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Trayvon Martin Case

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Old 06-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #436
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

@Firstdown. I posted this two months in response to a question posed by 56Fan. I have no desire to delve into the differences between the Trayvon Martin murder and black on black, but this post somewhat captures it.


56Fan, you seem to be conflating civil rights and the rule of law with the plight of the black community at large. I'm neither a Sharpton supporter or apologist, but his role if you will, in the black community is - he speaks to civil rights issues. Admittedly while there is a civil rights component at play, black on black crime in and of itself is not a civil rights issue. It is, however, a gravely important one that needs to be addressed for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, there's an economic imperative as well as the achievement gap that needs to be bridged. There's an inextricable link between urban poverty, black on black crime, and education. It's one thing to march and "demand" that black men stop killing black men, it's another to start a conversation about the achievement gap in the black community or job programs to ensure employment post-prison. In other words initiatives and policies that directly impact urban poverty, particularly education, which tends to curb violent behavior, drug abuse, early drop out rates, and teen pregnancy. So you see, the murder of Trayvon Martin and black on black crime, are two distinctly different conversations that must be approached and unpacked differently in order to understand them and remedy the problem.

Now if you arguing that Al Sharpton, as a prominent leader in the black community, should broaden his scope and speak to some of the ills that have plagued the black community for decades, well he's actually doing that. It may come as a surprise to some that Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have teamed up with the President and the Secretary of Education on education issues.

Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich Join Forces - On Education (usnews.com)

Al Sharpton and Gingrich have appeared on Meet The Press and other venues across the country to champion initiatives that address education in minority communities. This is where it starts. You can't make some angry teen who is feeling disenfranchised put down his gun, but you can build up the schools around him so that the next kid named Trayvon won't resort to violence and drugs, but sees education as his ticket out of the hood.

Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton team up to rally for education on tour - NY Daily News
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #437
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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Don't parse my posts and interpret what you think they mean or what I'm trying to say.
Not trying to. Went back and reread them including the post you reposted above. I apologize for impression that I was attempting to box you into a particular response. I am not. Your responses have been aimed at the issues specific to this case and, when appropriate, to the larger issue of black on black crime. I apoligize for anything said that may be percieved to be impugning your lack of concern for other victims of violence.

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Who are you to say this case isn't worthy of national news? Tell that to the parents of Trayvon Martin who's killer roamed free for over a month before charges were even brought. Zimmerman, in likelihood, would still be walking the streets today had it not been for the outrage of the Sanford community.
I am someone who thinks that it one of countless cases that occur every year where known killers walk free uncharged for a significant period of time. Is this truly the crux of your concern - that a killer went uncharged? Where is the national outrage in the countless similar situations? What do we say to the victims of loved ones in those cases which do not become media darlings?

Why does this case deserve national attention when similar cases do not? Had this been a black on black crime or if had been originally reported as a minority on minority crime, I assert it would not have garnered national attention and, for that reason - b/c the national attention seems to me to be purely racially motivated, I believe it should not be a national story.

So, in turn, I ask you why do you believe this IS a case of national importance?
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:03 PM   #438
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

@Joe, I wish it weren't of national importance. I wish Zimmerman would have listened to the dispatcher and never left his vehicle. I wish Trayvon Martin would have listened to his girlfriend and run like she told him to, but none of that happened.

I can't make the point any clearer than I already have why this isn't the same as black on black crime. We're dealing with two completely different context's and different set of circumstances surrounding this particular crime.

But hypothetically speaking I'm not personally aware of any black on black shooting incidents, where the aggressor was freed within hours of killing an unarmed teen and allowed to roam the streets for more than a month, do you?
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #439
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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No. It wouldn't. Law is a human creation intended to be for humans and adjudicated by humans.
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So are computers.
The law and computers are human creations. Each is created differently to serve different functions. When we create computers that can demonstrate and apply the concepts of justice tempered by mercy and compassion in their manipulation of data, then it may be possible to do as you assert. Try as I might, however, I haven’t found an app for that yet.

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Inherent in its creation is the use and consideration of human emotions (bias, mercy, prejudice, compassion, etc.). To then remove emotion from the application of such a creation is to create a systematic flaw.
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I'm not seeing any evidence of the removal of human flaws creating a more flawed system.
Emotions are inherent in creation and application of human law and have been since the inception of law within society. Accordingly, as currently written, there is a necessary emotional variable in the equation used to evaluate evidence, pass judgment as to compliance and determine appropriate sentencing under the laws that govern us. Further, I accept it as true that a processer of information unable to adequately manipulate all the necessary variables of a system – such as computers attempting to compute and apply “justice” – will be inherently flawed and consistently render unreliable/incorrect results. I would have thought someone as rational as you could see such an obvious systemic flaw.

If, however, you consider our corporate humanity to be a flaw that must be removed from the creation and application of our legal system, the only way to do so is to cede the right to govern ourselves (i.e. the right to create the laws which will apply to us) to mechanical devices that, at their core, simply store, retrieve and manipulate compilable data. Again, you may wish to surrender to the coming computer overlords. I do not.

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The resultant and inherently inhuman application of such laws would lead to attrocities and the "logical/rational" choices in which a mechanical being would make no attempt to save a drowning child.
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WTF?!?!??! Where are you getting this from?
From the simple fact, as highlighted by CRed above that "being human" involves more than weighing odds and manipulating equations. The concepts of “right” and “wrong” are not mathematical equations based on data retrieval. A process incapable of understanding such concepts will inevitably make choices resulting in specific cases of inhumanity – such as giving more weight to the probability of survival then any other factor when choosing between saving the life of an adult over that of a child.

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For good or ill, the law is our creation. It is meant for us and for us to apply it. I for one, chose not to surrender the adjudication of my actions to a highly sophisticated calculator. Accordingly, I will ask no one else to either.
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It's called progress.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:19 PM   #440
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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@Joe, I wish it weren't of national importance. I wish Zimmerman would have listened to the dispatcher and never left his vehicle. I wish Trayvon Martin would have listened to his girlfriend and run like she told him to, but none of that happened.
I wish the same.

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@I can't make the point any clearer than I already have why this isn't the same as black on black crime. We're dealing with two completely different context's and different set of circumstances surrounding this particular crime.
Different contexts and surrounding circumstances which, at their core, are driven solely by the presumed race of the shooter and actual race of the victim. To be clear, I was not trying to make this a direct comparison to black on black crime. Whether this was a black shooting a white, a black shooting a hispanic, a white shooting a white, etc., to me - this was not a case of national importance and is only so b/c of the race of the victim and the originally presumed race of the shooter. I find such a motivation for national media coverage incendiary, divisive and wrong.

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But hypothetically speaking I'm not personally aware of any black on black shooting incidents, where the aggressor was freed within hours of killing an unarmed teen and allowed to roam the streets for more than a month, do you?
Fair question. No. I am not. While I firmly believed it has happened (again, regardless of the races involved), I have no examples. While I admit I am about to shift the point a little and feel free to call me up on it, I guess I think it is my sense that "Injustice happens everyday. Why did this injustice rate national coverage?" that rankles me in this matter.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:46 PM   #441
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

And so I maintain when you find a case where an armed assailant walked free after pursuing and killing an unarmed teen, let me know.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:54 PM   #442
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

Fair enough.

At the same time - while I look for such a case, I ask why do you believe this case to be of national importance? You say "you wish it wasn't" which presumes you believe it to be so. Again, I ask why - is it just that the shooter initially went free? the underlying racial issues? As I said, injustice occurs everyday - why did the injustice in this case rate such a media furor?
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:58 PM   #443
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

Your analysis and frustration with the question of "national importance" is grossly misplaced. First, a murder took place. Period. It's definitely newsworthy and it's definitely important. I'm sure we agree there.

The news wasn't that a kid was murdered. That happens everyday. There were unanswered questions that led to more unanswered questions. That's the news. And frankly, to remove the racial underpinnings and coded language of Zimmerman is to ignore a vitally important element that warrants thorough examination. Examination that, in hindsight, seemed to be dismissed with no or very little consideration.

It's important to understand the Sanford community led the effort to raise the issue, not the other way around. It was organic, not contrived or led by a media personality. So the question why it's a national story is really besides the point anyway in my view. I'm more interested in the pursuit of justice and to ensure that we never see this particular crime happen again.

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #444
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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Originally Posted by JoeRedskin View Post
The law and computers are human creations. Each is created differently to serve different functions. When we create computers that can demonstrate and apply the concepts of justice tempered by mercy and compassion in their manipulation of data, then it may be possible to do as you assert. Try as I might, however, I haven’t found an app for that yet.
Have you checked the Apple store? There's more subtle software out there than most people could even guess at.

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Emotions are inherent in creation and application of human law and have been since the inception of law within society. Accordingly, as currently written, there is a necessary emotional variable in the equation used to evaluate evidence, pass judgment as to compliance and determine appropriate sentencing under the laws that govern us.
Emotion has no place in law.

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Further, I accept it as true that a processer of information unable to adequately manipulate all the necessary variables of a system – such as computers attempting to compute and apply “justice” – will be inherently flawed and consistently render unreliable/incorrect results. I would have thought someone as rational as you could see such an obvious systemic flaw.
So because you can't comprehend such a system it doesn't exist?

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If, however, you consider our corporate humanity to be a flaw that must be removed from the creation and application of our legal system, the only way to do so is to cede the right to govern ourselves (i.e. the right to create the laws which will apply to us) to mechanical devices that, at their core, simply store, retrieve and manipulate compilable data. Again, you may wish to surrender to the coming computer overlords. I do not.
Computers would allow a totally unbiased legal system.




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From the simple fact, as highlighted by CRed above that "being human" involves more than weighing odds and manipulating equations.
And by 'fact' you actually mean 'opinion'. Don't confuse the two.

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The concepts of “right” and “wrong” are not mathematical equations based on data retrieval.
They can very easily be made so.

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A process incapable of understanding such concepts will inevitably make choices resulting in specific cases of inhumanity – such as giving more weight to the probability of survival then any other factor when choosing between saving the life of an adult over that of a child.
And the system we have is so perfect?

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:30 PM   #445
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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Your analysis and frustration with the question of "national importance" is grossly misplaced. First, a murder took place. Period. It's definitely newsworthy and it's definitely important. I'm sure we agree there.

The news wasn't that a kid was murdered. That happens everyday. There were unanswered questions that led to more unanswered questions. That's the news. And frankly, to remove the racial underpinnings and coded language of Zimmerman is to ignore a vitally important element that warrants thorough examination. Examination that, in hindsight, seemed to be dismissed with no or very little consideration.

It's important to understand the Sanford community led the effort to raise the issue, not the other way around. It was organic, not contrived or led by a media personality. So the question why it's a national story is really besides the point anyway in my view. I'm more interested in the pursuit of justice and to ensure that we never see this particular crime happen again.
Okay. For what it's worth, I accept that explanation and agree with most of it.

My one contention is that, while I agree that the racial issues underpinning the matter may be an element to the case and certainly bear full examination, I find that much of the racisim attributed to Zimmerman to be the result of media constructs (the original reports that Zimmerman was white, the creation of the term "white latino", NBC's editing of the tape) created to manipulate opinion. In doing so, and in my opinion, the underlying tragedy and the rule of law got lost in the national furor over racial issues.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:47 PM   #446
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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Have you checked the Apple store? There's more subtle software out there than most people could even guess at.
Great, find me an ethics app.

As to the rest of your pithy remarks, I am simply not going digress further on these points in this thread. I will happly take them up in another or in a discussion through PM's. I will close by stating that your assertion that "emotion has no place in law" demonstrates a deeply flawed understanding of the manner in which societies govern themselves and is so devoid of humanity as to be piteous.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:56 PM   #447
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...

Emotion has no place in law.
...
This is a completely false and inhuman assertion.

Good law and good governance come from finding the balance point between the emotional and the rational. I agree with Joe that if you fail to see some use for emotional input to legal questions than that is 'piteous'
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:13 PM   #448
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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Okay. For what it's worth, I accept that explanation and agree with most of it.

My one contention is that, while I agree that the racial issues underpinning the matter may be an element to the case and certainly bear full examination, I find that much of the racisim attributed to Zimmerman to be the result of media constructs (the original reports that Zimmerman was white, the creation of the term "white latino", NBC's editing of the tape) created to manipulate opinion. In doing so, and in my opinion, the underlying tragedy and the rule of law got lost in the national furor over racial issues.
That's certainly one view point.

But let's be honest here, race is perception in America. The media didn't create that reality and they didn't have to gin it up. We've co-existed with racial tensions for hundreds years and it's always right beneath the surface. Again, to stress a vitally important point, it was the citizens within the Sanford community that felt Trayvon's murder could possibly have been racially motivated. Adding to their collective frustration was the Sanford PD's mishandling of evidence, conflicting police reports, the dismissal of the police chief, George Zimmerman's sudden release, and the confusion around Stand Your Ground. That's a lot for a community, a black community mind you, to digest with not one single answer for a full 30 days.

However you may feel about the media's reporting and coverage, it has largely reflected the festering frustration of the citizens of Sanford, as well as the history of resentment between African-Americans and law enforcement in this country.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:55 PM   #449
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

JoeRedskin and CRR:

You've yet to explain why emotion needs to be a part of law and justice, you just assert that it should be.

We'll leave it there. If you can't present an argument then we have no discussion, just a disagreement.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:52 PM   #450
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Re: Trayvon Martin Case

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It would be a much safer world if computers ran the judicial system jury and sentencing. No human bias.
Things would certainly be fairer. Eliminate prejudice against minorities and bias against anybody in jury deliberations. Prevent media hype like MSNBC's campaign against Zimmerman early, and John Edward's charisma in his trial, from having an effect on the verdict.

HOW we could implement a change, I don't know. But I'm convinced jury by only our peers is basically flawed. Because people can be very stupid at times.

Our society is built partly on the idea that majority rule can determine the best course of action overall. But in small groups, it seems like the opposite is true. And as far as individuals go, like George Carlin said: Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!

I think judging whether to take a person's freedom away, let alone their life, should be done by people far above average intelligence. I think we'd need an AI a lot "smarter" than say IBM's Watson, to handle a court verdict, but at least we could eliminate some stupidity that way.
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