Libertarian Hawk


Zimmerman Verdict Will Save Black Lives

July 17, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Neighborhood Watch signNotwithstanding their chances of being hit by rubber bullets at mob rallies glorifying Trayvon Martin as a civil rights hero, African-Americans unquestionably will be safer as a result of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of second-degree murder charges last weekend.

The Zimmerman verdict demonstrates that anyone—of any color—brave enough to risk his life to protect other community members—of any color—against potential criminals—of any color—won’t be punished by being tossed in jail to soothe a nation’s collective racial guilt.  And any law-abiding citizens lucky enough to live near such neighborhood watchmen will benefit from their service.

Ignoring the unseemly labels applied to Zimmerman by penthouse liberals with six layers of home security in front of them who never have to dirty their manicured hands to protect themselves, what is the purpose of a neighborhood watch?

It’s to allow neighbors who live where police are unwilling or unable to respond to every instance of rampant crime to band together, in the hopes of supplementing the efforts of overburdened law enforcement officers.

The neighborhood watch is a storied American tradition that dates back to colonial times, developed in its modern form in the late 1960s, and has spread to countries as far-flung as Australia and South Africa.  During the high-crime late 1980s, criminologists estimated that one in five Americans participated in a neighborhood watch.

Neighborhood watches reflect the twin American values of self-reliance and community engagement, and are demonstrably effective at reducing crime.  Their participants should be commended, not castigated.

But the left insists that crippling private citizens’ efforts to defend their neighborhoods will somehow promote public safety, just as they believe restricting lawful firearm ownership will somehow shame criminals into going straight.

The left calls Zimmerman a “wannabe cop” for putting himself in danger to shield his neighbors at The Retreat at Twin Lakes from a rash of burglaries.  (At least Zimmerman was volunteering his own time.  Can we refer to liberals as “wannabe philanthropists” for volunteering our tax dollars to support their causes?)

The New York Times declared, “In the end, what is most frightening is that there are so many people with guns who are like George Zimmerman.”

No, in the end what is frightening is that there aren’t more people with guns who are like George Zimmerman, and that they are treated like monsters for trying to protect their neighborhoods from vicious criminals who, unlike Martin, often wield firearms.

But what about the racial angle?  The left believe they have made the absolutely devastating point that if Zimmerman had been black and Martin white, the nation would have dismissed Zimmerman as a thug and thrown him in jail.

Salon’s Paul Campos wrote, “Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket.  Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid…  How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of ‘self-defense’ would have gone over?”

A site called The Political Freakshow photoshopped racially reversed images and cited their juxtaposition as proof that a black Zimmerman “would be headed for death row.”

But you can’t just reverse the races in this hypothetical Freaky Friday scenario.  You have to reverse all of the other details as well.

You have to assume that young white men had committed a recent rash of burglaries in a majority-black community.  You have to assume that the black man had been part of the neighborhood watch and had been the victim of a burglary himself.  You have to assume that the black man had come from a mixed-race background, had a white grandfather, and was tutoring a white woman and her daughter; and that the young white man had a history of vandalism and assault; and that all of the forensic evidence and eyewitnesses suggested that the young white man had been the aggressor.

Under those circumstances, not only would the jury have acquitted the black man on grounds of self-defense, they would have submitted him to the Vatican for canonization.

Look how easily the left turned Martin into a saint.  Beyoncé actually started her Nashville concert Saturday night with a moment of silence for Trayvon and a rendition of “Halo.”  One can only imagine how the media would have treated a black neighborhood watchman who got himself a smashed skull and broken nose fending off the equivalent of a teenaged Alec Baldwin.

The Guardian’s Gary Younge declared “open season on black men” and proclaimed, “Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded.”  When the young men in question—black or otherwise—happen to be high on pot, have an affinity for gang culture and a history of assault, and propagate violent social disorder against a neighborhood watchman, I’d say that all law-abiding citizens’ interests are served.

As is his wont, President Obama butted in a day after the verdict to announce, “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.”

No, we’re not.  We should be scrapping draconian state and local gun control laws, especially in vulnerable high-crime and minority neighborhoods; issuing more concealed-carry permits; and refraining from demonizing volunteer patrolmen who perform a dirty and dangerous job.  That would be a good start.

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Race-Baiting Only Gets You So Far In Our Justice System

July 03, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

race-baiting-president1Well, what did liberals think was going to happen during the first week-and-a-half of testimony in a race-baiting trial they insisted on holding, despite the rapidly mounting evidence contradicting every wild conjecture and irresponsible accusation central to their case?

The second-degree murder charges against neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin have crumbled to powder in the first seven days of testimony, with prosecution witnesses breaking left and right in Zimmerman’s favor and lending unexpected support to the defendant.

Eyewitness Jeannee Manalo, who told police she had seen a large man straddling a figure lying on the ground the night of the shooting, testified last Wednesday that it was Zimmerman who had been on top.  However, under cross-examination, she admitted that she had based her conclusion on the media’s widely disseminated photograph of Martin as a 12-year-old boy rather than the 6-foot 3-inch, 17-year-old man he was at the time of the altercation.  Manalo confessed to defense attorneys that the media’s photo had colored her interpretation and that she could not conclude it was Zimmerman who had been on top.

The prosecution’s star witness, Rachel Jeantel, betrayed numerous discrepancies in her testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, including reciting two versions of what Zimmerman had said to Martin and three versions of Martin’s last words, and claiming that the confrontation had been instigated by race and then saying it wasn’t.  The climax of Jeantel’s testimony came when she stated that she had heard someone being hit over the phone and somehow knew it was Trayvon.  Defense attorney Don West challenged her: “You don’t know that Trayvon didn’t at that moment take his fists and drive them into George Zimmerman’s face.”  Jeantel’s charming reply: “That’s retarded, sir.”  The consensus among even liberal news outlets was that Jeantel had helped the defense more than the prosecution.

On Friday, neighbor Jonathan Good testified that Trayvon had been planted atop Zimmerman doing a “ground and pound.”  According to the eyewitness, who had been brought onto the stand to bolster the prosecution’s case, “I could tell that the person on the bottom had a light skin color.”

On Monday, Officer Doris Singleton, who had interviewed Zimmerman at the station the night of the killing, testified that Zimmerman hadn’t known Martin was dead until she had told him, and that he had been visibly distraught.  This reaction undercuts the precondition that the defendant must have malice toward the victim and a “depraved mind” to be found guilty of second-degree murder.  Singleton also reported that Zimmerman had offered his testimony to police without asking for a lawyer to be present.

Also on Monday, the prosecution called FBI audio expert Hirotaka Nakasone, who testified that it was easier for someone who was familiar with a voice to recognize that person on an audio recording.  This seemed to bolster the notion that Martin’s parents had correctly identified the screams for help on the 911 tape as Martin’s.  But upon cross-examination, Nakasone admitted that identification is often biased when made by multiple parties simultaneously, as Martin’s parents did, because the witnesses often reinforce each other’s views.  Indeed, Martin’s father’s first impression upon hearing the tape alone had been that the voice was not his son’s.

On Monday afternoon, lead detective Chris Serino testified that he had originally been skeptical of Zimmerman’s claims and had questioned him aggressively.  Then Serino tried bluffing by telling Zimmerman that Martin may have videotaped the encounter, to which Zimmerman responded, “Thank God!”  That, Serino admitted, was when he had decided that he believed Zimmerman.

And all this before the defense has even started calling witnesses!

The presumption of innocence central to our judicial system occasionally results in a jury letting a black defendant such as O.J. Simpson go free out of some twisted notion of collective racial guilt.  But the formula rarely works in the other direction.

A jury doesn’t find four Caucasian cops guilty of criminal charges of excessive use of force as payback for white racism, not when they’ve seen the unedited videotape of a drug-addled Rodney King rising and lunging at them even after repeatedly being knocked down.  A jury doesn’t find three white lacrosse-playing college students guilty of raping a black stripper just because of their privilege, not after having sifted through her outrageous lies.

And a jury isn’t likely to convict a neighborhood watchman with sterling character references, a racially tolerant background, and forthcoming and impeccably consistent testimony, of second-degree murder just because he’s half-white, especially not when his stoned, racial-epithet-spewing, gangster-idolizing victim boasted a history of assault, vandalism, and theft, and clearly had a bone to pick with the “creepy-ass cracker” he imagined was stalking him.

Liberals, race-baiters—all those who have a visceral desire to see George Zimmerman rot in jail—can’t alter reality, as much as they’d like to.  Our legal system is designed to slow things down, calm people’s tempers, and force us to examine the evidence methodologically and without prejudice, and under those conditions they can’t force the jury or the nation to swallow their argument.

The flimsy, racially instigated case against Zimmerman is falling apart so precipitously that it’ll be surprising if Martin supporters are shameless enough to even express outrage over the defendant’s likely acquittal.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Race-Baiters Batting .000 in Trayvon Case

April 25, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Up till now, the most accurate reporting the mainstream media have done on the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has been relaying the fact that Martin had Skittles and iced tea on him when he was shot.  At the rate they’re going, I won’t be surprised if it emerges that he was carrying Pop Rocks and Four Loko.

Here is a partial list of the wild, reckless, irresponsible claims the left-leaning media have made in the Martin-Zimmerman case, every one of which has been rendered highly suspect or outright false:

Zimmerman is a white racist who killed Martin because he was black.

Multiple acquaintances of Zimmerman’s, including black friends, testified to reporters that Zimmerman—who is half-Hispanic—isn’t racist.  Zimmerman comes from a multiracial family and, during the period when the shooting took place, was tutoring a black neighbor’s two young children and helping raise money for her all-black church.

Maybe Zimmerman wasn’t racist, but he racially profiled Martin and told a 911 dispatcher Martin looked suspicious because of his race.  Zimmerman also uttered a racial slur.

In an egregious act of journalistic malpractice, an NBC producer chopped up the 911 audiotape to make it seem as though Zimmerman had found Martin suspicious because he was black, when in fact Zimmerman was merely responding to the dispatcher’s request to identify Martin’s race.  As for the slur, forensic experts enhanced the sound quality of the tape to isolate Zimmerman’s voice and concluded, not that he had used the archaic term coon, but that he was lamenting the cold.

OK, Zimmerman may not have racially profiled Martin, but he was a trigger-happy vigilante who shot Martin because of the cover provided by Florida’s barbaric Stand Your Ground law.

As Walter Olson and others have explained, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is utterly irrelevant in the Zimmerman case.  If Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him in cold blood, then obviously he didn’t act in self-defense.  If Martin set upon Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, and started pummeling him, as Zimmerman claims, then Zimmerman couldn’t have safely retreated, which is what Stand Your Ground opponents would have potential victims do instead of fighting back.  Either way, Stand Your Ground has no bearing on the propriety of Zimmerman’s actions.

Well, Martin wouldn’t have started a fight with Zimmermanhe was a sweet, innocent kid.

The night he was shot, Martin was serving a suspension for carrying a plastic baggie with traces of marijuana.  Previously he had been suspended for tardiness, truancy, and spray painting graffiti on school property.  Martin had been reprimanded for possessing an assortment of stolen women’s jewelry and a lock-breaking device.  His Twitter account revealed an affinity for gangsta culture, a flood of misogynistic tweets describing graphic sexual fantasies, and the suggestion that he had assaulted a school bus driver.  Photos of Martin displayed a menacing figure grimacing at the camera with a grill over his lower teeth.

Martin’s school suspensions are irrelevant.  He may have gotten into a bit of trouble now and then, but clearly Zimmerman was lying about Martin bashing his head into the concrete.

Police on the scene confirmed Zimmerman’s injuries and the presence of grass stains on his clothes.  When ABC News released a grainy surveillance video taken in the Sanford Police Station that didn’t show obvious wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head, the media jumped all over him and called him a liar.  When ABC later released an enhanced video that showed clearer evidence of two gashes on the back of Zimmerman’s head, liberals claimed the evidence was inconclusive and that conservatives were playing Columbo.  When multiple witnesses attested that Zimmerman had bandages on his head and nose the day after the shooting, skeptics questioned the witnesses’ credibility.  Finally, last week ABC released a graphic photograph taken just after the incident showing thick rivulets of blood streaming down the back of Zimmerman’s head.  Liberals have been silent while trying to figure out how to squirm out of the latest corner they’ve painted themselves into.

Confronted with evidence disproving their claims of discrimination, race-baiters always shift the standard of proof to make their case just one step harder to discredit, so that they get a clean slate from their previous raft of false accusations and must meet only their current, self-determined burden of proof.  When that standard is refuted, they cry, “Yes, but…” and move on to the next unmet standard, claiming that all of the previous standards are irrelevant to their case.  The logical endpoint of this burning platform approach to argumentation is for the left to claim that, okay, the facts don’t support their case this time around, but the problem they are decrying is nonetheless legion.

If the sheer volume of circumstantial evidence exonerating Zimmerman accumulates to such a degree that a majority of the population comes around to his side of the story, the left won’t ever admit that they were wrong.  They won’t take responsibility for the multiple retaliatory beatings across the country incited by their inflammatory race-baiting.  Just as they did with false rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse players, the flurry of phony noose-hanging and anti-black vandalism incidents on college campuses, the apocryphal rash of black church burnings, the Tawana Brawley case, and a million other made-up incidents, liberals will simply claim that the charges against Zimmerman were fake but accurate, because they drew national attention to a problem that in fact exists only in their heads.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Liberals Outlaw Crime-Stopping While Redneck

March 28, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Apparently “the system worked” in exonerating Casey Anthony, but we don’t need the system in order to be certain Trayvon Martin’s shooter is a racist, cold-blooded murderer.

Several weeks ago, 28-year-old George Zimmerman spotted 17-year-old Martin ambling around the Retreat at Twins Lake gated community in Sanford, Florida and called 911 to report suspicious behavior on Martin’s part.  Zimmerman followed Martin throughout the complex by vehicle and on foot, against the 911 operator’s recommendation.  At some point, Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, and Zimmerman shot Martin.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee told reporters there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest the shooter: “In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense.  Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”

Never mind—the left wants him arrested, charged, and prosecuted anyway.  They’ve jumped to the conclusion that the attack was unprovoked and racially motivated.  Civil rights groups insist the Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State Attorney’s Office are racist.

Zimmerman had served as captain of the neighborhood watch patrol and had been instrumental in eradicating a recent rash of crime.  The Retreat had endured dozens of burglaries and a shooting in the past year, with residents having called the police hundreds of times to report suspicious activity.

Homeowner association secretary Cynthia Wibker testified on Zimmerman’s behalf: “He once caught a thief and an arrest was made.  He helped solve a lot of crimes.”  Resident Frank Taaffe believes Zimmerman’s motives were benevolent: “I just know he’s a good person and really cares for the neighborhood.”

Police records support Zimmerman’s account of the shooting.  Their report notes that officers “found Zimmerman bleeding from the nose and back of his head.  The back of his shirt was wet and had grass clippings on it, as if he’d been on his back on the ground.”  Zimmerman’s bloody nose and the testimony of one resident who witnessed the scuffle suggest that the 6-foot, 3-inch Trayvon Martin was punching Zimmerman.

The witness told reporters, “The guy on the bottom [Zimmerman], who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help!  Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911.  When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top [Martin] beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”

Early reports suggested that two gunshots bracketed a male’s cries for help.  Later reports clarified that there was only one gunshot. The number of shots and their timing is critical.  The earlier, disconfirmed view suggested that Zimmerman shot Martin, Martin cried for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin to shut him up.  The newer view suggests Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, Zimmerman screamed for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.  Supporting this interpretation, Martin’s father, upon hearing the 911 call, confirmed that the cries were not those of his son.

Two female witnesses, roommates Mary Cutcher and Selma Mora Lamilla, initially buttressed Zimmerman’s account, but Cutcher went to police days later and changed her story, claiming officers on the scene hadn’t been interested in everything she had to say.

Sergeant Dave Morgenstern disputes Cutcher’s account of the investigation, calling it “inconsistent with [Cutcher’s] sworn testimony to police.  Actually, officers who were canvassing the neighborhood looking for potential witnesses the evening of the shooting contacted her, and she said she did not want to get involved.”

The latest version of Cutcher’s story is that “there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling.”  Cutcher conceded that whatever fighting took place was over before Zimmerman and Martin had reached her backyard.  She admits it was possible that Martin had subdued and was attacking Zimmerman.

Cutcher hasn’t provided any evidence that what she told police the night of the incident was incorrect.  She merely claims she may have read too much into what she saw.  Her admission doesn’t invalidate other witnesses’ reports or Zimmerman’s grass stains and wounds.

Additional testimony from Cutcher and Lamilla revealed that Zimmerman’s behavior after the shooting was not that of a man who knew he’d committed an unprovoked murder against an innocent bystander, let alone a vicious hate crime.

On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper interviewed Cutcher and Lamilla, the latter of whom stated, “By that time [of witnessing the scene], you hear like a shot—like some other noise.  I run away from my backyard and I look at the person [Zimmerman] on his knees on top of a body [Martin].”

Cutcher added that Zimmerman was “straddling him.  One [leg] on each side, on his knees, with his hands on his back.  I immediately thought, Okay, obviously if it’s the shooter, he would have ran.  I thought, He’s holding the wound, helping the guy, taking a pulse, making sure he’s okay.”

So Cutcher implied that if Zimmerman had killed Martin unjustifiably, he would have run away.  Instead, he stayed at the scene, tenderly holding Martin’s wound, taking his pulse, and remaining with him until police arrived.

The national rush to judgment, the left’s abandonment of presumption of innocence, and the death threats that have forced Zimmerman to leave his home, abandon his job, and flee to an undisclosed location are all belied by the flimsiness of the case against him as a hate crime felon.

Once again, as with their smears against the Tea Party as racist, their campaign against Sergeant James Crowley in the Henry Louis Gates phony racial profiling case, and their uncritical acceptance of a black stripper’s disproven claims she was raped by white Duke fraternity brothers, liberals’ interest is never in justice.  Their interest is in using tragic cases like Trayvon Martin’s to perpetuate a society tormented by specious racial grievances and a permanently victimized minority underclass.

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