Credit: The nowpass.com

Credit: The nowpass.com

In yet another sign of the rapidly approaching apocalyptic destruction of western civilization, we discover that the Smithsonian Institution lusts for Trayvon Martin’s hoodie.  Fox News notes: 

A director at the Smithsonian Institution has expressed interest in acquiring the hooded sweatshirt worn by Travyon Martin on the night he was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture told The Washington Post Martin’s hoodie represents an opportunity to further the discussion about race in America.

‘It became the symbolic way to talk the Trayvon Martin case. It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol,’ Bunch told the newspaper. ‘Because it’s such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama.’

Bunch, who has acquired a guard tower from Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary and the handcuffs used to restrain Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in 2009, said he’d like to have the hoodie for his collection once the legal case is over.

However, the Institution now seems to be contradicting Bunch, as UPI.com reports:  

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 3.30.53 PM

The Smithsonian describes its mission as “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” and it’s vision as “shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.” 

Right.  That would explain why the Smithsonian thinks Martin’s hoodie to be a “symbolic way to talk about the Trayvon Martin case.”  And why not his low-hanging tan pants or his athletic shoes?  Aren’t they equally authentic and symbolic?  Aren’t they also iconic expressions of a unique and immeasurably valuable cultural heritage?  The hoodie figured in this case only in that it was mentioned to a police dispatcher as part of Zimmerman’s description of what Martin happened to be wearing.  Zimmerman attached no racial significance to it, nor did he so much as imply that because Martin was wearing a hoodie he was a criminal.  It’s a common hooded sweatshirt worn by millions of Americans of all ages and races, nothing more.  Sometimes a sweatshirt is just a sweatshirt.

Gate’s handcuffs?  For those who missed that one the first time, Gates, a black academic, came home from a trip late one night and forgot his house keys, so he had a taxi driver break in his front door.  A passerby saw it and called the police.  When they arrived and asked him for identification, he began to scream “racism.” Not only would he not shut up–all the police wanted was to identify him and be sure he belonged there–he went outside his house and became so loud and disruptive he was arrested for disturbing the peace.

The only thing these incidents have in common is President Obama, who injected himself into the Gates incident by first observing he knew nothing about the case, and then proclaiming that the police acted stupidly.  So obviously the handcuffs are a symbolic way to talk about the Henry Louis Gates case too.

“Increase and diffusion of knowledge” and “preserving our heritage” my English teacher hindquarters!

Petitioning For…Something or Other…

Now we discover that Martin’s parents have posted a petition on change.org addressed to the governors of some 20 states, beginning with Mike Pence of Indiana.  The topic?  Abolishing stand your ground laws, of course.

Martin Photo

Just a brief reminder: stand your ground laws uniformly remove any duty to run away in a Monty Pythonesque manner (“Run away! Run away!”) when attacked by a criminal.  As long as one is legally present when and where they are attacked, they have no duty to try to flee before using reasonable force to repel or stop an attack.  That’s all.  SYG laws don’t repeal the lawful requirements for the use of force, including deadly force.  Anyone using self-defense must still demonstrate under the laws of their state that they were not the aggressor and that the force they used was reasonable and proportional.

And as I–and others–have written innumerable times, the Florida SYG law had no application in the Zimmerman case, none at all.

This being the case, why would anyone want to make lawful self-defense more difficult?  Why would anyone want to require that innocent victims of criminal assault try to flee criminals rather than make life difficult for criminals?  How could that possibly be an advantage for our society?  Let’s consider what Martin’s parents have to say:  

Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman faced no punishment whatsoever. That’s in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.

Martin was not “stalked” or “chased down,” under any definition of Florida law, or practically.  That was no evidence to support either contention and substantial evidence to support the opposite. Zimmerman’s self-defense claim had nothing to do with Florida’s SYG law.

No punishment whatsoever?  The Zimmerman’s lives have been destroyed.  They’ve been impoverished, denied the ability to obtain an education and they, and their immediate families, live under the constant threat of death from racist thugs and the threat of federal prosecution by additional racist thugs.

We’re calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts — people like George Zimmerman — won’t be able to use these laws to get away with murder.

The evidence proved, and the jury agreed, that Martin instigated the conflict.  Zimmerman began the trial with a presumption of innocence and retained it because there was no evidence to prove his guilt.  He acted in self-defense.  The state of Florida, at great expense, proved conclusively that he did not commit murder.

‘Stand Your Ground’ was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed. After Trayvon’s death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.

The Sanford Police and local prosecutor did not file charges because there was insufficient evidence to sustain any criminal charge; Zimmerman clearly acted in self-defense under the law.  SYG was not an issue in their decision.  The jury instructions were the standard instructions given to any jury under similar circumstances.  Zimmerman did not ignore police instructions–ever; the trial proved it–and again, Martin instigated the assault and his actions proved that he was not “just trying to get home to his father,” who wasn’t at home.

We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.

Which might be a noble goal if SYG laws had anything to do with this case and if anything they’ve said was true.

We are not the only ones calling for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue. This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child’s killer walk free.

Don’t get me started on John McCain.  And if President Obama is for it, one can rest assured it’s harmful for America and freedom in general.

Here in Florida, we are pushing for an amendment to Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. Sign our petition to call on all at least 21 governors to review their laws and consider similar amendments so that they can protect children in their states, just as we wish Florida would have protected Trayvon.

Children everywhere can be protected by not smoking pot and drinking Lean, by not committing vandalism and burglary, by not hoping to attack others, but not emulating the thug lifestyle and by not attacking strangers.

We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all of your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.

Visit Update 36.3 to see if Trayvon’s life is worthy of “celebration.”

What’s actually going on here is nothing more than crude, unlovely, leftist politics.  One way to understand the fundamental differences between progressivism and conservatism is to acknowledge that conservatives believe in equality of opportunity, and progressives believe in equality of outcome.  Simply put, conservatives seek to establish and maintain the highest possible degree of individual sovereignty compatible with representative democracy.  When men are free of governmental interference and free to interact with other free men in a free market, liberty reigns and all have an equal opportunity to succeed or fail based on personal responsibility.  Hard work, character, individual initiative, ability and perseverance determine one’s quality of life.

This, of necessity, means that some will do better than others because some are more talented than others.  Some work harder than others.  Some are smarter than others, but everyone has the same opportunity to do well.  Nothing prevents anyone from becoming a millionaire, if that is what they seek.  At the same time, conservatives believe in helping the truly needy and personally give far, far more to charity than progressives.

Progressives, on the other hand, believe in the sovereignty of government above all.  They believe that people are inherently sexist, racist, and whichever “ist” one prefers, and if allowed personal sovereignty, will do evil things like own guns, hire and associate with people they prefer, raise their children as they see fit, and refuse to support progressive politicians and causes.  It is therefore the mandate of government to seize as much power as possible and to take that power from the individual, who can be trusted only to do what is best for himself and his family rather than whatever initiative self-appointed progressive elitists have determined is best for him.  This is what the redistribution of wealth–as Mr. Obama told Joe the Plumber–is all about.  Money must be taken from those that have earned it and given not just to those who refuse to earn it, but to lobbyists, community organizers, labor unions, and various other cronies who will work to ensure that progressives retain their power and that the people have little or none.

One could cynically suggest that this petition is merely a way to continue to make money from an unsuspecting public, and Martin’s parents have indeed made money.  But ultimately the issues are larger.

A never-ending progressive goal is the complete disarmament of the law abiding.  The Second Amendment is perhaps the biggest thorn in their side because it exists to enable the people to resist a tyrannical government.  As much as progressives deny this and minimize it, they know precisely why the Founders wrote the Second Amendment.  As long as the people can own effective and modern arms, progressive plans can never truly come to fruition.

Self-defense is also an enormous thorn in the side of progressives, for it is a powerful expression of individual sovereignty.  If the individual has the ability to preserve their very life, if the state doesn’t have that exclusive power, government is substantially weakened.  Progressives want to decide who shall live and die (see “Obamacare” and the death panel for which Sarah Palin was mercilessly mocked, but which is now universally acknowledged to be an integral part of Obamacare).

Understand too that criminals are a favored victim group of the Democrat party.  This is true in part because of their general tendency to see everyone as a victim of society because America is the source of all the world’s ills, and also because so many of the people upon whom they depend for votes also happen to be criminals or have criminal tendencies.  Anything that assists criminals is good for progressives, and coincidently, a thumb in the eye of conservatives.

Therefore, this petition, based on lies and false premises as it is, is something progressives reflexively support.  It damages individual sovereignty while protecting criminals.  This is what’s going on in progressive’s attempts to prevent the New York City police from stopping and frisking criminals–one of NYC’s most effective anti-crime programs.  Anything that degrades the ability of individuals to protect their own lives–unless of course they’re criminals–is seen as a vital progressive accomplishment, because it changes the balance of power between the government and the individual.

If that means that a far from admirable 17 year old and his far from admirable parents are given praise they don’t deserve, it’s a small price to pay for the fundamental transformation of American society.

Justice For Trayvon:

And in Washington DC, readers will be unsurprised to learn, social justice prevails: 

A Bethesda man was beaten and robbed early Saturday morning in Adams Morgan by three men who yelled, ‘This is for Trayvon Martin,’ before attacking him, police said.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and robbery, according to D.C. police spokesman Araz Alali.

You don’t say.  And what race, pray tell, might the victim and the “three men” be?

Three black men approached an adult white male from behind while he was walking in the 1700 block of Euclid Street NW at 1:26 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Two of the men threw the victim to the ground and kicked him, Alali said. The three perpetrators then took the victim’s iPhone and wallet and fled.

Something somehow tells me that upholding the legacy and honor of Trayvon Martin was not the foremost thing in the minds of these three upstanding citizens.  I also have an inkling that we’ll be seeing more of this kind of “justice,” and the victims, somehow, will tend to be of the pale persuasion.

Angela Corey broke the law? Certainly not!

Credit: viralread.com

Credit: viralread.com

Regular readers will recall the story of former IT director for Angela Corey, Ben Kruidbos.  He had the unfortunate ethical sense to report her and her associates for illegally hiding exculpatory evidence from George Zimmerman’s lawyers, and was fired for his honesty. Jacksonville.com has the story:  

The former information technology director for State Attorney Angela Corey is suing for wrongful termination.

Ben Kruidbos sued Corey’s office Thursday saying he was illegally fired in June after he testified that prosecutors did not turn over all information to George Zimmerman’s defense team in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

He is asking for $5 million or more in damages and his job back.

The lawsuit states Kruidbos could not be fired for testifying in a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena. It also argues that the firing was retaliation for his testimony in the Zimmerman case.

‘It’s important to understand that we’re not just saying my client was wrongfully terminated,’ attorney Wesley White said. ‘We’re also saying that the state attorney broke the law.’

Florida law prohibits firing people for testifying in trials they’ve been subpoenaed to take part in, and that’s what Corey did to Kruidbos, White said.

The lawsuit should also send a message to Corey that she has no right to fire dedicated employees who are trying to do the right thing, White said.

Readers seeking to refresh their memories about these issues might visit Update 31 and Update 35, which has a link to the termination letter–the style and language alone will convince you they have no case against Kruidbos and that his firing was personal, not professional–hand-delivered to Kruidbos on the day the case was given to the Zimmerman jury.

Why would Corey wait to fire Kruidbos until the case was given to the jury?  So she could be sure he wouldn’t be testifying against her in that case.  But wait a minute: if Kruidbos was really so dangerous and untrustworthy, why wait until the jury was out before firing him?  Why indeed…

At Least One Commentator Has It Right:

At National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg takes the legacy media to task.  Like me, Goldberg recognizes the Martin case as essentially unremarkable:

I never thought the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case deserved nearly the attention it got. But reasonable people can disagree about that. What strikes me as unconscionable, however, is the way the supposedly objective media have not only sensationalized a tragedy but at times have appeared to deliberately bend the facts to fit a desired storyline. Maybe it started with the use of pictures of a younger Martin or with the sudden embrace of the term ‘white Hispanic’ to describe Zimmerman in order to more easily paint him as a racist.

Goldberg notes NBC’s part in forming The Narrative, and also mentions several others:

Any hope that the editorializing would end with the trial was naïve. National Public Radio recently profiled Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother. In response to the tragedy and the trial, Fulton has become a civil-rights activist, NPR reported.

It was a deferential piece, and understandably so. Who wants to add to the woman’s pain? But there’s a difference between deference and advocacy. In a speech to the National Urban League, Fulton said her son was killed ‘all because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.’

And how did NPR’s Greg Allen put that statement in context? He told listeners: ‘Fulton is one of many pushing for a repeal of Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law.’ He noted that sit-ins have been staged but that the Florida governor remains ‘unmoved.’ And that was it.

Florida’s governor actually appointed a commission that reviewed the law and found no reason to alter or repeal it.  But for progressives, emotion–being “moved”–is far more important than any objective fact.  Goldberg also mentions “Maddy,” or juror B29, a young woman I wrote about in Update 36.3.

Letting misinterpretations stand is the hallmark of the media’s coverage of this story. For instance, nowhere in NPR’s report did Allen mention that Zimmerman’s defense team never mentioned Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law. They argued traditional self-defense. The decision not to arrest Zimmerman in the first place wasn’t about that law either, despite widespread insistence that it was.

Much has been made of the fact that the judge’s instructions to the jury included the phrase ‘right to stand his ground,’ without noting that that is part of a standard jury instruction. As prosecutor John Guy declared, ‘This case is not about standing your ground.

I doubt that Guy was serious when he said that, but then again, his closing rebuttal suggested the case was about internal organs (Update 34.2), so who knows?  Goldberg does go awry in at least one aspect of the case:

This is not to say that ‘stand your ground; laws have no conceivable bearing on the Zimmerman case. Thoughtful critics of such laws, including President Obama, worry that they might create a climate in which people are too quick to resort to deadly force.

I’m sorry, but I don’t accord President Obama any credit for being thoughtful on this issue.  He and AG Holder are, instead, clearly progressive reactionaries behaving in entirely predictable ways.  There is no concern for responsible criminal justice policy coming from those two, only naked political calculation.  Goldberg, however, does get back on track:

But that is an airy justification for the media to treat the law as if it were central to the whole controversy. Is it conceivable that NPR would let, say, a gun-rights activist’s wildly tendentious interpretation of a law stand without some explanation or context? Why should opponents of ‘stand your ground’ laws get different treatment?

Obviously, they shouldn’t, but the media and the Obama Administration are about nothing if they’re not for that kind of double standard.

I think part of the answer is that the media and civil-rights groups want a consolation prize. They didn’t get the verdict — or the storyline — they wanted. But they need to get something positive out of this. I certainly understand why Trayvon Martin’s family feels that way. I fail to see why the media should so eagerly oblige.

As the Shellie Zimmerman trial draws nearer, I suspect we’ll see far more media interest than we’re seeing at present.  They’ll figure out, soon enough, that convicting Shellie is a large part of that consolation prize, and of course, they’ll eagerly oblige.

Less Then Fast And Furious: 

I suppose the next headline will be something like: George Zimmerman eats at McDonalds, might be carrying concealed weapon!  For now, “George Zimmerman pulled over for speeding in Texas,” will have to do.  Fox news has the…story(?):  

Recently-acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman was pulled over for speeding in Texas and told the police officer he had a legal firearm in his glove compartment, but got off with a warning.

Fox News confirms the officer pulled Zimmerman over on July 28 in Forney, which is about 20 miles east of Dallas.

Zimmerman told the officer he had a legal firearm in his glove compartment at the beginning of the traffic stop. According to police dashcam video obtained by inforney.com, the officer asked Zimmerman where he was headed and if he had any outstanding warrants, to which Zimmerman replied ‘no.’

The officer told Zimmerman to slow down, and he would give him a warning instead of a ticket after checking to make sure he had no warrants.

‘Just take it easy, go ahead and shut your glove compartment and don’t play with your firearm, ok?’ the officer said according to inforney.com.

The traffic stop lasted around five minutes.

One wonders when, or if, everything Zimmerman does–or doesn’t do–will be news?  Isn’t anything else going on in the world?  Phony scandals or something?  If, for instance, the IRS was illegally targeting people for their political views, or our highest ranking politicians left Americans to die in a foreign terrorist attack, or if our president was single-handedly and illegally destroying the coal industry, or if our AG was selling guns to Mexican drug lords, or something like that, now that might be news, wouldn’t it?  That would displace George Zimmerman getting a warning for speeding–as terribly uncommon and noteworthy as that sort of thing is–wouldn’t it?  Naaaaaaaah!

“No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.”

Lily Tomlin

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