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The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin


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#1 George H. Smith

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:05 AM

Shelby Steele: The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin

The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites.


Two tragedies are apparent in the Trayvon Martin case. The first is obvious: A teenager—unarmed and committing no crime—was shot dead. Dressed in a "hoodie," a costume of menace, he crossed paths with a man on the hunt for precisely such clichés of menace. Added to this—and here is the rub—was the fact of his dark skin.

Maybe it was more the hood than the dark skin, but who could argue that the skin did not enhance the menace of the hood at night and in the eyes of someone watching for crime. (Fifty-five percent of all federal prisoners are black though we are only 12% of the population.) Would Trayvon be alive today had he been walking home—Skittles and ice tea in hand—wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo? Possibly. And does this make the ugly point that dark skin late at night needs to have its menace softened by some show of Waspy Americana? Possibly.

What is fundamentally tragic here is that these two young males first encountered each other as provocations. Males are males, and threat often evokes a narcissistic anger that skips right past reason and into a will to annihilate: "I will take you out!" There was a terrible fight. Trayvon apparently got the drop on George Zimmerman, but ultimately the man with the gun prevailed. Annihilation was achieved.

If this was all there was to it, the Trayvon/Zimmerman story would be no more than a cautionary tale, yet another admonition against the hair-trigger male ego. But this story brought reaction from the White House: "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon," said the president. The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, ubiquitous icons of black protest, virtually battled each other to stand at the bereaved family's side—Mr. Jackson, in a moment of inadvertent honesty, saying, "There is power in blood . . . we must turn a moment into a movement." And then there was the spectacle of black Democrats in Congress holding hearings on racial profiling with Trayvon's parents featured as celebrities.

In fact Trayvon's sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America's civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the "poetic truth" that these establishments live by. Poetic truth is like poetic license where one breaks grammatical rules for effect. Better to break the rule than lose the effect. Poetic truth lies just a little; it bends the actual truth in order to highlight what it believes is a larger and more important truth.

The civil rights community and the liberal media live by the poetic truth that America is still a reflexively racist society, and that this remains the great barrier to black equality. But this "truth" has a lot of lie in it. America has greatly evolved since the 1960s. There are no longer any respectable advocates of racial segregation. And blacks today are nine times more likely to be killed by other blacks than by whites.

If Trayvon Martin was a victim of white racism (hard to conceive since the shooter is apparently Hispanic), his murder would be an anomaly, not a commonplace. It would be a bizarre exception to the way so many young black males are murdered today. If there must be a generalization in all this—a call "to turn the moment into a movement"—it would have to be a movement against blacks who kill other blacks. The absurdity of Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites.

So the idea that Trayvon Martin is today's Emmett Till, as the Rev. Jackson has said, suggests nothing less than a stubborn nostalgia for America's racist past. In that bygone era civil rights leaders and white liberals stood on the highest moral ground. They literally knew themselves—given their genuine longing to see racism overcome—as historically transformative people. If the world resisted them, as it surely did, it only made them larger than life.

It was a time when standing on the side of the good required true selflessness and so it ennobled people. And this chance to ennoble oneself through a courageous moral stand is what so many blacks and white liberals miss today—now that white racism is such a defeated idea. There is a nostalgia for that time when posture alone ennobled. So today even the hint of old-fashioned raw racism excites with its potential for ennoblement.

For the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, for the increasingly redundant civil rights establishment, for liberal blacks and the broader American left, the poetic truth that white racism is somehow the real culprit in this tragedy is redemption itself. The reason Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have become such disreputable figures on our cultural landscape is that they are such quick purveyors of poetic truth rather than literal truth.

The great trick of poetic truth is to pass itself off as the deep and essential truth so that hard facts that refute it must be dismissed in the name of truth. O.J. Simpson was innocent by the poetic truth that the justice system is stacked against blacks. Trayvon was a victim of racist stereotyping—though the shooter never mentioned his race until asked to do so.

There is now a long litany of racial dust-ups—from Tawana Brawley to the Duke University lacrosse players to the white Cambridge police officer who arrested Harvard professor Skip Gates a summer ago—in which the poetic truth of white racism and black victimization is invoked so that the actual truth becomes dismissible as yet more racism.

When the Cambridge cop or the Duke lacrosse players or the men accused of raping Tawana Brawley tried to defend themselves, they were already so stained by poetic truth as to never be entirely redeemed. No matter the facts—whether Trayvon Martin was his victim or his assailant—George Zimmerman will also never be entirely redeemed.

And this points to the second tragedy that Trayvon's sad demise highlights. Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the '60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake.

It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. The tragedy surrounding Trayvon's death is not in the possibility that it might have something to do with white racism; the tragedy is in the lustfulness with which so many black leaders, in conjunction with the media, have leapt to exploit his demise for their own power.

Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Among his books is "White Guilt" (Harper/Collins, 2007).

http://online.wsj.co...Opinion_LEADTop



#2 Selene

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:12 AM

I am glad you posted this George.

The facts are being developed. There are some grains of truth in what Mr. Steele is opining about.

His relation of the "facts" involving the two (2) individuals in the following three (3) paragraphs are, to put it bluntly, completely fabricated:


Two tragedies are apparent in the Trayvon Martin case. The first is obvious: A teenager—unarmed and committing no crime—was shot dead. Dressed in a "hoodie," a costume of menace, he crossed paths with a man on the hunt for precisely such clichés of menace. Added to this—and here is the rub—was the fact of his dark skin.

Maybe it was more the hood than the dark skin, but who could argue that the skin did not enhance the menace of the hood at night and in the eyes of someone watching for crime. (Fifty-five percent of all federal prisoners are black though we are only 12% of the population.) Would Trayvon be alive today had he been walking home—Skittles and ice tea in hand—wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo? Possibly. And does this make the ugly point that dark skin late at night needs to have its menace softened by some show of Waspy Americana? Possibly.

What is fundamentally tragic here is that these two young males first encountered each other as provocations. Males are males, and threat often evokes a narcissistic anger that skips right past reason and into a will to annihilate: "I will take you out!" There was a terrible fight. Trayvon apparently got the drop on George Zimmerman, but ultimately the man with the gun prevailed. Annihilation was achieved.


I have been following this case quite closely. We are a long way away from confirming any of the assertions in the above three (3) paragraphs, in so far as the two (2) individuals, their backgrounds, their state of mind on that night and their intentions.

Adam
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#3 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:16 AM

Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.

Have you noticed that the newspapers publish pictures of Hoodie Boy when he was pre-pubescent and of Zimmerman when he was much heavier and much grosser looking? Your free press at work --- promoting the sale of their rags and playing the Miscordium Rag in perfect pitch.

In any case folks like Zimmerman give gun ownership a bad name.

Ba'al Chatzaf
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#4 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:34 AM

Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.

Have you noticed that the newspapers publish pictures of Hoodie Boy when he was pre-pubescent and of Zimmerman when he was much heavier and much grosser looking? Your free press at work --- promoting the sale of their rags and playing the Miscordium Rag in perfect pitch.

In any case folks like Zimmerman give gun ownership a bad name.

Ba'al Chatzaf


The whole case gives the Stand Your Ground law a bad name, which it deserves. I hope it can be exploited to the max to prevent more states from adopting "Shoot first, justify later, walk free" legislation.

#5 Selene

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:37 AM

Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.
Ba'al Chatzaf


So, apparently, you are not aware of the two (2) eyewitnesses who apparently said that Zimmerman was headed back to his car when the altercation took place.

Or, that the young man was on top of Zimmerman and smashing his head into the concrete.

Or, that allegedly, the young man said, "You are going to die tonight."

Or, that the young man allegedly grabbed for Zimmerman's holstered weapon when he saw it, as Zimmerman was trying to get his head onto the grass.

Or, that Zimmerman was heard by at least one of the eyewitnesses to be yelling, "Help me! Help me!" This is the eyewitness that yelled that he was calling 911. When this particular eyewitness looked back at the scene after reaching the safety of his apartment, the young man was prostrate on his back on the ground, apparently dead.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#6 Selene

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:38 AM


Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.

Have you noticed that the newspapers publish pictures of Hoodie Boy when he was pre-pubescent and of Zimmerman when he was much heavier and much grosser looking? Your free press at work --- promoting the sale of their rags and playing the Miscordium Rag in perfect pitch.

In any case folks like Zimmerman give gun ownership a bad name.

Ba'al Chatzaf


The whole case gives the Stand Your Ground law a bad name, which it deserves. I hope it can be exploited to the max to prevent more states from adopting "Shoot first, justify later, walk free" legislation.


Ah, so you would have preferred that Zimmerman die that night rather than his alleged attacker?

Got it.
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#7 George H. Smith

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:58 AM

What I find especially disturbing about this incident is how the liberal media has rushed to judgment against Zimmerman without knowing the relevant facts. (This is really the focus of Steele's piece.) Indeed, in at least one case they have badly distorted a fact. I am thinking of the 911 clip played by NBC News. It has Zimmerman identifying a black guy, as if he volunteered this information. In fact, however, the 911 operator specifically asked about his race. NBC deleted this part of the recording.

I would be harder on Sharpton and Jackson (especially Sharpton) than even Steele is in this article. Those guys are race whores.

Ghs

#8 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:04 AM


Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.
Ba'al Chatzaf


So, apparently, you are not aware of the two (2) eyewitnesses who apparently said that Zimmerman was headed back to his car when the altercation took place.

Or, that the young man was on top of Zimmerman and smashing his head into the concrete.

Or, that allegedly, the young man said, "You are going to die tonight."

Or, that the young man allegedly grabbed for Zimmerman's holstered weapon when he saw it, as Zimmerman was trying to get his head onto the grass.

Or, that Zimmerman was heard by at least one of the eyewitnesses to be yelling, "Help me! Help me!" This is the eyewitness that yelled that he was calling 911. When this particular eyewitness looked back at the scene after reaching the safety of his apartment, the young man was prostrate on his back on the ground, apparently dead.

Adam


Give it up Adam. The Negro is -always- innocent and the White Man is -always- guilty.

Ba'al Chatzaf
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#9 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:09 AM



Zimmerman was a schmuck. He had insufficient cause for closing with Hoodie Boy who was probably no angel.

Have you noticed that the newspapers publish pictures of Hoodie Boy when he was pre-pubescent and of Zimmerman when he was much heavier and much grosser looking? Your free press at work --- promoting the sale of their rags and playing the Miscordium Rag in perfect pitch.

In any case folks like Zimmerman give gun ownership a bad name.

Ba'al Chatzaf


The whole case gives the Stand Your Ground law a bad name, which it deserves. I hope it can be exploited to the max to prevent more states from adopting "Shoot first, justify later, walk free" legislation.


Ah, so you would have preferred that Zimmerman die that night rather than his alleged attacker?

Got it.


False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive

#10 Selene

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:40 AM

False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive


Neither of us know that the young man would not have killed Zimmerman. Apparently, from the eye witnesses, he was doing his best to kill him. And, apparently, Zimmerman stated that the young man hollered that, "You will die tonight."

"False alternative, my friend," of course, but well within the bounds of argumentation.

This case is fascinating in how quickly the rush to judgment began.

Are you aware of NBC's doctoring of the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was a "racist?"

As soon as the excuse for a President opened his incompetent, ill informed mouth about this, I knew, instinctively that the racial agenda whores were engaged.

Are you aware that the New Black Panther Party publicly announced a bounty on Zimmerman? White House...SILENT. Department of Justice ...SILENT.

Congressional Black Caucus...SILENT.

Get the picture?

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#11 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:58 AM


False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive


Neither of us know that the young man would not have killed Zimmerman. Apparently, from the eye witnesses, he was doing his best to kill him. And, apparently, Zimmerman stated that the young man hollered that, "You will die tonight."

"False alternative, my friend," of course, but well within the bounds of argumentation.

This case is fascinating in how quickly the rush to judgment began.

Are you aware of NBC's doctoring of the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was a "racist?"

As soon as the excuse for a President opened his incompetent, ill informed mouth about this, I knew, instinctively that the racial agenda whores were engaged.

Are you aware that the New Black Panther Party publicly announced a bounty on Zimmerman? White House...SILENT. Department of Justice ...SILENT.

Congressional Black Caucus...SILENT.

Get the picture?

Adam


Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.

I'm not interested in the racial spins being put on this by the various bandwagoners. For me it's the handgun thing - I know, I know, I will never, ever get an American to look at them differently. But sometimes I just have to drag the dead horse to the water, and shut the stable door again. Phil has left us, so somebody has to do that stuff once in a while.

#12 PDS

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:06 AM



False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive


Neither of us know that the young man would not have killed Zimmerman. Apparently, from the eye witnesses, he was doing his best to kill him. And, apparently, Zimmerman stated that the young man hollered that, "You will die tonight."

"False alternative, my friend," of course, but well within the bounds of argumentation.

This case is fascinating in how quickly the rush to judgment began.

Are you aware of NBC's doctoring of the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was a "racist?"

As soon as the excuse for a President opened his incompetent, ill informed mouth about this, I knew, instinctively that the racial agenda whores were engaged.

Are you aware that the New Black Panther Party publicly announced a bounty on Zimmerman? White House...SILENT. Department of Justice ...SILENT.

Congressional Black Caucus...SILENT.

Get the picture?

Adam


Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.

I'm not interested in the racial spins being put on this by the various bandwagoners. For me it's the handgun thing - I know, I know, I will never, ever get an American to look at them differently. But sometimes I just have to drag the dead horse to the water, and shut the stable door again. Phil has left us, so somebody has to do that stuff once in a while.


Guns are to us what hockey is to you all. And almost as violent.

You just keep your mitts off our guns, Daunce...

#13 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:13 AM




False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive


Neither of us know that the young man would not have killed Zimmerman. Apparently, from the eye witnesses, he was doing his best to kill him. And, apparently, Zimmerman stated that the young man hollered that, "You will die tonight."

"False alternative, my friend," of course, but well within the bounds of argumentation.

This case is fascinating in how quickly the rush to judgment began.

Are you aware of NBC's doctoring of the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was a "racist?"

As soon as the excuse for a President opened his incompetent, ill informed mouth about this, I knew, instinctively that the racial agenda whores were engaged.

Are you aware that the New Black Panther Party publicly announced a bounty on Zimmerman? White House...SILENT. Department of Justice ...SILENT.

Congressional Black Caucus...SILENT.

Get the picture?

Adam


Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.

I'm not interested in the racial spins being put on this by the various bandwagoners. For me it's the handgun thing - I know, I know, I will never, ever get an American to look at them differently. But sometimes I just have to drag the dead horse to the water, and shut the stable door again. Phil has left us, so somebody has to do that stuff once in a while.


Guns are to us what hockey is to you all. And almost as violent.

You just keep your mitts off our guns, Daunce...


I know it. Entwined in the national heart, between the auricle and the ventricle, clenched in the cold dead hand wrapped around the stick handle.

As I think you know, I want nothing more than to keep your guns out of our mitts, and have no wish to take yours away from you. Just keep them out of our arenas!

Having Zdeno Chara running loose is dangerous enough/

#14 PDS

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:53 AM





False alternative, my friend. I, and I am sure you, would prefer that neither of them had died, and if neither of them had had a handgun which he felt legally empowered to use, they would probably both be alive.( Maybe) beaten up but alive


Neither of us know that the young man would not have killed Zimmerman. Apparently, from the eye witnesses, he was doing his best to kill him. And, apparently, Zimmerman stated that the young man hollered that, "You will die tonight."

"False alternative, my friend," of course, but well within the bounds of argumentation.

This case is fascinating in how quickly the rush to judgment began.

Are you aware of NBC's doctoring of the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was a "racist?"

As soon as the excuse for a President opened his incompetent, ill informed mouth about this, I knew, instinctively that the racial agenda whores were engaged.

Are you aware that the New Black Panther Party publicly announced a bounty on Zimmerman? White House...SILENT. Department of Justice ...SILENT.

Congressional Black Caucus...SILENT.

Get the picture?

Adam


Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.

I'm not interested in the racial spins being put on this by the various bandwagoners. For me it's the handgun thing - I know, I know, I will never, ever get an American to look at them differently. But sometimes I just have to drag the dead horse to the water, and shut the stable door again. Phil has left us, so somebody has to do that stuff once in a while.


Guns are to us what hockey is to you all. And almost as violent.

You just keep your mitts off our guns, Daunce...


I know it. Entwined in the national heart, between the auricle and the ventricle, clenched in the cold dead hand wrapped around the stick handle.

As I think you know, I want nothing more than to keep your guns out of our mitts, and have no wish to take yours away from you. Just keep them out of our arenas!

Having Zdeno Chara running loose is dangerous enough/


First socialism, and now pacifism. That, and a penchant for mullets, seems to be something of a Canadian hat trick, if you will. But we Americans love our Canadian brothers and sisters anyway.

#15 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:58 AM


First socialism, and now pacifism. That, and a penchant for mullets, seems to be something of a Canadian hat trick, if you will. But we Americans love our Canadian brothers and sisters anyway.


Canada is the Kinder, Gentler America.

Ba'al Chatzaf
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#16 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:07 AM



First socialism, and now pacifism. That, and a penchant for mullets, seems to be something of a Canadian hat trick, if you will. But we Americans love our Canadian brothers and sisters anyway.


Canada is the Kinder, Gentler America.

Ba'al Chatzaf

And some of us look quite fetching in our mullets. Even if they were inflicted by Crazy Cousin Tracey during a Dog Day Afternoon at the Maple Leaf Salon. We forgive her.

#17 Bryce

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:07 AM

Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.


Posted Image

Remarkable. People aren't brought in if they're in a bloody mess.


As for the beating I believe:
-ABC presented the no-head trauma video 'evidence'
-then the beating story was told (or retold)
-ABC presented a sheepish explanation, a lot of justification, and digitally remastered evidence completely contradicting their first report

#18 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:49 PM


Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.


Posted Image

Remarkable. People aren't brought in if they're in a bloody mess.


As for the beating I believe:
-ABC presented the no-head trauma video 'evidence'
-then the beating story was told (or retold)
-ABC presented a sheepish explanation, a lot of justification, and digitally remastered evidence completely contradicting their first report



#19 daunce lynam

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:51 PM



Zimmerman looked remarkably unscathed and was walking without help when he turned himself in, whereas Martin is dead.


Posted Image

Remarkable. People aren't brought in if they're in a bloody mess.


As for the beating I believe:
-ABC presented the no-head trauma video 'evidence'
-then the beating story was told (or retold)
-ABC presented a sheepish explanation, a lot of justification, and digitally remastered evidence completely contradicting their first report


Beg to differ. Look at a few mugshots. Bloody messes are eager to have their defensive wounds photographed at the first opportunity, unless the inflicters of those wounds (usually the police) forcibly get them cleaned up.

#20 Bryce

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:13 PM

That doesn't make sense. Also, they're not given the option to be not cleaned up. EMTs see to that, not the police.

Regardless, Zimmerman's injuries were in an officer's report and on camera with one officer even looking at his injured head. It's so blatant that only someone with an ulterior motive would say otherwise.




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