Re: Trayvon Martin

1

Shit is fucked up an bullshit.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:29 AM
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Personally, I think the police, in addition to their bum-rousting duties, would do well to keep an eye on these cop-freaks who are obsessed with law enforcement and frequently turn out to be murderous lunatics. Might save them some work down the road.

But yeah, it is outrageous. I'm glad that there is a public outcry. I'm glad that Russell Simmons thinks it's fucked up. But where is our Medgar Evers? Sometimes it seems like being publicly anti-racist, even if you are a Black person, is more stigmatizing than being publicly racist these days. What's up with that?

Look, I'm not calling for looting & burning, really. But it would be justified, I think. Having a Black president doesn't expunge the crimes committed against the Angola 3 or all those other Black men who've been wrongfully convicted.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:33 AM
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This actually seems worse than a lynching. Black people who were lynched were generally lynched as a response to some sort of crime, not as some preemptive self-defense mind-reading b.s., right?

Also, what is this crap about the murderer being on the neighborhood watch? What are the odds than more than 5% of the people in the neighborhood were aware of this "neighborhood watch"? If this neighborhood watch consists of more than one person, it should at least have brought up at its meetings that there are black people living in the neighborhood, so even if the neighborhood watchers are all racists they should still be careful about shooting any and all black people.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:35 AM
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Specifically, the fact that he was not even fucking arrested is the most galling, and that it is completely obvious to anyone with a functioning neuron that if the races were reversed the black guy would be in jail in a heartbeat. Has anyone even tried to deny that fact, and if not, how is this not racially motivated unequal law enforcement, i.e., a straightforward violation of the 14th amendment?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:37 AM
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Look, I'm not calling for looting & burning, really. But it would be justified, I think.

As long as it's happening in someone else's back yard?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:41 AM
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What I'm seeing as the excuse is that Florida self-defense law is weirdly strong. But (from some limited googling) there's still a proportionality requirement: to make the use of deadly force legit, you need a reasonable belief that it's necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. I don't see how this maniac can make a case that he had such a reasonable belief.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:45 AM
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3: Yeah, the dude founded the neighborhood watch himself and may have been the only active member. I'm not going to get you a link because I can't stand to read any more about it right now. Sorry.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:45 AM
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Park your disgust and outrage here.

These fucking NRA bumper-nuts have finally succeeded in bring back the days when any dipshit cracker-barrel, walking arsenal can just kill a black person whenever he gets a goddamn wild hair* up his pink ass.

Holy mother Mary's blessed tits you'd think this shit wouldn't be possible in the 21st century.

Black people who were lynched were generally lynched as a response to some sort of crime, not as some preemptive self-defense mind-reading b.s., right?

No, in fact they weren't. They were lynched whenever some knuckle-dragger decided he was tired of hunting squirrels and wanted to kill some bigger game. It was a privilege they felt the earned as payback for being graceful losers in the Civil War.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
*or maybe it's "hare"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:45 AM
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Especially outraged that the cops seem to be saying they can't arrest the guy because of self-defense laws. Florida's laws might give "self-defenders" a great deal of leeway, but that obviously doesn't immunize someone asserting self-defense from suspicion of murder.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:47 AM
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What I'm seeing as the excuse is that Florida self-defense law is weirdly strong.

So strong that the issue doesn't need to be decided by a judge? Can I just start capping people, say it is self defense and then walk free?

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:47 AM
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The FL executive branch could ask the police to review their initial decision to do nothing, right? Maybe even write a report detailing who all decided to do nothing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:51 AM
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5: I expect riots all the time. Really, I'm surprised there aren't more riots here and everywhere. If there had been riots when Tycel Nelson got murdered, for instance, I think those would have been justified too. Rioting, and the threat of rioting, is the only way to change things most of the time. Bastille, Chartists, suffrage campaigners on the Strand, Watts, Stonewall -- politicians and the rich aren't scared of much that poor people do, but they can be scared with riots.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:52 AM
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7- And he called 911 something like 46 times since the beginning of 2012. When someone is calling 911 every two days they're the one the cops should be watching since they're obviously primed to put a cap in anything that moves.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:53 AM
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6: Yeah. The 911 call indicates Zimmerman was looking for trouble. He's not going to walk even if the local PD doesn't know how to deal with this yet.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:55 AM
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12: Okay, as long as it's not in MY backyard then.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:56 AM
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Can I just start capping people, say it is self defense and then walk free?

Do you live in Florida? If so, I'm guessing it depends on how you choose your targets.

Oh, wait, you probably intended that as a rhetorical question.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:01 AM
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Does anyone have a link to a story that's clear about what the police are saying about their reasons for not arresting the killer? Everything I'm finding is pretty vague: the best I've seen is this:

Community members are demanding Zimmerman's arrest but Sanford Police say they don't have sufficient evidence to dispute his claims of self defense.

That makes it sound as if the police are saying that they need an eyewitness or something to override a claim of selfdefense, even if it's absurd. That can't be right as a matter of law, but maybe it's the position they're taking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:02 AM
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Technically I think riots tend to have more impact on the front yard. I'm sure there's a study somewhere.

Seriously, however, the NAACP and leaders of the black religious community are all over this like a dirty shirt. I'm not sure whether any of them qualifies as a Medgar Evers, but they're certainly not inactive. I prefer their approach to riots.

2.2: Sometimes it seems like being publicly anti-racist, even if you are a Black person, is more stigmatizing than being publicly racist these days. What's up with that?

It always was, AFAICT. Dr. King was heckled as a supposed "black Hitler" in his day, for instance. Basically it's been a long-standing tactic of racism to defend itself along the lines of "Racism? What racism? And if there is any, it's just tough-minded realism anyway. And if you're objecting to tough-minded realism, then you're the real racist, and you probably want Big Government to take away our right to be tough-minded realists, don't you? Just like Hitler. In fact, you're Hitler." I think our era has added a heavier layer of defensive whininess to the whole business, but that's about it.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:02 AM
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13: The fucking Dirty Harrys in the local PD didn't view him a threat. They viewed him as an ally, someone able to lay down justice in a way the pencil pushes with their "due process" won't let the cops do.

(I actually don't have evidence for this particular theory.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:03 AM
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I think several thousand people should just sit in the local police department headquarters until all the cops are fired, the building condemned, and the whole precinct merged with another one.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:09 AM
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God, none of this surprises me. Of *course* it's Florida. The state just triggers my 'nuke the entire site from orbit' reflex. Sorry to folks who live there and like it (there must be some), but I did my time and good riddance. The law itself is garbage, there's no way this lunatic's acts are protected under it anyway, but of course this will all be dragged out and holy crap, for all I know he'll walk anyway at the end of it.

Also, yeah, I'm pretty sure that with over 40 911 calls in a year, the cops should be looking at *you*.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:16 AM
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I think our era has added a heavier layer of defensive whininess to the whole business, but that's about it.

I'm not even sure this is true. The members of White Citizens Councils -- among other respectable racists -- always insisted that they were the true victims of the Civil Rights movement. Caught between the unruly Negroes and the toothless rednecks, they just wanted to run their (segregated) businesses and send their little girls to good (segregated) schools and not be tarred with the brush of racism that outside agitators used to paint the entire white South. They had no Limbaugh to speak for them, it's true, but there were plenty of editors willing to take up the cause of the downtrodden white entrepreneur.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:16 AM
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I just unhealthily listened to the collection of 911 calls available in the sidebar here*. Nothing to that you can make a certain conclusion from, but to believe that Zimmerman was in grave peril (or even just the one screaming for help) in the light of the calls and other facts (250 lbs. vs. 140 lbs, for instance) is at best a real stretch. A bit from Zimmerman's call that I have not seen highlighted is his parenthetical, "These assholes, they always get away." At least during the call, Zimmerman at no time exhibits any sense of fear even when he thinks the guy is coming at him with something in his hand (and it's after that that when it sounds like he gets out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon).

*The second one after Zimmerman's has the screaming and the shot (the latter a full 30 seconds into the call).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:17 AM
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If the FL self defense laws are actually strong enough that Zimmerman walks it seems to me that they are also strong enough that the family of Trayvon Martin would be justified in preemptively killing Zimmerman. The guy's obviously a threat, much more so than Martin ever was.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:19 AM
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"to that" s/b "from which"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:20 AM
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ThinkProgress has a quick overview of some of the facts, here.

13: Apparently the 46 911 calls have been since the beginning of 2011. Still a lot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:24 AM
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Between the Florida "no retreat" law and the recent huge spate of bizarre anti-women's health care laws/performance art that we're seeing I'm starting the believe that state legislatures have become dumping grounds for society's refuse.

How messed up do you have to be to get elected to one of these things?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:27 AM
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27: Oh, they always have been. But these are all Republican initiatives. The present condition of the Republican party alone explains the fact that state houses around the country are now boiling over with a thousand tons of steaming, brainless bullshit.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:31 AM
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nuke the entire site from orbit

Safer for the marine mammals to just give Florida back to Spain. And no, we don't have to ask for our money back.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:33 AM
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Let me make a prediction: National leaders of all kinds will denounce the shooting. The FL authorities will drag out the re-investigation over a few months so that most people forget about it, or at least have their anger significantly muted. If (and it's a big if) Zimmerman gets charged, it will be for 2nd degree unintentional manslaughter or something (or will be plea bargained down to that level), and he'll get a 2-year suspended sentence or something along those lines. A bunch of people (but fewer than now) will be re-outraged, but it will mostly be Black people and leftists, and nobody really cares what they say. There won't be any riots, there won't be any change in Florida law, and Zimmerman will go back to his life of obscurity and racism as though nothing had ever happened.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:33 AM
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"These assholes, they always get away."

That played prominently on the news here in prime-time. That, the size disparity, ignoring the 911 operator, and getting out of the SUV, is going to get him nailed.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:34 AM
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A felony conviction that takes away his right to have a gun -- necessary but not sufficient.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:35 AM
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30: About right. I'm not quite cynical enough to suggest he can parlay this into a career in local politics or talk radio, but who knows? He's already shown he's tougher than that dipshit Joe Arpaio. No reason he can't become the Joe the Plumber of race murder or something.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:37 AM
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Thank you for providing me the opportunity! (Wow, two comments in three days, this might be excessive breaking of my long-standing lurker habits.) But this *is* in my backyard and it's maddening. The latest excuse -- that they need an eyewitness -- is CRAZY! I have a teenage son, and people who provoke altercations with and then shoot teenage boys on the street need to be locked up. Arrest the guy! And then fire all the police officers who are not doing their damn jobs, and especially, especially, especially get rid of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee who said, "I'm sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he'd probably do things differently. I'm sure Trayvon would, too." As if Trayvon was somehow responsible for getting murdered while walking down the street from the 7-11! Oh, it's just so disgusting.

So many of the conversations about it, too, seem to focus on just the crime and the real issue to me is the lack of police response. Trayvon's death is sad, but black kids get murdered in this area far too often anyway. (Sanford is basically a suburb of Orlando and we have some of the highest crime rates in the country). But when they know who the murderer is and they don't bother to arrest him? It's as if they're saying you can get away with murder if the police know you and consider you friendly. It's horrifying.

Don't nuke Florida, though, please. I actually do like it here. I'm agoraphobic, though, so liking it is made easier by the fact that I very rarely deal with other people.


Posted by: Wyndes | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:38 AM
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32: For awhile. I'm sure if you're white it's not that hard to have something like that expunged after 7 years and go right back to concealed-carry.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:41 AM
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30 is probably right. 33 is probably wrong.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:43 AM
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That played prominently on the news here in prime-time. That, the size disparity, ignoring the 911 operator, and getting out of the SUV, is going to get him nailed.

Nailed by ... the District Attorney of West Hollywood?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:45 AM
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He's Hispanic so the crazies probably won't fully embrace him.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:45 AM
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37: The Feds, for a civil rights violation, probably. Any guesses as to what will be found on Zimmerman's computer, if he has one?

(WeHo doesn't get upset about racial stuff, we get upset about crimes related to sex & gender, & parking enforcement.)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:52 AM
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it will be for 2nd degree unintentional manslaughter or something

My policy idea to come out of this is that any time a murder is committed by someone with a concealed carry permit, that should be treated as aggravating circumstances and the penalty should go up, not down.

So if you shoot someone accidentally with your concealed weapon, and it would ordinarily be manslaughter, you are now looking at second degree murder. If you commit a second degree murder, it should be bumped up to first degree.

If having a gun is so important to you that you go so far as to get your ability to carry a hidden one around in public blessed by the authorities, part of the deal should be that you take extra responsibly when something goes wrong.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:53 AM
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My previous baseline for modern-day instances of violent unpunished attacks on black teenagers was the Jordan Miles incident. In this case there were three people who beat him up, those people turned out later to be police although there was no way for the victim to know that, and he didn't even get killed or paralyzed. And the perpetrators in that case, even though they were actual police, at least received some sort of token punishment.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:54 AM
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He's Hispanic so the crazies probably won't fully embrace him.

Is he Cuban? The crazies like Cubans.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:55 AM
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30 is right. 33 is also right if you restrict it to talk radio. I mean, G. Gordon Liddy is a talk radio star. Its where criminal thugs go to retire.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:07 AM
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40: Indeed, followed by the provision that if you kill anything, you have to eat their/it's heart on the spot. Circle of life and so on.


Posted by: JupiterGee | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:18 AM
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33 was an exaggeration, but it remains to be seen by how much, given that Florida also elected Allen West. Who wouldn't be cool with a guy who supervises torture and stages mock executions? But West's brutality was state-sanctioned, so I guess he's a hero or something.

Safer for the marine mammals to just give Florida back to Spain.

I'm happy to let the manatees run the place, but the tourism revenues would really be good for the Spanish economy.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:35 AM
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45: But West's brutality was state-sanctioned

So far Zimmerman's is as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:36 AM
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46: So far Zimmerman's is as well.

They're awkwardly looking away and shuffling their feet, so far. Not quite sanction, but an indifference that passes for it under poor light.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:41 AM
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34 - There were eyewitnesses. The officer on the scene patiently explained to them that they heard Zimmerman, not Martin, yelling for help. (I assume people have done enough reading about this to know about the awesome response the Sanford PD did on the Justin Collison case.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:46 AM
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Why is Florida worse than, e.g., Alabama? I would have thought it marginally better, although I guess there is the old Adam Corolla/Loveline "Germany or Florida?" quiz, which seems to get something about both places right.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:46 AM
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although I guess there is the old Adam Corolla/Loveline "Germany or Florida?" quiz

The callers were always hysterically unable to read the article without giving away the answer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:49 AM
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45 -- And HG's kids would be dual US/EU citizens. There's really no limit to the upsides of this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:51 AM
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On homicide, generally, I make a habit of reading this blog, which simply lists and describes all of the homicides in LA county on a daily basis. The bulk are gang killings, probably, although there are also a lot of women killed by enraged boyfriends and a fair number of police shootings. The blog exists because the LA Times stopped reporting homicides as news.

A large percentage go unsolved, which makes a failure to arrest and prosecute in this awful case that much more outrageous (though, I can't imagine that this guy won't be prosecuted, by the feds if no one else).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:55 AM
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I'm happy to let the manatees pythons run the place, but the tourism revenues would really be good for the Spanish economy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 11:29 AM
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Maybe the pythons and manatees can come to some sort of power-sharing agreement.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 11:54 AM
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although I guess there is the old Adam Corolla/Loveline "Germany or Florida?" quiz

He still does that on his podcast, along with "Definitely Not a Jew."*

* E.g., "Dateline: Salt Lake City." (That's all.)

As for the OP, Zimmerman was going to kill somebody sooner or later, and someone should have known it.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:09 PM
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54: If I was a manatee, I don't think I would attend the meeting to work this out.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:18 PM
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I've got to head to work but man those tapes are damning. WTF is going on down there. For the PD's sake I sure hope it's the prosecutor fucking this up and not them. That statement from the chief though didn't give me confidence that that's the case.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:22 PM
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Why is Florida worse than, e.g., Alabama?

Or why Texas? Cause there are more liberals watching Florida and Texas, resident, visiting, observing.

This ain't about Zimmerman hating on the black people. This is about Zimmerman hating on you.

And this ain't about you whites caring all bunches about Martin. This is about you hating the Zimmermans.

And so the blacks keep dying, and the vaginal probes keep probin's, and the wars, and the tax cuts, and all the Republican crazy are gonna keep goin and goin.

Until yo stop trying to find a nice place that makes you feel righteous, until you stop calling your hate altruistic and using the innocent and vulnerable to disguise your hate as a concern for justice and just start hating for the hatin and do it really fucking good.

But probably fifty years from now there will be more Tills and Martins for you to enjoy your two minute hates. Because that's what you want.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:45 PM
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Why does Bob Dylan hate black people and/or me?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:48 PM
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In a thread expressly tagged for 'disgust and outrage', I'm shocked to find expressions of hate being voiced. Anyway, like the man said, you gotta hate somebody before this is over.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:54 PM
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This is about you hating the Zimmermans.

Wait, we hate Hispanics now? This is getting really difficult to keep straight.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 12:57 PM
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For the record, I don't hate pythons. I just don't think they should be in the Everglades.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:03 PM
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Ethnic cleansing!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:05 PM
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Anyway, like the man said, you gotta hate somebody before this is over.

I hate bob. Not only, but instantly, because the expression "hating on" torques my soul into warp-spasming rage.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:10 PM
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Well, it's true that I do hate Zimmermans. Not quite as much as I hate Zimmermanns, but it's pretty close. Never trust anyone with that many bilabial nasals in their name, is what I always say.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:27 PM
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(Any Zimmerpersons in the present company are excepted, of course.)


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:28 PM
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In the immortal words of John Lennon, "I don't believe in Zimmerman!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:29 PM
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Now if we could only discover a telegram (or I guess text message these days) that he sent before the fact stating that he planned to kill someone real soon now, we'd have an open and shut case for war.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:38 PM
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The hating on Zimmermans is just another manifestation of educated liberals contempt for manual labor. We hate the Smiths, the Kowalskis, the Plumbers, the Bauers, and the Wrights too.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:45 PM
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You forgot the Goetzes.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:47 PM
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Nobody forgets the Goatses.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:48 PM
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Come on, isn't there some agent liability theory you could use to go for the police department itself here? A private prosecution? Civil suits against pretty much everyone floating around?

I fucking hate the de facto immunity from the law that cops enjoy. It's most corrosive thing to the rule of law in day to day life.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:50 PM
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Oh. I'd never realized that Kowalski was a job name. What's it mean, teraz?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:50 PM
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kowal = smith


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:52 PM
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And we're on the side of the von Martin's.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:53 PM
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There are probably a copy of an incriminating telegram around somewhere.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 1:59 PM
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I realise that 72 is totes full of impossible things; still.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:10 PM
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75: And of the von Trapps.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:12 PM
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Not OT because this is the hate thread.

President Barack Obama has proclaimed this day, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, a National Day of Honor.

Really!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:27 PM
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69: We hate the Smiths, the Kowalskis, the Plumbers, the Bauers, and the Wrights too.

People seemed to like the Cartwrights well enough, especially Hoss.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:31 PM
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For the record, I don't hate pythons. I just don't think they should be in the Everglades.

Megan is the Eric Clapton of python racism.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:41 PM
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79: Oh come ON! "Unmatched courage and determination" -- in comparison to who, Vichy France? Practically anybody was more courageous and determined that US forces in the Iraq War -- Soviet partisans in WWII; the Indians in the Indian Wars; the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. Hmph.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:46 PM
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79: Sure, and we can have a delayed celebration every year on May 1st during which the President stomps around on an aircraft carrier dressed up in military garb like some kind of 1st-world Idi Amin with nukes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:48 PM
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Pythons should know their rightful place.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:48 PM
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Actually, I don't want to make jokes on this thread. That's my first reflex, but the language I'm referring to is nasty, and a kid got shot in a place with a bad history of that kind of thinking and killing.

If I may, I'm backing out of this theme.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:50 PM
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If I may, I'm backing out of this theme.

Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:53 PM
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79: W.T.F.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 2:58 PM
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If the military does it, it's honorable. Haven't you heard?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:03 PM
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and the proclamation itself seems to be about how wonderful it was that we invaded Iraq so we could withdraw and let's celebrate this invasion as my withdrawal couldn't have happened without it. GRRRRR


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:04 PM
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Next up: a National Day of Dignity on the anniversary of the Abu Ghraib leaks, in honor of the dignified and professional approach American troops are known to bring to their naked human pyramids.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:05 PM
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||
For everyone who's ever thought Kevin Drum just was a wishy-washy centrist, a link.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:11 PM
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This is one weird-ass document. It's like they wanted to celebrate the Obama achievement of leaving. But then someone said that would piss of the military and Real America™. So they wrapped it in a National Honor Day filled with stuff about the honorable invasion. They're trying to straddle, again.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:13 PM
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In an America where Kevin Drum is a wishy-washy centrist, there's little daylight between Natilo and a middle of the pack Dem Congresscritter.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:15 PM
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I feel as if I should understand 93, but I don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:27 PM
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I also am puzzled.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:29 PM
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Kevin Drum remains a wishy-washy centrist and a culture warrior, and an imperialist before he wasn't and will be again. They all go together.

The CT Forever Culture War Forever Thread had very little worth reading, but I did like "lupita's" two comments

Haidt contrasts two narratives that actually stand out for how much they have in common. Both start with "Once upon a time" and end with, as the Brain from "Pinky and the Brain" would say, "TAKE OVER THE WORLD!" The inter-tribal differences depicted (family values vs. individual rights) pale in comparison to having a whole national tribe that is wounded and armed to its teeth worshiping the idol of global supremacy.

Later, she (?) talks about the strategies both sides use to make their service to hegemonic ambition a sacred mission. Too bad she is a declinist.

Now re-read the Drum and celebrate National Honour Day with Obama.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:29 PM
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Drum's views are way to the left of the current center of American politics, aka folks like Evan Bayh or David Brooks. This is true on econ issues as well as cultural ones.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:38 PM
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If the military does it, it's honorable. Haven't you heard?

Greenwald's observations on a related topic are (as usual) dead-on, and (in a break with tradition) also succinct.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:43 PM
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If Megan insists, I'm willing to drop the topic, but not before noting that teo's 81 is outstanding.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:45 PM
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94-95: tkm's point, I think, is that Drum is sometimes labeled a centrist. tkm disagrees with this label.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 3:50 PM
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This is war, war I tell ya, war between us educated enlightened liberals and those white male bigots, and this war has been going on for centuries and may go on a long time, but I won't stop fighting because I feel a great obligation to...

all those blacks and poor and women and Iraqis and Vietnamese...

...who have died in the cross fire.

My enemy and I thrive to continue the fight. Symbolically.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 4:06 PM
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David Brooks is not the current center of American politics.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 4:31 PM
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99: Thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 4:41 PM
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My enemy and I thrive to continue the fight. Symbolically.

Is there an anthology somewhere online of ca. 2003-2006 conservative blogger "Keyboard Kommando Komment Korner"/"We're Charles Martell at Roarke's Drift on the Titanic, drifting toward Bethlehem the gates of Vienna!" rubbish, because bob, you may have missed your moment in the idiomatic sun.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 4:51 PM
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The especially nosy of you reprobates may have noticed a new addition to my FB friends list.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PLAUSIBLY DENIABLE COMMENTER | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 4:57 PM
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David Brooks' schtick is to play the most let wing 'reasonable' Republlican. Evan Bayh is a fairly typical exemplar of a Democratic version of this. Kevin Drum's equivalent in congress would be a very left wing Dem, in NYT punditry it would be Paul Krugman with a different tone.

The party of lower taxes on the rich, kill unions, kill Muslims, contraception is for dirty sluts, end Medicare, etc. is going to get 45-50% in November.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:05 PM
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If I am looking at the right person on OPINIONATED PLAUSIBLY DENIABLE COMMENTER's FB friends list, I have a common friend with her.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:10 PM
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The especially nosy of you reprobates may have noticed a new addition to my FB friends list.

OMG it's heebie?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:16 PM
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107 -- I have no idea and am rarely on Facebook, but I say it gots to be McMegan.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:18 PM
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109 is baffling in all aspects.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:24 PM
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107: Me too, and it's the bassoonist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:25 PM
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I don't know anyone named Darcy, but I do know a woman named Darci. She doesn't play the bassoon or, to my knowledge, any double or even single reed instruments.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:26 PM
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I suspect that I'm "friends" with Flip on FB, but I don't know for sure. This is true of nearly all unfogged commenters with whom I'm FB friends, so not nosy am I. That said, if someone wants to send me a pseud-to-real names primer or key, that would be lovely.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:34 PM
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106: You surely can't be that naive about American politics. The Republicans would get 40% of the vote no matter what they advocated. People don't pay attention, and don't know what the issues are. If the Republicans ever engaged in frontal assaults on Medicare or contraception, they would be completely annihilated at the next election.

David Brooks' role is as a propagandist who simulates a reasonable tone, so as to convince liberals that conservative ideas are the ideas of the sensible center. The fact that you think he's the center shows you how well-chosen he is for this role.

If you take a random sample of Americans, asked them their opinions, and sorted then from left to right, Kevin Drum would be to the left of center on social issues, and right of center on economic issues (or at least he would have been a few years ago). He'd probably towards the right side of the current Democratic House caucus.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:35 PM
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I've been checking the FB entry for the girl my son is about to ask to the prom. She likes the Kony thing. Disqualifying?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:35 PM
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111: that is not one of the Darcys I know, in point of fact.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:36 PM
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Actually, I guess I know several of your real names, but probably not the majority of you. Then again, I may just be FB friends withna bunch of random people.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:36 PM
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114 came out grouchier than I intended, but fuck it! Everyone is wrong about everything!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:37 PM
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Don't embarrass me, reprobates, unless it's to post fond reminiscences of my gracious manners, gentlemanly philanthropy, costumed crimefighting or the time I won the Nobel Prize for Serving Society by Rocking.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PLAUSIBLY DENIABLE COMMENTER | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:37 PM
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Wait, two people have friends in common with Lunchy?! You are either blessed or doomed, flippy. (And let's just say that, due to her interesting educational history, if I have the right laydee, she is unfogged material, poor dear.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:37 PM
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120: more than two.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:38 PM
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(I mean, I have the same friend in common as Blume does, but whatever.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:39 PM
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VW, my FB image depicts me terrifiedly engaged in an unusual sporting activity that I have betimes mentioned here.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:40 PM
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115: Disqualifying?

For prom?? For God's sake, man, get a grip.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:40 PM
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Way to blow your cover, OPINIONATED PLAUSIBLY DENIABLE COMMENTER.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:41 PM
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I am downloading the FB app on my iPad. I'm hosier than I thought, I guess.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:44 PM
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124 -- Modern parents are expected to supervise their children. Did you miss the thread on that?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:45 PM
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I'm hosier than I thought, I guess.

You can take the boy out of Canada...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:47 PM
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127: So grateful to have been parented in premodern times, back on the veldt. (Seriously, the social networking arms race between parents and offspring must be so exhausting.)


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:48 PM
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128: Hey. It's the beauty way to go.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:50 PM
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128: Indiana, Sifu.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:51 PM
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125: Your complex psychological games were just too much for me, neb. Or should I say ... "Von Wafer"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:54 PM
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Actually, since VW had explicitly mentioned only Flip, I suppose it only made sense that you, Flippanter, should reply to him … but now that you have replied to my comment using the nonce-o-nym, the truth stands revealed!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:56 PM
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If I'm reading this correctly, her nom-du-blog isn't all that far off her first name. Assuming I'm looking at the right person, and that one enjoys one's midday meal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:59 PM
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two people have friends in common with Lunchy?!

And of the three so far identified, two are Tweety and me. That might give a reasonable person pause.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 5:59 PM
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Are you people in high school?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:00 PM
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you people

Racist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:02 PM
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134: dammit, now everybody knows her first name is Threemartini.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:02 PM
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Sadly, not anymore.

And one does have to be impressed with a woman with that level of professional kinship with Jimmy Carter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:02 PM
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That might give a reasonable person pause.

Or an erection. I always get those confused.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:04 PM
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Are you people in high school?

They didn't have Facebook when I was in high school!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:06 PM
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So, right wing House Democrats favor raising taxes on the rich to levels significantly higher than Clinton era levels, argue that the long decline in union power is the great tragedy of the past thirty years and has created a society where the top 0.1 percent loot everything for their benefit, are for single payer healthcare... just for starters?

I have no idea what David Brooks actually thinks, but I agree with you on what his role is, and I'm referring to that public persona when I say that he is about as liberal as a Republican gets.

If the Republicans ever engaged in frontal assaults on Medicare or contraception, they would be completely annihilated at the next election.

I'm not as optimistic as you, but we'll see how Romney does in November.

If you take a random sample of Americans, asked them their opinions, and sorted then from left to right, Kevin Drum would be to the left of center on social issues, and right of center on economic issues (or at least he would have been a few years ago).

A large majority would support much higher taxes on the rich than we have now. A large majority would oppose an actual official proposal to enact such taxes. A large majority supported health care for all, half the population believed a very conservative attempt to do just that was government overreach. A majority will also support ending the deficit by eliminating foreign aid, which they believe is a major category of spending.

From what I can tell, on the hot button issues Kevin Drum is actually further to the left of the real center in US politics on economics than he is on social issues. Much further. I don't know why anyone actually thinks he's a centrist. Maybe they don't read him and just rely on his early blogospheric rep? (He has moved to the left, but even in his early years he was solidly left of center. His reputation as a centrist came from being right wing by liberal blogosphere standards and his tone.)

I'll finish off this overly long comment with a long quote:

The heart and soul of liberalism is economic egalitarianism. Without it, Wall Street will continue to extract ever vaster sums from the American economy, the middle class will continue to stagnate, and the left will continue to lack the powerful political and cultural energy necessary for a sustained period of liberal reform. For this to change, America needs a countervailing power as big, crude, and uncompromising as organized labor used to be.
But what?
Over the past 40 years, the American left has built an enormous institutional infrastructure dedicated to mobilizing money, votes, and public opinion on social issues, and this has paid off with huge strides in civil rights, feminism, gay rights, environmental policy, and more. But the past two years have demonstrated that that isn't enough. If the left ever wants to regain the vigor that powered earlier eras of liberal reform, it needs to rebuild the infrastructure of economic populism that we've ignored for too long. Figuring out how to do that is the central task of the new decade.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:09 PM
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And I didn't have friends!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:09 PM
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143 unquestionably to 142.

Hey, are you guys going to the dance? I hear Lunchy and Flip are totally going to make out there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:09 PM
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If I'm reading this correctly, her nom-du-blog isn't all that far off her first name

I can't tell if I've just located the wrong person, or if LB's standards of similarity are totally out of whack.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:10 PM
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Holy mother of God do I suck at Facebook (or maybe recognizing activities in smallprofile pictures)! I've "creeped" apo's entire friends list (which is half the free world) and I still did not find it. Probably better that way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:11 PM
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Never mind. I must have been led off the track by the association with that safety school.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:14 PM
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145: You neglect the third and likeliest possibility, that I'm looking at the wrong person.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:14 PM
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148: I don't think you are. I think neb is slow.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:16 PM
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Side-channel communiqués have convinced me that I simply misunderstood what you meant.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:17 PM
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My curiosity has been piqued. I think I'll friend more of you than just Emerson. Anyway, I might get more of neb's music recommendations, and that's always a good thing.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:18 PM
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Phew. Thank god everyone knows who Flip's new girlfriend is, and has examined her pedigree.

Honestly, this is bad, people folks. Embarrassing. But carry on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:24 PM
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Well, we haven't precisely examined her pedigree.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:25 PM
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I'm sitting here with my head cocked to one side, trying to interpret the shade of meaning represented by replacing 'people' with 'folks'. Perhaps I will clean the kitchen instead.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:26 PM
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153: That would be a job for Thundersnow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:26 PM
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More to the point, what's up with her political views? Is that code for 'libertarian'?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:27 PM
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Phew. Thank god everyone knows who Flip's new girlfriend is, and has examined her pedigree.

Not everyone, darn it!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:28 PM
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Embarrassing.

Everybody, parsimon is embarrassed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:29 PM
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It turns out I'm not FB friends with Flip. So now I've sent my first ever friend request! (Mostly to annoy parsimon, honestly.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:30 PM
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154: No shade of meaning. Just a simple-minded attempt to avoid the "racist!" response, but "folks" doesn't help much. So. Oh well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:31 PM
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I am the gauche.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:33 PM
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"People" is racist?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:33 PM
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Some people is.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:34 PM
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162: You didn't know that? Man, you could cut the privilege with a knife around here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:35 PM
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God damn it I am out of the loop as well. Is she hot or not?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:35 PM
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you could cut the privilege with a knife around here

Racist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:36 PM
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Phew. Thank god everyone knows who Flip's new girlfriend is

I cannot understand having such little curiosity!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:36 PM
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165: who, LB?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:36 PM
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I'm in the loop! I'm in the loop! Should I friend Lunchy on Facebook?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:38 PM
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168: Anyone who's seen my FB picture knows how hot I am.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:38 PM
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Has Halford seen your facebook picture?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:38 PM
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166: Or possibly anti-semite. Josephine Tey tells me that the knife is the preferred weapon of the Mediterranean or the Levantine.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:39 PM
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friend Lunchy on Facebook?

All the nouns in this just started rotating. Should I book Friendy on Lunchface? Should I lunch Facey on Bookfriend?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:40 PM
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Tonight I am manually uploading about 100 documents to a collaboration site. By hand, ie cutting and pasting each email into it's own doc, on the site. Bleagh. At least I know how hot LB is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:40 PM
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172: A maxim, of course, which led Scotland Yard astray.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:41 PM
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But 173 made me laugh out loud, which is nice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:41 PM
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173: Facefriend, y un Lunchbook?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:42 PM
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167: Really? You mean me, having such little curiosity about Flip's new girlfriend? I don't know what to say: I'm quite happy for both of them, especially Flip, since I know him in some sense. If Flip wanted to introduce us all to one another that would be one thing.

I don't know what to say. I'm pretty big on personal privacy in my own life. Showing a person (who, I assume, does not know that she's being shown) seems weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:44 PM
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The Mom of my son's best little buddy is diabetic. I wonder if conservatives would think that letting him spend time around her will lead his pancreas down the primrose path? Acting all inappropriately with the insulin and whatnot.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:44 PM
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If Flip wanted to introduce us all to one another that would be one thing.

Clearly he does, in more or less the sense in which you know him, or he wouldn't have brought our attention to it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:46 PM
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But I am not criticizing Flip! I think I'm just weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:46 PM
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178 should acquaint itself with 105.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:48 PM
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I would like to show you all the loony raw milk & paleo enthusiast Libertarian who is now linking to wacko Glenn Beck stories about M@li@ Ob@m@'s seekrit Messican vakay.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:49 PM
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I too am a member of the gaucheoisie.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:50 PM
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A bourgeois leftist?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:51 PM
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Weird. Didn't FB used to let one attach a small message to a befriending request? Ah well, if you see someone named Mvrph/ looking for a friend, it might be me. Same picture, for now, as in Flickr.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:56 PM
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All right, I've figured out who this "Flippanter" fellow is. Next step is to stalk, then kill and eat, Lunchy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:59 PM
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Other things being equal, I'd sort of prefer people not friend her through me: it's still early, after all, but I thought you degenerates might enjoy a glimpse of the grounds for my unaccustomed happiness.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 6:59 PM
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I should ask my friend about her. Get some gossip.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:00 PM
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188: No one is so insane as to actually do that, surely? Except maybe heebie.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:00 PM
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I wouldn't really have done so, Floopy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:00 PM
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I certainly hope no one is actually friending her, because that would be really weird.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:00 PM
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I'm just poking her again and again and again and again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:01 PM
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Right. Because none of this is really weird.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:02 PM
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193 is super funny.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:03 PM
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193 made me laugh.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:03 PM
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185: an awkward francophile?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:03 PM
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Being happy is pretty weird for me, MS.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:03 PM
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Huh. She sounds fascinating.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:04 PM
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I agree, none of this is weird. I know parsimon has a different view. But, I think this is fairly normal and delightful. Reprobates.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:04 PM
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(Even more so than Flip has indicated, that it.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:04 PM
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This kind of conversation must be fascinatingly stupid for lurkers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:04 PM
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198: Which fact itself is a little weird, although I get it.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:07 PM
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Alright, how does one go about friending the Mineshaft on Facebook? Any volunteers want to me e-mail me?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:09 PM
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I cannot understand having such little curiosity!

Tweety's got a fucking enormous curiosity. Probably ruined Blume for other men altogether.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:09 PM
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Not kinky.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:11 PM
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Facebook really does make it easy to stalk people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:14 PM
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Facebook really does make it easy to stalk people.

What amazed me was that Flip friended me before I could triangulate on him. Excellent counter-battery fire.

And Flip, We're I'm so happy you're so happy.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:17 PM
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Oh I was stalking Halford. I've learned what I can about Flip.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:19 PM
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I thought you degenerates might enjoy a glimpse of the grounds

Are they well-kept? (I don't even have a facebook)


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:21 PM
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I really do wish I knew who you all are on facebook. Oh well.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:22 PM
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Discussions like this make me think I should succumb to the evil empire, but then I resist the siren call.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:23 PM
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Ooh, I have no idea who Halford is. Should I investigate?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:24 PM
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It turns out that there's a fascinating interview with "Flippanter" on "New York Social Diary."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:25 PM
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Not really.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:27 PM
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212: Don't do it, teraz. Be a grown-up. There's a whole universe of us out here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:27 PM
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213 -- If you're prepared to be blown away with awesomeness, you can try.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:27 PM
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211: Do you know that I sent you a message yesterday? At least, I assume it was you. That was me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:28 PM
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I really do wish I knew who you all are on facebook.

We're all George Takei.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:28 PM
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Apo's a total curiousity-kill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:29 PM
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218: was it about an upcoming trip? Because I had no idea that was you. Cool! Now I'll reply!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:32 PM
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Don't do it, teraz. Be a grown-up. There's a whole universe of us out here.

It's just harder for you to find each other on the internet.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:33 PM
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It was me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:33 PM
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Will someone let me know when it's appropriate to begin insulting parsimon back? Because I've got some good ones!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:33 PM
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Are you going to send me a message, VW?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:38 PM
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Well?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:48 PM
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I'm sorry if I've been insulting. Von Wafer can insult me back if he likes, but I won't listen. Basically, I'm big on privacy; I don't know why that is, but there it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:49 PM
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Basically, I'm big on privacy; I don't know why that is, but there it is.

Clearly, because you have something to hide. What are you hiding?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:51 PM
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I was pretending he'd emailed the wrong person, but I wasn't convincing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:51 PM
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Oooh! Now I'm curious! Yes, Parsi, what?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:51 PM
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226: I did. But I'm really big on privacy, so what I said is none of your business.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:51 PM
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228: I took my boys* to see John Carter because of you. You owe me $18. I figure I'm responsible for the hot pretzels and drinks.

* Yes, that what I call my testicles.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 7:53 PM
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I told VW all my crushes on unfogged commenters. Because I knew I could trust him.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:01 PM
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I sent VW really deeply personal emails but I think I might have used the wrong email address.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:04 PM
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You, me, and your two kids, VW. Now, who are the 46 other people who have paid to see that movie?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure I extended the hand of facebook friendship to the wrong flippanter. No, seriously.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:07 PM
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The one to whom you wish to extend your hand is someone with whom you already have friends in common, VW.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:09 PM
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237: too complicated for me. This is why I never use facebook. That and I want to keep parsi happy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:12 PM
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||
DOJ and FBI open an investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:20 PM
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193, 205, and 210 each caused me to laugh out loud. And 214 reminded me that I'd intended to ask: we're all totally psyched about the new Whit Stillman movie, right?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:24 PM
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239: Well, good. But I'm guessing Florida has some kind of nutty "shoot first, ask questions later" law to protect crazy vigilantes? "Yeah, I fired a warning shot to the head, and is it my fault if his head met my bullet?"


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:30 PM
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241: Yup . Apparently pushed through by the anti-domestic violence lobby allied with the NRA. This case is going to provide infinite culture war fodder -- Hispanic guy blows away an unarmed black teen in a deep south state, shielded by a law that is the unholy spawn of the feminists and the National Rifle Association.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 8:55 PM
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241: However, even the Stand Your Ground law (fucked up and crazy as it is) technically requires a "reasonable fear" that you'll be killed or worse. I'm guessing that George Zimmerman may have some difficulty in meeting that standard.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:01 PM
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a "reasonable fear" that you'll be killed

Skittles do lead to diabetes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:19 PM
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I apparently guessed correctly that I am facebook friends with Flippy, but this thread leaves me in some doubt about whether I've guessed correctly who Lunchy is. No big deal.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:23 PM
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technically requires a "reasonable fear" that you'll be killed or worse.

Well, "technically," sure. But we're not in Pointe-Claire anymore, Lord C., we're talking Florida. If the guy (young guy, teenager, Jesus God) you shot was black, well sir, obviously and self-evidently your fear was "reasonable." Sorry to sound like one of those superior northerners sneering at the southern crackers and all, but yeah, that is my impression of Florida (note: the Confederate flags I saw hanging proudly, and without an ounce of shame, apparently, the last time I visited the Sunshine State [last winter, as a matter of fact] have contributed greatly to this impression]).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 9:30 PM
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246: Well, I understand the rationale for many of the groups requesting a Federal investigation is that the Civil Rights Division would be able to challenge applications of the law that it found to be discriminatory, in ways that authorities local to Floride might be unwilling to do. IANAL, however; presumably our law-talking guys and gals have better information on the implications of state law for federal investigators, and the limits on what they can and can't do.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:05 PM
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244: And apparently he was carrying iced tea, too, which might cause The Evil Gingivitis. So I guess that's a double whammy.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 10:06 PM
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I don't think I'm FB friends with Flippanter. Although there are one or two of you I have no idea who you are. So maybe it's that one.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-19-12 11:56 PM
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I don't think I'm FB friends with Flippanter.

Indeed, it appears that you are not.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:02 AM
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Actually, there's just two. One had a pretty serious gf on Valentine's Day, and the other is engaged, so no.

More's the pity. I like finding out who I have real-world friends in common with. I found fun IRL connex to rfts, will, Smearcase, jackmormon, Jesus, and most bizarrely Sifu. And AWB made some after we met here.

I respect parsi's desire to maintain a separate Internet, but I'm a slave to the postlapsarian social Web.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:09 AM
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However, even the Stand Your Ground law (fucked up and crazy as it is) technically requires a "reasonable fear" that you'll be killed or worse.

The law really isn't crazy. This appears to be the relevant code.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

He's obviously not in the ballpark of a forcible felony so it'd have to be to repel an attack that will kill him or cause great bodily harm. He outweighs the teen by 100 pounds and the kid didn't have a weapon. There's also the question of whether Zimmerman was in fact engage in unlawful activity at the time. If Zimmerman tried to illegally detain the kid then not only might the fear be unreasonable but he might also have been instigating the confrontation with an outright illegal act which would also exempt him from protection under the code.

I know for a fact these things can be prosecuted.(well, at least areas which are not The South) We have Stand Your Ground style self defense laws in this state and had a similar incident a couple years ago. The shooter was convicted of attempted murder.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:12 AM
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During the almost two year period in which I was on facebook without posting pretty much ever, I was friended and then apparently unfriended by a few unfogged people. I can't remember which ones.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:20 AM
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252: The law really isn't crazy

Admittedly, had it been enacted in a context with fewer racial issues, and fewer gun nuts just itching to bend to the breaking point the definitions of things like self-defense and reasonable belief, it wouldn't have been. But agreed with the rest.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:24 AM
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gswift's example is seriously fucked up but gives me some hope, verdict-wise. (Not that it helps if Zimmerman isn't charged.)

This case is even more insane. I don't see how Zimmerman could possibly be covered by the statute but this is a demonstrably crazy state we're dealing with and I am a reasonable person.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:40 AM
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The sanctity of off-blog communication seems to have fallen rather by the wayside. Sorry, lurkers! You should obviously come to meetups and blow your anonymity.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:46 AM
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Halford, did you recommend John Carter? I missed it. I have a neurotic relationship with that movie, because when I was a kid I would have been more excited by a Princess of Mars movie than I ever was for Christmas. I haven't quite brought myself to see it yet, but I'm sure I will.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 4:04 AM
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IIRC, Halford said it was great if you were a 9-year-old boy like him.

And the wonderfully searchable archives agree: John Carter is an excellent movie if you are a 9 year old boy. I loved it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 4:53 AM
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That said, if someone wants to send me a pseud-to-real names primer or key, that would be lovely.

Martin Wisse = Martin Wisse

Here to Help!


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:03 AM
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Cheater.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:06 AM
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252

I know for a fact these things can be prosecuted.(well, at least areas which are not The South) We have Stand Your Ground style self defense laws in this state and had a similar incident a couple years ago. The shooter was convicted of attempted murder.

Terrible reporting in the link. Some guy named Peterson shows up at the end with no explanation.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:32 AM
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We have Stand Your Ground style self defense laws in this state and had a similar incident a couple years ago. The shooter was convicted of attempted murder.

So this was a case of a vigilante dad "defending" his daughter from a neighborhood watch vigilante? See, if everyone is armed, then you have a polite society. Of dead people.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:50 AM
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See, if everyone is armed, then you have a polite society. Of dead people.

That's ridiculous, the victim was only paralyzed.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:57 AM
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I'd like to befriend more people on Facebook, but I'm afraid they'll all reject me. Also, I don't know enough real name.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 5:58 AM
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re: Facebook -- I use a cunning version of my Unfogged pseud. Although I think there's more than one on Facebook it should be obvious which is correct.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:01 AM
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I insist that everyone learn my absurd blizzard of unrelated internet pseuds w/o my help. It's all I deserve.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:05 AM
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Now I'm wondering if any of the FB friend requests I've ignored were Mineshafters (Miners?). If I don't recognize the name I just assume it's some nut who accepts any suggestion from the decidedly dodgy recommendation engine and my name just came up at random.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:06 AM
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Bostoniangirl:
do you ever even go on Facebook!??!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:10 AM
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re: 266

I did start following the ddd twitter one, and I'm aware of a couple of blogs. But yeah, there are quite a few!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:12 AM
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I read it and sometimes comment on other people's links. I think that we're Facebook friends, will.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 6:31 AM
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270:

we are!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 7:19 AM
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I rejected a friend request from (I think) fake accent because I thought he was some no-account friend of my younger brother who just friended, like, everyone. Sorry, dude! My identity is obvious (same initials), should anyone care.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 7:33 AM
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Anyone planning to run through my friend list randomly guessing should be sure to friend plenty of right wing relations.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 7:55 AM
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I would like to apologize to anyone who's FB-friended me: I do almost nothing on FB but lurk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 7:56 AM
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273: "Right Wing Relations" would be a good name for a band.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:01 AM
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The law really isn't crazy.

I'd have to disagree. No duty to retreat in a public place sounds crazy to me. It basically makes everyone his (or her) own police officer, authorized to use deadly force against anyone who might be perceived as a threat.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:49 AM
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It basically makes everyone his (or her) own police officer, authorized to use deadly force against anyone who might be perceived as a threat.

Absolutely. I can only think that these laws are written by people who *like* gun battles and *really want* all of America today to look like the Wild West.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:54 AM
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Well, you know, there is a policeman inside each of our heads and all that.

It would be great if there were a law that broke the state's monopoly on violence in just that way, but of course there never could be, because then who would enforce the law? What's elided in the texts of these various statutes is of course that they are really only meant to apply to white men, who have always been, de facto, the last line of defense for the state's monopoly on violence in the US.

It all comes down to white supremacy and enforcing the color line, and it's unfortunate that we have to wait for the most egregious cases to present themselves in the media before we can re-remember that basic dictum.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:58 AM
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266 made me laugh.

I would like to apologize for my bitchiness last night. I was in a terrible mood, but there's no reason on earth I should take it out on you guys.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:11 AM
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279: no worries, parsi. But I should warn you that you came thisclose to being called a "bookworm".


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:15 AM
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Now I am being added by people who are clearly Unfoggeteers but beyond that I'm stumped. I'm curious if they know who I am or are just on a mad, irresponsible friending spree.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:21 AM
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(Ok one of them is actually Flip. My confusion is a little overstated.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:21 AM
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280: That wounds me, Wafer. It's not like I don't even have a Facebook. I do!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:25 AM
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I could be persuaded that a self-defense law not including a duty to retreat was workable if you kept the duty to retreat for deadly force: something like a 'fair fight' exemption, meaning that if someone attacks you, you can defend yourself physically rather than fleeing. My guess is that that sort of thing ends up being the law as enforced even in 'duty to retreat' jurisdictions, so I don't know that it needs to be codified. But for deadly force, saying there's no duty to retreat: you can kill or risk killing someone when it's unnecessary because you don't feel like backing off? As Mary Catherine says, that's loony.

An added bit of loony here is that the FL law seems to make it weirdly easy to establish self-defense. The general rule most places with affirmative defenses (AFAIR) is that the defendant has to prove the elements of the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Not beyond a reasonable doubt, but that it's more likely than not that the affirmative defense was true. In FL, as far as I can tell, while a defendant has to put forth some evidence that self-defense was a possibility, they don't have to prove self-defense by a preponderance. All they have to do is raise a reasonable doubt in the jury's mind that maybe their actions were justified.

With that kind of standard, I could get Zimmerman off at trial. I'm almost forgiving the cops now for not arresting him; putting him in jail is going to be really hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:34 AM
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I could get Zimmerman off at trial

Now you are just bragging.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:45 AM
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I could get Zimmerman off at trial.

Kinky.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:46 AM
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I wasn't pwned so much as Rob is a prematurely commented.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:47 AM
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they don't have to prove self-defense by a preponderance. All they have to do is raise a reasonable doubt in the jury's mind that maybe their actions were justified.

The only trial for which I've been on the jury was a case in which the defense argued self-defense (drunken fight at a party in which the defendant escalated the level of violence by stabbing somebody).

Part of what made it so hard to judge anything as a jury member was that it was really hard to trust anybody's memories of something that happened, at that point, three months earlier (let alone the fact that everyone was both drunk and agitated at the time). I kept feeling like I couldn't rely any any of the testimony to be accurate beyond the broad outline of the events.

It was a difficult case to decide.

(Also, the whole facebook thread is mildly frustrating because, while I'm very curious about Lunchy, it isn't enough to get me to want to look at Facebook. Isn't unfogged enough to keep track of? But 173 was excellent.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:48 AM
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Z's story is shit, and no juror has to believe it. And, it may well be, when they see him deliver it, they'll see what a completely bogus situation he created. OJ Simpson got off -- conviction is never a lock. But such a transparent story, with the guy ignoring the advice from law enforcement, and maybe acting in a way that nullifies his defense, this ought to be charged.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:51 AM
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If I've got the standard right, it shouldn't be that hard (well, I haven't listened to the tapes. If they're unambiguously the kid pleading for his life, that'd be enough to jail Zimmerman, probably. But say they're ambiguous.) I'm assuming there were no eyewitnesses to exactly what happened during the attack, so all the evidence is Zimmerman's calls beforehand.

At that point, Zimmerman's allowed to kill Martin if a reasonable person would have thought it was necessary to prevent Martin from committing a forcible felony. And Zimmerman doesn't need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the case, he doesn't even need to show that it's more likely than not that this was the case. He only needs to show that it could have been the case, enough to create a reasonable doubt that maybe it might possibly have happened that way.

If I'm defending Zimmerman under that standard, the story I'd want him to tell would be "I got out of the car and demanded to know what he was doing in my neighborhood. He got mad and came at me, so I shot him to prevent him from committing battery against me, a violent felony." As a juror, I wouldn't believe that story. But I'd have a hard time saying that I was sure that it couldn't have happened that way: from the way Zimmerman was acting, punching him would have been a natural reaction, and if Martin had thrown a punch or acted such that a reasonable person would have thought he might have, it's open season. Personally, I'd probably still vote to convict, but it'd be jury nullification, not that I was absolutely certain that Zimmerman hadn't met the incredibly low burden.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 9:58 AM
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(Although I take it back about forgiving the cops. Even if they didn't think they could get a conviction, this is a case where they don't have an excuse for not trying.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:02 AM
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The testimony of the girl Martin was talking to is going to be relevant. And of the witness who heard Martin pleading (and was corrected by the officer). It's not just Z's story, but also his propensity for drama (all those calls), and deliberate refusal to follow reasonable instructions from LE, who were on the way.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:03 AM
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Yeah, I'm talking in broad outlines -- if there's enough evidence to establish that it's completely implausible Martin made any aggressive move, then Zimmerman's convictable. But if the facts of the actual attack aren't known, then Zimmerman really doesn't have to show much, and his propensity for drama and failure to follow instructions don't change that: as far as I can tell, all he needs to convince a jury is that it's possible (not more likely than not, just that it's a bare possibility) a reasonable person in his shoes would have thought Martin was going to hit him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:09 AM
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Huh -- off to a grand jury.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:16 AM
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|| So, patent lawyers, any initial thoughts on Mayo Collaborative Services?|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:19 AM
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It's weird that the FL law seems to have plenty of situations where both parties would be allowed to kill. Say you have an altercation that looks like its about to lead to blows, aren't both people allowed to shoot?

Is there an exception for someone in the act of committing a crime? Like I rob you see that you're pulling a gun and then shoot you in self-defense? I guess that'd be felony murder?

Was Zimmerman breaking the law by chasing Martin in the first case? Jack McCoy would go for unlawful imprisonment and felony murder.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:20 AM
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290, 291: I think we can all agree that Florida's stand your ground law is batshit insane. (My understanding from some of TNC's comments is that it doesn't provide a defense if you are the one who initiated the confrontation, but el shocko that the Sanford PD get that far.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:21 AM
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What's the burden of proof for who initiated?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:24 AM
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298: It's not even in dispute that one dude was in a car in pursuit of the other and ultimately got out of the car. That seems straightforward to me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:27 AM
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I rejected a friend request from (I think) fake accent

Hmm. I don't think that was me.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:27 AM
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I'm actually kinda sad now that there's not going to be a Law&Order episode about this incident. Why did they never make Law and Order: Florida?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:30 AM
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That last is to 293 -- one of TNC's commenters broke down the law slightly, and it seems to rule out using deadly force if you "[initially provoke] the use of force", unless you think that you are in danger of death or severe harm. If I were the prosecutor, that's where I'd go.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:30 AM
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Is there an exception for someone in the act of committing a crime?

There is -- you can't be engaged in unlawful activity. Making Zimmerman's defense case, though (which I don't believe for a moment, I'm just thinking it could make it past a jury as enough to create reasonable doubt) it's plausible that he could have initiated the altercation by getting out of the car and acting scary, but that Martin could possibly have been the first to act in a way that a reasonable person could have believed was going to be violent.

Say you have an altercation that looks like its about to lead to blows, aren't both people allowed to shoot?

I do think that's a possibility. You'd probably need some kind of misunderstanding, because neither of the parties can have been actually acting unlawfully if they're going to claim self-defense, and intentionally threatening to attack someone has to be unlawful. But, say, if Martin had had a gun? I think he would have (if we ignore the actual double racial standard likely to be in play) have had a good self-defense claim even under the story where Zimmerman also had a good self-defense defense: each could have reasonably believed that the other was about to commit a crime.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:43 AM
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Why did they never make Law and Order: Florida?

CSI: Oxymoron


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:44 AM
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302: I'd missed the 'initially provoke' provision, but I bet there's plausible space for activity that wouldn't count as 'provoking' violence, but which still might plausibly lead to it. I'd need to read something interpreting that provision, though -- it depends on how FL courts have read it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 10:58 AM
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The other day it was suggested here that if the Florida law allows Zimmerman to shoot Martin, it also allows Martin's family to shoot Zimmerman. I think that is true.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 11:13 AM
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On the facebook part of this thread, I was feeling vaguely guilty about not having changed my photo to not be me plus child (on Mara's adoption day, when I finally felt free to show her face on public social network sites) but at least I don't have to worry much about unfogged people being unable to figure out who I am.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 11:21 AM
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|| So, patent lawyers, any initial thoughts on Mayo Collaborative Services?|>

I'm not a patent lawyer, but woohoo!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 11:32 AM
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303.1: Setting aside issues of trespass (IMUnderstanding Zimmermann was not on public property when he shot Martin), I don't see how getting out of a vehicle and chasing after a person can be colored as thinking that the other person had initiated violence.

I know that cops get away with this all the time - "We ran towards him, and he ran away, thus giving us probable cause to assault him" - but I don't see how, even given this insane statute, private citizens can create/escalate a confrontation and then shoot in "self-defense", absent a credible threat from the other person*.

IOW, Zimmermann was not plausibly threatened when he began to escalate. He wasn't "standing his ground": he was getting out of a vehicle and going after somebody.

Meanwhile, the fact that he lied in his initial report to police (claiming that Martin jumped him) utterly destroys his credibility. Why would any jury treat his testimony about the final confrontation as credible? I realize that it only takes one to acquit, and that the defense will try to get as many racistsolder whites on the jury as possible, but I wouldn't be feeling great about having Zimm as my client. "Just remember to tell the jury that this time you're telling the truth."

* that is, sure, if you say, "Hey buddy, you shouldn't litter," and the other guy pulls out a knife, then maybe you can shoot. But if you're accosting random passersby, I don't see you as being the victim of something that somebody else initiated.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 11:54 AM
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Meanwhile, the fact that he lied in his initial report to police (claiming that Martin jumped him) utterly destroys his credibility.

This, yeah. When I've been saying he'd be hard to convict, he'd need a story about lying (and I'm ignoring any direct evidence about how the confrontation went down, which could sink him). But mostly, I think he'd be hard to convict because he doesn't have to convince the jury, he just has to get one or more of them to think his story is possible. Not that they believe it is true, but that it's possible enough that they're not sure it didn't happen.

that is, sure, if you say, "Hey buddy, you shouldn't litter," and the other guy pulls out a knife, then maybe you can shoot.

I'd have to see some FL state law that interpreted 'initially provoke'. But Zimmerman might be able to tell a story that got pretty close to that: "Hey kid, where do you think you're going? Do you live around here?" isn't that far off from "You shouldn't litter, but under the circumstances might plausibly (or, that is, not totally implausibly) have frightened Martin into doing something that a reasonable person would have interpreted as a threat of violence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:03 PM
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Off to work so not much time, but an important point here is taking a swing at someone is not a forcible felony. Felony assault is when you're using a weapon, or doing something like kicking them in the head a bunch of times after they're on the ground. You just can't shoot a guy for taking a swing at you.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:09 PM
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Maybe where you live, gswift, but in Sanford they don't hold with that pussy procedural liberalism crap.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:13 PM
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They don't have to have already committed a forcible felony, though. You just have to reasonably believe that they're going to unless you stop them.

Again, the only reason I'm saying I could see this flying is that Zimmerman's story doesn't have to convince anyone, which in most jurisdictions (I think) it would have to, at least to a more likely than not standard. In FL, it just has to be plausible enough to raise a reasonable doubt. That's a severely fucked up law.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:16 PM
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Oh, hey, Utah's the same as FL.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:21 PM
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And so's NY. I've got to stop pulling out things I remember from law school but don't do professionally -- I swear I look things up before I opine if I'm getting paid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:26 PM
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And a whole bunch of other states, but not all of them. I do think that "No duty to retreat" combines really, really, horrifyingly badly with "the State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you weren't acting in self defense."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:32 PM
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"I'd probably still vote to convict, but it'd be jury nullification"

Can the term nullification refer to voting to convict someone despite the letter of the law? I've only heard it used in reference to acquittals.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:34 PM
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I say it can, and I am never wrong about that sort of thing. I dunno, you have a different word for it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 12:47 PM
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Hey, has anybody else read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness? I'm only halfway through, but I think it answers the question I asked in TFA about what on earth happened to derail movements that cared about poor people, people in jails/prisons, and so on, and of course the answer is racism. Well, racism and political manipulation. But it's making pieces fall into place in ways they hadn't before even though this is mostly stuff I'd known in general terms.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 1:00 PM
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Railroading? I mean, in the case at hand it seems like an appropriate thing to do, but more often convicting on weak evidence / not letting people off on "technicalities" is the kind of thing that lands innocent people on death row.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 1:12 PM
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I think railroading is more a prosecutorial action than a jury action, don't you think? The metaphor is putting someone on a track they can't swerve off of, not making a point decision. Not arguing that it's generally a good idea, but I don't think railroading is the word.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 1:17 PM
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No offense and nothing personal, but that's the kind of thing...

Let's take 1876. Was there more racism in 1876 than 1856 or 1866? Was there more racism in 1890-1900? A sudden increase in the 1920s when the KKK got big? Did we get new racists after 1975?

The racists are always there. Sometimes they get more powerful. Why?

The problem is that the supposed good guys, white liberals, park their wallets or schedules or courage and take a nice long break, resting on past achievements and plating a blame game. Other guy's fault.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 1:18 PM
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It's like saying "Hey, we are losing our abortion rights. Damn rightie assholes."

Well, duh. No shit. What's new?

Obviously that says nothing useful at all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 1:21 PM
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311: I'm thinking some of the newer findings re concussion and the after-effects of getting one's brain bounced around might change that. I heard a lecture some thirty years ago that convinced me getting punched in the head wasn't a good idea.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 2:01 PM
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324: Hmm, maybe. But I think you'd need to show that the person could plausibly cause that kind of harm. Obviously a 140-pounder swinging at a 250-pounder simply isn't going to apply enough force to concuss with anything like likelihood, let alone certainty. You could probably paper cut a person to death, but "he was coming at me with a piece of cardstock" will convince nobody.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 2:28 PM
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325: Well, look at gswift on a similar topic:

Small, helpless-looking people can be wired on drugs or adrenaline and have crazy amounts of temporary strength.

We had a guy opened up to the tune of over 100 stitches by a one legged guy in a wheelchair. Crazy dude launched himself out of the chair and headbutted the cop. Fell on top of him when they both went to the ground and slashed him with a piece of glass.

Once you think someone is attacking you, there's an argument (I think generally a bad one, but it gets made) that you have no way of knowing what their capabilities or limits are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 2:35 PM
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Even if the guy has a plausible self-defense case due to a bad law, isn't that what the trial is for? Surely the police have had more than enough cause to at least detain the guy, and they've done nothing beyond suggest the victim probably would wish he acted differently.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 2:43 PM
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There's another weird-ass aspect to the Florida law -- under some circumstances which I think are actually unclearly defined (as opposed to just being unknown to me, like most things), claiming self defense doesn't have to be asserted as a defense at trial, it gives you immunity from prosecution. That's still no excuse for not arresting the guy and investigating properly, but there is a real legal thing where if you can make a self defense claim at some preliminary stage, it forestalls trial.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 2:52 PM
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328 and others are why I think per 46 that it is fair to say that Zimmerman's brutality was state sanctioned.

Take the note from the legislative session per the link in 328:

The Legislature finds that it is proper for law-abiding people to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for acting in defense of themselves and others

I am law-abiding.
You are an intruder.
He is an attacker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 4:12 PM
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326.last: But my point with the paper-cutting is that that argument actually is crap. A kitten could, under just the right circumstances, kill me. If I kill every kitten I see on that basis, I deserve to be locked up.

Basically, you make the argument that an unarmed 140-lb black kid is a threat to 250-lb (Hispanic) white dude because either you view all black people as threats or you really, really want the white dude to be able to kill black kids with impunity.

And, to be clear, while I think cops get way, way too much latitude on this shit (see Jordan Miles), they at least are actually in the business of dealing with this shit. If a cop is going through a house where he thinks an armed suspect is hiding and a kitten jumps on him, I won't actually judge him that harshly for killing the kitten. Because A. he has no choice about doing what he's doing (that is, being in the scary house), and B. he (presumably) is well-trained enough that he's not going on a general shoot-to-kill approach towards cute, fluffy house pets.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:16 PM
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claiming self defense doesn't have to be asserted as a defense at trial, it gives you immunity from prosecution.

See, this just seems crazy to me. I'm no lawyerly person, but:

As I see it, claiming self-defense at a trial still puts the burden of proof on the one who pulled the trigger, who is still required to justify that action and to satisfy some fairly stringent set of conditions.

Whereas: when self-defense is now the baseline presumption, the default assumption, it's the other side (the representatives of the one who received the bullet, the one who got killed) who now need to satisfy some set of conditions, and to prove that it wasn't actually an act of self-defense that killed their victim. These 'stand your ground' (or 'stand and deliver') laws seem to reverse a centuries-old presumption in favour of having to justify the death of the one who got killed, and almost seem to put the deceased himself on trial (well, prove that he wasn't threatening to the one who killed him...can't supply sufficient proof? well then, his death must have been justified, the presumption of innocence now lying with his assailant, after all...).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-12 8:43 PM
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Whereas: when self-defense is now the baseline presumption, the default assumption

It's not the default assumption. The statute granting the immunity starts off with "A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s776.031". To get immunity they still have to get past a judge and they still have to meet the requirements of the code.

It's also worth looking at the code immediately following 776.032, which is the immunity statute.

776.041 Use of force by aggressor.--The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 12:14 AM
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Putting the immunity to one side, because I'm not clear on how it works in practice, in states like FL, UT and NY, once raised by a defendant, self-defense is the default. To convict, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killer wasn't justified by self-defense (including proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the killer was the 'aggressor', if that's the issue.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:17 AM
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Which means that I pretty much agree with Mary Catherine about how screwy this is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:18 AM
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334

Which means that I pretty much agree with Mary Catherine about how screwy this is.

It's screwy to require the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't legal self-defense?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:40 AM
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Yes. Plenty of states require affirmative defenses to be demonstrated by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence (fewer than I thought when I started shooting my mouth off, but it makes more sense to me than the alternative).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:41 AM
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336

Yes. Plenty of states require affirmative defenses to be demonstrated by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence (fewer than I thought when I started shooting my mouth off, but it makes more sense to me than the alternative).

Would you apply the same rule to the defense of consent in rape cases?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:02 AM
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It's not an affirmative defense: non-consent or the use of force or threat or something in that conceptual area depending on the jurisdiction is an element of the crime. Which means that yes, it already has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt everywhere (I'm going to be wrong about everywhere, there's probably someplace with a weird statute. But generally.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:07 AM
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I haven't been following this in detail, but surely there's more than enough to obtain a conviction here regardless of the Florida law. In plenty of criminal cases, the defense has some non-credible but theoretically possible theory of why they were innocent, and, if the defense story isn't credible, prosecutors still prosecute and juries still convict. The idea that the use of force was somehow potentially reasonable, or that the vigilante did not initiate the attack, are judgment calls and the decision not to prosecute on these facts was crazy. Or, put another way, if the races were reversed, would there be a serious dispute but that the defendant would likely be both prosecuted and successfully convicted, even under current Florida law?

So much of American criminal law and especially procedure is basically a way of dealing with the problem "southern whites don't (or didn't) give black defendants a fair trial and won't convict white people for killing black people" without squarely mentioning that this is what is really at issue. As a high level summary basically all of the Warren Court criminal procedure jurisprudence was a response to those problems.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:19 AM
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To convict, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killer wasn't justified by self-defense

Doesn't seem like it's that high a bar to clear to demonstrate something like that the accused initiated contact or didn't have reason to think a forcible felony was about to be committed.

776.08 Forcible felony.--"Forcible felony" means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

I think the 911 tape alone is pretty damning on both those fronts. Zimmerman tells them outright he's following the kid and ignores the dispatcher telling him not to do that. He's open about telling dispatch why he's following the kid as well. It's the south so all bets are off but around here walking down the sidewalk looking at houses sure as hell wouldn't fly as a reasonable belief that someone was about to commit a home invasion or a carjacking.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:27 AM
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It's the south so all bets are off

Outside of the panhandle, Florida really isn't 'the south', in my view. God knows what it is, but I wouldn't import cultural generalizations from, say, Alabama or Mississippi to the Orlando area. Interviews with some neighbors suggest that people in Sanford are pretty disgusted by Zimmerman. If they're representative it might go badly for him at trial after all.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:34 AM
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if the defense story isn't credible, prosecutors still prosecute and juries still convict. The idea that the use of force was somehow potentially reasonable, or that the vigilante did not initiate the attack, are judgment calls and the decision not to prosecute on these facts was crazy.

Exactly. Up here they got an attempted murder conviction in that case I linked in 252. The victim was another grown man also armed with a handgun, not a scrawny high school kid with a bag of candy. If they're not arresting and prosecuting Zimmerman it sure as hell isn't because the law is preventing them from doing so.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:49 AM
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340

I don't follow this. If you believe the police account Zimmerman had a bloody nose and a wound to the back of his head suggesting some sort of physical altercation took place which would appear to raise the issue of self defense under Florida law.

And despite numerous reports to the contrary Zimmerman isn't white.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:56 AM
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325

... Obviously a 140-pounder swinging at a 250-pounder simply isn't going to apply enough force to concuss with anything like likelihood, let alone certainty. ...

I doubt these weights are accurate and that the difference was that large.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:59 AM
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So when a guy 100 pounds heavier than you follows you in his SUV and jumps you, you have to take to beating or he has the right to shoot you?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:00 AM
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despite numerous reports to the contrary Zimmerman isn't white

Careful, now. White and Hispanic are not mutually exclusive categories. Standard demography categories in medical research collect ethnicity (Hispanic, non-Hispanic) separately from race, so that Hispanic White, Hispanic Black, and Hispanic Other are all valid. The designation is left up to the patient. As I understand it, Mr. Zimmerman has one Hispanic parent (I don't know the race) and one non-Hispanic White parent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:00 AM
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No one's disputing that a physical altercation took place. But the law is quite specific that you're not covered if you're doing something illegal or initiate the force.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:02 AM
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344: Why? From the pictures I have seen, Zimmerman looks to be easily larger than I am, and I weigh just shy of 220. Martin looks to be roughly the build of my 15-yr-old, who weighs 140-150.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:04 AM
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345

So when a guy 100 pounds heavier than you follows you in his SUV and jumps you, you have to take to beating or he has the right to shoot you?

I'm not the one defending the Florida law.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:05 AM
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Right, no matter how stupid the Florida law is, is there any way on earth that it's actually responsible for the police not even bothering to arrest Zimmerman?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:07 AM
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347

No one's disputing that a physical altercation took place. But the law is quite specific that you're not covered if you're doing something illegal or initiate the force.

The law as quoted in 332 covers some people who initiate the use of force. And I am unaware of any strong evidence as to who initiated the use of force.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:09 AM
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my 15-yr-old, who weighs 140-150

And who is still 14 for another couple of months.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:10 AM
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From his picture, Zimmerman appears somewhat brown, but that's neither here nor there. Whiteness isn't the prerequisite for racially based fears and hatred and whether Zimmerman thought of himself as White or not there are multiple reports that he was suspicious of and antagonistic towards young Black men.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:11 AM
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348

344: Why? From the pictures I have seen, Zimmerman looks to be easily larger than I am, and I weigh just shy of 220. Martin looks to be roughly the build of my 15-yr-old, who weighs 140-150.

See here :

"Trayvon had a bag of Skittles,'' Fulton's attorney, Ben Crump, told Lauer. "(Zimmerman) had a nine millimeter gun. He was almost 80 pounds more weight than Trayvon Martin ...


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:23 AM
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Yet another episode of "Why I Don't Engage Shearer".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:25 AM
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||

I guess this belongs on the serious thread: One of my friends from the radical scene died today in a house fire. He was in his late 20s, and was one of the people I'd really connected with over the past couple of years. We worked together on the @ist book fair and other projects. He was one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated organizers I've met, and yet also a really funny, engaging person who had a boundless compassion for people. I feel bad that I hadn't responded to his last email from before I got sick, especially as it included a statement of friendship that I found really encouraging when I was in a bad mood about the scene. He was a really awesome person, and he had some great plans for doing urban homesteading with a group of friends sometime in the next few years.

http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/143626696.html

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 10:36 AM
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I'm sorry to hear that, Nat. What a loss to his friends and community.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 10:45 AM
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Sorry for your loss.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 10:46 AM
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Oh man, I'm so sorry. You've had a rough couple of years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 10:52 AM
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Our thoughts are with you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:05 AM
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Oh, how awful, Nati. All good thoughts to you and your friends.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:06 AM
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359: Yeah, I had been hoping for more of a respite, but I guess 14 months, or whatever it's been since my last friend died, is all I get. What a fucking waste, you know? One of the most right-on people in the scene.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:15 AM
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My condolences, Natilo.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:32 AM
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How awful. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:34 AM
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359: Yeah, Murphy's been messing around in your neighborhood. My condolences. It's much harder when it's sudden and out of the usual course of life.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:41 AM
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Man, that's three blocks from where I used to live. Very sorry for your loss, Nat.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 11:58 AM
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Trayvon is 6'3.

"Matin's family members in the Tampa Bay Area tell 10 News the teen at 6'3 and about 140 pounds was nicknamed "SLIMM" for his size."

http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/246108/250/Teens-death-renews-debate-over-Stand-Your-Ground-law-


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 2:52 PM
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Or he was.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 2:55 PM
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367: I'm married to a man who's 6'2" and ranges between 150 and 165 (I met him at 130). If you're thinking about who you want to get something off a high shelf, he's a big guy. If you're talking physical intimidation, the height doesn't make you look intimidating without matching bodymass.

A 6'3", 140lb, fifteen year old kid looks like a broomstick, not a thug.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:02 PM
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You're ignoring the bag of skittles, LB. Dark skinned people are well known to use skittles as weapons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:05 PM
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Damn, you mean I looked like a broomstick in my late teens and twenties, not like a thug?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:10 PM
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Oh damn, sorry Natilo.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:12 PM
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Back to the Stand Your Ground law, which still freaks me out. Hopefully there's enough evidence of exactly what happened, and Zimmerman's been caught lying enough, that he won't get away with it. But try a hypothetical that's not too far off.

Say you've got a woman who walks home alone in a bad neighborhood, and because she has poor judgment about what's likely to keep her safe, she carries a knife. A big guy walks along a half block behind her on an otherwise empty street for ten blocks. She gets more and more frightened, and finally spins around, pulls the knife, and says "Back off, or I'll cut you!"

He responds, "Back off? Fuck that," pulls his gun, and blows her away. Can someone explain to me why he shouldn't walk? She's explicitly threatened that she's going to assault him with a deadly weapon; he has no responsibility to leave the scene or otherwise defuse the situation, and while he's frightened her, he hasn't initiated violence. I think in Florida he might well be within his rights to kill her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:13 PM
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371: Well, given my stated proclivities, I clearly think broomsticks are teh hott.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:14 PM
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He's 17 y-o.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:16 PM
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You're right, I got mixed up. Same difference, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:17 PM
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Well, given my stated proclivities, I clearly think broomsticks are teh hott.

She's a witch!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:18 PM
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That's terrible, Natilo. I'm sorry.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:19 PM
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I do weigh significantly more than all but the largest ducks. (And by ducks, I mean of course, dinosaurs.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:20 PM
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But can you fly?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:21 PM
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He was 17, yo.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:22 PM
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Kinda depends on whether he provoked the violence or not, no? If he reasonably threatens her so as to provoke the use of force, he's guilty. If he really has done nothing and she pulls a knife on him, maybe he is justified in using the gun.*
The hypo assumes that he has done nothing to provoke the attack and knows or should know that she doesn't intend to really attack him with the knife, neither one of which seems very realistic.

*just picking apart the hypo, in general, the Florida law seems like a bad response to a non-problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:22 PM
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Minus the confrontation, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only guy who has been in the position of a guy who just happens to be going exactly the same way as a woman in front of him, and noticing that the woman seems to be getting increasingly nervous. My solution has been to cross to the other side of the street.

However, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't convict that guy in your example. Having some random person pull a knife on you out of the blue strikes me as good grounds for believing yourself to be in danger of death or serious injury.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:23 PM
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Natilo -- that sounds terrible.

Say you've got a woman who walks home alone in a bad neighborhood, and because she has poor judgment about what's likely to keep her safe, she carries a knife. A big guy walks along a half block behind her on an otherwise empty street for ten blocks. She gets more and more frightened, and finally spins around, pulls the knife, and says "Back off, or I'll cut you!"

My recollection is that Negrophobia had interesting things to say about that sort of scenario. I liked the book, but it's been a while since I read it, though, and I'm not sure I can summarize.

This amazon review, however, is kind of awesome and seems like the sort of thing that unfogged might be inclined to mock:

We of course need more transgressive/radical voices than this volume, because it is only tentative in condemning the white male eurocentric paradigms of hatred. Instead, Armour somewhat haughtily tells white Americans how to *stop* being racist(!) while failing to intimately observe the white male mindset. As a feminist who is also a white woman, I am always a little disappointed in books of this sort; feminism attacks racism both head-on and discursively, and it is to feminism which this author devotes little space. However, this book could be a useful primer to high school students, especially in predominantly white schools. I must recommend the more courageous work of feminist thinkers for college students.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:24 PM
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Fond of broomsticks, eh? We can arrange to have you made into a planter, or perhaps an umbrella stand. Something that stores vaguely cylindrical objects, since you seem to like that sort of thing.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:24 PM
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Here, I don't know how FL courts have interpreted the initiating violence provision. But 'done nothing to provoke the attack' is very distinguishable from 'haven't initiated violence', don't you think? There is no argument I can see that he's initiated violence. He's walking down a street in a public place where he has a right to be. A reasonable person in his shoes (empty street, late night, woman alone, he has facial tattoos and his teeth are filed to points) would know that what he's doing is likely to frighten her, but he's not explicitly threatening her nor is he doing anything violent.

You could argue that a reasonable person who would know that his actions caused her to make the threat of violence, but I don't know that that's enough to make him the aggressor. And he might reasonably think she was serious in her threat to cut him if he didn't back off. In FL, she doesn't get to tell him to back off -- if he doesn't want to, she's going to assault him with a deadly weapon, so he can shoot her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:29 PM
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383: However, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't convict that guy in your example.

Do you mean under the FL law? Because if I were following the law, I don't think I could convict him either.

In a jurisdiction with a duty to retreat, he's got a responsibility to try to leave the scene before he shoots her, though. While you're absolutely right that a person with a knife threatening you is terribly dangerous, you're supposed to flee, and only shoot if you reasonably believe you can't get away.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:32 PM
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Very sorry, Natilo.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:36 PM
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Right, 386 seems like a pretty standard duty to retreat/no duty case. One party (here, the woman) makes a deadly threat that is unprovoked. The other party, the man, could conceivably be safe by running away, but doesn't know that running away will keep him safe. It doesn't seem self-evidently crazy for the law to give people in that situation the choice of either running away or defending themselves; IMO it's at least a close question.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:38 PM
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The other party, the man, could conceivably be safe by running away, but doesn't know that running away will keep him safe.

Except that she has explicitly given him the option of running away. "Back off or I'll cut you." And as a reasonable person, he knows why she's making the threat: because under the circumstances she's afraid of him, which means she has no motivation to try to hurt him if he stops frightening her. I'm putting my thumb on the scales on purpose, but what I'm going for is a hypo where he knows (fairly reliably) that if he leaves, he's safe, but if he doesn't leave, he's in danger of assault with a deadly weapon. He's still completely within his rights to kill her rather than leaving.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:44 PM
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Upthread was linked a story about someone shooting another driver in a road rage incident and walking. So if you're driving in Florida and someone comes looking for a fight, what do you do? Lie on the ground to make it clear that you're not threatening them? He still might kill you but at least you'll get that fucker convicted.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:50 PM
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Well, but that's why I think the hypo attributes an unreasonable degree of knowledge of the woman's actions to the man. Realistically, if someone pulls a knife on you without provocation, you don't know what their motives are or what happens next. And why should the only permissible response to having the knife pulled on you be to run away? I can see the logic of a rule that requires you to try and retreat first, but there's also a logic that cuts the other way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:52 PM
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To bring it back to the Martin case, a version of that was what I was thinking Zimmerman might try to sell. I think there's enough evidence to show that it didn't happen this way, so he won't be able to get away with it.

But say Zimmerman had been trailing Martin for awhile: that's asshole behavior, but it's not initiating violence. And then say he gets out of the car, and approaches Martin, and starts yelling at him: "What are you doing here, you little @#$(! I know your kind doesn't live in our community, you're just here to rob us blind." Or something like that. That's behaving like a scary asshole, but it doesn't seem to me like initiating violence, still.

A scared teenager wouldn't need terribly unusually bad judgment to pull the glass bottle of ice tea out of his pocket, wave it menacingly, and say "Back the fuck off, Jack, you don't want to fuck with me, I'll hurt you." And then bingo, he's fair game (I'd call a glass bottle a weapon) and Zimmerman can legally kill him.

That's not what happened in this situation, but it's not a terribly implausible story, and with less evidence than there seems to be in this case, I think Zimmerman would have a good shot of selling it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:55 PM
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340.blockquote: "Forcible felony" includes treason! Treason?!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:58 PM
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Realistically, if someone pulls a knife on you without provocation, you don't know what their motives are or what happens next.

Take my hypo at face value. He's a big scary guy trailing a woman alone down empty streets in the middle of the night. You really think it's realistic to say he doesn't know why she pulled the knife? If you want, I can expand her lines: "I don't know what you think you're doing following me, but I'm not letting anyone assault me ever again. You've got two choices. Either you turn around and walk away, or I will cut you."

Now he knows that she's threatening him because she thinks he's following her and is going to assault her. But he's still not the aggressor: she thinks that, but he hasn't initiated violence. And yet he's still allowed to kill her for threatening him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 3:59 PM
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And why should the only permissible response to having the knife pulled on you be to run away?

Because that way everyone lives through the night.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:00 PM
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I'm pretty sure my feeling would be 'crazy dangerous person!!', terror and panic, rather than 'oh she feels threatened'. Which is why I lean against your position, though I can understand the argument. Regardless of what the exact rules on self defense in that situation should be, I hope we agree that said woman should be going to jail.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:03 PM
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The current statute says that the self-defense no duty to retreat rule isn't available to anyone who "initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself."

I obviously don't know the caselaw on this, but the situation you describe in 393 seems like pretty clear "provocation" in an ordinary langauge sense to me. There doesn't seem to be a requirement that you have actually acted violently towards someone for the defense to be inapplicable -- just that you have deliberately provoked the violence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:03 PM
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I'm pretty sure my feeling would be 'crazy dangerous person!!', terror and panic, rather than 'oh she feels threatened'.

Right.

Because that way everyone lives through the night.

Well, not necessarily, or, at least, in the real world, this is unclear. You might run and then be pursued -- in any event, you've ceded a lot of authority to the crazy person with the knife.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:07 PM
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against your position

Which position do you think that is? The position I'm trying to argue isn't that she's showing good judgment or behaving well. It's that a law that allows him to kill her even if he knows that he'd be safe if he just walked away is a bad law.

Same thing if you bring it back to a similar situation with a scared, angry teenager and a neighborhood watch asshole like Zimmerman. I'd think a kid who made threats under those circumstances was showing terrible judgment, but not unusually terrible (there's no indication that Martin did anything of the sort, I'm thinking of a hypothetical kid with bad judgment). And so I think a law that lets the asshole shoot rather than leave is a bad law.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:07 PM
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397 to the original wording.

Your hypothetical about the Martin case is very different than the case of a guy walking half a block behind someone else and not interacting with them in any way at all beyond that.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:08 PM
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It's that a law that allows him to kill her even if he knows that he'd be safe if he just walked away is a bad law.

But he doesn't know that. It could be that she's the Zimmerman/Goetz type.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:12 PM
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Your hypothetical about the Martin case is very different than the case of a guy walking half a block behind someone else and not interacting with them in any way at all beyond that.

Yes, indeed it is, and the difference is in who initially provokes the violence. If you could easily use a no duty to retreat defense even after provoking a violent confrontation, then there's a big problem, but I'm not aware that (outside of this case, which I think we can all agree is a travesty) the Florida statute is being used that way (but perhaps it is, I really don't know).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:12 PM
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396: I've never been a fast runner and at 70 I'm not about to try running from someone younger. If someone pulls a knife on me and does anything other than back away and does so until they're out of sight they will find out how really good with a gun I still am.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:14 PM
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As an empirical matter, I suspect that the existence or nonexistence of duty to retreat laws has almost nothing to do with how people actually behave.

I also strongly suspect that they have vanishingly little effect on who gets charged and/or successfully convicted for murder -- i.e., that as a practical matter it works about the same in the different jurisdictions. But it's not like I have any actual knowledge of that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:18 PM
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I'd feel a lot less scared if the woman said 'gimme your money' than 'back off or I'll cut you'. The first is I'm getting mugged, she just wants my money. The second is a dangerous violent nutcase is threatening me with a knife.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:20 PM
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The problem is that there's a lot of behavior that might de facto provoke a violent confrontation that seems unlikely to me to de jure qualify as 'provoking'.

Walking peacefully down a public street (at 2 am fifteen feet behind a woman alone) seems to me like something that could plausibly de facto provoke a confrontation but not de jure qualify as provoking, if you assume a not terribly unlikely level of bad judgment on behalf of the frightened woman. Tweak the hypothetical with the neighborhood watch guy and the scared, angry teenager, and if you want to, you should be able to come up with a set of circumstances where the watch guy isn't shouting insults, but the kid (showing bad judgment, again) is scared and angry enough to start making threats.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:20 PM
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406: Is she less scary if you give her the lines from 395, so you know what she's thinking? Clearly, she shouldn't be acting like that. But also clearly, it's a bad reason to kill someone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:22 PM
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Well, it would be interesting to see how "provocation" is interpreted. If a woman pulls a knife on someone walking peacefully down the street and threatens him out of a mistaken belief that she will be assaulted, and the response is that the person who feels threatened returns deadly force, that's a tragedy for everyone involved, but, she was the one to initiate the violence and there's at least a very good argument that we're acting wrongly in convicting the man assaulted with a knife for murder.

If you actively goad someone into attacking you violently, they do, and then you shoot them in the face, your bringing up self-defense to avoid a murder charge seems like far more of a problem. I assume that the "provocation" language is intended to cover this scenario, but as I say I don't really know.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:28 PM
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So if you're driving in Florida and someone comes looking for a fight, what do you do?

Shoot them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:28 PM
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I know the standard nutcase narrative for mass firearm ownership: the ability to shoot robbers, etc. makes law-abiders come out of confrontations less harmed, and more generally deters crimes as possession becomes more common. It might be wrong, but at least it's a hypothesis that can be proven or disproven, and can be cast in utilitarian terms.

So given this, what on earth is the nominal policy justification for stand-your-ground laws? Is this where the movement reveals itself as pure machismo - retreating is unmanly?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:30 PM
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408 Yes, though I'm still calling 911 the first opportunity I get and hoping the nut gets sent away for a year or so.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:30 PM
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a very good argument that we're acting wrongly in convicting the man assaulted with a knife for murder.

Seriously, I'm asking you to take my hypothetical at face value. In that hypothetical, he believes he could retreat safely, and also believes that while she's actually credibly threatening him if he doesn't retreat, she's only doing so out of fear rather than than malice. Under those circumstances, do you still think it's good law that gives him a defense from prosecution for killing her despite his belief that he could safely retreat?

If your response is to argue that no one faced with a credible threat of violence ever actually knows that they could safely retreat, that's one thing. That compels the position that a law imposing a duty to retreat if safely possible is meaningless, because it's never safely possible. But if safe retreat is ever a possibility, say it is in this hypo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:34 PM
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So given this, what on earth is the nominal policy justification for stand-your-ground laws? Is this where the movement reveals itself as pure machismo - retreating is unmanly?

There's certainly some of that going on, but the more serious argument is that we shouldn't be punishing people who, in response to severe attacks threatening deadly force, respond in the heat of the moment in kind. Apparently* many of the people pushing for stand-your-ground laws were women's groups who worried about cases where women were being convicted for killing their assailants instead of just running away.

*As I say, I doubt that these laws make much of a difference either way to people's behavior, to charging by prosecutors, or to convictions, but I don't know that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:36 PM
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I'm asking you to take my hypothetical at face value.

Sorry, but I don't think the hypothetical at face value reflects reality to a sufficient degree to be illuminating. It's like saying "assume that the man has foreknowledge as to what the crazy woman with the knife will do." That's maybe interesting as an ethical philosophy issue, but it misses what's at stake in the duty to retreat issue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:39 PM
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I agree with you that if a person actually -knows- that they can safely retreat they should have to do so. But I don't think that the original example qualified. As I said, I've been in that situation a couple times, I'm pretty sure certain that I wasn't aware of it immediately and there may well have been others where I didn't realize it at all. In that case what we have is someone pulling a knife on me completely out of the blue, on a deserted street late at night, in a bad neighbourhood.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:40 PM
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Can you come up with any situation where you believe a credible threat of violence is made, but the person threatened could retreat safely? If you can, substitute it in. If you can't, then obviously you think 'duty to retreat' laws are meaningless and counterproductive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:45 PM
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417 to 415.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:45 PM
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416: You're an Olympic sprinter and she has a limp.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:46 PM
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On guns vs knives:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_n10_v36/ai_11549909/


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:48 PM
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There's certainly some of that going on, but the more serious argument is that we shouldn't be punishing people who, in response to severe attacks threatening deadly force, respond in the heat of the moment in kind.

Oh, that makes slightly more sense. It's still wrong, though - we penalize murder for a reason. Isn't voluntary manslaughter, or something like that, already enough of a middle ground to account for such situations?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:49 PM
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I think there's a difference between situations where the threatened person "could retreat safely" and situations where the threatened person -- remember, a threatened person in the heat of an unprovoked attack -- has sufficient information about the motives, conduct, and subsequent action of the assailant to determine that a retreat, as opposed to retaliation, is the best option. It's easy to come up with hypot that demonstrate the former; the latter is much harder.

As I understand it, jurisdictions with a duty to retreat rule punish people -- remember, with murder convictions -- for failing to take the option of a retreat when it is reasonably available to them. I can see a case for that, but there are plenty of stories you can tell (woman has a rapist with a knife running towards her when she's near her apartment; she knows she can probably reach the apartment door in time and lock it, but she also has a gun, and uses it. She then gets charged with murder) that make such a rule very unsympathetic. Jurisdictions with a no duty to retreat rule are more sympathetic to the choices faced by someone under assault, and gives them an option between retaliation and fleeing, without subjecting them to liability for a murder charge.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:55 PM
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If we're playing with hypotheticals, what about if he responds to the 'go away' with taking a few steps back, pulling a gun and demanding she get the fuck away, and instead she takes a step forward, correctly believing that if you pull a knife on someone, and they pull a gun, you're in serious danger, and he shoots her?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 4:59 PM
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I'm asking about the core case, though, where there's no doubt about the safe retreat. Do you think that a law that allows a credibly threatened person to kill rather than retreat gives a good outcome in allowing a person who could have safely retreated but instead chose to kill to go free under those circumstances?

If your answer is yes, I strongly disagree.

If your answer is no, in that core case where there is no doubt that a safe retreat was possible, letting the killer claim self defense is wrong, BUT the no-duty-of-retreat laws are still good laws, because the cases where there's significant doubt about the safety of retreat are going to be so much commoner that the risk of disallowing self-defense to someone who reasonably thought retaliation was their best chance of safety becomes unacceptable? That's a stronger argument. I still disagree, though. I'd rather trust to prosecutorial discretion to work out the close cases to preserve the core principle that citizens have a responsibility to avoid violence except where necessary, but if I knew enough hard data about actual prosecutions that seemed unjust, eh, I could be convinced.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:05 PM
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Isn't voluntary manslaughter, or something like that, already enough of a middle ground to account for such situations

That's certainly an argument, and a good one, but there are lots of stories you can tell that make it unsympathetic. Maybe my rapist example in 422 is sufficiently heartstrings-tugging: all the woman did there was respond with her gun to a man who was trying to rape her, instead of trying to run into her apartment and lock the door. Why should the state be prosecuting her at all, let alone be putting her away for years for voluntary manslaughter?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:06 PM
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424 to 422.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:06 PM
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To 423: You got me.

To 425: You're pulling on two separate sets of heartstrings there: (1) could she really know she could have gotten away safely? and (2) rapists are inhumanly evil so killing them isn't so bad.

(1), I have a fair amount of sympathy for. I don't think it justifies no-duty-to-retreat laws in practice, but I see the argument, and I could be convinced if I knew more. (2), on the other hand, no. If you take the doubt out of the situation, and say that she knew that she could have been safe without killing the attempted rapist, I wouldn't feel bad about prosecuting her. It'd be a mitigating factor at sentencing, sure, but I don't approve of vigilante justice: I don't want anyone killing other people impromptu just because they're bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:13 PM
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To me somehow "duty to retreat" is the wrong duty. Retreating is a pretty dangerous activity. Either you're walking backwards while holding a gun (which is pretty dangerous), or you're turning and running (which means you can't keep an eye on the other person). It seems to me that standing your ground while exhausting other options should be enough. But that requires taking "exhausting other options" seriously.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:14 PM
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I just think that your "core case" is a bad way to think about the whole problem. Is my rapist example (woman has a rapist with a knife running towards her when she's near her apartment; she knows she can reach the apartment door in time, get inside, and lock it, but she also has a gun, and uses it) the core case? If so, I think that's exactly the kind of case that people think is a problem for the no duty to retreat rules. In any event, these are inevitably going to be difficult situations.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:15 PM
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You can't kill other people impromptu just because they're bad, but killing them because they're *in the act of committing a violent crime* doesn't really bother me. There's a big difference between vigilante justice in the sense of tracking someone down and killing them, vs. killing them in the act of committing a crime.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:18 PM
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I don't want anyone killing other people impromptu just because they're bad.

Me neither, but self defense doesn't permit vigilantism strictu sensu -- the defense doesn't permit you to go out and hunt down people who are evil in cold blood. The duty to retreat/no duty to retreat issue is about the appropriate range of responses you can have when faced with an immediate threat of deadly violence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:20 PM
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The only thing about my case that made it 'core' was that I stipulated that retreat was safe. Any other hypo where retreat is, by stipulation, safe, is just as core. And where there's not significant doubt about the safety of retreat, I just don't see any such case as a difficult one.

Separately, I tried to make my hypo as sympathetic as possible toward the person who made the threat: I was looking for someone who made a credible threat of violence for clearly understandable and not in themselves wrongful reasons, transparent to the person being threatened (while agreeing that it's still wrong to make threats like that). Obviously, I failed in that, but that was what I was going for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:21 PM
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killing them in the act of committing a crime

If retreat is safe, we're talking about killing them in the act of committing a crime which you could prevent without violence. That's still pretty vigilantish to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:22 PM
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I don't want anyone killing other people impromptu just because they're bad.

How about pepper spraying people who are annoying?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:22 PM
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It doesn't work over the Internet. I've tried, and that stuff takes forever to come off the monitor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:23 PM
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Anyhow, here's the California (a no duty to retreat State) jury instruction. You can judge its reasonableness for yourselves, but it sounds OK to me:

A person threatened with an attack that justifies the exercise of the right of self-defense need not retreat. In the exercise of [his] [her] right of self-defense a person may stand [his] [her] ground and defend [himself] [herself] by the use of all force and means which would appear to be necessary to a reasonable person in a similar situation and with similar knowledge; and a person may pursue [his] [her] assailant until [he] [she] has secured [himself] [herself] from danger if that course likewise appears reasonably necessary. This law applies even though the assailed person might more easily have gained safety by flight or by withdrawing from the scene.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:30 PM
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It looks self-contradictory to me. If the 'force and means' would 'appear to be necessary' to a reasonable person, then that sounds like a requirement that a reasonable person would not have believed that they 'might more easily have gained safety by flight or withdrawing from the scene'. I can reconcile the two sentences by saying that the first speaks to what a reasonable person would have believed, while the second speaks to the objective facts -- no requirement to retreat will be imposed where a reasonable person wouldn't have believed it would be successful.

But if both sentences apply to what a reasonable person would have believed about the situation, it contradicts itself. If retreat is possible, force isn't necessary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:35 PM
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strictu sensu

"stricto", also, conventionally, it's "sensu stricto", though of course either order is fine. "Sensus" is fourth declension, but "strictus" is a 2nd/1st adjective.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:36 PM
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If retreat is possible, force isn't necessary.

I think this is your fundamental mistake -- you're just not realistically thinking about the mental state of someone faced with a violent assault. It may be that retreat is possible, or even, as a factual matter in hindsight, easier, but that a response with force is also a reasonable response when you're facing a violent attack. In other words, the potential rape and murder victim at her apartment door faced with an attack may reasonably believe in that situation that the use of force is necessary, even though it may well be the case in hindsight that it would have been easier for her to just go into the apartment.

But I think I'm repeating myself, so I'll drop it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:40 PM
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Or we could just make it illegal for people to carry guns.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:42 PM
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3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed ....

So if there's something mutual going on, in California you must attempt to deescalate if possible before escalating to deadly force.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:42 PM
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And I think I addressed exactly that point: if it was reasonable for the person in the situation to believe that force actually was necessary, I'm fine with that. If the intent of the law is that in a case where a reasonable person in the situation would have believed that retreat was a practical, safe option, but that if she chose not to take that option, then force would be necessary, if she then chose to reject the practical, safe option of retreat and use force instead, she should have a self defense defense? I think that's bad law.

But if a reasonable person under the circumstances wouldn't have thought retreat was safe or practical, I'm really not arguing that they should be convicted, even if in hindsight it would have been.

And I'm definitely repeating myself. I said this in 437.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:45 PM
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442 to 439.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 5:45 PM
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I am surprised at the lack of support for duty to retreat laws which I think are generally sensible. As for the woman fearing rape absent a duty of retreat she can run into house, lock the door, get her gun, return outside, confront the guy and then shoot him if she feels threatened. I think the law should discourage this course of action.

It is also important to be able to convict bad guys for bad acts and the laws should be written to facilitate this even at the cost of the rare conviction of an unlucky innocent.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:08 PM
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That was surprising. I've been commenting so much because I was working on a brief. I just finished up and walked out of the office into a fairly large and well organized rally about the Martin case.

I am revoltingly middle class -- I marched with them for a few blocks, and then sloped off to catch a cab home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:09 PM
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in a case where a reasonable person in the situation would have believed that retreat was a practical, safe option, but that if she chose not to take that option, then force would be necessary, if she then chose to reject the practical, safe option of retreat and use force instead, she should have a self defense defense? I think that's bad law.

Again, it's very hard to know what this means in practice. How do you know what a "practical, safe option" is when you're being attacked, or what a "reasonable" response Take my rapist hypothetical -- she knows that retreat is likely a potentially safe option, but is still faced with a violent threat. In context, the absence of the duty to retreat is designed to avoid forcing victims to make that choice (or, at least, to allow a jury to determine whether their choice to respond proportionately could have been justified, even in the presence of an available exit).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:15 PM
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301: Law and Order LA was lame, but Law and Order Florida would be awesome.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:19 PM
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The whole standard is predicated on what a reasonable person would have believed or done. Why is it workable to restrict the use of force only to situations where a reasonable person would have believed it necessary, but not equally practical to restrict it to situations where a reasonable person would have believed retreat was impractical? Either way, we're holding the defendant to a 'reasonable person' standard in a violent situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:28 PM
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Why is it workable to restrict the use of force only to situations where a reasonable person would have believed it necessary, but not equally practical to restrict it to situations where a reasonable person would have believed retreat was impractical?

The traditional self-defense doctrine in duty to retreat jurisdiction required all three of the following elements: 1) the defendant believed she must use force against an imminent threat of harm; 2) the amount of force used was proportionate to the threatened harm; and 3) the defendant retreated to the greatest degree reasonably possible.

So you could reasonably believe that you were in danger, use a proportionate amount of force, but if you failed to retreat (not just at all, but to the greatest degree reasonably possible) you were still liable for murder. This could cause plenty of problems -- for example, sometimes battered spouses faced with an assault who failed to respond by fleeing the room were held guilty, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:41 PM
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That sounds to me like an argument about what was reasonable in a given instance, not that reasonableness is an inherently unworkable standard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:45 PM
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No, not really, because the duty was specifically to retreat to the greatest degree reasonably possible, and it was an independent duty judged by an objective standard. So, for example, in my rapist hypo above, where the woman had knowledge that retreat was available but failed to retreat, self-defense would not be available as a defense to a murder charge. Or, for the battered woman in her own home, so long as there was an objectively reasonable possibility of fleeing the room, the defense was not available.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:51 PM
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449

So you could reasonably believe that you were in danger, use a proportionate amount of force, but if you failed to retreat (not just at all, but to the greatest degree reasonably possible) you were still liable for murder. This could cause plenty of problems -- for example, sometimes battered spouses faced with an assault who failed to respond by fleeing the room were held guilty, etc.

No rule is perfect. There is a cost to facilitating unreasonable claims of self defense also as seen in Florida

And domestic violence is really a special case as normally you have no duty to retreat in your home (when the attacker is there unlawfully).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 6:54 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Natilo.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:00 PM
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So, for example, in my rapist hypo above, where the woman had knowledge that retreat was available but failed to retreat, self-defense would not be available as a defense to a murder charge.

And as I keep on saying, I'm good with that: where you've got a choice that keeps you safe without killing, then I'm willing to punish people who don't take that choice. (Note that she probably doesn't know the guy's a rapist - people do make mistakes. If you make a mistake, lock your door, and call the cops, it can get straightened out. If you reject that option despite knowing that it's available and kill the guy, there's no fixing that.)

Or, for the battered woman in her own home, so long as there was an objectively reasonable possibility of fleeing the room, the defense was not available.

There, I think the force of the example is that the application is unreasonable: a reasonable person wouldn't expect that leaving a room would bring a batterer's attack to an end. If that were a reasonable thing to believe, the example wouldn't be compelling.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:03 PM
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Oh, I guess we just disagree then. I don't think the state should be in the business of prosecuting people who, faced with an imminent, unprovoked violent attack, use a proportional amount of force to defend against that attack. I thnk it's both unrealistic and insufficiently protective of victims of an attack to impose an additional, separate requirement that victims must run away to the greatest extent objectively reasonably possible instead of choosing to defend themselves.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:17 PM
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who, reasonably believing that they were faced with an imminent, unprovoked violent attack, use a proportional amount of force to defend against that attack despite knowingly having the option to protect themselves nonviolently

Under those circumstances, yes, we disagree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:37 PM
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Where I think I disagree with LB is that one needs to take into account the panic and fear in that moment. That is, it has to be pretty damn clear that retreating is a real option for ending the threat for me to feel that not exercising trumps the right to self defense.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 7:50 PM
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Yes, at least one of the problems with the duty to retreat jurisprudence is the idea that we should assume that people, at the risk of conviction, can meaningfully choose between an "option" to select an available retreat vs. responding in kind.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 8:02 PM
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at least one of the problems with the duty to retreat jurisprudence is the idea that we should assume that people, at the risk of conviction, can meaningfully choose between an "option" to select an available retreat vs. responding in kind.

And at least one of the problems with 'stand your ground' jurisprudence is the idea that we should assume that people, secure in their immunity from conviction, can, when passions run high and the blood runs to anger, meaningfully choose between a reasonable retreat from violence and a now low-risk to no-risk escalation of deadly force. It's not so much about "options" carefully considered, with the costs and benefits accurately calculated, as it is about a general, overall culture: are you still required to avoid fatalities whenever and wherever possible? (the traditional view) or can you now pull the trigger and claim self-defense later, because goddammit, enough is enough, and we need to take it all back from those punks?

I will not be surprised if Zimmerman serves not one day in prison, btw. Yes, the case has become a media cause célèbre, and rightly, understandably so. But it's certainly not a given to me that he will ever be convicted, given Florida's 'stand your ground' ('shoot first, ask questions later') legislation.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 8:53 PM
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458 & 458: Right. People under extreme stress don't do a lot of careful thinking. The idea that they are the same kind of "reasonable" as a bunch of people sitting in a courtroom is totally silly. Take a look at what happens when cops or soldiers get into a spray & pray contagious firing situation.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 8:56 PM
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460

458 & 458: Right. People under extreme stress don't do a lot of careful thinking. The idea that they are the same kind of "reasonable" as a bunch of people sitting in a courtroom is totally silly. Take a look at what happens when cops or soldiers get into a spray & pray contagious firing situation.

I don't know how the law works out but in my view you have a duty to avoid (where practical) getting into confrontations which might turn violent. So the duty to retreat starts as soon as the situation starts to heat up and does not just apply to the violent climax.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 9:13 PM
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So, to add insult to injury, the local Fox affiliate decided to make their story about my friend's death into an excuse to pointlessly castigate the RNC protestors. (This was doubly stupid, since it was an entirely new lease, with no continuity from the people who were there in 2008.) This doesn't even rise to the level of yellow journalism, it's just an idiotic smear campaign, directed against the memory of one of the most humane and warm-hearted people I've ever known. Just despicable.

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/minnesota/3500-harriet-ave-fire-rnc-search-warrant-mar-21-2012?fb_comment_id=fbc_394225357256557_5336898_394299237249169


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 9:17 PM
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461 seems right, and accords with the duty to deescalate Biohazard mentioned in 441.

I bet that these cases are much easier to judge in the concrete than the abstract/conceptual, which is a good reason for taking them to court and the reason why we have courts.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 9:22 PM
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462: You didn't expect anything different from Fox, did you? Your friend must have been making bombs or Molotov Cocktails.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 9:25 PM
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1 to 462.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 9:26 PM
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Where I think I disagree with LB is that one needs to take into account the panic and fear in that moment. That is, it has to be pretty damn clear that retreating is a real option for ending the threat for me to feel that not exercising trumps the right to self defense.

I don't see why the law needs to enshrine fleshly weakness into what it allows. I mean, sure, you might be overcome by fear and panic; that seems like a good reason not to prosecute someone for not retreating. That isn't necessarily a good reason to say: you don't have a duty to retreat.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-21-12 10:29 PM
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Jesus, Natilo, that's awful.


Posted by: Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:13 AM
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Saying that we shouldn't judge people for how they react in stressful situations proves too much: most of the people in prison are there for making a bad decision under stress. And I have no problem making the duty to retreat limited to when a reasonable person in the same stressful, frightening situation would have thought it was practical. I'm just not goin to walk away from the principle that someone with the option to keep themselves safe without violence is not permitted to use violence regardless of the provocation. (Mitigating circumstances to be considered at sentencing, occasion for prosecutorial discretion, sure. But not legal license to kill when a reasonable person wouldn't have considered it necessary.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 4:24 AM
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414: As I say, I doubt that these laws make much of a difference either way to people's behavior

You know who probably had internalized the Florida law in a way that may have influenced his behavior, Zimmeman (not necessarily in the final moment, but in his whole pattern of behavior then and previously). The whole thing is a despicable pander: The Legislature finds that it is proper for law-abiding people to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 4:54 AM
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Well, yes, of course. That's the whole reason we're talking about it, that an asshole like Zimmerman can claim to have license to kill because he felt threatened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:01 AM
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414

*As I say, I doubt that these laws make much of a difference either way to people's behavior, to charging by prosecutors, or to convictions, but I don't know that.

I think this is wrong. Social norms are powerful and influence people even when scared and/or upset. Prosecuting people like Zimmerman (or for example husbands who kill adulterous wives) demonstrates a social norm against the behavior in question and will influence most people against it. On the other hand letting Zimmerman walk sends a message that what he did was ok and will encourage similar behavior in others.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:09 AM
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471

... to charging by prosecutors, or to convictions, but I don't know that.

And I find the contention that what the law is doesn't affect charging decisions or convictions simply incredible.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:15 AM
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Another thing Halford's ivory tower hypotheticals ignore is that (especially where the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't self-defense) in practice the standard will be looser than what the law requires since if you are close to meeting a strict self-defense requirement the state is unlikely to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you didn't meet it.

If you define self-defense loosely and require that the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't self-defense you are going to enable a lot of bad conduct.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:22 AM
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Florida appears to have fairly special civil law and lawyers too. What a godawful place.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:26 AM
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A useful concept might be reasonable force; there's no reason you can't say shooting someone is unreasonable force but holding them (say) might be reasonable.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:48 AM
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That's in there already -- proportionate is the term.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 5:49 AM
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What 457, 458, and 460 said. There can be crazy levels of tunnel vision and other sensory distortions. Loads of your reaction under those conditions is reflexive.

That so much of the discussion everywhere is focused on the law is driving me nuts. These laws are in a lot of states and they're no barrier to prosecuting people for unjustifiably shooting someone. It's sucking a lot of energy that should be focused on holding local enforcement and the DA's feet to the fire.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 6:58 AM
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My attempt to raise this issue through illustrative examples cratered up above, but don't you think there's a plausible problem with someone who goes out looking for trouble like Zimmerman: behaves in a manner that keeps him on the right side of 'provoking violence' legally, but nonetheless creates a condition where someone with poor judgment threatens him to make him back off. And then he's legally allowed to open fire.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 7:38 AM
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Anything's possible but I work the busiest jurisdiction in this state with a similar law and we haven't been having issues with it. IME it's actually very difficult to do what you're describing and stay on the right side of the law. Again, see 252. It's not exactly hippieville out here and they got the attempted murder conviction precisely because it's still illegal to go start shit and then shoot someone when it goes south. For the authorities out there to claim they can't arrest Zimmerman just because he claims self defense is bogus. The chases the kid with no legal cause on tape for christ's sakes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 8:30 AM
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It's probably at least somewhat a matter of local culture, which I'd guess is saner in Utah than Florida. TNC links to another 'stand your ground' guy whose case was dismissed -- he ran down an unarmed guy stealing the radio out of his truck and killed him, and claimed he thought he saw a weapon. And another one that sounds exactly like the 'looking for trouble' case I'm worrying about -- jerk ostentatiously trails another driver, driver and his brother in another car pull over and walk 'menacingly' over to the car, jerk peppersprays driver, driver moves to punch jerk, jerk kills driver, and gets off as self defense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 8:52 AM
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T-N Cis good there. An armed society is a society where it makes sense to shoot first.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 8:57 AM
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Yeah, there's a reason I tend to attach disclaimers about the south.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 8:59 AM
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474: lots of states in this fine country are at will, actually.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:07 AM
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It's the general rule -- there are exceptions, but that's actually not a case I'd be surprised by at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:08 AM
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I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat Gat is the standard explanation for shooting someone. There's nothing new about that no matter what state we're talking about.

Absent super-clear video evidence, the whole concept of self-defense relies on the perceptions of the person who succeeds in that defense. Bait & kill has been a standard movie and TV trope forever but I don't know how often it really happens.

From the UCRs, it looks as if Florida's murder rates are about half of what they were 50 years ago and there hasn't been a real spike since their concealed carry laws went into effect. I'm with Officer Swift, the Martin shooting is a local force and DA problem, not a fussy wording of the law problem.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:16 AM
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Absent super-clear video evidence, the whole concept of self-defense relies on the perceptions of the person who succeeds in that defense.

They had clear video of the guy running down the radio thief and killing him. Given that the thief was trying to flee, someone with a duty to retreat could have let him flee even if he was armed. Absent that duty, it's open season.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:23 AM
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If the assailant is trying to flee, as a doctrinal matter, you aren't justified in the killing even in duty to retreat states. Nor, as a doctrinal matter, are you entitled to invoke the no duty to retreat doctrine for incidents of violence that you provoke.

On the ground, the real difference the standard makes is an evidentiary one -- if the prosecution can point to objectively available evidence of a retreat, that trumps the defense. But it also risks unfairly placing blame (to the point of a voluntary manslaughter conviction) on people who choose to fight after being confronted with violent attack, and favors the attackers' rights over the victim, effectively mandating retreat as opposed to being sympathetic to victims who choose to fight back.

There may well be incidents of people improperly avoiding prosecution due to the defense, just as there are incidents of people being improperly prosecuted for exercising sellf defense in duty to retreat states. But this is just another example of "don't blame criminal law doctrine for fucked up racist jurisdictions."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:41 AM
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If the assailant is trying to flee, as a doctrinal matter, you aren't justified in the killing even in duty to retreat states.

How does this square with "a person may pursue [his] [her] assailant until [he] [she] has secured [himself] [herself] from danger if that course likewise appears reasonably necessary," from the CA jury instruction you linked?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:45 AM
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487.2 was unclear -- I meant that in a no duty to retreat jurisdiction, all the prosecution has to do is point to an objectively available retreat to trump the a self-defense justification. This prevents the jury from weighing the overall reasonableness of the victim's actions in exercising self defense. That's the real difference -- even in no duty to retreat states, you can only succeed on a self defense justification when the attack is unprovoked and a jury finds your response "reasonable" and proportionate.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:46 AM
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Given that the thief was trying to flee , I've always understood I wasn't entitled to shoot unless he was trying to flee through me. I can't pot someone from my window if I see them breaking into my car either.

I, in theory, could attempt a citizen's arrest. No thanks, I want no part of any of that.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:48 AM
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488 -- you can only pursue to the extent necessary to ensure your own self defense (this is designed to permit the prosecution from avoiding the defense whenever there's any evidence of pursuit). If the victim is in fact clearly fleeing such that self defense isn't necessary, you can't invoke a right of self defense to justify homicide, in any jurisdiction.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:49 AM
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when the attack is unprovoked

On this point, I've said a fair amount, and linked to TNC on a case where the killer, by first trailing another car and then pepper-spraying the driver, seems to have caused the attack without meeting the legal standard for 'provoking'. I haven't really heard you address that as a problem at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:50 AM
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Fun fact: In Ohio we have a stand your ground law and a law that says you can bring a gun into a bar!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:58 AM
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a case where the killer, by first trailing another car and then pepper-spraying the driver, seems to have caused the attack without meeting the legal standard for 'provoking'.

Or maybe it pretty clearly meets any sane definition of initiating the violence but enforcement down there is batty.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 9:58 AM
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492: To me, that reads like a nutty decision. Is there a way to prevent judges from making those on occasion?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:01 AM
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495: There's not, and that's certainly a good point, and one that I've made in other contexts. But in Florida at least, from the news coverage, that sort of thing seems to be accepted as not all that nutty in the context of the law: people are reacting to Zimmerman's self-defense claim as if it's not made absurd by the fact that he was behaving in a scary, aggressive way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:05 AM
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496: IMX there's no love between any of the various self-identified groups down there. I'd expect seriously nutty comments from lots of people on the local news broadcasts, just like one can find on the net. Same old, same old....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8-BI89mb9A


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:19 AM
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As far as I can tell, the case mentioned in 492 didn't involve a self defense justification at all and there's no information about a prosecution (TNC just linked to a story about the incident, but there wasn't a prosecution brought or a judicial decision on the provocation prong, maybe I missed something). In any event, I agree with 494 that if, on the facts as stated, that's not provocation sufficient to void the defense, we have a screwed up application of the law. Also note that there's not a duty to retreat issue -- shooting a guy after he punches you in your car and after you provoked the attack is disproportionate and unreasonable, but since the guy was surrounded in his car he (at the moment of imminent attack) probably didn't have an objectively safe retreat.

The other case TNC links to seems like a very bad application of the law by a terrible judge. Have you ever tried to litigate in Florida?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:28 AM
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The story says that the shooter claimed self-defense, and that no charges were pressed. Given that he admittedly shot a man, I think it's a safe assumption that the reason no charges were pressed is that the prosecution bought the self-defense claim. It's not a judicial ruling, but it's action by law enforcement. On the possibility of retreat -- wouldn't rolling up your car windows and locking the doors count as 'retreat' as against menacing but unarmed people approaching your car?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 11:46 AM
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shooter claimed self-defense, and that no charges were pressed.

No, it says that an investigation was ongoing. The guy could still be prosecuted. In any event, if the facts really are that "by first trailing another car and then pepper-spraying the driver" the guy "seems to have caused the attack," and the State fails to prosecute on the theory that the attack was not "provoked" by that person, that's a failure of prosecution, not a failure of the law as the written.

Note that the same failure to prosecute on those facts could occur regardless of whether you have a duty to retreat law, because that is not crucial to the self-defense story in that case.

wouldn't rolling up your car windows and locking the doors count as 'retreat' as against menacing but unarmed people approaching your car

Not when someone has already reached into your window to throw a punch at you, because at that point it's too late to roll up the windows and lock the doors. Remember, the duty to retreat (and the self defense justification generally) only comes into play when the attack is imminent, and goes to the necessity of the use of force in the moment of the attack. What happens before the attack starts isn't relevant for that analysis.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 11:59 AM
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s/b "investigation *is* ongoing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:00 PM
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At the time of the pepper-spraying, the shooter still had the option of retreat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:05 PM
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So what? The question here is whether this guy can be prosecuted for killing someone who reached into his car to punch him. The self-defense justification only comes into play in defending that act, and there's no duty to retreat issue there because there wasn't an available retreat. Rather, just as there would be in a no-duty-to-retreat jurisdiction, the questions would be whether he provoked the attack and whether his response was reasonable or proportionate. Whether this guy gets convicted for murder or not will not hinge at all on a duty to retreat question.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:12 PM
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But whether he's prosecuted for assault with the pepper spray would -- that is, one could find that the shooting was self-defense but the spraying wasn't, and prosecute him for the spraying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:18 PM
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Goddamnit I keep adding an extra "no" making everything incomprehensible. Anyhow, the point , which maybe is clear anyway, is that the factors at issue for analyzing self-defense here are what they would be in a duty to retreat state like New York, since at the moment of the fatal response the shooter didn't have an available retreat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:19 PM
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And of course there was a moment before the punch when he could have rolled up the windows and sat in his car, and instead continued to engage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:19 PM
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But whether he's prosecuted for assault with the pepper spray would -- that is, one could find that the shooting was self-defense but the spraying wasn't, and prosecute him for the spraying.

Maybe, although (a) that's clearly not as important; and even in a no duty to retreat state the defense shouldn't be available at all, since (b) he provoked the attack, and (c) the response wasn't proportionate or reasonable to the danger. It's not like there's some magic feature of Florida law that would immunize him from prosecution for the pepper spray whereas he could be prosecuted in New York. Of course, I'm happy to stipulate based on limited experience that the Florida legal and law enforcement system is in fact deeply fucked up, but that's not really being driven by a problem in legal doctrine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:25 PM
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And of course there was a moment before the punch when he could have rolled up the windows and sat in his car, and instead continued to engage.

Right, but that's not relevant to the duty to retreat issue. Even in states that impose a duty to retreat, you're not required to protect yourself from harm and continue to engage before you're attacked. It's just about your response when the attack is actually happening.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:27 PM
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It's not exactly hippieville out here

*snort*

I tend to think that the problem in Florida isn't the legal doctrine. I am not certain of the wisdom of "no duty to retreat" laws that affect public spaces. Growing up I remember that it was much more narrowly construed (dad's NRA nut). There was no duty to retreat in your own home, and whether it was night or day also affected your legal options, but you weren't allowed to go out hunting for teenagers. But you're still not allowed even in Florida to go hunting for teenagers, and there's no reason this guy shouldn't be arrested, I think, even with the law as it stands.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:43 PM
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dad's NRA nut

The other one is his AARP nut.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:45 PM
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Even in states that impose a duty to retreat, you're not required to protect yourself from harm and continue to engage before you're attacked. It's just about your response when the attack is actually happening.

I don't do this for a living, so I don't have more to go on than what makes sense, but have you got a basis for this? The way you're saying it, the duty to retreat doesn't kick in when the attack is imminent, but not until the attacker makes contact? That seems to make it almost always inapplicable: if you wait until someone's touching you, you'd never have the option to get away safely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:48 PM
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to go hunting for teenagers

The most vacuous game.

But you're still not allowed even in Florida to go hunting for teenagers, and there's no reason this guy shouldn't be arrested, I think, even with the law as it stands.

How do you say what I want to say with so many fewer words?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:49 PM
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And I still don't buy your reading of provocation -- that the stand your ground law wouldn't apply to Browning because he'd provoked the attack by following the other driver. Just driving along behind someone is going to count as 'provoking' in a way that limits your right to self-defense?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:51 PM
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Just to be clear, I am not Cala's dad. And I gave up on the NRA long ago, when they declared war on bearded guys with long hair in some insanely stupid editorials.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 12:54 PM
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In Tallahassee in 2008, two rival gangs engaged in a neighborhood shootout, and a 15-year-old African American male was killed in the crossfire. The three defendants all either were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, because the defense successfully argued they were defending themselves under the "stand your ground" law. The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, was beside himself. "Basically this law has put us in the posture that our citizens can go out into the streets and have a gun fight and the dead person is buried and the survivor of the gun fight is immune from prosecution," he said at the time.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:00 PM
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Has anyone noted the Sanford PD response? It seems like a lot of BS, basically "we couldn't arrest Zimmerman because he said he was innocent, and who are we to contradict what he told us?"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:01 PM
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511: I don't do this for a living either, but self defense only applies when an attack is "imminent," and what is "imminent" is a pretty fact-specific issue. The rule definitely isn't that you have to wait until contact, but it also definitely isn't that you have a requirement to disengage before the attack begins; the question is what are you doing to protect yourself against an attack that's actually happening. So there's a spectrum. If a guy is sitting in his car and people run at him from 200 feet away, waiving knives in the air, in a duty to retreat state he has an affirmative obligation to leave, in a no-duty-to-retreat state he might not (though the failure to leave still goes to the proportionality and reasonableness of the self-defense response; if he pulls out an Uzi and starts shooting people who aren't even close to him, he is not automatically protected by the no-duty-to-retreat rule). If people are surrounding your car and reach in and punch you, and you pull out a gun, you don't have an obligation to roll up your window before the punch flies through the air.

In any case, the legal doctrine of the no duty to retreat law is not what's preventing the guy in the linked pepper spray/road rage story from being prosecuted, if he is in fact not being prosecuted.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:01 PM
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OK, the turn this thread has taken is starting to scare me. Are you guys (Halford et al) seriously arguing that the hypothetical big guy following the woman should get off scot free? That the mere plausible threat of violence justifies (morally or legally) immediately killing someone with no attempt to de-escalate?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:05 PM
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The story in 515 goes to the weird Florida rule that not only imposes a no duty to retreat rule (a no duty to retreat rule is what California and most US states have, and what LB and I are talking about) but an immunity from prosecution in certain instances. I don't know how that is applied but generally immunity from prosecution is quite different than a defense that you can use at trial to demonstrate reasonableness. If, in fact, that immunity is being used to prevent prosecutions completely, that is weird and could be a big problem (I don't know enough abuot Florida to know). But note that the fact that an innocent bystander was killed doesn't really go to it; if you act in self defense, and accidentally hit an innocent bystander, you can invoke the self-defense doctrine, in any jurisdiction.

To 513, I believe "provoking" is generally read in its ordinary-language sense of conduct or actions designed to intentionally provoke a confrontation -- the first mover in the fight -- and intentionally following someone in your car and then pulling over and confronting them on the facts you describe would almost certainly count. You don't need to have affirmatively assaulted someone first.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:12 PM
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517: My point is that he perceived an imminent attack, and responded aggressively with the pepper-spray rather than retreating, and then continued to respond aggressively by shooting when the attack continued. The fact of the pepper-spraying demonstrates that he perceived an imminent attack before the guy reached into his car and punched him, and so that his duty to retreat was triggered before he decided to shoot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:14 PM
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That the mere plausible threat of violence justifies (morally or legally) immediately killing someone with no attempt to de-escalate?

"The mere plausible threat of violence," no. If the threat is immediate and imminent, if you reasonably think that you are going to be killed and need to defend yourself, and if you act proportionately, then yes. That's (I believe) the rule in England, or at least it was the common law rule -- when faced with someone who is actually attacking you you are able to use reasonable and proportional force to defend against the attack, and if the attack is with deadly force and you are in the middle of defending yourself, you are entitled to use deadly force back. There's not a separate requirement that you have tried to de-escalate the violence first, although in many cases a failure to de-escalate will go to the reasonableness of the response.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:16 PM
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I don't think size matters when we're talking about being threatened with a weapon. The question for me is whether it is clear enough that there are other options that offer equal or higher chances of getting out unharmed. LB's hypothetical v 1.0 IMO wasn't clear enough, v2.0 probably, though I'd definitely feel that we should be talking about a lower level homicide charge rather than murder, though there is also the question of distance - five feet away vs. one hundred feet away matters.

The punching case isn't legit because it's a punch. If the person were reaching in and stabbing at the guy with a knife and stabee shoots stabber, I'm fine with him getting off scot free. If he sees people running at him with knives while sitting in a car two hundred feet away, no he doesn't get to shoot them. Depending on the exact layout of the situation, he might get to run them over.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:18 PM
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You don't need to reasonably believe that you're going to be killed, just that your actions are necessary to prevent the other person from committing a violent felony. I think any imminent threat of attack with a weapon would do. And if the threat is credible, and the only way to prevent the attack is either to leave the scene or shoot the attacker, you're not required to leave the scene, even if practical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:20 PM
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And I should say 521 means "legally." I have pretty different views about what's moral, but I'm not keen on the state prosecuting folks who have been attacked (without provoking the attack) and are reasonably acting in self defense by proportionately countering violence with violence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:20 PM
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516 - At this point, Zimmerman's best bet seems to be that the police's indifference to investigation has poisoned the prosecutors' ability to bring him to trial. His second-best bet seems to be a jury made up of 12 Megan McArdles.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:21 PM
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And throughout I have meant to stipulate that there is another option -- that the person has a reasonable belief that retreat would keep him safe. The only question I'm interested in is whether he should be obliged to retreat rather than kill if he reasonably believes that those are his only two options for safety.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:22 PM
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518: Plausible and likely would do it for me. Here I am, walking down the street busy introspecting, and the woman in front turns around and screams "I'm going to CUT you if you don't go away!"

1) As she says that, she reaches into her pocket and backs away. I say "Sorry about that" and cross to the other side of the street.

2) She does 1) and also pulls out the knife to demonstrate she has one. I go on full alert but otherwise it's still 1)

3) She does 2) but comes towards me. I will shoot her.

Clear enough?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:23 PM
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I refuse to click on the link in 525. I just don't want to know.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:24 PM
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527: So you'd retreat where you thought it was reasonably safe to do so. That's the only standard I want to apply.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:26 PM
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You don't need to reasonably believe that you're going to be killed, just that your actions are necessary to prevent the other person from committing a violent felony.

To respond with deadly force, there needs to be violent felony against you that is actually occurring in the moment and in which the assailant is using deadly force and which you are using force to prevent. It's true that you don't need to have actually formed an opinion that you're going to be killed (e.g., you may think that you're most likely to be raped, but the attacker has a gun), but there does need to be an ongoing attack and you need to be using force to defend against that attack. In no duty to retreat states, you don't have a duty to flee, but your force can't be greater than necessary to actually defend yourself from the attack.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:26 PM
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528- Basically a total misunderstanding of the concept of reasonable doubt. Could something have happened for which we have no evidence? Well, sure, anything's possible- that's reasonable doubt, you must acquit!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:29 PM
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'Prevent' and 'actually occurring in the moment' are at odds. If you're allowed to use force to prevent an attack, then obviously you don't have to wait until the attacker touches you. And if someone has a weapon, we've established that the only safe thing to do is assume they're going to try as hard as they can to kill you, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:30 PM
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to go hunting for teenagers

I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to stop thinking about Trayvon Martin while watching The Hunger Games tonight.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:30 PM
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I'm unclear how this relates to LB's hypothetical. To my mind, the big guy doesn't reasonably think he's going to be killed and needs to defend himself. But maybe not to yours, which is what scares me. Pulling a knife (especially with a verbal warning) is not the same as a attacking with a knife, which would in my mind justify self defence killing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:34 PM
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531: Near as I can tell, current defense technique tries to sell the idea that any doubt is reasonable doubt. It's related to the (alleged) "CSI effect".


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:34 PM
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Aargh, html fail. 534 to 530.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:35 PM
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I suspect it's hard to construct a hypothetical where someone is both clearheadedly able to assess that they can easily retreat/shoot and at the same time in fear of imminent violence against herself; or, at least it's hard to construct a case which wouldn't have people immediately arguing over the facts of the hypothetical rather than the law. E.g., I don't think the guy should shoot the woman with the knife because I don't believe he's under the threat of imminent violence when she's yelling "Back off!" while holding a knife. But that doesn't tell us much about the law.

But I can't say that I understand what it means to retreat if someone is committing a violent felony that's not against you or another. That doesn't look like you not retreating as much as it is a law that allows you to shoot people that you think are bad guys. So, what's this felony extension supposed to cover?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:36 PM
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474, 483: lots of states in this fine country are at will, actually

No matter how fucked up you denizens of civilized lands think the U.S. is, it's worse.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:37 PM
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531: It is weirder than that. McArdle spins a possible narrative where Zimmerman is still clearly guilty, and then says that because we can't rule that scenario out, we must aquit.

This is her scenario: Zimmerman chases Martin and brandishes a gun. Martin, to defend himself, tries to grab the gun. Zimmerman shoots Martin. McArdle apparantly thinks it is self defense to use lethal force to stop an unarmed person from defending themselves against your unprovoked attack.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:41 PM
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I don't believe he's under the threat of imminent violence when she's yelling "Back off!" while holding a knife.

"No one's ever assaulting me again -- if I don't see you turn around and get away from me I swear I'll cut you. You have until I count three to get out of here."

That's unrealistically clear-cut, of course, but that's the idea: his perception is that she's terrified in a cornered-animal kind of way. If he backs off, she has no interest in continuing the attack, but if he stays in her face, she's resolved on knifing him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:41 PM
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539: I thought she was buying Zimmerman's story that Martin had jumped him from behind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:43 PM
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518: Plausible and likely would do it for me. Here I am, walking down the street busy introspecting, and the woman in front turns around and screams "I'm going to CUT you if you don't go away!"
1) As she says that, she reaches into her pocket and backs away. I say "Sorry about that" and cross to the other side of the street.
2) She does 1) and also pulls out the knife to demonstrate she has one. I go on full alert but otherwise it's still 1)
3) She does 2) but comes towards me. I will shoot her.
Clear enough?

Somewhat. I'm still deeply uncomfortable with the idea that fatal force is justified in the absence of an actual attack (ie not just coming towards you but a lunge or whatever).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:43 PM
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537: So, what's this felony extension supposed to cover?

Arson would be one, no? I guess it would cover very rare situations where one doesn't have specific people in mind while "defending".


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:44 PM
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Or if someone's just about to commit treason, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:45 PM
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541:

But could there be a scenario where he-wildly inappropriately-followed this guy, and brandished his gun, and then much to his surprise, the teenager tried to wrestle the gun away, and in the ensuing struggle, he got shot?

Does that seem the most likely explanation to me? No. Could I rule it out? Also no.

She mentions the story that Martin jumped him elsewhere, but that's not what she is saying here.

McArdle is the first person I've encountered to defend the actions of the police in this situation. I am utterly amazed at her willingness to bend logic--and to what end?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:47 PM
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540: Again, I think it's going to be hard for this to turn into anything but arguing over whether she's provoked the confrontation, e.g., unrealistically clear-cut.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:48 PM
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I remember when McMegan showed up at an UnfoggedCon. Good times.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:50 PM
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542: Don't underestimate knives. I would have no way of knowing this woman's physical condition (Megan), combat training (I know a very girly-girl retired Marine), knowledge of where my femoral artery is, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tueller_Drill

The deal is, she's scared, and she lets me know that so I reduce her fears by distancing myself. She breaks the deal if she's scared to the point of DECREASING that distance, she has then become a credible threat to me.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:51 PM
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the big guy doesn't reasonably think he's going to be killed and needs to defend himself. But maybe not to yours, which is what scares me. Pulling a knife (especially with a verbal warning) is not the same as a attacking with a knife, which would in my mind justify self defence killing.

As Cala says, these are all things which would go to a jury, who would presumably get to hear all the details about the case, the facts, the law, etc. In any jurisdiction, you're only allowed to use the force that's reasonably necessary to protect yourself, and that

Note that in a duty to retreat state, you can be found guilty for homicide even when you are in fact being attacked. For example, you are in a doorway, and someone charges at you with a knife. If, instead of closing the door, you respond by pulling out a knife in response, you lose the justification of self-defense for the homicide. Also note that this is an objective standard: the question isn't whether you actually believed that closing the door would keep you safe and knew that was an option, but whether a hypothetical reasonable person in your shoes should have known that was an option.

In a no-duty-to-retreat state, in that scenario, the jury gets to hear all the facts and makes a conclusion about the reasonableness of you acting in self-defense.

I can't say that I understand what it means to retreat if someone is committing a violent felony that's not against you or another.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think that's an exception -- the defense is self defense or defense (against an imminent attack) of another person. You're not allowed to go around shooting people absent an immediate violent attack.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:53 PM
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545: A defense of the state tacitly endorsing the violation -- unto death -- of a law-abiding citizen's civil liberties. Which is a libertarian stance because it pisses of liberals. I'm glad to see Julian Sanchez doesn't let it pass, even if he is nicer about it than I would be.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:57 PM
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Eh, ignore the first sentence of 549. The point is that it is a question which gets to go to a jury, which in turn gets to assess whether the State has proven that you in fact did not act reasonably when you used force in self defense. So the details of exactly what happened and exactly when responding with force might have been justified would be addressed in context.

Agree with 546.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 1:59 PM
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I don't understand 546, actually. Provocation, in this context, controls whether or not he's entitled to 'stand his ground'. If he's provoked her, he's the aggressor, and doesn't get the benefit of the 'stand his ground' law. If he hasn't provoked her, her threat is unprovoked and he can choose to stand his ground and kill her rather than retreating.

The relevance of whether she's provoked him, I don't follow -- she's certainly threatening him with violence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:05 PM
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I think Cala means that all the hypo does is devolve into an argument about facts that we're making up. The legal doctrine (whether or not there's a "duty to retreat") is already that your use of force in self defense must be reasonable. You can tweak the story for ways in which the response might be more or less reasonable, but all that hypo does is create an argument about what the facts are, and doesn't reveal anything about the law.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:11 PM
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How don't you understand it after you just typed "provocation, in this context, controls whether he's entitled to 'stand his ground.'"? I don't know whether what she says rises to the level of provocation -- I think not -- but I think that's what's relevant.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:12 PM
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542: I'm still deeply uncomfortable with the idea that fatal force is justified in the absence of an actual attack

It basically boils down to a contention that one person is justified in risking injuring or killing someone else in order to completely eliminate even the most abstrusely theoretical possibility of risk to themselves. This same reasoning and set of priorities underpins "force protection" doctrine in the US military (and, many have contended, explains why the US army in Iraq was so notoriously trigger-happy).


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:14 PM
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That is, I see the debate going: "is verbally warning someone that you'll attack them if they don't stop following you an imminent threat?"
"Gee, I don't think so."
"But what if she's buff, and she looks like she's about to lunge?"
"Then it's not a verbal warning that makes it okay for him to use reasonable force."
"Okay, maybe she warns him and pulls the knife but doesn't move towards him, but she looks like she means it... "

... and that's leaving "duty to retreat" untouched. Now we're looking at whether your belief that you were in danger was reasonable, but that's a different question.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:16 PM
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I'm still deeply uncomfortable with the idea that fatal force is justified in the absence of an actual attack

As a matter of legal doctrine, it's not, even in Florida -- that is, you need an actual attack. What constitutes an attack (merely brandishing a weapon? by whom? where? in what context? what happened before? who moved first?) is going to be a highly context specific factual question, every time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:18 PM
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553: No. The point about the law is that if you're in a circumstance where you can avoid attack by retreat or by killing the attacker, and you reasonably believe either strategy would work, in a duty to retreat state you have to choose to retreat. In a no-duty-to-retreat state you can reasonably and actually believe that you could safely walk away, but kill your attacker if that's reasonably necessary to protect yourself without leaving.

It is a possible argument that you may be making that it is very unlikely for a reasonable person to be able to believe that retreat would be safe in a situation where they are actually being attacked, and if that's your argument I disagree, but not vehemently and not on the basis of much knowledge. But if we can accept that a situation where a reasonable person would believe that retreat would be safe, but in the absence of retreat deadly force would be necessary, is a reasonably plausible situation, then that's the situation where the difference between duty/no duty to retreat kicks in, and that's the situation where I vehemently disagree with anyone who doesn't think there should be a duty to retreat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:24 PM
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How don't you understand it after you just typed "provocation, in this context, controls whether he's entitled to 'stand his ground.'"? I don't know whether what she says rises to the level of provocation -- I think not -- but I think that's what's relevant.

Not whether she's provoked him controls, whether he's provoked her credible threat of violence controls. Her conduct is certainly and unquestionably an imminent threat of deadly attack: if he provoked her violence, then he's the aggressor and doesn't get the 'stand your ground' law. If her violence is unprovoked, he can kill her rather than retreat, whether or not he thinks retreat would be safe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:26 PM
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556: By stipulation, she's quick as a weasel and buff as Linda Hamilton in T2; she's 15 feet away. If he waits for her to start moving at him, she'll have a knife in him before he can shoot. He believes (and a reasonable person in his shoes would believe) that she won't knife him if he backs away, but if he doesn't he thinks she's coming for him when she finishes counting three, and if he doesn't leave or shoot before that point, he's taking ten inches of steel in the throat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:30 PM
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As a matter of legal doctrine, it's not, even in Florida -- that is, you need an actual attack. What constitutes an attack (merely brandishing a weapon? by whom? where? in what context? what happened before? who moved first?) is going to be a highly context specific factual question, every time.

Well, that's begging the question. I can't see how brandishing a knife is an actual attack. By definition, I'd have thought, it's a threat of an attack. Clearly, context is always going to be important in self-defence defences, but even so, I think we can generalise to a certain degree.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:39 PM
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This whole argument is both fascinating and surprisingly slow moving. It's strange to me that there hasn't been consensus about what, exactly, is under debate.

(FWIW, I think Halford's position makes sense but my experience on a jury (see 288) also makes me think that it is confusing to figure out how to apply the correct burden of proof on a self-defense claim? If it is true that the prosecution has to argue that a given action wasn't self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt that's an awfully tough standard for the prosecution.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:39 PM
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I am not up on all this, but I think we're conflating two things:
a) whether a given instance of force is reasonable
b) whether you have to flee rather than use reasonable force even if that reasonable force kills someone.

I take it that the duty to retreat/stand your ground debate is over the latter, and I think our examples tend to be about the former. I don't think it's reasonable for him to shoot someone who has told him to stop following her, but that's not (just) because I think he has a duty to retreat, but because I don't think that shooting her is a reasonable response to someone 15 feet away with a knife.

(I may have a hard time taking knives seriously as distance weapons. Perhaps wrongly so.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:43 PM
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I take it that the duty to retreat/stand your ground debate is over the latter, and I think our examples tend to be about the former.

I'm trying to stipulate around the former -- I'm not sure if the resistance I'm getting is that my examples are just terrible, or if Halford is taking the position that no good examples are possible because any situation where there's a real attack such that violent self-defense would be justified but retreat would be safe is implausibly unrealistic. I've asked him to clarify whether he's taking that position, but haven't gotten a response.

I obviously don't know jack about knife-fighting, but people who claim to say that someone with a knife within twenty feet of you can hurt you almost instantly, probably before you can aim and fire. If that's true, if they're brandishing a knife and you believe they mean to hurt you, I'd say you're justified in shooting before they start running if you don't have any other options.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:50 PM
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Certainly a) is why what I took to be Halford's response to LB scares me so much - it seems in way to be a reasonable use of force regardless of the legal standard.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:51 PM
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I obviously don't know jack about knife-fighting, but people who claim to say that someone with a knife within twenty feet of you can hurt you almost instantly, probably before you can aim and fire. If that's true, if they're brandishing a knife and you believe they mean to hurt you, I'd say you're justified in shooting before they start running if you don't have any other options.

Really? I mean, even if it's true, and they're able to hurt you before you can hurt them, are they definitely able to kill you before you can kill them? Because you're definitely able to kill them by shooting. And that's what we're stipulating here, that you've killed them and are trying to argue self-defence.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:54 PM
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565: Well, again, I was trying to stipulate that she really is dangerous; that she's acting in such a way that a reasonable person would believe that if the guy tailing her doesn't get away from her, she's just about to try to hurt him with a knife. My ability to craft realistic examples is limited by lack of acquaintance with violence, but I'm looking for a situation where she's making a real, credible, imminent threat of deadly violence, that would be sufficient to justify the use of deadly force to forestall the attack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:57 PM
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566: Citations of the Tueller Drill do seem to promote an incredibly elastic standard for self-defense. If a guy maybe has a knife, and is maybe moving toward you, and might be able to cover the distance in the time established by the Tueller Drill, then obviously you have a right to open fire.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 2:58 PM
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566: Isn't the question whether a reasonable person would think the knife-wielder could hurt you badly or kill you if you don't kill them? Who could do it faster isn't so much the question; if they're going to try to kill you with a knife, self-defense means you don't have to let them do it, you can kill them instead.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:00 PM
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No. The point about the law is that if you're in a circumstance where you can avoid attack by retreat or by killing the attacker, and you reasonably believe either strategy would work, in a duty to retreat state you have to choose to retreat. In a no-duty-to-retreat state you can reasonably and actually believe that you could safely walk away, but kill your attacker if that's reasonably necessary to protect yourself without leaving.

This is close to what the law is, but it misstates it in a pretty important way. The "duty to retreat" isn't a subjective standard, it's an objective one. In other words, the question isn't whether, at the moment you're attacked, you actually believe you have a choice to safely escape or a choice to fight. Rather, it's whether a judge or a jury, looking at the case when it's brought to prosecution, concludes that at the time of the attack, you did have a way of safely retreating from the attack that was available to you, whether you were actually aware of that option in the moment or not. So, in those states with a duty to retreat, the jury is asked: "Was there a reasonable way in which the defendant could have retreated?" If the answer to that is yes, there is no self defense justification for homicide, even if the jury would conclude that the use of force in self defense is otherwise reasonable. In other words, so long as there was an objective retreat, you can't have acted in self defense, even if your use of force was reasonable.

In no-duty-to-retreat states, the jury still looks at the reasonableness of the use of force. So, they would still look at whether the man was reasonable to respond to the woman's brandishing of a knife by shooting her. The only difference is that the mere fact that the man may have had a possible means of retreat (let's assume that they're in the middle of an open street, and he could have run away) would be sufficient to prevent any self defense justification at all -- the jury would not be able to assess the overall reasonableness of the use of force in self-defense.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:00 PM
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568: 1% doctrine. It works so well in foreign policy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:00 PM
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any situation where there's a real attack such that violent self-defense would be justified but retreat would be safe is implausibly unrealistic.

I can think of a few scenarios involving cars where stomping on the gas would be a better tactic than messing with a gun but damn few others. Shit goes down FAST when it does go down.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:03 PM
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So, in those states with a duty to retreat, the jury is asked: "Was there a reasonable way in which the defendant could have retreated?"

I misstated this, but this is a misstatement as well. The question is not whether retreat was objectively possible, but if a reasonable person in the defendant's shoes and with the defendant's knowledge would have believed retreat was possible. You're right that it's not actual belief, but it is contingent on the actual state of knowledge of the defendant, not on facts not available to him at the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:03 PM
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Which means that in a duty to retreat state, if a reasonable person in the defendant's shoes and with the defendant's knowledge would have seen the situation as a choice between safe retreat or killing that was reasonable in the absence of retreat, then the defendant would have been responsible to retreat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:06 PM
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Oh, 570 was largely pwn'd by 563.1 Put another way, the duty to retreat issue is primarily about what a jury can consider; a duty to retreat, in effect, bars a jury from considering the overall reasonableness of the use of force in self-defense so long as there was objectively, in hindsight, a means of retreating from the attack.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:06 PM
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It's really a lot simpler than you guys are making it: ALEC and its ilk didn't get these laws enacted so that a black man could shoot a white man under any circumstances. The point was that black men are inherently scary, and so can reasonably be shot pretty much on sight. A white DFH you can only shoot (if you're a white man) if he's trespassing or dating your daughter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:08 PM
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duty to retreat, in effect, bars a jury from considering the overall reasonableness of the use of force in self-defense so long as there was objectively, in hindsight, a means of retreating from the attack.

Again, this is wrong. It's if a reasonable person in defendant's shoes and with defendant's knowledge at the time would have perceived there to be a means of retreating from the attack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:08 PM
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in the defendant's shoes and with the defendant's knowledge

Not to be too much of a bitch, but this is still wrong and too subjective a standard. If, for example, the defendant is mentally handicapped, the jury doesn't get to ask itself "what would a mentally handicapped person have done in this situation?" The question is, given the circumstances the defendant found him or herself in, was there a reasonably-available means for the defendant to retreat, even if the defendant never thought about it and/or didn't actually know about it.

In the real world, this has come up in the battered women cases (in states that had a duty to retreat rule between spouses in their own home, which many did). The woman kills her husband who is brandishing a knife at her after a lifetime of abuse, but she could have fled out the front door. The defense wants to put in the argument that "she was a battered spouse and in that situation, you don't know that you can leave or what the next abuse will be." The judge rejects that evidence and argument from the defense, because the question isn't what the reasonable battered woman would have done, it's whether there was in fact a reasonable means of escape.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:15 PM
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Here's an example NY case -- the first thing that popped up on a quick search:

Whether the defendant knew he could retreat with complete safety as to himself and his companion, to avoid the use of deadly physical force upon the decedent, is an issue upon which the evidence was very close. The court's initial instruction to the jury that the People were required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knew he could retreat with complete safety was proper. However, the court committed substantial error when it subsequently charged the jury that "[t]he question is: was the defendant in this case in a position where he could have retreated **739 with complete safety" (emphasis supplied). Thereafter the court again erroneously charged the jury, that "this [justification] defense would not be available to the defendant if the People convinced you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant could, with complete safety as to himself and others, avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force by retreating" (emphasis supplied).

The subsequent instructions had the effect of (1) substituting an objective standard to be applied by the jury when deliberating on the issue of whether defendant complied with the duty to retreat under the law of justification (see Penal Law, § 35.15, subd. 2, par. [a] ) and (2) omitting from the prosecutor's case knowledge as an essential element of proof.

People v. La Susa, 87 A.D.2d 578, 579, 447 N.Y.S.2d 738, 738 - 739 (N.Y.A.D., 1982). This case calls it error for the court to charge the jury with whether retreat was objectively available, as opposed to whether the defendant knew it to be available.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:19 PM
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In the real world, this has come up in the battered women cases

Out of curiosity, can you provide a link for this? It's a situation that you've referred to multiple times, and I'd be curious to be able to read more.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:19 PM
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577 -- for a little more precision, try this: the duty to retreat, in effect, bars a jury from considering the overall reasonableness of the use of force in self-defense so long as objectively, in hindsight as determined by the jury, a hypothetical reasonable person in the defendant's precise situation had a reasonable means of retreating from the attack.

In duty to retreat states, so long as those requirements are met, it doesn't matter whether or not defendant actually thought about of a means of retreat in the moment; nor does it matter whether or not the defendant's mental state (such as, e.g., being a schizophrenic or a battered spouse) led to that particular defendant being less aware than the hypothetical reasonable person of a means of escape.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:23 PM
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Ah. The law of New York seems to be different than the law of California there. In California, it's very clear that the mental state used for self defense is an objective, not a subjective standard, and I believe that's by far the more common rule.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:25 PM
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576 has the ring of truth, one has to admit.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:28 PM
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But you cited it yourself above. It's objective, but it's how an "a reasonable person in a similar situation and with similar knowledge" would act. If the defendant doesn't know about the possibility of retreat, they're not obliged to take it. They're obliged to act in an objectively reasonable manner given their actual knowledge and situation, but no one's attributing knowledge they don't have to them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:33 PM
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Anyway, off to drink.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:34 PM
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Anyway, off to drink.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:34 PM
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I'm horrified by some of the sentiments in this thread.


Posted by: David The Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:38 PM
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Though, presumably, the desire to get a drink is not one of them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:41 PM
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576: It'd be interesting if, by some twist of fate, a black person shot a white person and a white a black, under similarly murky circumstances, at around the same time and in the same state, just to see how far the need to appear balanced overrides the justice system's inherent bias against black people.

Not that I would want anybody shot.


Posted by: John Stapleton | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:41 PM
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587: I know, right? It was totally unfair to call parsimon a bookworm.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 3:42 PM
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580 --

The Florida case discussed here is a useful discussion, and also suggests some of the reasons for the change in Florida law.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 4:09 PM
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Shit goes down FAST when it does go down.

Something I think is underappreciated when someone hasn't experienced it directly. Funny that Tueller drills came up. Dennis retired before I came on but one of my trainers in use of force was his nephew Mike.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 4:16 PM
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584 -- right, you can't look to knowledge that the defendant didn't have (there was an alleyway nearby but the defendant never saw, or something like that). Absolutely. But whether or not the defendant actually contemplated a means of retreat or was actually aware in the moment that a reasonable means of retreat existed isn't at all the standard. It's that objective standard that comes up in the battered woman/schizophrenic person cases -- you don't get to ask yourself what this individual defendant actually believed his or her options were, or what an ordinary schizophrenic person or battered woman might have done.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 4:17 PM
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487

... But it also risks unfairly placing blame (to the point of a voluntary manslaughter conviction) on people who choose to fight after being confronted with violent attack, and favors the attackers' rights over the victim, effectively mandating retreat as opposed to being sympathetic to victims who choose to fight back.

This assumes who is the attacker and who is the victim is clearcut. In the real world when there is a violent confrontation and someone ends up dead it is often unclear who was the aggressor and there is a case for the law sympathizing more with the person who ended up dead than with the person who killed them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:16 PM
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593

... or what an ordinary schizophrenic person or battered woman might have done.

This is ridiculous of course you shouldn't be allowed to argue self-defense if you crazily saw a threat that wasn't there.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:18 PM
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you shouldn't be allowed to argue self-defense if you crazily saw a threat that wasn't there.

Why not? Cops and soldiers do it all the time without benefit of delusions or hallucinations.

Joe Skitz "sees" a gun pointed at him and defends himself. He's not going to be turned loose on the streets after the shrinks evaluate him but he's not any more guilty of criminal behavior than someone not psychotic who made a mistake.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:32 PM
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596

... He's not going to be turned loose on the streets after the shrinks evaluate him ...

You have a touching faith in the shrinks which I do not share.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:38 PM
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I don't have much faith in their cures. I do have faith they don't want to be pilloried by the media or sued for turning Joe loose to do something else frowned upon by society. The power of CYA is not to be underestimated.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 10:58 PM
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599

I don't have much faith in their cures. I do have faith they don't want to be pilloried by the media or sued for turning Joe loose to do something else frowned upon by society. The power of CYA is not to be underestimated.

Not sure why they would be holding him. In the hypothetical Joe isn't pleading insanity he is pleading self-defense and if he is acquitted on that basis he would be free to go.

Anyway the jury isn't a bunch of mind readers, they have no way of knowing what was going on in someone else's head, a subjective standard seems unworkable.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-12 11:13 PM
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According to Glanville Williams, in England (prior to the passing of the Criminal Law Act 1967) there was authority that anyone might kill to prevent a robbery, manifest theft, burglary, rape, arson or any forcible or atrocious crime. Not even self-defence --- just in general.

Worryingly for Halford, the next thing discussed in that part of Williams is the Attorney General for Northern Ireland's Reference [1977] AC 105, a case where a soldier shot a fleeing man suspected of terrorism who turned out not to be a terrorist at all. Lord Diplock then traverses the exact same ground as Halford, discussing the nature of the test, and the difficulty of applying it outside the ``calm analytical attitude of the courtroom''. The problem of agreeing with Diplock about civil liberties in NI in the 70s is hopefully clear.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 3:39 AM
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595, 596: Unreasonable, but sincere, belief in the need for self-defense (iirc), while not a defense, can be used in mitigation.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 4:22 AM
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^ me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 4:23 AM
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601 602

Imperfect self-defense .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 4:35 AM
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So the pause|play subthread from 239 stayed on topic all this time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 5:40 AM
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Wow:

"I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," Rivera explained. "What's the instant association? It's crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stick up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or get the old lady in the alcove, it's kid with a hoodie. [...]"

"When you see a Black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation," he said. "Trayvon Martin, god bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn't deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on that, nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way."

Don't put your hood up if you're walking in the rain, or Geraldo Rivera will be forced to shoot you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 7:52 AM
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605: but this can't be racist, because Geraldo is Hispanic.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 7:57 AM
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I think unless it's raining out, or if you're at a track meet, leave the hoodie home,

As I understand it, it was raining. So also don't go out if it's raining.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:06 AM
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Also, Obama has apparently commented on the case. So cue the concern trolls.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:08 AM
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"I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was,"

Go drown yourself, asshole.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:18 AM
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Rivera has now completely used up any credit he got for punching that Nazi.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:21 AM
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I get annoyed with Obama reading about politics, but every time I see or hear him I still have such warm fuzzy feelings. Which is just to say I thought his statement was thoughtful and touching.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:34 AM
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599: Not sure why they would be holding him.

I'd think shooting someone on the grounds of being in danger of a non-existing weapon, and showing other signs of psychosis would at least hint at "Danger to self or others". Wouldn't it?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 8:34 AM
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"The message is that only white life is protected in America."

http://youtu.be/YKaJoEyYXyI


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 9:09 AM
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Biking home yesterday there was a rally in Harvard Sq.; what does one do to show support while on a bike, ring the bell (which I actually just added this week since I got tired of yelling at people)?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 9:35 AM
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The standard in the UK (you can use reasonable force to defend yourself) seems to make much more sense, but I think the legalities are beside the point. The reasonability test, as I understand it, still underlies the various US statutes, but look what we got here. The problem is surely that the test of reasonability isn't enforced.

It reminds me a bit of Tony Martin, crazy gun nut with extreme-right past and tendency to call 999 all the damn time, who eventually shot a Gypsy (Fred Barras) in the back (from cover, repeatedly, while he was running away, with an illegally held pump-action shotgun) and considered himself hard done by to end up on a manslaughter rap. Incredibly, William Hague decided to leap in and support Martin on the 2001 campaign trail. There was a lot of talk about passing a law giving you the right to self defence, which ran into the problem that you already have the right to self defence, and that Barras hardly attacked him arse first, did he?

Hague was a little embarrassed when it turned out Martin's farm had been the site of a regular meet up for European far-rightists in the past, including people who were considered a threat to national security and refused landing, and quite a bit more when the case came to court and the gory details (three times...in the back...etc) emerged.

Martin is on the out thanks to time off for good behaviour, Barras is still dead, Hague is now a Very Serious Government Minister, and it is generally considered impolite to remind him of his Summer of Killing Teenage Boys.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 9:46 AM
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Of course, the Daily Mail still thinks Martin was a hero who was hard done by.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 9:52 AM
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616: Ohhhh. Reading backwards, this confused me briefly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 9:57 AM
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553
The legal doctrine (whether or not there's a "duty to retreat") is already that your use of force in self defense must be reasonable.

Well, true. But Florida's "no duty to retreat" law puts the burden of proof on the police to prove otherwise. I get that "innocent until proven guilty" is an important legal principle, but if there's already no question about the existence of a dead body and who killed them, shouldn't that heavily weight things in the other direction? That change seems like a bad idea even if "no duty to retreat" would otherwise be a good idea. And elsewhere, e.g. 498, you say that applying the law like this is the result of prosecutors and judges doing their job badly, but there are several links upthread about similar cases. The TNC links, for example, and probably others I can't remember right now.

So if the "no duty to retreat" law is badly written and frequently applied badly, I'd begin to consider the possibility that it is a bad law.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 10:08 AM
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614: Shout "Stand your ground!" You'll be fine no matter what the demo is about.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 10:09 AM
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Per 515 and other cases cited, whatever the theoretical merits of stand-your-ground laws, they seem to interact very troublingly with the fact that dead people can't testify.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 10:29 AM
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But I bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on

It's a running joke on west side patrol areas that during cooler weather every description involving juves is going to be of Hispanic and/or Polynesian males wearing hoodies. It's not wrong, but it doesn't take long to learn that it describes every kid in a 5 mile radius.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 12:33 PM
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A bike was stolen from our building by "a man in a grey hoodie"; I was joking that that man is extraordinarily busy, running around committing every crime in town.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 12:38 PM
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Oh, sorry, 622 was me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 1:17 PM
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The Irish version, involving our own ethnic minority, was this case; http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_John_Ward
He served a year and was acquitted on the retrial. It seemed to me on the facts that it was more likely manslaughter but the shooter was really in a state of fear (the chainsaw stolen was more important than you might think as he used it to cut firewood & had no other heating). At the time a couple of old people had died in incidents where thieves abused them seeking the location of non-existent stashes of cash.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 2:40 PM
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612

I'd think shooting someone on the grounds of being in danger of a non-existing weapon, and showing other signs of psychosis would at least hint at "Danger to self or others". Wouldn't it?

There are lots of crazy people still on the streets who have given plenty of hints that they are a danger to themselves or others.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-23-12 5:46 PM
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I'm teaching my gun class today. I'm sure we will discuss Zimmerman's actions.

Fortunately, this will only bolster my "don't shoot people" class. Despite being a good liberal, I frickin love teaching the class.

99 percent of the people are very sane. That one percent though.... I had a lady who was desperate to shoot her neighbor's dogs. They had attacked her dog once and cut her dog up badly. But the dogs were still loose.

me -"call animal control."

Her- "ok, I understand....but can I shoot them if......"

Me- "call animal control or the police"

Her - "ok, sure. But can I shoot them if....."


Me- "no!!!! Don't shoot the dogs!!!"


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-24-12 4:47 AM
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I just heard Santorum on NPR sounding not totally crazy.

(1.) He said that he was glad he hadn't heard the woman saying "Pretend it's President Obama" while he was shooting

and

(2.) he said that there's no reason Zimmerman should not be prosecuted, and it's appalling that he hasn't been.


Posted by: http://www.penbayhealthcare.org/penbaymedicalcenter/features/physician_details/1683/ | Link to this comment | 03-24-12 5:50 AM
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Rad pseud.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-12 5:57 AM
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I just heard Santorum on NPR sounding not totally crazy.

(1.) He said that he was glad he hadn't heard the woman saying "Pretend it's President Obama" while he was shooting at a target range.

and

(2.) he said that there's no reason Zimmerman should not be prosecuted, and it's appalling that he hasn't been.

I realize that this is a low bar, but his answers were short and to the point and not insane. I was shocked.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-24-12 5:58 AM
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This is annoying and weird -- doesn't change anything important about the case, but it's fucked up media behavior.

Belle linked this ABC news police surveillance video from the night of the killing, which seems to show that Zimmerman is just fine -- not a mark on him. It's kind of annoying, though: the ABC chyron is sort of over his head for a lot of it, you don't get a clear shot of the back of his head till the very end, when you see it from a three-quarter angle and there's no injury visible.

Someone named Donald Johnson, down at the end of Belle's thread, linked to Bob Somerby, linking to MSNBC. Same video, but without the chyron, and at 2:45 you can see a lump on the back of Zimmerman's head, on the side that wasn't visible in the bit of the ABC video where you could get a good look. After seeing the second video, it does look as though something happened so that Zimmerman got a crack on the head.

It still doesn't look like much, he was still the aggressor, he still really doesn't look like anyone punched him in the face. But what was ABC doing putting the other video up with the chyron covering the only important bits?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-30-12 8:35 AM
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It's annoying that ABC did that, but I can't possibly believe that he got that injury that night, and that there's no blood from it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-30-12 8:52 AM
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I could believe that he got it that night -- a crack on the head enough to get a lump and a little broken skin but not much, if you put pressure on it enough to stop the bleeding and then cleaned it with something wet, it'd look like that a couple of hours later. But it couldn't have been much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-30-12 8:57 AM
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Well, I'm glad he didn't fabricate a story that hinged on that injury.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-30-12 9:00 AM
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