quote:
Eliab: I find that more shocking that Zimmerman's acquittal.
You have a right to find that.

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