Thanks for joining in the conversation!
Zimmerman's best hope is that the jury will conclude that whatever happened in those moments between the phone call and the gun shot leaves room for reasonable doubt.
But... but... I still don't get it, Robin and Don. I really don't. People have been forming opinions "based on what they see on television and what they read in the newspapers", as Robin put it, in all kinds of ways about all kinds of things for as long as those forms of media have existed. It's natural and inevitable for people to form impressions, ideas, and opinions in reaction to news items, subject as ever to ongoing revision as further or different info becomes available. That's nothing new under the sun. Why should it be so especially troubling in this case? I mean, how many people ever read or hear a news story and then sit back and go, "Oh, I should leave my mind a total blank about this, because I wasn't there and I don't know?" Come on, that would be ridiculous. Sometimes we intuit. Sometimes we imagine. We try to figure it out, even if realistically we're not in a place to. We feel somehow we should be, even so. 'Tain't nobody's bizness but mah own what conclusions I come to in the privacy of my own head about alleged crimes or thorny legal cases in the news, unless I share them openly, as I have a right to do at any stage in the story whatsoever, and then those I share them with can accept or reject them as they see fit. What's it all gonna hurt? Nobody much held off forming conclusions about Casey Anthony or OJ or Scott Peterson, and I don't recall a similar outcry to reserve judgements about them for the courtroom. The difference seems to be that a white man is suspected by many of wrongfully profiling a young black man, and then killing him in an act of race hatred or other needless violence. It really seems to incense some white folks that some black folks have come to what seems to them and their experience to be the logical, at least tentative conclusion here. When a potentially loaded case like Trayvon's death comes along, why shouldn't we react and engage in open discussion as we see fit, and as seems reasonable to us, after all, as long as we do so within the bounds of lawful behavior? If many blacks did jump the gun in assuming guilt or a hate crime here, why can't we who aren't black cut them some slack about it, for Goddess' sake?? NO wonder at all that many did see it that way from the get-go, and so what, say I. If they're wrong, they can eat their words. Dialogue is always a work in progress, and as such, contains human differences and imperfections. The vast majority of people aren't eyewitnesses to what's in the news, obviously. We wouldn't even know about most of it otherwise. What's the point of watching or reading news if we can't have reactions to what's in it according to our own lights? Many of the topics we encounter won't ever affect many of us directly, but we read or listen because they interest us, and let's face it, when people are interested in something, they tend to have mental and/or emotional reactions. Never a dull moment that way, as some people will be reasonable, and some won't. It's just the way of things, like it or not. Now, whenever I listen to talking heads editorializing, it's not to adopt uncritically whatever they might be spouting off about, but because I hope to find info and opinions that may be stimulating and thought-provoking. And I do think most people who are heavily suspicious of George Zimmerman, as I am, will allow that we don't know for a fact what happened. Let's just not assume that everyone in the streets or on TV who was calling for GZ's arrest has already convicted him. Some have, some haven't. C'est la vie!
"It's natural and inevitable for people to form impressions, ideas, and opinions in reaction to news items, subject as ever to ongoing revision as further or different info becomes available."
Hi Laurie. Yes, it is natural for some people but I do not think it is inevitable for all people. I would think that you would be the first to agree that there is no one "natural" way for human beings to process information.
I absorb what I see and hear, but I do not have the type of mind that is interested in speculating about the innocence or guilt of the parties involved. That doesn't mean I have a blank mind, it just means that my mind is different from the minds of people who enjoy trying to figure out what the facts mean in these public cases.
From what I see from your posts, you have wide-ranging interests and you enjoy listening to and reading many different sources in the media, including what I call the "talking heads". I applaud you for being willing to take the time. I personally find it excruciatingly boring to listen to the opinions of people who, to my mind, usually always say exactly what I expect they are going to say.
They have every right to say anything they want, and people have every right to listen to them. I suspect that too many people get too many of their ideas from the talking heads and don't use their own brains to figure things out for themselves, but that is just my opinion.
I certainly do not put you in that category. If I have learned anything about you from your postings on this board, it is that you are the last person to let anyone in the media tell you how to think.
Sometimes I get the feeling that you take it as a personal criticism when others post their opinions that they prefer not to make judgments or that people should hold off on making conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of the parties involved.
The way I see it, you have every right to be who you are, and if you feel like airing your views or feelings or conjectures you should do so.
In an earlier post I said that the main reason I never try to figure it all out is that I once jumped to a conclusion, was adament in my opinion, and I was dead wrong. The injustice of my rush to judgment made me ashamed of myself and I lost interest in ever doing that again.
I did state that I thought Zimmerman's brother was lying, and I will also state that during another interview recently I thought he was an arrogant, cocky, and nasty little "P" word. But that still doesn't enlighten me as to the guilt or innocence of George.
Anyway... my conclusion to all this rambling is that we are all different. No one should judge you for having an opinion, and no one should judge those of us who simply do not form opinions in situations such as this.
I wasn't around here during the Peterson and Anthony cases, but if I had been I would have expressed my wonder at all the attention these two boring cases received. I found nothing of interest whatsoever in either case.
But back to the Martin case. You made many interesting statements I would like to address but at a certain point I bore myself. Lol
What I meant about the jury is that it all comes down to admissible evidence and open minds.
"What's the point of watching or reading news if we can't have reactions to what's in it according to our own lights?"
Hi Laurie, last night I was too tired to respond to some of your points, but this one stayed on my mind.
I watch and read the news for the purpose of having an idea of what is going on in the world. The news gets filed in my head, in case I need to reference it. I generally have very little reaction to it. The only things I react to are items that I may need to follow up, or things I need to beware of.
I have a sister who has strong reactions to everything she sees and hears on the news. She often accuses me of being cold hearted because I do not allow myself to get emotional over every tragedy in the news. It took me years and years of therapy to be able to learn how to keep the tragedies of other folks from depressing me beyond reason.
We are all different and we process these things differently.
EDIT: I realize I have written several responses to your post, but I am just trying to explain my point of view after reading this from you:
"But... but... I still don't get it, Robin and Don. I really don't."
Okay Laurie, Here's my take on the whole mess:
The media is much more widespread and pervasive than ever, and people are much more apt to form strong opinions based on less evidence (or even no evidence) than in past times. Seemingly credible public figures are more likely to make prejudicial statements. Our "real time" news culture is less patient with the process of investigating and bringing a case to trial. Business, careers, agendas, and issues are more affected by events, even if they are only tenuously related. Trials are more often highjacked by issues, issue mongers, and policy makers as they resemble less a search for justice and more a three (or more) ring circus.
I take it back - a circus is more organized and dignified, even if some of the major media players are acting like clowns . . .
The whole mess is complicated by an investigation seemingly prejudicial and incompetent from the get-go.
Yes, there have been sensational trials in our history, but never so often amongst those not in celebrity circles as in recent times.
The coverage of this and other investigations and trials is bombastic - leading to not only forming gerneral impressions, but strong polarization of opinions based on incomplete evidence, sensational journalism, and irresponsible publilc posturing.
The justice system has taken a back seat to public speculation, posturing, and questionable journalism.
Nothing has been fair about this whole event since Mr. Zimmerman first spotted young Mr. Martin. One can only hope our criminal justice system is strong enough to stay the course.
Wasn't very brief was it? Evidently, I'm just as full of hot air as all of the media mavens!
Hi, Robin! Lots to catch up reading in this thread, I see, since I was off the board yesterday. I've gone through it rather quickly, and will go back and reread it more thoroughly ASAP, but for starters: I don't *ever* expect you or anyone to have the same degree of interest I do in a given subject, but I was replying to you about this one to the extent that you've seemed to have some interest in it, since you started this thread, and have commented on the case several times in others. Certainly you don't have to watch "talking heads" news or spend a moment of your time analyzing it if you don't want! My writing about what I feel is natural or inevitable for "people" in reacting to news they watch or read means in general, or at least frequently, as I believe and observe, not in every instance. There are always exceptions. At any rate, I honestly don't feel defensive on my own behalf about this case...I have mixed feelings about it, and strong suspicions, but also some doubts. I don't pretend to know for sure what happened. I don't normally spend tons of time on it or any news, but I do sometimes have a catch-up day or often a couple of hours in the day if I'm resting my back fracture site from exertions, or doing some knitting to unwind. I'm an info and ideas junkie, I admit. But I'm quite philosophical about differences of opinion about this or any subject, am an old hand at discussion and debate, and have always found differing points of view stimulating. It's my nature to be forthright and thorough in disagreement, not infrequently passionate also, and I have every expectation that others will be too if they choose. I do sometimes feel pretty defensive on behalf of black Trayvon supporters who have been criticized for "jumping the gun" or assuming GZ's guilt, however. I just feel for reasons already outlined that they deserve some slack in that regard, in whatever process they may be going through, which frankly wouldn't even exist if blacks in general had not been stereotyped and ill-treated by no few whites in many areas. I haven't accused and don't accuse anyone on this board of racism. People can sometimes have race-based discomforts or unreasonable gut reactions without being overtly or intentionally racist, but that's an observation meant for people in general, and may or may not apply to anyone here. I don't know. I won't assume it does apply, and I won't assume it doesn't. More soon!
Hi Laurie, It is always a relief and refreshing to find that you always take what I say exactly the way I intended it. Thank you for that.
I understand better now that you are defending the sensitivities of the supporters of Martin, and not that you feel the need to be defensive for your own views. Good to hear.
Truthfully, I am only interested in this case because of the comments on this board and because you are so passionate about wanting justice for the young man who was killed. Of course, I want justice for all, but it is my sad thought that the justice system has very little to do with actual justice.
After I wrote that message about what I interpreted as allegations of racism on this board, I reread your message and realized that although you had been speaking about this board,it did not necessarily follow that you were referring to the members of this board in your statement about incensed whites.
Thank you again for not taking any of my statements the wrong way. It is always a pleasure to communicate with you here.
Alvin Lee Forever!
Thanks, Robin! Same to you. Alvin Lee Forever, indeed! :-)
I do agree with much of your post, Don. The 24-hour "news as entertainment" media of today are a far cry from the plainer, simpler (if definitely not kinder, gentler) news media of decades or centuries past. The increased availability in number of hours of news coverage often just means increased repetition of the same stories or shows, however. The focus has become rather obssessive, it would seem. I haven't personally encountered much commentary about the Trayvon case I would consider truly "bombastic", although, as half-New Yorker, maybe my tolerance for bombast and blab is naturally higher, ha. ;-) You see, I LIKE to hear people spout off about stuff. I don't expect that it'll all be reasonable to me or most, though hopefully sooner or later it will be. People's differing thought processes and rhythms are interesting to me. I'm not easily nor superficially swayed by the changes in news media, but I have to acknowledge some people most likely are. Is this the responsibility of the talking heads themselves? I do find it annoying when TV journalists editorialize in the middle of what's supposed to be an actual newscast, when they don't have their own opinion-oriented show. My high school journalism teach would definitely roll over!