Disqus

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'll Say It - the Trayvon Martin Verdict is Wrong

First, if states have these dumb "stand your ground" laws, then you're going to see some very odd verdicts.

That issue notwithstanding, I find the verdict innocent (of even manslaughter) is completely baffling. 

For me, mainly it's about the "trail" that Zimmerman left behind.  He was the source of his own problem.  From start to nearly finish, he lead the way.  In the end, Trayvon, like many young men before him, decided to fight back from being stalked.  (And, it is likely he wasn't just annoyed but probably a little scared.  After all, his father lived at that complex so why would this guy continue to follow him?)

Mr. Zimmerman complained, at two different times, to police/911 that "these punks always get away."  He might go look in the mirror because I think he's right.  

One thing we did learn from OJ Simpson, if you cannot find justice in the criminal court, go after the person in civil court.  

One thing that cannot be denied - this whole issue of teenaged boys walking around by themselves - is a problem.  

My experience is that people fear/worry about teen boys (and especially boys of color).  But one of my sons has a disability that could present itself wrongly to police and I always lived in fear that something might happen and his behavior be wrongly interpreted by police.  So we talked about how to talk to police (as ALL parents should be things - do - happen, no matter what great kids you have).

I am saddened and disappointed.  


40 comments:

Floor Pie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Floor Pie said...

I agree with you, Melissa. It's heartbreaking. I can't think about the Trayvon Martin case without thinking about the students I've worked with. They are adorable little elementary school dudes and sometimes I STILL catch adults looking at them with fear and distrust, either because of behaviors related to their disabilities or race/class or some combination of the two. I am seriously afraid for them when they become teenagers. I can't let myself think about it.

So, in light of how outraged we all are about the Zimmerman verdict, maybe we can take a look at ourselves. Not because any of this is our fault, of course, but because the only thing we only truly CAN control is our own thoughts and actions. Who are WE afraid of that maybe we shouldn't be?

Anonymous said...

Segregated education is one of many culprits. We have only to look at this blog's hundreds of posts rationalizing it, rationalizing all the reasons their kid must have it, including the idea that "others" are free to "choose" something else, to see how pervasive the issue is. We can all look in the mirror.

parent

Anonymous said...

I just don't see how people across America can't see their own sons in Trayvon, regardless of race. Show me the teenage boy who has never given off a threatening vibe when pushed/challenged/scared -- a vibe that soon dissipates under normal circumstances.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, what segregated education. We live in a segregated city and yes, the district did, at one time, try to make up for that (with disasterous results). Or, are you talking about APP which is a tiny part of the district? (And why does that have anything to do with this?)

Van Jones asked on CNN if he should have his kid dress in a tux to go buy Skittles and obey any order a white man gives him. Good question.

Anonymous said...

Able-ism is thinly veiled racism. And, it results in segregation of the same people. Look at WMS, it is a toxic environment, and segregated, among others. Yet its proponents see no problem. we all should look in the mirror.

P

steve said...

The facts of the case do not support your continued persecution of Zimmerman. The case should have never ever been brought to court, as any competent attorney that does not have an axe to grind will tell you. Also, since every detail of George Zimmermans personal life has been dragged out for all the world to see, lets look at Martins past as well. He certainly was no "little angel", nor did he look anything like the grade school picture that the media likes to show at every available opportunity. His Facebook posts and pics reveal an all too common theme in today's youth. The wannabe gangbanger. Also something that's not mentioned anywhere is the fact (look it up, don't take my word for it)that inner city youths frequently make a drink from ice tea combined with skittles, and other ingredient's to get high on. The jury has spoken..respect the decision and move on.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why is anyone hijacking this thread to vent on their own personal anger over SPS? Hard to understand.

I'm not persecuting Zimmerman. He could easily have been found guilty under the manslaughter charge and yet it didn't happen.

Steve, I am astonished that you would rake a dead child's youthful dopiness up like this. No one said he was an angel but he didn't deserve to be shot for trying to get home from a 7-11. Did Zimmerman know any of this when he stalked Trayvon? Nope. He did his own racial profiling.

No, I don't have to respect the decision; we have to abide by it. That's all. And I hope the feds will file a civil case.

dj said...

I am a former criminal defense attorney and have no real opinion on whether or not under Florida law with the prosecutor's performance Zimmerman should have been convicted. I have the very strong opinion that Trayvon Martin should not have been killed, and that rational criminal law would punish the person who killed him.

Michael H said...

Melissa, I am astonished that you refer to Van Jones as someone respectable. He is a racist idiot.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, where did I say Van Jones was respectable? I didn't. I quoted what he said as an African-American father. (I also note that CNN has hired him to be on their new version of Crossfire with Newt Ginrich. You can draw your own conclusions.)

Again, I ask everyone to NOT put words into any commenter's mouth.

seattle citizen said...

Seve, you appear to be arguing that Trayvon's background (which you paint only in "inner-city gangbanger-wannabe" colors, hmmm...) is somehow pertinent to the fact that Zimmerman, armed, ignored the police and went after him.
The justice system failed here (or there is no justice here, or at least in Florida) but a person's background does not in any way justify violence against that person.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that Trayvon seems to have had some "gangbanger wannabe" tendencies according to his social media posts. But I bet minimally 50% of young men his age, among all races, are EXACTLY THE SAME. It's a fashion statement. Who can blame them for adopting a fashion showcased by wealthy celebrities, movie stars, music stars, athletes, etc.? I wish this fashion statement would go away already, but that is just me talking as an old fogey. I also wish kids wouldn't get high, yet they do all over the country and we are not gunning them down to stop it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. We weren't on the jury. 5 white women and 1 Latino woman were. If it wasn't about race, then why the skewed jury in the first place? And why would the prosecutors allow that? They thought they were above common sense.

Reader

steve said...

Lets be clear...the fact is nobody knows for sure what exactly happened that night. The facts as they were presented show Zimmerman being advised not to follow Travon. zas someone who has had crime in there neighborhood I have to say I would still keep a suspicious person in sight. Zimmerman had broke off and was returning when he was attacked by Trayvon. So how you make the case that Zimmerman was the aggressor? Travon could have easily kept going and went home. He chose to attack someone on a dark rainy night. That person at some point feared serious bodily harm and shot to defend himself. Zimmerman certainly did not know that the person on top of him was 17. Please stop calling him a child. We send people to war at 18. He was 6 foot tall. The average Teen that age and size can certainly be a physical threat to a middle age guy. I am not trying to disparage Travon. What I am saying is its only fair to look at both sides EQUALLY. The fact that you would you anything Van Jones said is very telling.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Steve. Even if Trayvon was "up to something" Zimmerman was in the wrong and committed manslaughter at the very least. If he really felt alarmed he could have stayed in his vehicle, kept the person in sight and kept in phone contact with the police. Getting close enough to attack or be attacked was unnecessary and irresponsible given that he was carrying a gun. No one has said Trayvon was doing anything but walking down the street. Not lurking near windows, not sneaking up behind other pedestrians. Walking. Thinking about committing a crime while walking is not illegal, and that is all Zimmerman asserts Trayvon was doing. So it's manslaughter even if Trayvon's thoughts were as dark as his skin.

Anonymous said...

Steve, autopsy says that Trayvon was 5'10" not 6'. Also he was an honor student who had a scholarship for college. He also wasn't doing anything suspicious other than walking while black. He wasn't hiding in bushes. He wasn't running away. He wasn't peering in windows of houses or cars. He was walking home from the store while talking on his cell phone. No doubt he was freaked about some creepy dude stalking him. We only have George's word about being attacked. Trayvon can't say anything because he is dead. Did he feel threatened? Did George address him or attack him? We don't know for sure. What I do know, is that Trayvon was followed because he was a young black man and that George ignored the advice to stay in his car. Had George stayed in his car, Trayvon would be alive today.

HP

Anonymous said...

They did not find him innocent. They found him not guilty. There is a difference. Also the jury can only go with the evidence given them and from their own experience. I think it is more likely that poor police work (they never wanted to charge him) and inadequate prosecution led to the verdict of not guilty.

That being said, there is a lot of data out there that shows that states that have stand your ground laws, are much more likely to excuse the killing of people of color by whites. Blacks killing blacks and whites killing whites did not get the same level of pass. This indicates to me that as a society we are condoning the profiling and fear of people of color especially young black men.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Steve, I find it interesting that you start your last comment with the idea that no really knows what happened but you believe Trayvon jumped Zimmerman. That's what Zimmerman said but the girl on the phone with Trayvon said he was repeatedly saying, "get off, get off." Also, odd he would attack someone when he was on the phone.

Carol Simmons said...

Thank you Melissa for saying that the Trayvon Martin verdict was wrong. I agree with you.

However, I do not think that our attempt at desegregating the Seattle Public Schools and integrating some of them had "disastrous results."

For a while folks of one color felt less frightened going into communities made up of other colors. The desegregation program broke this color barrier and now people of color live all over and in every community of our city.

For a while our school curriculum changed and was more representative of all cultures, for a while students sat together (even at lunch) and played together and studied together. Some of us were there in "the day" and experienced the positive effects of desegregation, inclusion and integration. We were able to do this "without a court order."

Thank you again for providing a forum for honest dialogue.

Anonymous said...

With you there Ms. Simmons. Unfortunately the walls are back up. We've seen the uglies of NSAP. In my neighborhood if you look black or dark brown, you will look (as one of my neighborhors reminded me) "out of place" and may be subjected to "a possible prowler alert" along with reminders of people to call police and videotape "these people" and jot down their license plate all on the neighborhood blog. If you don't think cases like Trayvon Martin case can happen here, think again. When family or friends visit in happy valley and the kids go into a local grocery and drug stores, they are treated by staff following them, greeted with no hellos at checkout counter, but curt tones. I tell the kids to stay polite- say your hellos and thank yous and be cool. Visiting friends have found notes left on their cars telling them not to park in front of people's homes (unlike our other neighbors' guests). It's a life lesson that marks our kids and many of their schoolmates, neighbors and teachers are unaware and happily oblivious in this "post racial" world. After all as it has been casually pointed out more than once in happy valley (but not on any realtor websites that redlining still applies) it's our problem for living in a neighborhood where we don't look like we belong.

Other reality

Anonymous said...

It's ironic how much prejudice and hatred is demonstrated by those who decry "segregation" the loudest on this blog. We can all look in the mirror, indeed.

WSDWG

Charlie Mas said...

I'm hearing a weird sort of echo today.

I'm hearing African-American families having The Talk with their sons. They are telling them that - innocent as they may be - a lot of people perceive them as threatening. The Talk is about how to demonstrate that they are non-threatening and how to de-escalate conflict even if doing so might be galling and insulting to them.

I see a striking resemblance between this Talk, or at least the rationale behind this Talk, and the talk I hear about the sexual harassment of women. In that case people are telling men that - innocent as they may be - a lot of women perceive them as threatening. This talk is also about how to demonstrate that they are non-threatening and how to de-escalate potential conflict even if doing so might be galling and insulting to them.

I'm not saying that there is an exact match all the way down the line with these two, but in this narrow space the match is strong.

That's interesting in itself.

The difference that I find REALLY compelling is the reaction. I'm not hearing that the young Black men are rejecting the wisdom of the advice about their interactions with White people nor am I hearing that they or anyone else thinks the advice is foolish, insulting, or an acknowledgement of guilt.

However, I see a strong backlash to the same advice given to men in the interactions with women including claims that such advice presumes or implies guilt, that it's insulting, or that it's just foolish.

Just to be clear, women are the subject to much more violence from men than White people are from African-Americans. Women's fears of men are significantly more justified than those of White people have about Black people. Check this out from Louis CK.

To me, the conviction that many White men have, that they are entitled to the presumption of innocence in their interactions with women when not granting the same presumption to Black men, or, more precisely, by not opposing (or even recognizing) a near-identical presumption of threat perceived about Black men, is a clear product of privilege.

Folks keep asking for examples of privilege. This strikes me as a good one.

steve said...

Stop getting your information from twitter...you do not know that trayvon martin was an honors student because his records are sealed. He did not have any scholarship to any college that anyone can find, and was currently suspended from school. If this were a black on black crime it wouldn't get more than a 60 second sound bite on the news. But because its a white (even though he is Hispanic) person the race mongors are out in full force. People like Al Sharpton that make theire living by crying race regardless of any facts to the contrary. The FBI did a separate investigation and determined that there was no evidence that this was a race based incident. As for the girlfriend on the phone..I assume you mean the same one that changed her story multiple times? Anyways, people should do there own research instead of listening to the media. NBC got caught early on doctoring the audio to make it sound like Zimmerman was racist. Now why would they do that? I'll tell you why, because race stories get viewers, and viewers get more advertising. There are no winners in this. A young man is dead and anothers life is ruined. Could it have been prevented? Sure, by both parties involved.

Anonymous said...

I don't see a lot of hatred, WSDWG, especially by anyone "decrying segregation" on this blog. Are you saying segregation is a GOOD thing?

I DO see some thoughtful commentary by Charlie and Melissa, some first-hand reports of what it's like to be black in Seattle, and a "new" visitor who apparently feels Trayvon's past, real or not, contributed to his death.

What are YOUR views on the de facto segregation in Seattle's schools and neighborhoods? What do YOU think about the verdict?

I come from privilege, I won't deny it. But from Seattle to Boston and everywhere in between that I've been, I see people of color treated as "less than", especially black males, teen or otherwise. That happens even when I am with them, if it's a place dominated by whites. So I think what happened in Florida was a miscarriage of justice, and I think Trayvon was targeted for being who he was-a black male in a white community. And the laws being what they are in Florida, his killer was found innocent.

Regular Reader

seattle citizen said...

Steve, Zimmerman was a Block Watch member. There are rules: Don't engage the "suspect," call police. He called police, ignored their advice, got out of his vehicle while armed and walked after Trayvon....
It doesn't matter what happened after that. He instigated the altercation, he killed a young man. If he had followed what HIS OWN block watch organization says are good rules, and followed the advice of the police, Trayvon would be alive today. Zimmerman caused the un-necessary death of Trayvon Martin, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Trayvon Martin: Zimmerman was not following Neighborhood Watch 'rules', Susan Jacobsen, Orlando Sentinel:
"George Zimmerman, who coordinated the Neighborhood Watch at a town-house community in Sanford, shot and killed unarmed Miami Gardens high-school student Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, sparking a collective rage that has spread nationwide and beyond.
Chris Tutko, director of Neighborhood Watch for the National Sheriffs' Association, said Zimmerman broke some cardinal rules.
First, he approached a stranger he suspected of wrongdoing.
'If you see something suspicious, you report it, you step aside and you let law enforcement do their job,' Tutko said. 'This guy went way beyond the call of duty. At the least, he's overzealous.'
Second, Zimmerman carried a handgun. Police departments and sheriff's offices that train volunteers advise them never to carry weapons — though Zimmerman broke no laws by doing so because he has a concealed-weapons permit.
'There's no reason to carry a gun,' Tutko said.
Police said Zimmerman was running an errand in his SUV — with his gun — when he first spotted Trayvon walking back from 7-Eleven about 7:15 p.m. Zimmerman called police to report Trayvon as suspicious, and although a dispatcher said he didn't need to follow the teen, the two got into a scuffle...."

Anonymous said...

Sorry Steve, I don't follow Twitter. The info on Trayvon's grades and scholarship came from friends in Florida who heard it on the local news station. Perhaps you should stop listening to twitter. I am assuming that is where you heard that Trayvon was 6' or more. The autopsy clearly states his height as 5'10". Pictures taken 2 days or so before his death, show a smiling young man much like seen on the news. My son posts pictures of himself posing as Stalin and Lenin, does that make him a totalitarian or a silly young man the same age as Trayvon? Trayvon posted thug images on Facebook much like other kids do, like my white Hispanic nephew does. Doesn't make either one of them a thug.

HP

Anonymous said...

@Regular Reader: I'm saying people who misuse the loaded term "segregation" to malign parents and children in special needs programs are way off-the-mark. That people are resistant to radically altering the only program that properly serves their child's educational needs does not make them "segregationists." Given the history of segregation in public policy in the US, using that term is the thinly-veiled equivalent of calling people racists, which is dishonest and libelous.

I think SC ably details the many wrongs committed by Zimmerman, in addition to many *actual* contributing factors, like a wanna-be hero armed with a hidden gun, a frightened, anxious teen being followed by a stranger, and all kinds of criminal and racial profiling which prejudiced Zimmerman against Martin before he ever left his vehicle.

That some, however, prefer to link and exploit this tragedy for their own personal agendas is disgusting.
If you've read recent posts on this blog, then you'll recognize the pattern.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@Steve: You're entitled to your opinions for sure, but you really need to understand "relevance". Irrelevant evidence is inadmissible in court, and you're listing lots of it. What matters is what Zimmerman knew at the time he acted, which does not include pictures with guns, smoking weed, or a picture of a Trayvon with gold teeth. That's nothing but Fox News's attempt to smear Travyon's reputation, which Zimmerman knew nothing of when he pulled the trigger. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

The autopsy report says 5' 11" (well, "71 inches") and 158 pounds. Looked it up because of so much social media saying 6' 2" and 200+ lbs. (Added here since similar debate as amongst family/friends relying more on social media than media)

Verifier

Anonymous said...

http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2013/07/05/trayvon.martin.autopsy.pdf

Page 2

Verifier

Anonymous said...

Hey, Regular Reader: Now do you see the prejudice and hate I'm talking about? As much as anything, ignorance, stereotyping and prejudice killed Trayvon Martin, but some will ignore that *connection* and blame it on their ideological adversaries instead. I'm not sure what a "high order" bigot is, but it seems quite bigoted to refer to snidely refer to other people's children as "little darlings" and advocate abolishing their school or program that suits their needs. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, I see your point, but I don't see Reader saying your program (APP?) needs to close or calling the kids "little darlings". Perhaps in another thread? And though I feel for you, I don't think calling kids darlings or pampered or whatever can equate with bigotry. I'd liken it more to calling them out for being "dumb blonds" or "red-headed step-children", you know, rude, but not bigoted.

I've kind of always thought bigots were people who think of their race, religion, etc. was above or better than others. Reader sounds angry, but not bigoted. If anything he is saying he OPPOSES a program that would place anyone not required by law to BE placed above others' needs.

At least, I think so.

Regular Reader, not the other one.

HIMS Parent of 8th grader said...

There are serious issues about segregation with the APP program and our neighborhood schools. Calling this statement the equivalent of racism is ridiculous and I don’t think people who talk about this problem with APP deserve the reaction they get on this blog. I have children in APP because the spectrum program, also overwhelmingly white, did not have high enough expectations. And now for high school I am moving one child to private school for the same reason. Yes, I think I am part of the problem. I wish there was a better solution.

Just getting rid of the program is not the answer. We need to address academic rigor for all students. But there is real racism in this city, and institutional racism in the educational system. I wish we could talk about it without being attacked. I don’t have the answers, but I would like to see more discussion.

Anonymous said...

Could someone calmly describe the institutional racism is Seattle Public Schools? Whose actions are racist - and what exactly are they doing? Is it a policy issue? What policy is it? I'd be happy to read something if you could direct me to it.

Doesn't it make sense to look at this as a socioeconomic problem? Neighborhoods with high levels of poverty not surprisingly have schools with low test scores. Is there something the city council can do to improve conditions for children living in these neighborhoods?

Lynn

Anonymous said...




Budget Reader,

APP@Lincoln has some of (if not the)lowest FRL (.5%) and Special Ed (2.4%) percentages in the district. The total budget includes those amounts. I compared APP@Lincoln's budget to Lafayette's because they have similar enrollment numbers. Basic ed allocation per student at APP is $4,688 and at Lafayette it's $4,639.

Lynn

7/16/13, 5:34 PM

This seems to help answer your second question regarding ableism.
Does Lafayette still have self-contained Spectrum?

--enough already

Anonymous said...

What question does this answer? Yes - Lafayette has self-contained Spectrum. Are you suggesting that children who need the curriculum accelerated by two years are denied that because they have disabilities?

Lynn

Anonymous said...

@Regular Reader: APP isn't placed above others needs. Its detractors see it that way because they think APP kids have it better. They don't give a damn about the fact that without the program, the APP kids' needs go unmet in the traditional classroom, where they suffer, act out, get isolated, bullied, ignored and picked on. APP's detractors don't care about that. They play up the "top 2%" academic stature to claim those kids already have it made, while completely ignoring the fact that those children have a right to be appropriately educated in an appropriate setting, as all kids should be.

Poor capacity planning has created turf wars between APP and other cohorts and groups where they didn't used to be, which subjects APP kids and families to a battery of insults and complaints from people who forget that APP never asked to be at Hamilton or Lincoln, for example, until the district crowded them out of their own schools by closing too many schools.

And you don't see bigotry from one who claims the moral high ground against anyone they disagree with? You don't think such persons think they are inherently better than others? Do you at least appreciate the irony and hypocrisy?

This thread is about Trayvon Martin, let's not forget, and the consequences of prejudice, ignorance and yes, *actual* bigotry by those who claim the right to judge and bully others they don't see as equals. WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unbelievable.

This thread was about a court decision about a teenager. I put it up for a discussion about teenaged boys (especially of color) and how we perceive them both in our society and our schools.

And someone hijacked it to talk about APP.

Is APP segregated? Yes but not by design. (And I may not have thought Bob Vaughan an effective director of the program but he tried very hard to find more students of color. That can be documented. That schools/principals may have fought off those efforts or parents rejected them is not his fault.)

I don't think the problems at HIMS are about APP. They are about putting too many programs in one school that is now overcrowded. That's the issue.

Also, you may note that I eliminate a comment that called someone else a name.

We are NOT going to have name-calling. Maybe I'll have to be more vigilant but everyone who wants to comment here should understand that we will NOT tolerate it.

And, if it continues, we will only have comments that we preview and/or some people will not be allowed to comment.

Kalam Hossain said...

Hello
Nest Realty is a full-service, boutique real estate websites brokerage firm specializing in residential and luxury properties throughout Charlottesville and Central Virginia.Real Estate website, Realtors strategically developed personal website for lead generation, enhanced with video and SEO capabilities