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In era of crap, Zimmerman case lurks in swamp of racism

A white neighbourhood protector shoots an unarmed black man through nothing but institutional fear. The fight against racism is so far from done as to be dispiriting to those fighting.

When you try and think of a term to describe the current period in the United States and the United Kingdom — not in lalalaland Australia, stand down there — one gropes for words. “Stagnation” a la the ’70s? The “downturn”? I suspect that “crapiness” probably covers it. Crapness? Craposity? This era will come to be known as the crap era. There has been no huge victory for the forces of enlightenment and progress, but no huge defeat either. Just a slow grinding backwards, a reminder of how slowly things shift.

Thus the UK government is a bunch of Eton messes, blithering numpties, whose initial election and continued support bewilders — until you look at the Labour Party then and now. Whatever danger they were under of getting tossed in 2015 has been mitigated by the vicious scapegoating brought in by Lynton “Light ‘em” Crosby. Resistance there has been, from groups like UK Uncut and the new People’s Assembly, but getting it fired up has been like lighting a fire with damp newspaper … on the moors … with bronchitis.

Meanwhile in the US, the Obama second term first appeared to be devoid of a major plan, and then it became clear that the major plan had been to continue the process by which the Empire consumed the Republic by means of a total surveillance apparatus and global drone wars. Only the fact that the Republican Party was some sort of klown-kar disaster zone gave the Democrats an aura of authority. The recovery has not yet fully fired up, and there was “sequester” gridlock, which was a way for the Republicans to run down an already shredded social state.

Then, 48 hours ago, the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case reminded everyone that the entire ramshackle non-system of American justice is built above a yet-to-be-drained swamp of racism. Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighbourhood watch captain of a Florida gated community — commentators usually note that it is a “multiracial” one — bailed up Martin, a 17-year-old black kid, visiting with family there. Like many gated communities, Twin Lakes was about three times as fearful as a normal suburb, above and beyond standard American fear. As watch captain Zimmerman had phoned the cops nearly 50 times over the previous 18 months. Eventually they advised him to get a gun, even though NW volunteers aren’t meant to pack heat. Several weeks after a series of break-ins, some of them by young black men, Zimmerman spotted Martin jogging — in possession of black skin, as they say — and called the cops. They told him not to give chase. He gave chase.

There was an altercation, the details of which remain murky, and mid-struggle Zimmerman pulled his gun and shot Martin dead. He was released by the cops without charge six hours after police attended. In a state with “stand your ground” laws — by which people threatened by crime are not required to retreat rather than opening fire — they concluded it was a case of clear self-defence. There was no ground to stand of course, and that principle would eventually not be used in Zimmerman’s defence. Only a sustained campaign by Martin’s parents had the case reopened. Local prosecutors who hadn’t pursued the case initially then ran with a “murder” charge, which required a proof of intent to kill. A six-person jury — all female, white and mixed race — acquitted Zimmerman and rejected an alternative manslaughter charge, and then all hell broke loose.

Its root problem is mutual fear and mistrust — frequently but not exclusively race-based — but the only ways of dealing with it that are available to them makes things worse.”

The case became a rallying point for the US Right, which regarded the reopened prosecution as a case of political correctness and mob pressure. Over the months from indictment to trial, rhetoric has ramped up, from political virulence to outright and vile racism about young black men. For most of the black community, and a fair few others as well, it was a racist killing by a man gripped with the racial hatred and fear that is part of the contemporary US. And for most in between, it was bewildering that an armed man could shoot dead an unarmed man, after running him down, defend himself (in part) on a “stand your ground” law, and not be guilty of anything.

Had it been two white guys, the case would be alarming enough, a measure of the anarchy created when a right to bear arms comes up against a society so divided and afeared of itself that a safe public space is essentially dissolved. The effect of Florida’s gun laws — which combine concealed carry permits with “stand your ground” — is that you have to be armed to have basic parity. Had Martin had a gun, the line goes, there would have been a stand-off, and Zimmerman would have backed away.

Quite aside from being a dismal view of the good society — where a 7-Eleven run requires lethal force — Martin could not legally have owned a gun. One of the few laws Florida has is that you have to be 18 to carry a gun. Given that 16- to 18-year-olds are those whom fear-strangled Americans most fear, that makes it open season on young men of any colour. But of course no one believes a young black man could use concealed carry or “stand your ground” laws with anything approaching fair treatment. Had an 18-year-old Martin carried a gun, he would have been spread-eagled over a cop car hood before you could say Jim Crow. The laws as they stand, in US culture as it is, have only one message for black men: you should die.

Some have suggested prosecutors — who wanted either a spectacular win or a loss that could then be blamed on society as a whole — could have got a manslaughter conviction, galling as that would be — given Zimmerman had chased after Martin and created the confrontation. That was confirmed to some degree by juror “B37”, who said the jury had initially been split. It was also deconfirmed by the same juror, an interview with whom revealed her to be utterly addled in her reasoning about the trial — some vague guff about them being both to blame — with the strong suspicion that she saw a white-Hispanic guy with a gun and an unarmed black kid as a fair fight.

The Martin case illustrates the terrible dilemma the US faces. Its root problem is mutual fear and mistrust — frequently but not exclusively race-based — but the only available ways of dealing with it make things worse. Had the Martin case occurred in 1963, it would be a multimedia page in a school textbook, illustrating the terrible legacy America was moving away from. To find it still occurring in the detritus of 2010s America, gated communities and wannabee cops, middle-class social fraying and squawk box media, is immensely depressing, because there is no promised land over the horizon, simply the long slog of making things less worse, or stopping them getting worse as fast as they otherwise would.

It is deeply dispiriting, and even yesterday’s victory on the Senate filibuster — finally limited in scope, allowing the Obama administration to get some of its appointments made — makes little compensation. An era of crapness indeed.

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  • 1
    Anon
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    While there are indeed many disturbing facets about the case (and its finding), it seems highly convenient that Zimmerman is referred to here as ‘white’. Why? Because statistics bear out that African-American AND Hispanic people tend to get a rough deal with the justice system. The fact that Zimmerman himself belongs to a persecuted minority kind of ruins the narrative somewhat.

  • 2
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    At least in some contexts Hispanics refer to themselves as ‘white Hispanic’.

  • 3
    Sarah H.
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article. The main cause of consternation for me was that the jury said it was OK to kill someone because you were scared. That’s not what self defence is! If they believed Zimmerman’s varied stories about his intent at the time of pulling the trigger, they could have returned an alternative verdict of manslaughter.

    To acquit him entirely is just bewildering.

  • 4
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s impossible to determine from this distance whether the jury got it right or wrong. Unless you were there to hear all the evidence the it is merely speculation and probably some bias. What is concerning however is the fact that Z could legally carry a gun, chase someone, and then shoot them. It may have been justified self defence, but I’d wager that Z would not have chased down M without his gun & therefore the event would never have happened. One thing GWH got right was gun control legislation in Aust & I thank him for that.

  • 5
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Arguably the jury was right, and the law itself is the travesty. The most glaring problem would be that one can feel “threatened”, enter into a confrontation, and only then produce a concealed weapon, and discharge it. Really as soon as a weapon is produced, any right to feel threatened should be voided. ie produce the weapon early, or not at all.

  • 6
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I wonder which came first, the fear or the guns?

  • 7
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    hispanic’ is a cross-category. you can be white-hispanic or, less often, black hispanic. but the racial categories are really social categories. a young black man is seen by a white-dominated community in a state with a racist history as an ‘other’, in the way that a (half)-hispanic man isn’t.

  • 8
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    What confounds me in stand-off situations (including in Oz when police have been accused of over-reacting to a suspect) is that the option to wound - rather than kill - is not taken. If Martin had been shot in the hand/foot/leg he would still be alive today as the clear intention would’ve been to disable him rather than kill him outright.

    The gun culture has produced outstanding results - US citizens are more frightened than ever. They have the gun lobby and their politicians to thank.

  • 9
    It's Just Too Hard
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    with the strong suspicion that she saw a white-Hispanic guy with a gun and an unarmed black kid as a fair fight.”

    Is this statement the definition of an oxymoron? A white Hispanic Guy?..Zimmerman a white Hispanic? Ugghh?. Maybe Sephardic, but more than likely Ashkenazi.

    None of this has any bearing on the case, but I am just miffed at why the author is not dotting his I’s and crossing his T’s.

  • 10
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Racism is a cliche that hardly begins to describe what is happening in not just the US, but across the industrialized world.

    60-70 years of relentless social and economic deregulation, libertarian self indulgence, the fudging of consumer and civil liberty, and loss of moral compass, has consequences across the entire society, from boardrooms (See GFC) to skid row.

    The social commons has been laid waste and replaced by an agenda of production drivers and consumer responders that are so narrow, they hardly encapsulate more than a fraction of our humanity. The rest has just been lost in a consumer free for all, leaving unfettered whims and egos to rule the roost .

    The miracle is that the behavior we are witnessing as ‘normal’ isn’t worse than it is. And we Australians can thank our luck stars that we aren’t armed to the teeth like our American brothers and sisters.

    Guns give social dissolution that extra frisson and potential for horror stories…

  • 11
    Damien McBain
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    In Australia the use of force has to be “not disproportionate” (to the threat) and the self defender has to believe “on reasonable grounds” the threat exists. So potentially lethal force vs potentially lethal force is a defence. An 80yo in a wheelchair with a revolver vs Mike Tyson would be the only scenario where a gun vs an unarmed civilian could be considered “not disproportionate” force.

    The miscarriage of justice in this case makes me so angry, even more so in light of the other case in the US concerning Marissa Alexander, a black woman jailed for 20 years for having her life legitimately threatened but NOT killing (or even injuring) anyone.

    The US is truly losing, and some would say has already lost, its position of moral leadership in the world. Consider these cases of the establishment vs the stereotypes alongside such events as Iraq, Snodwden, WikiLeaks and others. I can’t be the only former US apologist to have had enough of their belligerent imperialism.

  • 12
    AR
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    There are a few implications arising from this - the obvious one being that if you get into a fight make sure you kill your opponent, because then you can claim that you believed your life was in danger and the other guy won’t be there to provide conflicting testimony. This could not happen in the UK/Ireland – as it is not sufficient to simply believe that your life was in danger.

  • 13
    Ian
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    @Anon (1),
    Which persecuted minority do you refer to?

  • 14
    Ian
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Zut,

    If he had merely been wounded he would be alive today to tell his side of the story. Just one of the reasons the vigilante would likely shoot to kill.

  • 15
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Thursday, 18 July 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Ian, you obviously have never shot a pistol. At thirty meters, you aim at the center of the target in the hope that you might just hit something, if luck is with you. And if the target is moving, you have to be a good shot to hit it at all.

  • 16
    oldskool
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Zut,
    The ability to hit someone with a pistol, purposely, in the arm/leg/shoulder is a Hollywood myth. You fire at the largest possible target (as Christopher Nagle points out) and hope to hit something.

    Which is exactly why hand guns should not be available as self defence weapons, as to use it correctly you are only ever aiming to kill your opponent.

  • 17
    Ian
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Christopher, I can’t remember if I have ever shot a pistol so I take your point. But was Z 30 meters away? If so he could not have been threatened by the 17 year old and his Skittles.

  • 18
    Ian
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Damien, You say; “The US is truly losing, and some would say has already lost, its position of moral leadership in the world.”

    You are so, so right and it has a whole lot of other countries following it down the path of complete moral bankruptcy. Just take those countries that have added support to its efforts to get their hands on Assange and Snowden and you can see how they seem to have a stranglehold on the so-called western democracies.

    Even if I could see no harm in our governments putting the Great Barrier Reef or other natural assets at risk or systematically attacking the welfare system or bowing to the demands of multinationals; even if I felt it was a good thing to treat asylum seekers like animals, I could not vote for them as long as they slavishly kow-towed to America’s wishes.

  • 19
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know at what range Z shot at his victim. But the thing with pistols is that they are very easy to ‘wave around’. You can shoot yourself or someone at your side really easily. They tend to be pointed rather than aimed in a lot of circumstances. And the short barrels mean that the bullets ‘wander’ off target trajectory after 20-30 meters. All those tight pattern hits in police target ranges on popular crime shows are baloney.

    The issue is not whether Z deliberately tried to kill his victim, so much as the fraught community security environment in which the act took place, the paranoia that comes with it and the fact that the carrying of small arms is ubiquitous, which enormously increases the potential threat threshhold and risk response decision making.

    Further, do communities of any ethnicity nearby where Z was working as a security volunteer have a propensity for violent street crime that is significantly higher than Z’s community, and do they have a propensity to export that crime into more settled and presumably more affluent adjacent communities? If that is the case, is a heightened fear of strangers of any skin color reasonable, particularly if they hide their faces under hoodies? I don’t know about anyone else, but I have an automatic suspicion of anyone who tries to hide or obscure his face in public places.

    I am not suggesting that Z might not have been way too trigger happy and that the law may well have been too indulgent with him. On the other hand, if his victim had been armed, was intent on doing violence and in an effort to be cautious and respectful of the lives of others, Z hesitated enough after challenging him, to allow the other guy to get a shot at him, maybe it would have been Z lying on the street kissing his arse goodbye.

    And that is the rub. A ridiculously over-armed civil society brings this kind of conundrum on itself.

  • 20
    minnamurra
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I would like to hear more of the implications of this case for Australia with it’s staggeringly high rate of incarceration of Aboriginal juveniles and men - and the increasingly high rates of deaths in custody. Have we conveniently forgotten the race hate deaths of Warren Braedon, Mr Ward and the man in the Todd River bed ? The difference between here and the US is one of scale, the black minority being a larger minority and so with more political clout.

  • 21
    Ian
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Christopher,

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Z stalked the victim and continued to do so even after the police had told him to desist.

    And who was the stronger of the two? And furthermore was Trayvon’s face hidden by the hoody or did, in fact the hoody signal to Z that this was an African American and so an obvious target for Z’s hate-filled mind.

    Whether you can shoot accurately with a pistol or not is a minor part of the evidence against the killer.

  • 22
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    It is very relevant. 50-60 years of consumerist social deregulation and libertarianism has been absolutely devastating to all social and existential infrastructures, but particularly cruel to ones that have been already weakened in some way. Australian indigenous communities have been ravaged by a world without moral boundaries. And the awful truth is that unless we change that, the horrible picture painted by ‘The Little Children are Sacred’ report will be what a lot of the rest of us will look like in twenty years. Indigenous society is a bellwether for the rest of us. Out of control.

  • 23
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Ian, I don’t know a lot of detail of the case, so I am just over-viewing the issues raised by the case rather than its specifics. But I think you are importing racism into this. If Z felt anything towards his victim, it was much more likely fear and paranoia than hate. And I would surmise that there was some basis for that.

    As Minnamurra points out, indigenous young men are ridiculously over-represented in Australian prisons because their community has a powerful propensity to mentor them very badly. All that racism stuff is as much as anything else, a disgraceful cover story/excuse paradigm for some (but by no means universal) very poor ‘community’ values and behaviors.

    If anything like that is going on in Afro-American communities, and then millions of guns are added into the mix, it shouldn’t be surprising that cases like this arise.

  • 24
    Dogs breakfast
    Posted Monday, 22 July 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    It’s hard to argue (yes, impossible in fact, but I’m trying to be reasonable) that a person running away from you is an existential threat.

    Crapness all round, in a land where justice is a game.

    While we don’t have the gun laws that bedevil USA, thank god, there are still plenty of areas where justice here is bought and sold, and how deep your pockets are is a greater factor than mere innocence or guilt.

    It’s hard to know in this case as there is so much difference of opinion about what happened, but if Z ran after him, I can’t see how he would be let free.

    I can’t even see that it has been established that TM was even committing any crime, other than perhaps running through a gated community.

    Surely we are much closer here to something defensible.

    I wonder which will bring about the downfall of western democracies quicker, the moribund political system or the inept justice system.

    Both are significant threats to the world as we know it.

  • 25
    Dogs breakfast
    Posted Monday, 22 July 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    BTW, thanks Guy. I haven’t been able to stomach the news headlines on this, which give no reporting other than the sensational headlines. TV is not made for this sort of reporting, where something longer than a 30 second piece is required.

  • 26
    Josh Nicol
    Posted Monday, 22 July 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Nice job distorting the facts.

    I find it interesting (not really) that you left out the fact that Zimmerman returned to his car, after which Martin appeared 4 minutes LATER and then assaulted Zimmerman. A witness then testified that Martin had Zimmerman mounted and was bashing his head into the ground, which resulted in Zimmerman defending himself by shooting Martin.

    It was made into a race trial because the US media and the liberal population love race wars. It makes them feel all high and mighty because they’re so progressive and accepting of different races. We cannot forget Obama’s little comment about how Treyvon would look like Obama’s son if he had one either. If that didn’t swing all the American population to cry guilty, then I don’t know what would.

  • 27
    Chris Williams
    Posted Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    RUNDLE: When you try and think of a term to describe the current period in the United States and the United Kingdom — not in lalalaland Australia, stand down there — one gropes for words. …I suspect that “crapiness” probably covers it. Crapness? Craposity? This era will come to be known as the crap era.

    RESPONSE: I do hope that one day this will be known as the crap era because hopefully the day will come when we can look back in amazement on a time when people claiming to be journalists could get away with running into print using as their sources what they heard someone else say or report when just a little bit of reading of official records would have shown that the mainstream media had led them up the garden path with sensationalist and often deliberately misleading pap designed to cater and even whip-up mob prejudices.

    RUNDLE: Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighbourhood watch captain of a Florida gated community — commentators usually note that it is a “multiracial” one —bailed up Martin, a 17-year-old black kid, visiting with family there.
    RESPONSE: This is by turns wrong, emotive, misleading and finally simply untrue, false. It really does qualify as ‘crapness’. That 25 bloggers – before Josh Nicol at no.26 who actually appears to know something about the case – can rush into print to express outrage is a rather sad reflection on the way in which people these days are so quick to be convinced of their righteous indignation and condemn an innocent man on the baiss of misinformed prejudice is bad enough – but that CRIKEY should write stories – which is is yet to retract which inflame such base responses and perpetrates such injustices is utterly disgraceful. My further responses will deal with each of Rundle’s egregious falsehoods and gross distortions and misrepresentations.

    RUNDLE: As watch captain Zimmerman had phoned the cops nearly 50 times over the previous 18 months.

    RESPONSE: Perhaps phoning the police once every nine days might seem a lot to Rundle but this might have had something to do with the spate of burglaries which Rundle himself acknowledges.

    RUNDLE: Zimmerman spotted Martin jogging — in possession of black skin, as they say —and called the cops.

    RESPONSE: Wrong. The idea that Martin’s colour led to profiling of him by Zimmerman is based on not just sensationalism but also patent lying by the US media – parroted here by Guy Rundle. The biggest daily TV Show, The Today Show on the biggest TV broadcast network, NBC, doctored Zimmerman’s emergency phone-call recording to make him appear racist. ON 27 MARCH 2012, the Today Show showed a graphic of the call as follows:
    ZIMMERMAN TO POLICE: “THIS GUY LOOKS LIKE HE’S UP TO NO GOOD…HE LOOKS BLACK.”
    However, what those three dots in the middle of the quote failed to reveal was that Zimmerman said he looks black in response to the question from the police which separated the two parts of that quote – the question being “is he white, black or Hispanic?”
    It should also be noted that Zimmerman also said to the police that he looked like “he’s on drugs or something” and in fact the autopsy on Martin did shown that he had THC, the potent drug found in marijuana in his system, at the time of the incident.

    RUNDLE: They told him not to give chase. He gave chase.

    RESPONSE: Wrong. Zimmerman had initially seen Martin walking slowly in the rain looking into the homes in his gated community – a community which is not contrary to popular mythology a white enclave. Zimmerman was under the impression that Martin could be one of the burglars who was plaguing that neighbourhood. He called a police operator. The operator asked Zimmerman to tell him what else Martin might be doing. During this conversation Martin apparently spotted Zimmerman watching him from his car, walked over toward Zimmerman’s vehicle and reached into his waistband, pretending to have a gun to intimidate Zimmerman. Martin then ran down the street and between a row of buildings.
    Zimmerman drove after Martin as far as he could and then got out of his vehicle to try to spot where Martin had run to and to get an address for the police so that they would know where to meet him in the gated community. When the police operator – no doubt conscious of the danger - suggested that Zimmerman did “not have to do that”. Zimmerman replied “OK” and went back to his car. Zimmerman did not at this point know where Martin was. Martin had disappeared between two rows of buildings so it is inaccurate to say “gave chase” or was even following Martin, since at this point, Zimmerman didn’t even know where he was.

    RUNDLE: There was an altercation, the details of which remain murky, and mid-struggle Zimmerman pulled his gun and shot Martin dead.

    RESPONSE: Rubbish – the details are not ‘murky’ and the word ‘struggle’ gives the impression that it was a wrestling match. A professional pathologist, brought in by the Legal defence, testified that there were at least six visible impact injuries to Zimmerman’s head from the beating by Martin, who was considerably taller and stronger than Zimmerman. He was not the little 12 year old in the photos in the US – and Australian – media. Apart from the fatal gunshot wound, Martin had no fighting injuries except for scuffs on his knuckles from hitting Zimmerman.

    RUNDLE: [Zimmerman] was released by the cops without charge six hours after police attended.
    RESPONSE: He was released because not only did his severe wounds match his testimony to the police about self-defence, he also successfully passed a polygraph test.

    RUNDLE: Martin could not legally have owned a gun.

    RESPONSE: Maybe so but the evidence of Martin’s mobile phone, Facebook and Twitter accounts show that he had previously sold a gun that had been illegally in his possession. These accounts also show that he had long ago grown past the cute boy in the photo and had been involved in some very unsavoury crimes about which he appears very proud – largely for never being caught or charged. The charming ‘little’ boy was now – now well over six feet – was styling himself on his Twitter account @No_Limit_Nigga. His Facebook account also shows him styling himself in dress and posers in the same style as the hideously violent followers of the Black Hebrew religious cult called Nation of Yahweh, an anti-White cult that specializes in cutting off the body parts of its victims. And one which not one month later in the same neighbourhood, brutally bashed in the head of local furniture store owner Mark Slavin, beating him into a coma from which he is yet to recover and disfiguring him so horribly that his father says he is still unrecognisable, some 18 months after the attack. Zimmerman can be glad that Martin apparently abandoned – or to be gullibly fair, didn’t find – the metal ‘slim-jim’ house-breaking tool that police found at the scene in bushes near the houses. Otherwise Zimmerman might never had had the chance to fire his gun in self-defence.

    The Facebook picture of him wearing the clothes-style and striking the same gangster rap pose as the perpetrators of the attack on Slavin, appears to be of Martin when he was perhaps around 14 or 15. The violence of his actions in bashing Zimmerman suggest he had graduated from merely posing to emulating the style of these vicious thugs. Note the attackers of Slavin, Yahaziel Israel and Julius Bender were barely older than Martin being 18 and 19 years old respectively.

    RUNDLE: Of course no one believes a young black man could use concealed carry or “stand your ground” laws with anything approaching fair treatment. Had an 18-year-old Martin carried a gun, he would have been spread-eagled over a cop car hood before you could say Jim Crow. The laws as they stand, in US culture as it is, have only one message for black men: you should die.

    RESPONSE: Total and utter Crapology. Only someone who truly does live in “LALALALAND” and gets most of their information about the US from Quentin Tarantino movies could make such an hysterically ridiculous white tokenistic comment.
    Of course Rundle might also just be listening to the US President when he says appalling things like the fact that black men like him are subjected to the terrible stigma of having people lock their car doors as they approach near people seated in parked vehicles. Or the equally absurd claim from the Op-Ed column the NY Times called “The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin” by Charles M. Blow published on March 16, 2012 – still linked to the Crikey website – in which he says that: “as the father of two black teenage boys, [the Zimmerman/ martin] case hits close to home. This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world… That is the burden of black boys in America and the people that love them: running the risk of being descended upon in the dark and caught in the cross-hairs of someone who crosses the line.

    Yet what do black boys - and girls - really fear in today’s America. What they have to fear – along with the white boys, and girls – are the black boys and men who are overwhelmingly responsible for perpetrating most violent crime in the US. Crime figures show that 89 percent of cross race crimes in America are actually Black against White, not White against Black. Perhaps those people locking their car doors having something more than racism behind their actions when one considers that in the US, one is 139 times more likely to be killed by a black person that a white one.

    Mr Obama is uninterested in these statistics however, saying that he could have been Trayvon Martin – one is tempted to say only if he was an extremely violent teenager with a documented record of bragging about serious crimes and a drug habit. But these fearful crimes of homicide and rape and mutilation are all but totally censored of their racial content in the US and some like the attack on Slavin go virtually unreported! Just try finding a story on the Slavin bashing – the only reporting appears to have been in Jacksonville where Slavin’s father lives (See the Orland Sentinel of 23 May 2012).

    The US media has admitted on occasions that it censors the racial profile of black criminals. The Los Angeles Times for instance issued an official statement in 2007 that the standard media practice in America is to censors the race of minority crime perpetrators. “Racial information was once routinely included in news stories about crimes, but in recent decades, newspapers and other media outlets stopped mentioning suspects’ or victims’ race or ethnicity because of public criticism. Newspapers came to embrace the idea that such information is irrelevant to the reporting of crimes, and may unfairly stigmatize racial groups.” (June 6, 2007 LA Times official statement)

    Likewise investigative reporter Kyle Rogers noted that Associated Press, the largest provider of news stories in the US (and the world) writing on 9 October 9, 2011 reported: “Tom Kent, deputy managing editor for standards and production at The Associated Press recently admitted that the AP censors black crime.” Yet the same Associated Press that admits censoring black crime repeatedly ran the false racial classification of Zimmerman as “White” and that a “Black teenager was shot by “White man.”

    The Chicago Tribune senior vice-president and editor Gerould Kern admitted his paper’s policy of censoring the race of black criminals. The admission came after a series of brutally motivated black mob attacks against Whites in Chicago in which the newspaper covered up the race of a mob that attacked White people.

    In March of 2011, 28 black males were sought in the gang rape of an 11 year old Mexican girl in Cleveland, Texas. The sexual attacks were actually filmed on some of the rapists’ cell phones. To the complete truth you have to go a British paper, The Daily Mail.

    Phillip Corbett , associate manager of the New York Times confessed to censoring the fact the race of the 18 men charged and the 10 more (a total of 28 black males) who were sought for the rape of an eleven year old Mexican girl. Black Panther Quanell X held a rally blaming the arrests on White racism and blamed the 11 year girl for her own rape. The NY Times also labelled the 100 Blacks at the rally as “Texans.”

    RUNDLE: Some have suggested prosecutors — who wanted either a spectacular win or a loss that could then be blamed on society as a whole — could have got a manslaughter conviction, galling as that would be — given Zimmerman had chased after Martin and created the confrontation.

    RESPONSE: You are repeating the same untruth and now compounding it with the false accusation that Zimmerman started it! Where is your evidence? You have none because this is not what happened!

    RUNDLE: That was confirmed to some degree by juror “B37”, who said the jury had initially been split.

    RESPONSE: She did nothing of the sort. Her post trial media celebrity interview might have demonstrated that she lacked the courage to stand firmly by the decision she supported as a member of the jury swearing before a judge but nothing she said contradicted the strong evidence that Zimmerman had NOT “chased after Martin” or “created the confrontation”. You are making things up!

    RUNDLE: It was also de-confirmed by the same juror, an interview with whom revealed her to be utterly addled in her reasoning about the trial — some vague guff about them being both to blame — with the strong suspicion that she saw a white-Hispanic guy with a gun and an unarmed black kid as a fair fight.

    RESPONSE: She at least appears to have understood that Martin was not a cute 12-year old kid but a large man who have viciously bashed Zimmerman. She said that of the six she was the ‘hold out’. For you to say that the jury was initially split is unfounded conjecture and in any event immaterial, if not misleading. The fact is the jurors came to a unanimous decision no matter how uncomfortable one of them felt later in from of the media.

    RUNDLE: The Martin case illustrates the terrible dilemma the US faces. Its root problem is mutual fear and mistrust — frequently but not exclusively race-based — but the only available ways of dealing with it make things worse. Had the Martin case occurred in 1963, it would be a multimedia page in a school textbook, illustrating the terrible legacy America was moving away from. To find it still occurring in the detritus of 2010s America, gated communities and wannabee cops, middle-class social fraying and squawk box media, is immensely depressing, because there is no promised land over the horizon, simply the long slog of making things less worse, or stopping them getting worse as fast as they otherwise would.

    RESPONSE: “Squawk-box media| shows you just don’t get it. The squawking is just the noise designed to hide the deeper agenda. Call me a conspiracy theorist if it helps you get through the night but try looking back on everything you’ve just written about what a terrible place the world and particularly America is – and ask yourself isn’t it time to consider that maybe, just maybe, the claim that this is all a cock-up and not some deliberate agenda by those in power to CRAP all over – might just be the biggest ruse employed to camouflage the conspiracy which has America and its satellites in its grip? Wake up! The US media, entertainment industry, government and financial system works collectively to a tribal agenda under which tension between blacks and whites is a strategic objective, in order to divert attention from the fact that both majority of blacks, whites and Hispanics are being reduced to servitude.
    Unless you wake up to this and start warning Australians you will continue to be part of the problem.

    RUNDLE: An era of crapness indeed.

    RESPONSE: I agree – it’s time for it to end.

  • 28
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Chris, after subscribing to Crikey for 12 months now, I am coming to the conclusion that when it comes to many of the hot button so called ‘Progressive’ causes celebre, some of its journalists are every bit as unsatisfactory as those down at Newscorpland, when it comes to the neo-con hot button causes celebre, like climate change. I started off making allowances, but have ended up doubting their judgment as much as the hacks down at the Herald Sun.

    I cannot really assess whether everything you have said is 100% true, but I do know that if one particular ethnic group is responsible for most of the crime in an area, then it isn’t ‘racist’ to profile them. It is quite reasonable risk profiling, and as a security patrolman, it wouldn’t matter what one’s ethnic background was, one would have to take exactly the same view. And what is really annoying is that if Z had been an afro-American, there wouldn’t be any of this ideological flak going all over the place.

    So called progressives are very glib talking about ‘stereotyping’ and prejudice, but they are egregious practitioners of this vice themselves! Worse, if is as if they have become so ideologically insecure that their intellectual faculties have become blunted and myopic. They speak in slogans and cliches.

    Poor old ‘racism’ is almost crushed by the weight they put on it, as if it could substitute for reason and argument all by itself, or save them the need to have an argument, because throwing an ideological tantrum will usually do.

    If you are interested Chris, here are a couple of short essays on the subject of the decline of the left. I am an ex communist, so I do have a bit of background on the subject. The old comrades would have regarded this lot as a petit bourgeois infantile disorder. And that is putting it politely.

    http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1808742-Judgment-Day

    http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1721110-Lies-Damn-Lies-and-Excuses

  • 29
    Damien McBain
    Posted Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Chris, an unarmed man who was just going about his business and had every right to be doing what he was doing was shot and the shooter got away with it. That’s crappy.

  • 30
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    If that was ‘just’ what happened, he would have been found guilty of something. It clearly wasn’t clear cut. There was plainly a lot of ‘other stuff’ happening that when properly contextualized might deliver a much complex and difficult picture. Chris Williams’ piece above is interesting not because it is necessarily all accurate, but because it creates a totally different picture from the ‘racist’ stereotyping and judgmentalizing that characterized Rundle’s article

  • 31
    Chris Williams
    Posted Saturday, 3 August 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Christopher (28) - I finally had the chance to read the links you provided. Excellent. I would urge other bloggers - and journalists - on Crikey to consult them.

  • 32
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Saturday, 3 August 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks Chris. I am no longer subscribing to Crikey. My email address is c.d.eastmannagle@gmail.com. Regards

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