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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Blasts: Whodunit?

I find it interesting that even middle-schoolers today were discussing theories about who was responsible for yesterday's attacks. The most popular theory was that North Korea had attacked anonymously out of sheer evil, though what it would stand to gain by such an attack is indiscernible. It seems kids are mixing up the various threats facing the country into one, amorphous blob of danger. I guess that describes Kim Jong Un to a tee.

The other prevalent theory was that it was the act of militant Islamists, or as most students put it, "terrorists." It's sad that the word terrorist has come to be synonymous with Islam in the public lexicon, but it has. I am sure that time and investigation will tell. What I find interesting is the way that these adult concerns have filtered down to children. I simply overheard them conversing between classes.

I'm also quite sure that every political hack worth his or her salt will be blaming this on political opponents. Liberals will say that it was probably an extreme Right-winger hopped up on rhetoric from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Conservatives might blame it on Obama's lack of military acumen and resolve, granting America the appearance of weakness. This useless blame game brings to mind the Unabomber case from years past, in which college professors were having body parts blown off by mail bombs. Liberals uniformly attributed the acts of terror to a Right-wing nut job; after all, everyone knows that Conservatives detest college professors, right? As it turns out, these Liberals were being attacked by an even bigger Liberal, someone whose environmental perspective uncannily resembles that of Al Gore.

The point is that we, the public, should ignore the hype and rhetoric until the facts are all out. Using tragedy as a political wedge is both tacky and despicable, unless the case can be clearly made that the issue in question contributed to the tragedy. For example, if it turns out that a lack of immigration enforcement led to the attack, such a discussion might be merited. Arguing that the Sandy Hook shootings would have been preventable by limiting the Second Amendment is beyond the pale, however, given the facts of the case. None of the proposed gun control measures would have made any difference in the tragedy.

We will eventually find out the culprit in this bombing. What then? If it is a terrorist organization funded or abetted by a nation-state, we ought to ignore questions of sovereignty and simply blow that nation's capitol and military forces to dust, as well as any known terrorist camps in the country. Then we ought to make a blanket statement: So it will be for any who attack America, and for any who help them.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Whatever happened to George Zimmerman?

I have noticed that, for the longest time, there has been no national news regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. In an earlier post, I noted that the media's spin on the story was wildly off, both in factuality and tone. It serves as a classic case of the news media making news rather than reporting it.

However, when national coverage left off, the last we heard was that Shellie Zimmerman had been indicted for perjury regarding her financial assetts. Apparently, a Paypal account had been set up to help defray legal costs for the Zimmerman case. This amounted to well over $100,000 in cash, although the full extent of those funds may not have been known to Shellie Zimmerman at the time she testified. She was asked if she had any assets she could liquidate to make bail, and she replied that she was not aware of any. To liquidate means to sell for available cash, so her response is technically true. She was also asked if she had any bank accounts with significant funds, and she replied in the negative. Now, she had a few thousand in the bank at the time, which is why the charges were not dropped. However, it all hinges on how one defines the term "significant." In a capital murder case, even a five-figure bank account may not qualify as being significant towards making bail depending upon the whims of the judge.

Since that time, the Zimmerman's have remained in hiding. This is because the New Black Panther Party openly and unabashedly offered a cash reward for George Zimmerman's capture, dead or alive. Such an offer amounts to conspiracy to aid and abet kidnapping and/or murder. Were criminal charges filed? Of course not.

Since then, the prosecution has found a material witness who alleges to have been speaking on the phone with Trayvon Martin just prior to the attack. Her version of the story has been heralded as incriminating for George Zimmerman, although she admits that her phone conversation ended before the incident began. All she has to add to the story is that Martin had noticed the presence of Zimmerman and was nervous about it, which was already well-known.

The only thing significant about the witness is that she lied about both her age (she was eighteen rather than sixteen) and her location when the phone conversation occurred. While these details aren't material to the case, they serve as reasonable doubts about her overall veracity as a witness.

Finally, it has been discovered that Trayvon Martin had traces of THC in his blood and urine. Many pundits focus on the urine traces, called metabolites, that can linger for weeks after marijuana use. This would indicate that Martin's use of the drug happened too far in advance to the attack to have been a factor. However, THC in the bloodstream disappears after only a few hours. The presence of both blood and urine traces indicates that Trayvon Martin was a regular drug user and had smoked marijuana shortly before his run-in with George Zimmerman.

This information contrasts sharply with the media narrative of a racist White man mercilessly gunning down a beatific Black youth. It also vindicates George Zimmerman's observation that Martin appeared to be impaired, as if "on drugs." As it turns out, Trayvon Martin was on drugs, making Zimmerman not a racist but simply observant.

My contention in all of this is not that Trayvon Martin deserved to die because he was a pot smoker with a bad attitude (judging by his Twitter photos). It is that it is more than likely that Zimmerman's narrative is accurate. He confronted Martin, who attacked him. As he was being beaten around, Zimmerman panicked and used his firearm to defend his life.

The incident was avoidable, as are most tragedies, but nobody could have known what would have happened. Had Zimmerman not confronted Martin, the incident might never have occurred. It is also undeniable that if Trayvon Martin had not attacked George Zimmerman, he would still be alive.