Florida Shooting Forces Debate Over The “Stand Your Ground” Law

Federal authorities have announced that they are now intervening in the investigation of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. That will certainly enhance the completion of forensic evidence, which we discussed earlier as critical to a case like this one. I have previously cautioned that this is not such an easy case as has been suggested, even with the 911 tapes. One of the greatest barriers is the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law.

I am as angry about this shooting as others. However, there remain difficult questions under the existing evidence. The intervention of the Justice Department adds an interesting element While racism has been alleged, the statement by the Justice Department notably does not lay out the basis for intervention and does not say that local police asked for the assistance. That may produce questions from the family why this is a federal matter as opposed to a local matter. While Zimmerman is described as “white,” his family has insisted that “George is a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends.” That does not necessarily mean that this is not a hate crime or civil rights violation. However, it is possible that Zimmerman acted out of his zeal as a “watchman” as opposed to race — the stated view of the police chief.

The DOJ is clearly treating it as a racially motivated shooting since the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the FBI, is participating in the investigation. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa states “The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation. The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident.” Cooperating is a different matter than a request for assistance. If they were not asked for assistance by the police, the question is whether the Justice Department views the local police as itself somewhat suspect in the handling of the case. We previously discussed legitimate complaints about aspects of the police investigation.

The most significant issue is the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law. The law protects citizens in their use of lethal force in self-defense. The law, found in 20 states, is an expansion of the protection afforded under Castle doctrine or “Make My Day” laws for shootings in the home. I have long been a critic of those laws.

The key component of the law is that it allows lethal force when a person reasonably perceives a serious threat of harm and such force is reasonable under the circumstances. Zimmerman is likely to cite the fact that he was bleeding from the struggle — even though he outweighed the teen significantly and was armed.

The concern of these laws is that the use of reasonable force is already protected under the common law. The laws are read to offer broader protection than the common law, which already has ample protection for reasonable force. The law specifically negated the requirement of retreat under state law. The law states in pertinent part:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

That still allows for serious question over whether, even if Martin did struggle with Zimmerman, there remains the notion of a fear of serious bodily injury.

I have said that aspects of the case remains murky. That is not to say that an indictment cannot be brought on the existing evidence, as I has said before. Again, the most salient facts against him are (1) the statement on the 911 tape showing animus, (2) the disregarded instructions not to follow Martin, (3) the advantage in weight and possession of a firearm in the struggle, and (4) the lack of any weapon or proof of criminal conduct by Martin.

While the basis for the intervention by the DOJ remains a bit murky itself, it may help with the many unanswered forensic questions. I am most interested in (1) the trajectory of the bullet, (2) the distance of the shooting, (3) the extent of injuries beyond the bullet wound on both men, and (4) the forensic analysis of the background of the 911 calls. Additionally, some have argued that the tape of Zimmerman has him using a racial slur, though many others have said that he is actually saying “punks.” An audio forensic expert could answer that question, which would relate directly to the purpose of the federal investigation.

Source: Washington Post

269 thoughts on “Florida Shooting Forces Debate Over The “Stand Your Ground” Law”

  1. One thing is that often one of the most prevalent incentives for utilizing your credit card is
    a cash-back and also rebate supply. Generally, you will get 1-5% back
    on various buying. Depending on the credit cards, you may get 1% back on most buying,
    and 5% back on buying made on convenience
    stores, gas stations, grocery stores and ‘member merchants’.

  2. Forcing confrontation in order to produce the threat that justifies self defense under the law is not out of the imagination of circumstances to which this law can apply, nor is the situation where rape, or in self defense of children outside the scope of law, as written.

    But how it applies in circumstances of police brutality, for example, or varying sizes, or power of the protagonists is a legitimate concern.

    In addition, what happens when language differences become the misunderstanding upon which confrontation is based, and becomes a factor in interpretation of events as they transpire.

    Not exactly a Kiss principle bright line rule unless vigilantism is encouraged.
    The self defense argument for Zimmerman, to begin with, pivots on a legal right to carry, and then use, under the pretense of monitoring the community for safety though little has been said of that interesting nuance in the case. Trayvon and others have been pursued so that others could act, supposedly, in self defense and justifcation even though they were the pursuers. Rather like rewarding the hunter for killing, isn’t it?

    Who is the hunter and why, and who is the hunted, and why, matters in acts of aggression! It always has – until the Zimmerman-Trayvon case!

  3. The mass confusion this law is causing may be due merely to the fact that the law fails to recognize the obligation to exhibit the kind of danger which would rise to the level of self defense that justifies self defense, and fails to recognize the danger to another if the need for self dense is interpreted subjectively, and then constitutes the right to kill.

    Such mass confusion in this case can erode the protections in DNR cases, for example, or euthanasia cases where pulling the plug is at issue, or in cases where defective DNA results supports rights of abortion in parental rights.

    This case is not simply about the Zimmerman case in that, at least, in theory, there is still no right to kill in America, for any reason. This case erodes probable cause to “invent self defense perception” as the right to kill.

    Hence, mass confusion, and mixed messages.

  4. MCM
    Enjoyed your post to Tony C. One item touched on something I’m experiencing in current life searching for myself. Don’t know what you’ve read about my search, but won’t take your time with explaining it.

    Just will quote and relate. You wrote:
    “This was the essence of transcending the ‘other’ paradigm. I’m not other, I’m me. To subjective nature, I’m other, or me. Truth is, we are all one, merely perceiving ourselves as divided.”

    I have contact with many foreigners, primarily from the ME, of different cultures and religions, as well as Swedes. We see each other often.
    I am first of all looking to find our who they as a human, thereafter finding myselff in them through a non-analytical process. I don’t pick it apart, but search to see what resonates in my guts. You see, my guts have been frozen since childhood until the last weeks of my life and have not been in touch with myself.

    But back to others. This process has made them become open towards me, and are accessible to me with all due respect from me, but I also feel them as a part of me.
    This is perhaps what some might call empathy..

    I feel what you wrote quoted above, is somehow involved.

    Again, I see life through them, not such as through their eyes, but in someway letting their experiences and perceptions guide me on previously unknown paths..

  5. @MCM

    “you can’t read mindset from that and you don’t know that he ‘chose not to’. Where do you get this? None of that gives ‘mindset’. We know nothing of his mindset, sorry. ‘ample time’ according to whom?”

    Sure I know what he “chose not to do”. He had at least 2 minutes from the time Zimmerman announced “he’s running” to get to the house where he was staying. That’s ample time for a 6’3″ football player to run a couple hundred yards. He obviously “chose not to,” because if he had chosen to run home, Zimmerman never would have seen him again.

    “I could suggest he was afraid, but I have no evidence of that. I can tell you a person identified as ‘girlfriend’ said something. But with George Zimmerman we have his words, a tape, and lots of innuendo in his phrases to tell you his mindset. I’m curious how stacking facts about where someone was and their destination gives you mindset if you think we don’t have that with George Zimmerman.”

    “The fact that he stuck around for at least 2 minutes indicates pretty clearly to me that he probably wasn’t terribly afraid.”

  6. @Michael: I can say the same thing about learning martial arts, or many other things. Stephen King (the author) says it about writing: When asked in an interview about what aspiring authors should do, King responded, “Start writing.”

    When asked to expound upon that, he said (and I speak from memory), “Here’s the problem. People say they want to write a book. But that isn’t true, because if you want to write a book, just sit down and start writing. What they really mean is, they want to have written a book, and published a best seller, and be an author being interviewed by you. Real authors love to write. I write every day, and that is how I got good enough to be published. So if you want to be an author — start writing.”

    I find the same thing is true about martial arts, painting, acting, music, weight lifting, gymnastics, target shooting, cooking, whatever. Some people think they want to be a great expert in such a niche, but they don’t love the process of becoming that person, the endless practice and training or classes or the prodigious time investment. Well, in King’s terms, they don’t love the writing, they love the idea of having written. That’s why they show up for class, and after a few weeks, drop out. The class still did them good, because it taught them what they needed to know: They don’t love the process enough to finish it; the personal price of obtaining the skill is just too high.

    1. Tony,
      “They don’t love the process enough to finish it; the personal price of obtaining the skill is just too high.”

      This is very true of a few disciplines I’m in, not just MA. Very well said.

      I stuck with that particular task. It was the lathe I carved myself with. It wasn’t intentional at first either, my location had to do with much of it. I was around the very few who were teaching in the US at the time. It exploded afterwards. It was frowned upon as “that jap shit” by many I’d run into. I hated that. If I used my feet in a fight in Arkansas, I got treated like some ‘feriner’.

      Nobody had heard of Carlos Ray Norris and Bruce Lee was unheard of. I was young, but they were unknown. These guys had come back from WWII and Korea with Tae Kwan Do, Karate, and Judo. They knew about that much about it. But it was worth it. Many, as you know, were given basic fundamental hand to hand. This serves many people for many reasons.

      But as you did with math, I did with this ‘art’. It isn’t an art to me but a science. The science of not fighting. Sticking with it resulted in me getting beyond block, punch kick, beyond this form, that form, beyond I hope to master this style, that style, beyond I want that next belt or even degrees. Knowing that after 3rd Dan, etc its like being a 33rd degree mason. You’re already a mason, the degrees…are about hanging around really. 3 is enough for a mason, 3 is enough for a martial arts black belt degree. After that, if you’re gauging titles and belts, wrong interest in my book. In much of what I know, I have no real belt there because it was ‘sharing wares’. Instead I have a few core teachings that I continue to add on to that are like trees. Specializing in that effort over a lifetime, I might one day get a glimpse into it’s inner workings. It is like a beautiful onion that blooms over and over and makes you cry layer after layer. lol

      Now, in physics, I’m sure there is a science discipline you didn’t specialize in but could fairly easily shuttle to because of the like disciplines found in the related sciences. I’d be curious what you’d mention instead of listing anything.

      Self-defense is why all martial artists got started in my experience. They wanted to stop being afraid of the world, not necessarily afraid for themselves but for others even. I’ve often cared less for my own survival as I did for the safety of others who mattered everything to me. Eventually, time balanced that out and there is no distinction between self-other when it comes to safety. I even care for the safety of my opponent now.

      This was the essence of transcending the ‘other’ paradigm. I’m not other, I’m me. To subjective nature, I’m other, or me. Truth is, we are all one, merely perceiving ourselves as divided.

      Argument is no different that martial kung fu. Step by step, only placing foot on stable stances, even faked ones. Knowing where to balance the center. Understanding where to place one’s energy and where weakness exists. Following what is introduced without introducing. (very important one) Not getting caught in form instead of studying what is present or as I call it, “so”.

      In its suchness, each argument has a form, an underlying logic that carries truth and dispels feeble construction in favor of integrity.

      That being said, my reason for wanting less chest puffing in the space, even when justified is that it helps make distinctions when we’re done picking up the bodies. It is already hard enough with police officers and military action. Who did what can become very foggy even when captured on tape.

      In many fights, I didn’t think. I reacted based on a real threat, aka someone hit someone already. Had someone along that way wanted to simply shoot without notice, I’d have been gone long ago. I know that happens but thankfully not to me. Where guns or knives have appeared in a conflict, there are some variations but I’ve never had someone just cold shoot anyone in front of me (hope I never will). Warning signs were present in all other cases. “I’m gonna’s” started way before that. Those can be dealt with. Dealing with them in a poorly considered way leads to disasters.

      Perceived threats might have drawn me closer, but it was the real threat that made me act. I had to learn the difference over many many years, many many failures no less, just like any science. Good thing is I had trained physically in conditioning to be ready for that. I also listened to my teachers in understanding the psyche of a fight. Understanding what the average person does versus an experienced fighter was important. What percentage of the population can even do this?

      All martial art is built in ‘problem’-‘solution’. And when students would come along to learn how to defend themselves, we didn’t expect them to have to stay until they became ‘masters’. most of the time.

      I saw my teachers explain to poorly disciplined parents who were just trying to find a form of ‘soccer’ to entertain their spawn that this wasn’t a nursery or day camp. The parents had no idea what we were doing. “I want him to become a great kicker, ” said one dad to a teacher I was with. “Ok, I’ll teach him to fight without kicking.” The dad didn’t dig this and said he’d take him to another school because “this was stupid”. When he went to another local school and they said a really good kicking teacher was at our school. lol

      “but he won’t teach him to kick, he said! I told him I wanted my son to become a great kicker” the dad complained.
      “of course not, he should learn to stop fights or end conflict, not become a great kicker. That isn’t a very lasting ambition. You can come here, but I’d go back there and listen to what he’s saying. He’s a respectable teacher.” They came back about a week later. 4 years later that kid was still with us as he was becoming a really good artist. He was a damn good kicker but he had also learned that was just a tool. It is like being a great screwdriver, ya know. Hammers think differently.

      If officers have to go through so much training to guard the public space, where they are free of the ‘duty to retreat’, then how will we gauge the training of someone advocating “stand your ground”? They spend many many hours seeking to master de-escalation. And yet, still make collective mistakes that are leading to more training.

      These states who passed laws so far didn’t require that level of training. They required the minimum amount of safety, some of the laws related to their ownership, brandishing, or transporting. But there wouldn’t be lots of training in behavior analysis, deception detection, crowd control would be a big one. Zimmerman’s case will show what’s wrong with these laws even without his apparent pursuit. His lack of judgment is on display and he’s just one person out there…

      We just opened up a standard to the public we are still trying to get right with the trained folks.

      “but they don’t love the process of becoming that person,”
      as my teacher said to me, ‘the map is not the territory’

  7. “I put no faith in the justice system, although I have never been punished by it myself, ”

    I haven’t been punished by it, but I have been reviewed by it and I do have faith in many areas of the justice system because the evidence supports that I should. I’ve been accused of things I haven’t done and been cleared, accused of things I have done that weren’t necessarily criminal and cleared after being investigated, and a plaintiff who has successful stopped aggressive businesses, abusive clients, etc. It isn’t a perfect system, but it has its moments.

    “For a real life example, consider Obama’s recent decree that he can assassinate American citizens, including on American soil, without any due process, simply by declaring them a terrorist. Gene cannot point at any such actually executed Americans on American soil, I cannot, but I wager Gene, like me, thinks that is utterly wrong. Does Obama actually have to do it before we will consider the law wrong?”

    we do have examples of in that example, 2 people dead in Yemen, a non-war zone to US. I know the US is waging war there anyway, but I can point to examples of why not in that case.

    Claiming that someone is at risk for prosecution in defending themselves would require proving someone has been penalized under the original paradigm which has been around for generations. Can’t find any because that isn’t what happens in cases that lead to convictions. The convictions I can point to would involve disproportional response. That is how they get tried. “Person A didn’t need to kill Person B over ActionC” is how they approach it. If they prove it, then a conviction is expected.

    I’d love to see a case where a person did what we consider the reasonable thing, was prosecuted anyway, in order to understand a threat I know doesn’t exist. I’ve been investigated just like that, it was a fair investigation, not fun but fair, so its hard to convince me that such a threat exists.

    Comparing it to a presidential power when I can point to endless abuses of power, might not be the best thing to support the argument. I will acknowledge that you are saying, “you don’t need an actual case for an actual threat to be dealt with”

    But the supporters of these bills DID suggest threats and fears in order to promote these changes, even if you don’t subscribe to those fears.

  8. “you’d have to show me a case where a person was convicted of assault or more while not backing down from a bully…

    I find that an unreasonable standard of proof.”

    If the premise of the ‘stand your ground’ fears is that prosecution would occur for ‘standing up to a bully’, then I have to look at cases where someone was charged related to doing so. If not, its theory world where no real threat of prosecution exists.

    now, Tony, I know you’re arguing that you simply don’t want to have to back down. But you suggested that you don’t want this based on the fear of prosecution. I’d have to see a case that got prosecuted as such before I could determine there was a need to modify the code as it was.

  9. back to the topic of Zimmerman:
    The discussion of whether Zimmerman is a racist is also important to examine. Who says he has to be a racist to act on a racial view? If his view is based in racial bias, he needn’t have swastika on his forehead. This means he could have as many ‘black friends’ as he can produce and yet still harbor racial stereotypes that deny the human rights of another person when acted upon.

    If he believes he is not a racist, it doesn’t mean that Trayvon Martin wasn’t pegged for his skin color. He could simply be ignorant and buy into stereotypes. Means he won’t be a racist, but he will still be a walking civil rights violation waiting to happen.

    There again is this binary conversation going on in the media about whether he is a racist. To present that he is not, “my black friend” is produced. If I’m a jury member and you pitch that to me, I’m balking. I can hear the testimony of the friend, but I don’t conclude he isn’t acting on race.

    If Trayvon Martin is dead because of stereotyping who was a threat, it is racism that killed him. He was guilty of being black first, hoodie next, and walking through a neighborhood that white people could walk through and get less implication. That can still happen and Zimmerman not be a ‘racist’.

  10. Tony,
    great explanation and I fully grocked that.
    Its the math I haven’t learned. I have a good friend who teaches physics and he has done lots to show me that there is an inner logic in these formulas. He had some large formula on the board once and said, “let me walk you through this” and when he did, I got it. It was very object oriented which I can do. I just wish I hadn’t been convinced I couldn’t do the math.

    I deal with abstracts fairly well, perhaps better than absolutes even.

    Idealist707
    “Thus that has been transferred to an “inabllity” to learn mathematics. ”
    This is important to understand…”transferred an ‘inability'” is great language. It is extremely common. I’m trying to interact with more math geniuses. I asked good questions in school about math and got turned down to the book, “do the lessons” style. Raise my hand again and ask…only to have it happen again. Then you move on to something else.

    So in my case, I chose liberal arts studies, rhetoric, speech, theater, law, literature, etc. Martial arts is also a ‘liberal art’ in that it seeks to reform you, raise you to a better person than you were before. Law has been around me my whole life, so though I’m not a lawyer, I follow the logic easily.

    It would be valuable if our society got rid of this “transferred inability”. I love that handle, hope you don’t mind if I lift it for better. I find this common in martial training with other students and my juniors. When we are dealing with some physical realities, its not hard to say, “can’t do” but most “can’t do” thoughts are unreasonable and completely unchecked. I use to think I couldn’t do a full 360 kick until someone who knew better took me step by step through it until I did it. Then my brain realized it could, it was no problem.

    Richard Bach once wrote the phrase: “Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours”
    I really live by that phrase. I can’t have a baby, because I don’t have a womb. But there are other things I can do that a lifetime of messages tried to say I couldn’t. Math is one of those and I think it applies to many people who feel locked out of the mathematical world.

    Tony, thanks for the great explanation.

  11. @Michael: you’d have to show me a case where a person was convicted of assault or more while not backing down from a bully…

    I find that an unreasonable standard of proof. The law is a statement of conditions for punishment, we can ponder those conditions and conclude that the punishment is unfair without any examples of that unfairness ever coming to pass.

    For a real life example, consider Obama’s recent decree that he can assassinate American citizens, including on American soil, without any due process, simply by declaring them a terrorist. Gene cannot point at any such actually executed Americans on American soil, I cannot, but I wager Gene, like me, thinks that is utterly wrong. Does Obama actually have to do it before we will consider the law wrong?

    Demanding to see something has been abused is unreasonable, the simple logical analysis of the language proves it could be abused, and that is what makes the duty to retreat a flawed law.

    I put no faith in the justice system, although I have never been punished by it myself, I have enough experience employing the system to know that it can be capricious, corrupt and callous. We just saw, on Turley, a Muslim judge denying freedom of speech to somebody he didn’t like. The New York State situation I outlined earlier, with an overzealous DA and judge, would not even be as unconstitutional as THAT was, it would be simply an interpretation of the “duty to retreat” law as it is written. IMO it is naive to consider such an interpretation beyond the pale.

  12. MCM and Tony C.

    Re could never learn.
    I was told by my algebra teacher at 14 that I could not learn it.
    Thus that has been transferred to an “inabllity” to learn mathematics.
    Tony C. says it can be, if given the love and time.
    What MCM was implying by his question escapes me.
    Can you clarify MCM?

    Am still concerned with such questions for personal reasons.

    Tony,
    Will send your sting “lecture” to my former astronomy teachers at the institute. at Stockholms University.
    One gave (perhaps avoiding the issue), accord to that strings had some validity.
    It was evening course for laymen. First cosmology, and then special objects: jets, black holes (why black holes have no hair), quasars, neutron stars, supernovas, etc. Fun, but absorbing the surface without the basis was difficult to convey or understand.

    Just getting us to understand relativity and 4 dimensions was difficult.
    Your finish with 10 to infinity numbers of possible shadow theories was why I came out against it when it was mentioned in passing in the course.
    So much had I grasped in my own readings.

  13. @Michael: More important do you believe people who say, “I could never learn that?”

    Yes, if you focus on the “I” in that statement. Learning that gets beyond rote memorization and demands a person build a working computational engine in their brain (I am speaking literally about neural connections) has an emotional component; the student has to care about the subject being learned.

    Most people can tell if something is just too esoteric for them to personally care enough about to devote something like a tenth of their expected lifetime (or more, in my case academically, and probably in your case for martial arts) to becoming that different person. If they are not in love with the idea of being that different version of themselves, they can’t learn it, because they won’t devote the life hours to the process.

    So I suppose I might add the unheard qualifier to their statement: “I could never (care about that subject enough to make the sacrifices necessary to) learn that.”

  14. @Michael: Ultimately what one needs to know about M-Theory is that it does not exist, it is not written anywhere, it is a hypothetical string theory. I do not know how much you already know, so I will write for a non-mathematical audience. Advance apologies to any string theorists for oversimplifications. To my knowledge, the following analogy is original with me (although it is also obvious):

    Let us work in the familiar three dimensional realm. Suppose I have a thin (but stiff, and opaque) plastic circular disk. Now, I arrange a fixed light so this disk casts a sharp shadow. What shape will the shadow be?

    If the disk is suspended perfectly square to the light rays, the shadow will be a circle. However, if I skew the disk 45 degrees relative to the light rays, you will see an ellipse. And if I hold the disk parallel to the light rays, the shadow cast is a thin line (perhaps even a thin rectangle, if the shadow is sharp enough).

    Three different shapes, all generated by the same underlying object. Now here is where the dimensional terminology comes in. A shadow is two dimensional, it has no thickness. We call it a “projection” of the disk. In order to create these different shapes (line, ellipse, circle) we need another dimension, a third dimension in which to rotate the disk.

    This is akin to what Witten did with string theory; there were several competing ten dimensional string theories that seemed incompatible, with no way to choose between them. Witten showed that if he gave himself another dimension, the five reigning ten-dimensional theories could all be “shadows” cast by the same 11 dimensional theory.

    Now let us put a slight complicating twist in our analogy: Suppose we did not have the full circle as one of our shadows. Suppose we had, instead, exactly five different sized ellipses; from thin to medium fat.

    For ellipses, it is easy high school algebra and geometry to unify them; we can classify those shadows as one universal equation, the equation for an ellipse. They are all projections of an ellipse. But if we can only look at shadows, we can not be certain the “generator,” the object casting the shadows, is actually a perfect circle if we never SAW a perfect circle. It might be an ellipse itself! So all we can justifiably guess about this object is that it is an ellipse, with a shape somewhere in-between the fattest shadow ellipse we saw, and a full circle. (Technically a full circle is also an ellipse, with coincident foci).

    And that is not the end of our uncertainty. The equation for an ellipse has a parameter called the “eccentricity” that governs how fat the ellipse is; from a line to a full circle. In our analogy, that number would be directly related to a physical value; the angle of the light rays striking our disk. Now, we saw exactly five shadows, but our equation will generate an infinite smooth progression of ellipses from a straight line all the way up to a full circle. So, why did we see only five? Why those particular five? So even though realizing all of our ellipses could be generated from a single object might be a huge insight, that generalization is not the end of our investigation; we still must understand the return path, from our general insight to our specific, observed manifestations: Why did we see these particular five ellipses? Is the thin rectangle a physical possiblity? How about the full circle? In some sense, the equation is an over-generalization of the reality we observed; there may be other constraining factors, yet to be discovered, that would explain why all we see is five ellipses instead of millions of them.

    So this is akin to what happens with M-Theory. There might be an 11 dimensional theory, but all we see of it is five ten dimensional shadows. String theorists do not know how to write down M-Theory, and Witten’s work does not provide any clues. So M-Theory is incomplete, all we know is things about M-Theory (constraints it must obey). We have no complete mathematical description of the generating object.

    Further, like those ellipses, the generalization to M-Theory does not tell us what specific projection of M-theory results in our specific, observed universe (or if you need the full hypothetical M-theory to describe our universe). None of the five shadow theories was testable before M-Theory or since M-Theory. The number of possible string theories has been calculated in various ways, but essentially there are more “shadows” and variations of M-theory than there are atoms in all of the observable stars in our universe, with no way of choosing between them to describe our universe.

    Maybe somebody will have a breakthrough and find something that makes M-theory more than just a hypothetical theory, but it has been fifteen years, with literally thousands of the best physics and mathematical minds on the planet working on it full time, and thus far it remains untestable and incomplete. So …. Good luck with that.

  15. All Trayvons friends say he would be the LAST person to pick a fight. that is his ‘form’.
    He has no record of picking fights, unlike Zimmerman who had been previously charged with assault on a policeman and domestic violence.

    I do not see this boy changing overnight to pick a fight with a stalker.

  16. We do have some inclination of Trayvons mindset. Talking to his girlfriend he was frightened of the man stalking him, and determined to walk fast but not run since his friend was urging him to run away….. He was happy to have lost the man when that all changed with Zimmermans appearance yet again. Trayvon was talking on the phone and something interrupted that phone call. He did not get to say good by to his friend.

    1. Shano, yes, I have said, discounting her testimony as hearsay for a moment, we have nothing direct. Relying upon hers is a ‘appeal to authority’ fallacy. I trust her, but being critical of “what we know”, I don’t know anything from her words. She could just as easily make that up.

      An actual audio recording exists of Zimmerman’s call, no recording of her call exists that I know of outside connection verification.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t trust her, just that I cannot rely upon her comments in the way I can with the Zimmerman conversation. We have no other information about what Martin’s mindset.

  17. You overstated what I said. I didn’t say we could READ his mind. I said we have an indication of his mindset and none of Martin. “these assholes always get away”….is an indication of his mindset at the time. I didn’t say, “he also wants and omelet for breakfast

    Yes, we have an indication that can be interpreted in many different ways. If you take isolated statements out of context, sure, you can interpret it in a way that is very unfavorable to Zimmerman.

    “Zimmerman actually gave us LOTS and LOTS of information about his mindset in this call by descriptions that are above the obvious. “he’s on drugs”, “he’s up to no good”, “and he’s black”.”

    Zimmerman said “he’s black” in response to the dispatcher’s question “Is he white, black or hispanic”. As for the other stuff, we have no idea what Martin was doing, except that Zimmerman indicated he was milling about in the rain looking at houses. The likely explanation for this fairly unusual behavior is that he was talking on his phone (using a headset, according to the girlfriend) and didn’t want to go back to the house yet. But to an outside observer in a community that has had many recent burglaries, this behavior could easily appear strange, hoody or not.

    “WE HAVE NO INDICATION OF MARTIN’S MINDSET.”

    Yes, actually we do. We know that he had ample time to get back to the house where he was staying, but chose not to. We know that he told his girlfriend that he didn’t want to run. We know that he stuck around to ask Zimmerman why he was following him. All those things could indicate a attitude of someone who is more concerned about his “honor” than his safety and who doesn’t want to take any crap.

    1. “Yes, actually we do. We know that he had ample time to get back to the house where he was staying, but chose not to.”

      you can’t read mindset from that and you don’t know that he ‘chose not to’. Where do you get this? None of that gives ‘mindset’. We know nothing of his mindset, sorry. ‘ample time’ according to whom?

      I could suggest he was afraid, but I have no evidence of that. I can tell you a person identified as ‘girlfriend’ said something. But with George Zimmerman we have his words, a tape, and lots of innuendo in his phrases to tell you his mindset.

      I’m curious how stacking facts about where someone was and their destination gives you mindset if you think we don’t have that with George Zimmerman.

  18. Think how deep a discussion of a racist fracas/murder can get.
    I say “racist” in the sense NOT of black vs white (or whatever dipole you wish to post)—–but RATHER the WE VS THEM one.

    Would that this could be recorded and gone through some time later.
    It does, for obvious reasons, not display the rich resources underlying the words. But in the enlightenment it provides me, and perhaps others, it has been noteworthy.

    Thanks, everybody. It was a grand and glorious combat of ideas—-but not meant solely as intellectual when I say “ideas”.

  19. ““Assholes always get away” could simply be referring to the people who have been burglarizing their homes over the past year, ”

    he didn’t make a general. He said “these assholes”….meaning Trayvon was one already.

  20. @Michael Cheneywatch McCollum 1, March 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    “we have no indication of Martin’s mindset about ‘get into it’ with anyone. we do have mindset statements from Zimmerman about “assholes always get away”.

    “Assholes always get away” could simply be referring to the people who have been burglarizing their homes over the past year, the incidents that let Zimmerman to call the police about Martin’s unusual presence in the closed neighborhood. Everybody seems to think they can read Zimmerman’s mind based on his actions. What about Martin? He had ample opportunity to get away from Zimmerman and to the safety of the indoors, but he obviously chose to stick around.

    “and where do you read that he ‘got out of his car? he was in a truck…Nothing indicates he left his vehicle in this call itself.

    Car, truck, who cares. It was actually an SUV. I drive an SUV, I call it a car, not a truck. Some people call them trucks. Anyway, you can clearly hear on the tape that he opened his “truck” door and then closed it. Then you can hear wind or heavy breathing in the phone for a few seconds until shortly after the dispatcher tells him they don’t need him to follow Martin, and he’s obviously short of breath during that time while saying things to the dispatcher. Then the wind stops, and Zimmerman starts talking normally again.

    1. “Everybody seems to think they can read Zimmerman’s mind based on his actions.”

      You overstated what I said. I didn’t say we could READ his mind. I said we have an indication of his mindset and none of Martin. “these assholes always get away”….is an indication of his mindset at the time. I didn’t say, “he also wants and omelet for breakfast”

      Zimmerman actually gave us LOTS and LOTS of information about his mindset in this call by descriptions that are above the obvious. “he’s on drugs”, “he’s up to no good”, “and he’s black”.

      All of these tell us how he sized up the situation.

      And specifically, I said, WE HAVE NO INDICATION OF MARTIN’S MINDSET.

      SOME-doesn’t mean all
      NONE-means none

Comments are closed.