Recent comments, and the upcoming trial of George Zimmerman, including the never-ending statements of the Martin family and Scheme Team, including the collaboration of the Prosecution, suggest it might be a good idea to once again address two issues: tea and Skittles and “profiling.”
In many respects, the use of these terms began with the affidavit in support of an arrest warrant for George Zimmerman. However, their use ultimately stems from the construction of “The Narrative,” by the Scheme Team in collusion with Florida politicians and the national and local news media. The prosecution was, in some ways, a late-comer to the propagation of the narrative. These terms, much abused, were present at the beginnings of this case, and will play a prominent–though completely misleading–role in the prosecution’s case. As always, the media can be trusted to further the narrative, regardless of its inherently deceptive nature.
Merriam-Webster defines profiling thus:
The act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits of tendencies, specifically: the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior.
USLegal.com defines profiling thus:
Profiling refers to the law enforcement practice of the detention, interdiction, or other disparate treatment of an individual on the basis of the racial or ethnic status of such individual.
It is obvious we all engage in profiling in one way or another. Understanding that women tend to react differently to various situations or stimuli than men and acting on that understanding is actually a form of profiling. Perhaps the most prolific recent practitioner of profiling, and the most ironic, is Barack Obama, whose campaign engaged in the unprecedented digital profiling of millions of Americans in his reelection campaign, ruthlessly data-mining and using their Internet use and TV viewing habits, among many other factors, to draw conclusions about them and to encourage them to vote for Mr. Obama.
Virtually no one accuses individual citizens of profiling, though we each do it daily, and in the Martin case, that is not the issue. However, ironically, it is.
Profiling is most commonly used by those accusing the police of misconduct based solely on race. A lawsuit currently being litigated against the New York City Police Department has a significant racial component, the argument being that the police stop and search more minorities than whites, in essence, “profiling” minorities, singling them out for unfair and unwarranted treatment only because they are minorities.
As a former police officer, I understand the suspicions and complaints behind allegations of profiling, but know that it is far more rare than most imagine or understand. What some think of as profiling is usually nothing more sinister than police officers applying their experience and training, as well as intelligence information the public simply doesn’t have about the criminal world, on a daily basis.
An officer patrolling a predominantly black patrol district will have far more contacts with black people than an officer patrolling a predominantly white district. On the other hand, should an officer patrolling that white district, knowing that most burglaries there–for example–are committed by young black males, ignore suspicious young black males to avoid being accused of profiling? Is this why we hire and train police officers? In analyzing any claim of profiling, we need to know not only what the officers involved knew, but what they observed and what results their efforts yielded.
If an officer sees several young men who appear to be casing a neighborhood, performs a Terry stop, frisks them and finds that several have outstanding warrants, and others are carrying jewelry taken from a burglary down the street, and they happen to be non-white, did that officer profile them, or did he do what we should expect of any competent officer? Do we want that officer fired, or do we want him patrolling our neighborhood?
The point is simple: in the criminal justice system, “profiling” applies only to the police, to government, not to individuals who have no power to apply the coercive force of government against entire classes of people.
As I noted in Update 2, focused on the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, the prosecution essentially treated George Zimmerman as a police officer, writing:
Martin then walked back to and entered the gated community and was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.
Ironically, the prosecution, in lockstep with the narrative, has also consistently argued that Zimmerman was not a police officer, was a “wanna-be” police officer, and was, in thinking Martin’s actions to be suspicious enough to call the police, somehow acting unreasonably, irresponsibly and dangerously. On one hand, they treat him as a police officer capable of profiling, and on the other, deny him the ability to function as so much as a concerned citizen.
Language matters. In denotation and in connotation, in the way in which “profiling” has any real meaning and productive use, it is something only agents of government can do, and if one accepts its denotative meaning, it is unethical.
To suggest that George Zimmerman was profiling Trayvon Martin is to so misuse the term and to so trivialize it as to render it meaningless.
The prosecution surely knows this, yet they misused the term in the affidavit and continue to misuse it. In addition, they knew that Zimmerman was the Neighborhood Watch Captain, and that his position, while not making him a police officer or an agent of the police, conferred a status not carried by the average citizen. It should be expected that Zimmerman would be more vigilant than the average citizen, more knowledgeable about criminal activity in his neighborhood, and in more frequent contact with the police. Failing to mention these facts in the affidavit is arguably unethical, perhaps even criminal.
As a brief side note, when the prosecution wrote that affidavit, they also knew that when Zimmerman observed Martin, Martin was breaking the law by virtue of the marijuana in his system, yet they did not mention that either, saying instead that he was not committing a crime–a blatant falsehood. This too is unethical, and arguably, perjury. In addition, the prosecution surely knows that any citizen, including Zimmerman, may watch anyone else, and that the police routinely encourage citizens to be vigilant for suspicious persons and to call the police when they see suspicious activity. By writing that Martin was not committing a crime, the prosecution was directly implying that Zimmerman was doing something wrong merely by observing Martin. This too is unethical and has no bearing on the elements of the crime.
What then is the utility–for the media, the prosecution, the Martin family and the Scheme Team–in using the word “profiling?” Without it, the narrative falls. It suggests unfair and even racist mistreatment of minorities. It establishes and sustains a racial component in this case where even an exhaustive investigation by the FBI found none. It transmogrifies George Zimmerman, who considers him self to be Hispanic, and who actually has a black ancestor, into a “white-Hispanic” racist.
In short, it is a lie, an attempt to make up for a lack of actual evidence against Zimmerman by means of name-calling.
TEA AND SKITTLES:
Tea and Skittles have figured prominently in the narrative since its inception. They even appear in the affidavit:
That evening Martin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles.
Obviously the continuing reference to tea and Skittles is vital to the narrative and to Martin’s image as a cherubic, scholarly, very young, slight, smiling and innocent child ruthlessly chased down and murdered by a huge, hulking, white-Hispanic racist brute who profiled him and was bent on murdering him because he was black and wearing a hoodie. And all he was doing was fetching tea and Skittles for his little brother. To those propounding the narrative, apparently tea and Skittles somehow make Martin’s fate more tragic, make him somehow more of an innocent victim. After all, don’t all innocent victims of racists brutes carry candy?
There is no legal reason to include what sort of food or drink Martin was carrying in the affidavit. It has no bearing on the case. It is not an element of the crime, nor could it possibly be an aggravating or mitigating factor at trial. And as I noted in Update 31.2 it continues to this date. Judge Nelson is allowing the Martin family and the Scheme Team to give mini press conferences in the courtroom every day. In a recent session, they again brought up tea and Skittles.
Skittles are completely irrelevant–legally speaking, and so is tea, but tea is also a lie, which the prosecution, the Scheme Team and Martin’s parents surely know.
As I pointed out in Update 9, Martin did not purchase tea, but a watermelon flavored drink. This is significant in that the watermelon drink and Skittles make up two of the essential ingredients of a drug concoction know as “drank, “lean,” “purple lean,” or similar terms. The third ingredient is commonly Robitussin cough syrup. This is also significant because Martin made frequent mention of his use of and fondness for this concoction in his social media writings.
The narrative is essentially the prosecution’s case. It relies on deception and misdirection, on unfounded accusations, and the twisting of the law. It relies on convincing the public that normal, reasonable actions are somehow evil and criminal, and it is supportive of using the full powers of the state to punish anyone who displeases the racial grievance industry.
But more, the narrative is the prosecution–and the racial grievance industry’s hedge against acquittal. Should Zimmerman be acquitted–as he must be in any competent court of law–the narrative will live forever in the court of public opinion, which is, to all but the defense and Zimmerman, the far more important court.
Thus are two thirds of the ingredients for a dangerous and destructive illicit drug concoction transformed into symbols of youthful innocence, altruism and purity. Thus is George Zimmerman transformed into the equivalent of the New York City Police Department. Thus are we all made party to a grotesque perversion of justice–if we continue to allow the language to be misused.