Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Decency is alive and well after all


I am happy to report that decency lives.

It’s alive and well. It exists in many quarters and in many human beings. The particular example of decency worth citing here exists in an auction house that was set to put a firearm on the block for the highest bidder.

Then it took the firearm off the auction market.


It belongs to a fellow named George Zimmerman. You remember this guy, right? He shot a 17-year-old boy to death in February 2012. Trayvon Martin died from a gunshot fired by Zimmerman as the boy was walking through a Florida neighborhood.

Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense. A trial jury agreed with him, acquitting him of murder charges.

The case, though, became the source of international outrage.

Zimmerman has continued to find himself in the news. He got into some kind of beef with a girlfriend; it involved assault and, yes, a gun was involved in the altercation.

He’s acted like a dirt bag since being acquitted.

Now he wants to sell the gun, presuming — I reckon — that he’ll get big bucks for the notorious pistol.

It was a disgusting notion that he’d put the gun on the auction block.

It was equally gratifying to hear that the auction house decided to pull the gun down, take it off the market and presumably give it back to Zimmerman.

Zimmerman told a Florida radio station, “I’m a free American, and I can do what I’d like with my possessions.” Sure you are, George. You also are a public figure and your every move is now subject to public scrutiny.

That’s the price one pays in a free society for one’s actions, for better or worse.

Other “free Americans” are able to decide whether they support those actions. An auction house has chosen to do the right thing.


Trouble finds Zimmerman once more

What is it with George Zimmerman?

He’s acquitted of murder after he shoots Trayvon Martin to death. He walks away a free man.

Then his wife divorces him. He then gets into a dispute with his girlfriend; the dispute involves a gun. The girlfriend doesn’t press charges. He’s free once again.

Now he gets into a road-rage incident with another motorist, who reportedly shoots at him.


Does trouble just find this guy? Or does this guy find trouble?

Which is it?

The only reason anyone even cares about Zimmerman is because of his involvement in the Trayvon Martin death. He was a neighborhood cop-for-hire when he encountered the 17-year-old Martin. The two of them got into a scuffle after Zimmerman began stalking Martin in the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood where Martin lived and where Zimmerman was on patrol.

The shooting, trial and the acquittal launched a serious national discussion about how young African-American men are treated by police officers or, in Zimmerman’s case, a private security officer.

My fondest wish now is that Zimmerman would just disappear. The guy really cannot escape the public eye, given his previous role as a principal in a controversial shooting.

Perhaps, though, he can work a little harder to lie low and not be seen or heard from — ever again!


Zimmerman can't avoid brushes with law

George Zimmerman was acquitted of a crime after he shot Trayvon Martin to death three years ago.

You’d think he’d just fade away, get his life back in order, never to be seen or heard from again. Correct?

Nope. It’s been a rough ride for the one-time neighborhood vigilante.


The case opened up a serious wound about how young black men are treated by those in authority. That debate is still raging.

Zimmerman has had several scrapes with the law. Some of them have involved weapons and aggravated assault.

It’s fair to ask: Are the incidents post-trial a result of the notoriety he got when he shot the young man in Florida or do they serve as a prologue to the sort of attention he garnered?

I am not prepared to answer that. I’m just asking.

But as an average American citizen who wasn’t too engaged in the shooting incident and the subsequent trial, I keep wishing Zimmerman would do what some of us expected him to do after the jury acquitted him.

I want him to disappear.


Is this guy a time bomb?

It’s a fair question to ask, so I’ll ask it: Is George Zimmerman a time bomb ready to explode?

Zimmerman has been arrested — yet again — on an aggravated assault charge. You’ll remember this guy. A Sanford, Fla., jury acquitted him of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in a case that drew international attention and notoriety.


Zimmerman was a private security officer who got into a scuffle with Martin. He shot the young man to death and the issue turned on whether Zimmerman stalked Martin because the teenager was black.

Quite clearly, I didn’t witness the event or the trial. I wasn’t privy to the evidence.

But I’ll pose this question, too: Is it possible the jury got it wrong?

Zimmerman’s arrest is the fourth since his acquittal. His former wife accused him of threatening to shoot her; she didn’t pursue the case. A girlfriend accused him of assaulting here; she dropped the charges. Then this guy got involved in a road-rage case.

Now this. The latest incident involves an accusation that Zimmerman tossed a bottle at yet another girlfriend and he’s been charged with aggravated assault.

Hey, this kind of thing normally wouldn’t matter. Except that Zimmerman isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill loser. He became the face of a Florida “Stand Your Ground” law. The jury said he had a right under the law to protect himself with deadly force against someone jurors said was threatening him.

I know he can’t be tried again for the Martin death, but this guy cannot seem to steer clear of trouble.

Or does he look for it?

I’m just asking.

Obama haters go way beyond the pale

Good ever-loving grief. Can’t the Obama haters out there ever cease their incessant rants?

The latest comes from former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who said — are you ready for this? — that the president of the United States has implied that everyone should “hate the police.” Thus, Barack Obama is responsible for the assassination of two New York City police officers by a gunman who was angry over the disposition of the Eric Garner choking death case at the hands of a Staten Island policeman.


Yep, the one-time “America’s Mayor” has blamed the president for the actions of a lunatic.

Politifact managed to fact-check the ex-mayor’s assertion and has ruled it is a “Pants on Fire” lie. An outright falsehood.

The president has said nothing of the kind, ever, in all the discussion he’s had in public about the Garner case, or about the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., or about the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Fla. All three incidents involved black individuals being killed by police officers or, in the Martin case, a private neighborhood security officer.

As Politifact reports: “Part of Giuliani’s point is that Obama has been empathetic to the protesters, which he has been — though cautiously so. And he has always discouraged violent protests and excessive police response.”

Indeed, the president has taken great pains to insist that protests remain peaceful and civil.

To suggest he has called on Americans to “hate” the men and women who serve and protect their communities is to tell an egregious lie.


Tired of the Ferguson story

Let’s discuss this one a little.

OK, I’ll start. I am tired of the Ferguson, Mo., story. Does anyone else out there share that thought?

We know many of the facts already. A young African-American man, Michael Brown, was shot to death by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb. Residents protested. The protests got violent. The Ferguson police responded with a very heavy hand. The state police took over. The governor declared a curfew and called out the National Guard to keep the peace.

The cable news networks have been all over this story. They’re covering it like a blanket. 24/7, or so it seems.

I’m weary of it.

The Ferguson story, I think, gets to the heart of what sometimes ails TV journalism. Reporters get fixated on stories and then beat them into the ground.

I grew tired of the Trayvon Martin story, which had a similar context. I grew sick and tired of the Natalie Holloway story — remember her? She was the Alabama teenager who disappeared in Aruba. The networks were all over that one for seemingly forever. I got sick of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner disappearance story. CNN was the worst, reporting “breaking news” when none existed. One news anchor asked someone if it was possible if the plane flew into a black hole; he was then reminded by the guest that a black hole would swallow the entire solar system.

What am I missing in this Ferguson story?

It’s not that that my heart isn’t broken over the death of the teenager. Or that the police made a mess of their response to the protests. Or that the state police captain who’s taken charge of things hasn’t acted with nobility and courage. I get all of that. I’d like answers to questions surrounding the militarization of the police department and whether minorities are being targeted unfairly by police. How about the Ferguson political structure? It needs to change. A majority black community needs more African-Americans in positions of authority.

I just cannot watch it at length any longer. I’ve grown tired of the media saturation, just as I tired of one cable network’s obsession with the Benghazi tragedy in Libya and its coverage of the IRS non-scandal.

Is there something wrong with me?

I’m all ears.

George Zimmerman should have gone away quietly

I’ve been thinking for the past little while about George Zimmerman, the guy who was acquitted of murdering Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in that terrible case, which drew international attention.

My thoughts have been this: If I had been found not guilty of a crime that had drawn such intense scrutiny, I just might find a way to go quietly into the night, never to be heard from again.

Zimmerman has chosen quite a different path since his acquittal.


He and his wife have separated and are headed for divorce.

And now we have this case involving his alleged threatening of his girlfriend with some kind of firearm, a shotgun, a high-powered rifle, a pistol … something.

The latest involving Zimmerman reveals that he possesses a number of weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle. If you’ve never seen an AR-15, they look and operate very much like an M-16 — the kind of rifle soldiers were issued when they went to Vietnam way back when.

AR-15s, as well as M-16s, are extremely deadly weapons. They fire a bullet that is barely bigger than a .22-caliber round, but they inflict maximum damage with these high-velocity projectiles.

I guess it’s not illegal to own these kinds of weapons in Florida. A judge ordered him to surrender them after Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges of endangerment leveled against him.

This matters to me only because of Zimmerman’s standing as someone who was in the news — a lot — because he was accused of killing that teenager in a confrontation that occurred on a dark street one night in Sanford, Fla. He became the poster boy for — depending on your point of view — for vigilante justice or for citizens’ rights to self-protection.

I would have thought Zimmerman had gone through enough public scrutiny. He avoided punishment for a high-profile crime. He should have left town, sneaking away without being detected.

Oh, but no. He’s back in the news once again.

And he’s still packing heat.

Hasn’t this guy had enough of the limelight? Apparently not.

Nugent embodies right-wing lunacy

Ted Nugent doesn’t speak for most reasonable Americans. He speaks for himself and the crazed lunatics among us who share his racist, homophobic, xenophobic world view.

He sits on the National Rifle Association board. A group called “Stop Gun Violence,” an acknowledged foe of the NRA, wonders why the pro-gun group doesn’t boot Nugent off its board.


Why, indeed, doesn’t the NRA act?

The Motor City Madman has been on a roll of late, as the link attached to this blog post will attest. No need to repeat his rants. Suffice to say he is out of control.

There he is, though, promoting the NRA agenda — which when it comes to background checks for gun buyers — doesn’t even agree with rank-and-file NRA members, who support background checks.

He makes news when he twists off the way he does because he once was a reasonably popular rock musician. He now has become caricature of himself and the views he espouses.


Bad idea to boycott Florida

A California assemblyman has proposed a patently bad idea in response to a controversial trial verdict.

Democrat Chris Holden wants Californians to “boycott Florida” because a Sanford jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the case involving the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.


Can there be a more bizarre reaction to something so fundamental as a jury doing its job?

Holden says Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law deserves to be targeted by a boycott. That’s an interesting point, given – as the Los Angeles Times editorial board has noted – Zimmerman didn’t invoke the law in his defense.

I’m one of those who believes the jury might have gotten it wrong in acquitting Zimmerman. But to launch a boycott pitting states against each other in what the LA Times calls “an economic war between the states” is an overreaction in the extreme.

I also am one of those who tends to respect a jury’s decision – no matter if I think it’s the wrong one – and seeks reasonable remedies. Punishing business owners by invoking a blanket boycott – regardless of a business owner’s personal views on the “Stand Your Ground” law – is profoundly unreasonable.

Let’s keep debating the issues surrounding the Zimmerman trial, but let’s do so without hysterics.

Stand Your Ground equals 2nd Amendment?

To borrow the often-quoted phrase from the late Ronald Reagan: There you go again, Sen. Cruz.

Ted Cruz, the junior Republican senator from Texas, said this weekend that President Obama’s call for review of states’ “Stand Your Ground” laws represents yet another assault on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the one guaranteeing people’s right to “keep and bear arms.”


That’s not how I see it.

I believe Barack Obama is concerned that these laws, such as the one that became part of the discussion in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, need to be studied to ensure that they don’t result in the kind of tragedy that has torn at the nation’s soul. Zimmerman, of course, was acquitted of any criminal act after a lengthy trial in Florida. And the debate is continuing.

Cruz, though, along with many others on the right, have taken the argument a bit beyond what I consider to be reasonable. I haven’t heard anyone suggest we should disarm Americans; nor have I heard anyone say we need to water down the Constitution to prevent people from protecting themselves against threats.

I listened to the president’s remarks and I took away a reasonable plea to look carefully at state laws designed ostensibly to give citizens adequate protection against those who would do them harm.

Sometimes, however, even the best intentions can produce unnecessary tragedy.