Sunday, July 14, 2013

Metafilter And The Zimmerman Verdict

Title of MeFi thread:

Zimmerman Acquitted of Murdering Treyvon Martin


We're also treated to links like "How White Supremacy Acquits George Zimmerman" (a title that doesn't even make any sense).

Reading MeFi is a good way to remind myself that liberals can be as irrational and dogmatic as conservatives.

Me, I'm still not sure, but I'm sure that a whole damn lot of people are a whole damn lot more sure about this than they have any damn right to be...


Blogger Pete Mack said...

OK this article
really highlights my problem with the Zimmerman case. Zimmerman went looking for trouble with a gun tucked in his pants. He found it. Then he shot the other guy.

There must be culpability in such a case, because otherwise this means open season on people who
1. don't carry a gun
2. want to fight back against unreasonable "creepy-ass" behavior
3. are winning their fight.

It's a serious moral hazard the way this case turned out.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

More: from the judge's instructions to the jury:

The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the
following three circumstances:

1. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by
lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or

2. When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any
sudden and sufficient provocation, or

3. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden
combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or
unusual manner.

Zimmerman is clearly culpable by (1) and (3) does not apply. So it comes down to (2).

In (2), "sudden" does not apply, since Zimmerman initiated the sequence of events about 3 minutes prior to the shooting. So was he "sufficiently provoked" to kill Martin? That is the real question.

I have my opinion on this. I'd like to hear yours.


8:31 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Finally: what's wrong with the Metafilter headline? Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter and murder. I agree with you that MeFi is a crappy site, but I don't get your argument about the headline.


8:51 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Wait, how is GZ culpable with respect to (1)? Is the presupposition that his following TM was unlawful?

Re: the MeFi headline: Your sentence isn't equivalent, to my ear. "Smith is acquitted of murder in Jones case" seems fine. "Smith is acquitted of murdering Jones" seems to say "Smith murdered Jones, and was acquitted."

One other MeFi commenter seemed to agree...FWIW.

Maybe I'm wrong about that. The comment thread is largely rabid, but perhaps the post title is fine.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

(1) doesn't apply because Zimmerman didn't behave "with usual caution". Certainly, usual caution would include following basic instructions of police?

6:42 AM  
Blogger tehr0x0r said...

I agree its a bad title line, by making the headline "murdering" it makes it seem as if he committed the crime but was acquitted anyway. Any of the following would be fine to my mind:
(1) Zimmerman Acquitted of Murder
(2) Zimmerman Acquitted in Death of Treyvon Martin
(3) Zimmerman Acquitted in Treyvon Martin Murder Case

The line that was used was just baiting people who thought he was guilty.

10:07 PM  

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