I predicted his arrest but I didn’t publish it in writing. I am publishing this in writing: Zimmerman will be found guilty. He’s lying; he wasn’t attacked. The girlfriend’s account is the truth and it will be what sinks him. The prosecution already knows this; the defense should too. Zimmerman might even admit his guilt fairly soon, as the pressure on him must be intense. He’s lost a lot of weight from what I remember from the video, as well as from the photographs, taken of him right after the attack; and something in his expression seems like it might be fading, like someone who has started to become suddenly very scared. I heard on the news yesterday that someone witnessed him “weeping” in his cell (I think it may have been his brother). He is being slowly but steadily consumed by the massive and unrelenting realization that he is going to be revealed as guilty, and that he has, through a rash mistake, effectively destroyed his life forever. This may be a phase; he may decide to become obstinate and try to press on with his defense, similar to how Casey Anthony did, but everyone around him who knows the reality of what is going on should encourage him to dispose of the public spectacle. If he were truly as committed to the spirit of police work and justice as he says he is, he would know that he needs to spare the expense and media circus to the State of Florida and admit that he went up to Martin on a dark and rainy night, wrongly convinced for no as-yet-known-or-stated reason that Martin was a criminal (“up to no good,” in his own words), and that he invaded Martin’s personal space before getting swiftly sucker-punched and pummeled by the terrified teenager. Barring this, the defense must know that it will be made to look ridiculous if it goes to trial with Zimmerman’s counter-story, and that it will have absolutely no chance of convincing a jury of it whether the jury picked turns out to be racist or not. That Zimmerman is guilty of murder, and then of lying to police to cover it up, will be made clear. What may not be perfectly discernible is whether Zimmerman planned the killing ahead of time, or whether he was pursuing a fantasy of catching a criminal in the act and in the end went too far. At first I explored the possibility that Zimmerman was a calculating, possibly closet racist with a well-thought-out plan to manufacture a fight, kill a black youth, and then abuse the state’s “stand your ground” law to get away with it, but that argument started to become incredible fairly quickly. Now I’m confident that Zimmerman was, and still is, a basically good man who foolishly tried too hard to be a hero to his community by catching a criminal. Through the ignorant lens of racial profiling, Zimmerman convinced himself that he saw a “gangsta” casing good, law-abiding, mostly rich white peoples’ houses on a dark and rainy night; what he actually saw was an out-of-place black teenage boy carrying iced tea and Skittles, talking on a cellphone, and wearing a hoodie. When Zimmerman finally admits this mistake, all members of society who were quick to believe his tall tale would do well to learn from the lesson it holds. I’ve been mulling over the scant amount of evidence that’s been made public, and owing to the hefty amount of circumstantial evidence and the presumably one piece of physical evidence that I’ve thus far been able to infer from it, the fact that Zimmerman is lying is obvious to me beyond what I would consider, as a person of average common sense, to be a reasonable doubt. What I haven’t been able to find is anything that proves or even credibly suggests premeditation; and this is probably because this was a case of 2nd degree murder, where the dazed and confused killer panicked and told a lie to police officers in order to save his life from being permanently dashed to pieces within two minutes. This unintentional consequence of Zimmerman’s ill-advised approach of Martin, and the subsequent firing of his pistol out of genuine fear, is why Zimmerman walked down the sidewalk afterwards “with his face in his hands,” according to one eyewitness report. Martin yelled for help because he knew Zimmerman had a gun, and Martin was doing everything in his power to prevent Zimmerman from using it on him; Martin wrongly assumed that if he tried to run at the speed necessary to escape on the wet grass that he’d slip and be shot, but this assumption was incorrect only because he had no reason to believe at that point that the armed stalker’s approach was not to simply shoot him at point-blank range. Martin’s near-superhuman effort to both physically neutralize his armed assailant while screaming out for someone to intervene is what compelled Zimmerman to ultimately panic and fire the shot. Had even a single person the courage to walk outside their door, the incident might very well have fizzled once Martin broke off with a witness and Zimmerman regained his bearing. Zimmerman wanted to be a hero, ironically, to people who turned out to be too afraid to risk their own safety to protect their community from an invader. In the end, it could be said that Zimmerman was felled by the cowardice of the people he was willing to risk his own safety to protect. This self-preserving cowardice, ironically, is fittingly the flip side of the mortal flaw that Zimmerman used to doom himself: that sinister and subtle thread of racist fear that lives and thrives in so many of our veins, and which owes its existence, as Sagan noted in Cosmos, to one of the last surviving legacies of our reptilian ancestry, that oldest and innermost part of our brain known as the “R Complex” which blindly follows leaders and strikes out at anything unlike we. This ancient biological instinct to attack anything outside the self or group explains why we are plagued by prejudice and racism, or the fear of outsiders or “others:” at one time, our violent fear of anything unlike us helped us to survive. Eventually and likely concurrently, but definitely partly for lack of any legitimate natural predators, we turned this now-useless violent instinct onto ourselves: for our skin color, for our accents, for our mannerisms and customs, for our hoodies– more succinctly, for all the illogical and stupid excuses we use to simply hate. Zimmerman’s, and Martin’s, lives were casually ruined by that ancient part of our being which stubbornly refuses to throw off the ignorant behavior of our genetically-inherited inhumanity, and to transform into an essentially gentle and aware species that lives in harmony with all life on the planet and which recognizes the ultimate unsustainability of the craving for both the sacrifice of our species and the survival of it.
This is in response to the article, “Environmental ‘gut check time’ for Obama?” by Thom Patterson, CNN, updated 10:26 AM EST, Fri October 7, 2011.
While I feel anger at the plight of the welder, the fact is Ms. Hight is right. Again we have a manufactured situation where it appears there will be an everyday American winner if the pipeline goes through, when in fact we’ll all lose, including the welder, while a small group of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals will get even richer and more powerful as this blip on the economic scene will do nothing for anyone on Main Street. Mr. Pedigo could have a job doing almost anything he wanted if American corporations weren’t making a fortune off of outsourcing right now. Instead of this one, relatively short-lived option in an economic wasteland that seeks to possibly make a literal wasteland out of the most fragile parts of the heartland (it is already making a wasteland out of Canada. See here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/03/canadian-oil-sands/kunzig-text), he could have his choice of lucrative jobs welding if President Obama were serious about updating to a green infrastructure, energy grid, and mass transit system. Europe, with its decades-old maglev trains and finely-tuned transportation systems, has been laughing at us for years. This is because America doesn’t have its priorities straight. It thinks it needs this pipeline, when, clearly, what it really needs is to be laughed at by Europe, and to deserve it. That, and it needs real leadership in Washington, and policies that will take us into the clean and renewable future we envision in science fiction’s advanced societies and beyond. That is what a vision is: recognizing that it is time to make science fiction science fact, and abandon the dying, destructive, and unsustainable technologies of the past. Can Obama do it? By himself, no. He will only do it if we force him to, which is what these protests are for. These protests have come to force him to start listening to the people who got him elected in the first place; to force his enemies to reconsider the true and inherent strengths of their positions; and to create change in America whether the people who walk the halls of Congress– and the narrow (and currently very comfortable) special interests who fund them– want it or not.
He may have done it. But, we can’t be sure. According to an attorney recently interviewed on Amy Goodman’s show, later DNA exonerations have revealed that as much as 75% of death row cases that were judged wrongly were based on eyewitness testimony, whether that testimony was given through prejudice or coercion. In this case, seven of the nine eyewitnesses who recanted alleged police coercion. The murder weapon was never found. Troy Davis solidly maintained his innocence from the start to the very end. So it’s quite possible that Georgia executed an innocent man last night.
Now I haven’t read the case history from start to finish, but either the Troy Davis case has the highly (perhaps even uniquely) unusual quality of being proven despite an absence of any physical evidence, scores of eyewitnesses who recanted, a suspicious accuser, and a convict who claimed his innocence from start to end, or– more likely– the standard for qualifying for the death penalty in America now is that a) we only have to be pretty sure you’re guilty, and b) if killing you will give closure to a vocal family, to a state prosecutor, and to a wronged police department that never caught the real man, so help you God.
The true face of the Tea Party. Remaining steadfast to their amazing propensity for supporting agonizingly tortured convolutions of logic, government can finance corporations to conduct endless war to protect our freedoms, sure. But when it comes to financing the protection of a hypothetical 30-year-old-man without expensive corporate health insurance in a coma, government should let him die. Now, I’m not saying that everyone in the Tea Party necessarily supports the two illegal and immoral wars that are bankrupting us, making us less safe, and which we are ultimately going to lose. What I am saying is that, for all their outspoken drivel regarding the tearing down of commensurately inexpensive social programs such as public parks, public radio, social security and public education, they seem curiously silent about the two wars, which will only cost us 170 billion dollars this year. Maybe they just don’t think about it.
I’m also not saying that government should hold our hands throughout life and give us pink ponies if that’s what our hearts desire– not at all, and I reserve a profound lack of respect for those who would seek to mislead and confound others by upholding such a foolish argument. What I’m saying is that, if I’m going to pay taxes to my government to perform such mundane tasks as inspect my meat and build my water runoffs to code, I’d like to know that it will at least have a dime to toss my way if I get cancer, too– and that it will do so without prejudice. Surely, assisting citizens who contribute to the economy (re: occasionally fathers and mothers who hold jobs and support children) who are battling cancer is at least as important to sustaining the economy, not to mention our oft-proclaimed Christian moral decency, as ensuring he or she remains free from E. coli and floods. Ron Paul said at the Tea Party Debate that family and friends and neighbors and churches should fill this gap– presumably, alone– but the fact is, not everyone has access to these resources and, as much as I respect him for his many progressive social views, it is profoundly un-American of Paul to imply that everyone should. Perhaps it is true that, when everyone in America has concerned family and friends and neighbors and churches at their disposal with plenty of time, money, interest and expertise to step up to tend to each others’ cancer, we will have no need for government to chip in towards the care of its sick and dying. Perhaps it is true that we will also be living in a fantasy utopia. Regardless, I don’t see it happening anytime soon, and in the meantime I expect my leaders in government to stop playing make-believe with our lives and nation and for government to do its job– which is to take care of its citizens’ most urgent, pressing needs. Being in a coma at the age of thirty meets that standard of need.
“We think the people of this state – not judges, bureaucrats, or politicians – should define marriage, which I personally believe should be between one man and one woman,” Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement after the measure passed.
Interesting how history repeats itself… wrongly. Had he been present at a similar debate that took place in his state sixty years ago, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger might just as easily have said, “We think the people of this state – not judges, bureaucrats, or politicians – should define colored peoples’ rights, which I personally believe should not extend to incorporate the same rights as white peoples.’” The parallels in opportunistic scapegoating and minority-bashing for bald political advancement aside, the Senator would pardon me for criticizing his apparent love of anarchism, since we actually have judges, bureaucrats, and politicians for a reason. Judges, primarily, because they are trained in Constitutional law– something that, oddly enough, Phil Berger should have been able to express his appreciation for, having been a former lawyer himself who presumably had respect for the judges he argued before and their intended function under the Constitution that our Founding Fathers wrote and which he and others in his Party are so quick to blubberingly profess to cherish. The fact is, gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and judges absolutely do have the right to weigh in, regardless of what “the people” would prefer. The weight of history and established law notwithstanding, clearly the Senator would agree with me on this conclusion as well; after all, “the people” of his state have been wanting affordable health care and out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for ten years, too, but I don’t see the politician Phil Berger and his team of bureaucrats rushing to protect those wants with a Constitutional Amendment– or even a simple law– banning insurance corporations from denying children coverage, or his National Guard from being deployed to fight the two unending wars. The double-standard by which the Republican Senator and former lawyer from North Carolina decides to place his energies is telling; apparently, he has time to become a born-again cheerleader for democracy when it favors oppressing a religiously-despised minority group and drawing attention away from his party’s dismal failure to revive the economy and create jobs, but when it favors bringing his troops home and guaranteeing his constituents affordable health care, he not only doesn’t have time to say a word in their behalf, but actually works to ensure they get the opposite.
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