I Knew It! I Knew It!


Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

Related Post Roulette

102 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:


  2. Avatar sonmi451 says:

    Yup, you heard it here first, folks. Trayvon Martin is the new OJ. And please, TVD, no need to passive-aggresively deny that’s what you’re implying here.Report

  3. Avatar sonmi451 says:

    Question, why do some posts appear on my RSS feed, but is not actually here? This post for instance:

    (title unknown)

    Contra the mob rules here at LoOG lately, The National Hockey League of Ordinary Gentlemen:

    46.16 Third Man In – A game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress except when a match penalty is being imposed in the original altercation. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties incurred in the same incident.
    This rule also applies to subsequent players who elect to intervene in the same or other altercations during the same stoppage of play.

    If it’s not your beef, butt out. No ganging up. If you do, a “game misconduct” boots you for the duration of the match.

    Fighting your own battles is fine. Jumping in on somebody else’s is a no-no.

    But only if you’re a gentleman. Or a hockey player. Actually, this wasn’t even about me. I can handle half a dozen jerks at a time, and I do, Erik, if you’re reading this draft. It was when I saw somebody else ganged up on tonight that I thought I might make note of it.

    Then I realized that our mob rules will shout this down, make whoever I was trying to defend look bad, make me look bad, and make the LoOG an even bigger joke than you’re letting it become.

    So I’ll just leave this as a draft and not publish it.

    Mebbe someday, ideology will take a back seat to making this a great and gentlemanly forum again. When it was, it was something you had a right to be proud of creating. The Mad Max Thunderdome it’s become, not so much.


    Is my RSS feed making things up?


    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      “So I’ll just leave this as a draft and not publish it.”

      My guess is he published it accidentally, long enough for your RSS feed to pick it up, and then put it back behind the veil.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Yes, that’s what happened. This is what Michael Kinsley called a gaffe, when a politician tells the truth.  So I reckon I’ll just let it stand.  It’s pretty good. The third men in know exactly who they are, and often there’s a fourth and a fifth.  Why this does not result in a game misconduct, I do not know.  I was going to defend someone getting ganged up on tonight, and then thought, what’s the use.

        As for Trayvon being the new OJ, sort of, in this way—in the eyes of the blind, he cannot have done anything wrong.  It’s more a commentary on people like Rep. Frederica Wilson


        than anyone in particular, but if the shoe fits, feel free to slip it on.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          I’ll just note that the point (such as it is) of the post goes away once you notice who it is that Dear claims is guilty.Report

      • Avatar sonmi451 says:

        What’s the point of having it “behind the veil”? Can the frontpagers see it, but not other readers of the blog?Report

        • Avatar Plinko says:

          E-mail subscriptions pick it up, too.

          All the more reason to subscribe, it’s like having one of those ESPN Insider subscriptions.


    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Mebbe someday, ideology will take a back seat to making this a great and gentlemanly forum again.

      The lack of self-awareness is stunning.Report

  4. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    Are you trying to prove that you’re a troll? Perhaps a droll one, but a troll?Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      Ooops, sorry for going your ox, Nob.  It’s OK when it’s somebody else’s.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Actually, I believe the appropriate use of the term would preclude the author of the OP from being a ‘troll.’Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

          Indeed? Was there any real purpose to this post other than to troll for outrage and offense?Report

          • Avatar Will H. says:

            That’s just it.
            Authoring a contentious post (and I’m not saying that this post was contentious; but even if it were…) is not ‘trolling.’
            For that matter, I don’t think a front-pager could be a ‘troll.’
            Trolling is more than simply expressing an unpopular view.
            Were we here for the purpose of agreeing with one another, that would be an ‘echo chamber,’ and particularly so were there a great deal of backslapping and dehumanizing the opposition going on.
            The term is not derived from the fishing style, ie a line carried at slow speed from a boat, but from the mythical monster. Think “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”
            A troll is a monster that pops up either randomly (a troll proper) or on some manner of cue (a ‘concern troll’).
            They hide from the light. Most often, they disguise their identity in some way.
            And, from my understanding, a comment that addresses neither the OP or the previous comment is typical. Context is meaningful. Ad hom (most often) would fall into this category.
            Most trolling is drive-by. A lot of trolls will leave the same comment in various forums.
            Trolling is an act of disruption. Voicing an unpopular opinion, or taking an opposing view while attempting to engage isn’t trolling. That’s dialogue.
            But that’s my view.
            I don’t think I’ve seen any real trolling at this site, and I think we could do with less in the way of cavalier use of the term.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              No, you haven’t seen the trolling. Because it gets deleted.

              Trolling is derived just as much from the fishing term — it’s trolling for Comments, actually. Someone throws something inflammatory up, just to watch the firestorm.

              Epic examples of which include:

              Hacking the epilepsy website to make a nice shiny blinky frontpage (carefully designed NOT to hurt epileptics).

              Creating a “new pokemon” and convincing the entire pokemon-nerdgroup that it was real, and creating a days-long firestorm of speculation… All from one post of a handdrawn drawing.

              The key to trolling is to understand that it’s not about dialogue, but mischief and chaos. That, and boasting about what you’ve done afterwards. A well-executed troll is actually a lot of work, and takes rather intimate knowledge of a community.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                I would say those are hoaxes rather than trolling incidents.
                I think very few trolls would have the ability or the inclination to go into hacking.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Then your experience with 4chan (a notorious troll-haven) is rather minimal at best. I’m not going to say that “most trolls” are this or that, but I will say that most of Anonymous trolls in its spare time, and what I’ve referenced above is called a troll.

                It’s similar to the old bbs troll, who would post one inflammatory post, and then count how many responses he could get. If one is truly off-topic and gets no response, it’s not a troll anymore.Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                Trolling in the Internets comment board sense typically runs to the ‘Troll living under a bridge” and less to the fishing method.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              Authoring a contentious post (and I’m not saying that this post was contentious; but even if it were…) is not ‘trolling.’

              “Trolling” comes from Usenet, where its definition is a post (not a reply) intended to start a flame war (the classic one being a combination of abortion, gun control, and Farnham’s Freehold.). I’m not going to comment on whether this post is trolling, but front-pagers get no automatic immunity from the charge.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Of course there was a purpose, Nob: That people make judgments on the facts based on appealing appearances and demography, not the facts themselves.  That the two cases have that in common is beyond question, above and beyond actual guilt or innocence.  So yes, I was provocative, and perhaps got some people to think a second time on the current crisis.

            As for the negative responses, they’re what you see regardless of author or subject, if they cross the bright lines of conventional center-left correctness.  Even Jason Kuznicki gets this crap, and he consciously avoids current events and partisan issues.

            As for the “Barnum” character above, whom Jason took crap from just today, it’s some sort of sockpuppet—not a real internet address, but run through an anonymizer.  I don’t know if we even owe such phony people the cyberink for their comments, but I’ll leave it up just so people can see what we’re dealing with here: phony commenters and the same crew who hassle people like Jason, who purposefully avoids partisan controversy.


            • Avatar Chris says:

              Out of curiosity, Tom, do you think OJ was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              Yeah. you ever profiled someone?Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

              Of course there was a purpose, Nob: That people make judgments on the facts based on appealing appearances and demography, not the facts themselves.  

              I don’t think this is a particularly interesting point, Tom.  If you think about it for a second, you should see yourself why this is the case.

              This is like pointing out that water is wet, or the sky is blue.

              It would be interesting, however, to point to a person making a judgement on appearances and demography instead of facts, if that’s what they were in fact doing.  Your criticism of Elias’s post for example was split in half because you were simultaneously attacking his weak point that deserved to get attention (“the many, many other conservatives who have made an equivalent argument”) by defending your weak counterargument (Nordlinger isn’t overprivileged!).  You took yourself down into the weeds.

              What’s up with you, man, you seem to have put yourself into a role of being the oppressed conservative and you’re stuck playing it, even when it isn’t the case.  That makes it hard to back you up when it *is* the case.  You seem bound and determined to not maintain any store of goodwill recently.

              That the two cases have that in common is beyond question, above and beyond actual guilt or innocence.  So yes, I was provocative, and perhaps got some people to think a second time on the current crisis.

              I think the two cases have that in common in certain senses, beyond question, and in other senses they’re not like each other, at all.  There is very little doubt in my mind that O.J. was guilty of the crime with which he was accused.  The fact that he got off bothers me only in the sense that it’s possible for guilty people to get off in our system of criminal justice, even in cases where “i”‘s are dotted and “t”s are crossed… and that those avenues and cracks in the criminal justice system are ones that are particularly well suited for famous and/or rich people to wiggle through.  The Zimmerman affair, however, bothers me because it is apparent to me that the Stand Your Ground law, as implemented in Florida, takes a sledgehammer to the criminal justice system and puts a whole new set of cracks in it where you can wiggle through when you’ve created the conditions that made it possible for you to shoot someone and not get arrested for it.  They’re troublesome for two particularly different reasons.  Since they both represent amplifying a power imbalance (the rich and famous have an advantage in the first, the armed have it in the second) rather than reducing it, that’s another way that they’re alike, of course, but on the whole, I’m finding them bothering me for completely different reasons more than they’re bothering me for their similarities.

              I think you’re spending too much time being provocative and not anywhere near enough being explanatory, lately.  I understand how the minority in a given group dynamic can feel like you’re surrounded by the group blind spots and want to point them out, but if the last three months is any indication, this approach is not working well for you.  If you want to defend Stand Your Ground laws as reasonable law, then stake out that position and defend it… you’d probably do a damn sight better job than some, if that’s your position.  If you want to refute Stand Your Ground laws but feel like you need to make a point about how some people might be leaping to bad conclusions, I think you’re missing the forest for the trees.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Requoting this:

                “So why this desire to paint Martin, rather than the man who shot him, as the guilty party? Partly, of course, it’s just a reaction to his death becoming a cause célèbre on the left—it’s the same sort of impulse that leads some conservatives to delight in “Fry Mumia” T-shirts. Beyond that, though, some on the right are deeply invested in the idea that anti-black racism is no longer much of a problem in the United States, and certainly not a problem on the scale of false accusations of racism. You might call these people anti-anti-racists. They are determined to push back against any narrative that would suggest that a black man has been targeted for the color of his skin.”


                I am confident calling Tom one of the anti-anti-racist’s described here (which is not to say that he is a racist, despite the ability to draw that conclusion by making a purely mathematical reading of that statement).Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke says:

                Why, that’s quite fair, Mr.?Ms. Kazzy.  Thx.  I wrote:


                You might call these people anti-anti-racists. They are determined to push back against any narrative that would suggest that a black man has been targeted for the color of his skin.

                —Mostly true, especially as the counter to Jesse Jackson’s demagoguery that “blacks are under attack.” For if Jackson is right, we are already at race war.  If he is wrong, then we have a chance.

                Damn right I wish there were a Republican African American who could pass Joe Biden’s “cleanliness” test.

                Most noteworthy is what he says about Barack Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

                Another gaffe per Michael Kinsley—Biden told the truth.  Herman Cain, who was a Tea Party dream, wasn’t clean.  [He was also subarticulate and woefully underinformed.]

                All things being equal, I wish Thomas Sowell were the GOP nominee.  But among African American politicians, nobody’s even in second place to Barack Obama.  That he is one of kind sucks, and that goes for both parties. [Condoleeza is qualified, as are a few other executive branch veterans, but she is not a politician.]

                Anti-anti-racist?  On the whole, yeah, at least when it comes to politics.  “Anti-racebaiting” is how I prefer to put it, however.



              • Avatar Chris says:

                I think it’s interesting, Tom, that you think we’re either in a race war or we aren’t. I also think it’s interesting that you think this way, but believe we’re not in a race war, yet you do think we’re in a war against religion. You are fascinating in a “lowest common denominator” sort of way.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke says:

                What’s up with you, man, you seem to have put yourself into a role of being the oppressed conservative and you’re stuck playing it, even when it isn’t the case.  That makes it hard to back you up when it *is* the case.  You seem bound and determined to not maintain any store of goodwill recently.

                PatC, shirley you would not deny a fellow the opportunity to defend himself and his good name. It’s the same handful of miscreants who unleash 90% of the phlegm around here. I’m not quite ready to surrender this forum to its troublemakers and the lowest common denominator.  Hell, Pat, I get offered the hemlock at least once a week around here and even the kindest advice is for me to get back in line.

                Plenty of time to give up the ghost, me brother.

                What, I can’t even say that Zimmerman’s accusers have a commonality with OJ’s defenders?  You’re quite right that

                Of course there was a purpose, Nob: That people make judgments on the facts based on appealing appearances and demography, not the facts themselves.  

                —I don’t think this is a particularly interesting point, Tom. 

                Yah.  Shouldn’t be controversial then either, eh?  ‘Twas an “Off the Cuff,” not a major thesis, just a way to work in the new OJ story and note the irony of the current crisis.  But here we are back at DefCon4 for what I’ll concede isn’t a particularly interesting point.

                As for the particulars of the Trayvon tragedy—the substance—I’ve only posted Prof. Eugene Volokh of UCLA on this 3-4 times now. But that’s the substance of the matter, Pat, and we’ve succesfully avoided getting caught up in all that to this point, so let’s not ruin all the fun.

                Florida law, though, clearly resolves this: “A law enforcement agency … may not arrest [a] person for using force [in a self-defense situation] unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.”




  5. Avatar Barnum says:

    I lost 3 minutes of my life thanks to clicking on this post. That’s 3 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

    After reading the comments made by Tom Van Dyke in the Trayvon Martin case elsewhere, the only accurate description for him is the two-word moniker of Racist Troll.Report

  6. This kind of thing is precisely why I don’t post here any more.Report

  7. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Color me confused but wasn’t OJ found NOT GUILTY in criminal court? Or is the book about the tort case?Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

      Innocent != Not Guilty, of course.

      What the book says (and I do regret the five minutes I spent finding this out) is that OJ’s son murdered his stepmother and her friend.  Why accusing a different black man is a sign of liberalism I have no clue.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Putting on the most charitable hat I have, I’d say that this is a criticism of the left for trying Zimmerman in public with tainted evidence… which means that once the trial actually hits a for real jury, we’ll get somewhat duller evidence that is nowhere near as spectacular as the 911 call that was modified by CBS (for example).

      Given that the real (admissible) evidence is nowhere near as saucy as the stuff that may or may not even be accurate, let alone admissible, that gets reported by the MSM the trial is likely to have a man who, without the circus, would have been found guilty actually end up being found innocent… in the way that OJ was.

      (Of course, part of the outrage is that there would have been no trial without the circus.)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        You’re a very giving person.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          This post makes no frigging sense to me whatsoever.

          I’m trying to assume that this is my fault.Report

          • Avatar sonmi451 says:

            It’s amazing how much TVD is coddled and taken care of here. People assuming that it’s their fault his posts seem so offensive – hey, it’s my fault I don’t understand him. People going around being schoolmarmish towards other people for being not nice to TVD, piling on etc etc.Report

            • Avatar Will H. says:

              Is there any specific benefit to being churlish?
              At what point did courtesy become offensive?
              What are the implications of that?Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                At the point when we have to pretend that someone is not saying what he’s actually saying, because we want to be courteous and god forbid, cames across as “churlish”.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                From my view, I see an interplay of three things: information, presentation, and source.
                That is, the comment, the style of it, and the commenter.
                I believe that, at times, Tom could benefit by being less oblique about things. But that doesn’t alter the message.
                I really do believe there is too much attention paid to the source.
                If you understand beforehand that the man is going to offer commentary in an oblique fashion, there is no reason to be confounded by it.
                And I have to wonder why the repetition of that dynamic would be considered as a preferable response.
                What’s the payoff in that?Report

              • Avatar Plinko says:

                There is no such thing as communication without a context, source or intended recipient. Decontextualizing is an intellectual exercise that we can engage in, but it’s definitionally a limited exercise.


      • Avatar sonmi451 says:

        What, I can’t even say that Zimmerman’s accusers have a commonality with OJ’s defenders? 

        Plus this, from TVD himself, proves that your super duper charitable interpretation is wrong. It’s about the foolishness of people thinking that the black guy is innocent. Of course, unlike OJ Simpson, Martin is DEAD and not being accused of any crime, but who cares about that, right?Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke says:

          Dang, “somni,” and I thought we were understanding each other so well.

          What, I can’t even say that Zimmerman’s accusers have a commonality with OJ’s defenders? 


          Discuss. Insert “some of” or “all of” where appropriate, season to taste.  Because anybody who claims to know what happened at the fatal Trayvon enounter simply does not know.

          Neither—in the real world—is it remotely clear that arresting and charging George Zimmerman in the name of justice would be “justice,” or that if he were taken to trial, that his acquittal wouldn’t create more social unrest than we are currently experiencing.

          Not feeling this line of argument absent more evidence.  Sorry.  I demur.


          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            Zimmerman’s defenders are outraged before he’s been arrested, much less charged, much less convicted. The only thing happening now is an investigation, and still they scream.  Why is that?Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Because they’ve been told to scream.   It’s a way of life, l’indignation-du-jour.

              Their entire rationale depends this outrage of the day.   And sure as shit, you can count on ’em to lather, rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat.   Shit, Mike, even when it goes against their better judgement, they’re dancing around the fire, ululating like so many New Guinea cannibals.   Completely untethered from reality.

              Why is it that Liberals like me look at this Zimmerman thing and say we ought to hold our fire until the facts get sorted out?   He’s presumed innocent until found guilty.   I try to point out the first question the dispatcher asked Zimmerman was race-related and TVD blew a gasket.   Tom ought to apply to Cirque du Soleil, never saw such contortions from a grown man before.

              It’s all outrage all the time.   The volume knob is always turned up to 11.

              Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Because it’s a political game, now. Tom is just playing it, because he can’t help it. Everything is political to Tom. But he’s not the only one here doing so.Report

            • Avatar Will H. says:

              I think it has to do with Zimmerman being tried in the court of public opinion rather than in a court of law.
              One of those two (public opinion, court of law) is a social institution set up for the purpose of determining criminal activity.
              Some of the “Hang him high!” statements have come from elected officials who should really know better.

              I’m not one the believes Zimmerman to be perfectly innocent.
              But I really think that this is a case where emotions are clouding the facts.
              I really don’t see the point of rehashing every detail.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Yeah its bad for Z to get tried in the court of public opinion. The public, fed by news channels ,get whipped into frenzies to fast and go overboard. No disagreement. This wasn’t the first time its happened and unfortunately won’t be the last. But, as has been noted, it took all the attention to get this case looked at more. I don’t know what happened, but the original investigation seemed lacking.  In an as much as people have gone overboard with Z the slams at the dead kid are revolting.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                True, the public outcry serves a purpose up to a point. But it’s went way beyond that.
                The investigation was mishandled, and perhaps criminally so.
                I find it interesting that the prosecutor’s office is now rejecting the police department’s version of events.
                Always more to it than meets the eye.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                The public outcry is one thing, but what seems weird to me is that it’s so contentious here. As far as I can tell, the common opinion on this site is that this case should be tried in a court of law instead of the court of public opinion. Maybe I missed someone saying “hang him high”, but otherwise everyone seems to be saying a jury should settle it, which doesn’t seem that contentious to me.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                Hyperbole; and intentional at that.
                I think it’s a fair characterization as well, and I wrote that in the hope that maybe a small, theoretical, in-all-great-likelihood non-existent few might pause long enough to consider the matter.
                The words themselves are not to be taken literally; however the sentiment itself appears to be accurate.
                In fact, I would go so far as to say that, with all of the sentiment expressed to that effect, that to stop short of saying it in such blunt terms is somewhat disingenuous.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                I’m with Rufus. Mostly I seem to see people saying the police fucked up and the law is generally wrong, that the circumstances were clearly unusual, that Zimmerman has a history of racially motivated call-ins and confrontations…countered by assertions that it’s Trayvon’s race and the “angelic” picture of him that have gotten people riled up, how it’s unfair to Zimmerman, blahblahblah and how Trayvon deserved to be shot, because he’s a “thug”, or wore a hoodie, or some other bullshit excuse to cover up the poster’s innate racist tendency.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                what seems weird to me is that it’s so contentious here

                Once the “race card” gets played, it’s no longer an argument about gun control, “Stand Your Ground” laws, police corruption, prosecutorial discretion, or expectations that one should be able to walk home without someone following you because you look suspicious.

                It becomes an argument about the race card, how the race card always gets played, how it never gets played fairly, how it might, in theory, be played fairly and may have been in the past but now is not one of those times, and how we can’t have nice things because of that card.

                It doesn’t even have to be played against someone here… it just has to be played against, say, the guy who killed the youth and Katie bar the door.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                So is saying that Martin’s murder might not have been properly investigated because he’s a black male, and black males are often stereotyped as predators, and some people have a hard time seeing them as victims of a crime, “playing the race card”? Even though we know that the stereotypes of black males as predators do exist? Is race a forbidden subject now?Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                I think there’s a lot more crime with black males as the victim that goes under-reported rather than under-investigated.
                I have serious doubts as to the veracity of this assertion.
                Please provide data.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                What do you mean by “under-reported” rather than “under-investigated”?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                It’s not uncommon for disadvantaged populations to fail to report criminal activity for a large barrel of both justifiable and non-justifiable but understandable reasons.

                My last reading of this is very dated, but IIRC under-reporting of crime in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods introduces a very large margin of error into measurements which are fairly straightforward in advantaged neighborhoods.  Somebody breaks into a car in a rich neighborhood, it’s reported with a close to 1-1 correspondence.

                Several car break-ins will go unreported in disadvantaged neighborhoods for a long laundry list of reasons.  One guy doesn’t have insurance, and has no real reason to report the crime because he’s not going to file a claim based on it anyway.  One guy just got rousted by the police last week and damn if he’s going to make their jobs easier or not, and he also doesn’t have insurance, either.  One guy had pot in the car.  One was out on parole and wasn’t supposed to be visiting his convict friend.  And ten people report the crime because they’re just average citizens.  But the 1-1 correspondence is broken.  Ergo, the crime rate in the disadvantaged neighborhood, going only by reported crime, looks a lot better than it actually is.

                Violent crime is less difficult to measure, because people who study this sort of thing go off of more than just crime statistics from the police, they also compare multiple other measurements like hospital reports, etc. to attempt to correct for under-reporting.

                I believe that Will H is correct; even accounting for police malfeasance, under-reporting of crime is probably an overall bigger problem in some senses than under-investigated crime.

                On the other hand, the majority of property crime is under-investigated nowadays.  It’s all drugs and violent crime, really.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                Isn’t this changing the conversation, though? We’re talking about the investigation of Martin’s death, and suddenly the issue becomes how people in certain neighborhood don’t always report crime, and how that’s a much bigger problem than crimes not being investigated properly. What the heck, let’s go all Godwin, sure, the Holocaust was a much bigger problem than one boy being killed, but …Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                Pardon me, but this is sort of where I tend to get frustrated. Things were moving along quite nicely, and then there was a severe left turn in there. So I want to take care to respond to this as directly as I can. I had to copy your comment into the reply box so that I could see it while writing a response, and so I’ll respond point-by-point.

                Isn’t this changing the conversation, though? I hope to God it is.

                We’re talking about the investigation of Martin’s death, We’re on the same page…

                and suddenly the issue becomes how people in certain neighborhood don’t always report crime, That’s where injecting the issue of race leads us. Any issues of racism began and ended with the shooter.

                and how that’s a much bigger problem than crimes not being investigated properly. Umm, not really. You might be on to something there; but while social policy is open for debate, the issue of official misconduct is not. To be clear, social policy should be considered; we should have that debate. But we should prioritize. There is a distinct possibility that the official misconduct– and not only in this one case– might well arise to the level of criminal. In the matter of social policy, that possibility is quite slim. Again, we should prioritize.

                What the heck, let’s go all Godwin, sure, the Holocaust was a much bigger problem than one boy being killed, but … No. It’s not an insurmountable problem. It’s not a thing to which we are doomed. We can do something about it, and we should. Let’s stay on track.

                I want to point out that trying to frame the matter in terms of race does an incredible disservice to quite a number of similarly affected parties. (I know, I know, it seems like I can hardly go ten comments without bringing up the issue of “similarly affected parties”…) The uncomfortable fact is that the issue is much more widespread.
                These are not institutions which just popped up out of the blue. They were founded by the authority of some other authority that derived its authority from elsewhere, and eventually back up to the State. These institutions were founded for a specific purpose, and their efficacy is called into question– as well it should.
                Look at that thread about strip searches. Do you see any real difference?
                Let me ask you this: To what extent is it preferable that the State should betray your trust, generally?
                Do you understand now how superfluous race and racism is in this matter?Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                Any issues of racism began and ended with the shooter.

                Just the shooter? Not the investigation? Why?

                I want to point out that trying to frame the matter in terms of race does an incredible disservice to quite a number of similarly affected parties.

                “Similarly affected parties” meaning who? Other people whose murder are not investigated properly? But surely the conditions are different for each case; are you saying we can’t ever talk about race for this specific case, because it might poison the well for those other cases where race might not be a factor?



              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                Correct me if I’m wrong here, but the gist of your argument seems to be, if we want to make a case about institutional misconduct, we have to do it in a race-neutral way, because otherwise, it might do a disservice to some other victims (white victims, I presume). That we should only protest about these things in the most general way possible, in the terms affecting the most number of people.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                But what if we suspect that the institutional misconduct is due to the race of the victim? Should we ignore that, ecause hey, it might poison the well for other victims where race is not an issue.


              • Avatar Will H. says:

                Not the investigation? Correct. Police screw up investigations all the time. I have made note here of when my own brother was shot during a botched robbery, and the matter was not investigated, even though there was a video which identified the shooter; this due to the fact that he carried cash (he was sort of paranoid about his money, and felt that the safest place for it was on his person). We could go on and on all day with police screwing up investigations.
                But that wouldn’t even scratch the surface. Prosecutorial misconduct is likely a bigger issue than police misconduct, and for one simple reason– the police at least have some small manner of oversight, even if in name only. Prosecutors meanwhile have a fund where they can procure perjured testimony from drug-dependent and homeless persons. That one doesn’t make the news so much, because as long as a conviction is obtained, all is well with the world.
                Which doesn’t even begin to cover judicial misconduct.

                are you saying we can’t ever talk about race for this specific case No, not at all. Everything I have seen would indicate that racial profiling was an issue in this case. That is, race served as much of the basis for the initial confrontation.
                That is an issue, and not only in law enforcement. (I know, I know, let’s call it SAP this time) The issue in this particular case is that the shooter was not a police officer, ie acting under color of law. He was basically a vigilante.

                Granted, two things very personal color my view in this:
                1) I am bi-racial. Like almost every other bi-racial person, I have been through that whole racial identity thing just as a part of coming of age, and I came to reject it.
                2) I actually put my life on the line to go testify against the police. I fled from my home a year ago, and I have been in hiding ever since. And quite frankly, I am terrified.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                This victim for instance was white. He wasn’t an angel, but he was a pastor. He was on his own property by a deputy who first claimed he didn’t know him (but subsequently was proven wrong by intrepid reporting) and still there was no investigation. Now had he been black, AND had it been a campaign year…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Do you have any interests other than race?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                Are you married to someone of a different race buckwheat? As a card-carrying liberal you probably have never been accused of being racist, while that is the one and only card liberals know how to play, so yes, I call’s a spade a spade. You’ve never stood up to me on substance, you can only manage snark.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                You’re over the line, Ward.Report

              • Race card! You lose on account of being a racist!

                (This new rule is the best.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                I’ll let that filth speak for itself.Report

              • Avatar K says:

                Bring Back Knives!


              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                A quick perusal of say Radley Balko’s blog will give you dozens and dozens of cases of what amount to judicial murder being dismissed by police departments for one pretext or another. Some get investigated, some don’t, there’s no real pattern on racial grounds except that for the most part the victims in such uses of force tend to be minorities. Now of course this is just proof that the liberal media only reports these incidents and not the ones where white people are shot by cops, or something…right?Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                Yeah, better he not be tried at all, which seems to me to be the gist of the general outrage against the outrage.Report

          • Avatar sonmi451 says:

            The fact that some people are so paranoid about black people rioting should not be taken into consideration when deciding whether Zimmerman should be charged or not. Should we cover up any crimes with black victims because gosh, if we don’t get a conviction in court, there might be a riot? This is a bizarre mindset. Should we not have charged Robert Bales, because gosh, he might be acquited too, then there might be riots in Afghanistan that could kill our soldiers?Report

            • Avatar sonmi451 says:

              That’s a response to this, from TVD BTW:

              Neither—in the real world—is it remotely clear that arresting and charging George Zimmerman in the name of justice would be “justice,” or that if he were taken to trial, that his acquittal wouldn’t create more social unrest than we are currently experiencing.


        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          Of course he’s being accused of a crime: Battery. He won’t be charged, since he’s dead, but Zimmerman’s defense rests on his claim that Martin had committed the crime of battery.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

             He won’t be charged, since he’s dead

            And since there is, at least currently, no evidence against him beyond the testimony of an extremely impeachable witness [1], and since he has a very strong case under Stand Your Ground.  It’s odd how many of Zimmerman’s defenders will not extend Martin the same courtesies.

            1. That is, one for whom the allegation of assault is all that stands between him and a murder rap.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              Stand Your Ground isn’t relevant here. If Zimmerman’s telling the truth, he didn’t have the opportunity to escape, and he doesn’t need SYG. If he’s lying, SYG doesn’t help him.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                That’s why we need a trial, then, right? To prove that Martin did beat the crap out of Zimmerman, and Zimmerman is therefore justified to kill him. Or should we just take Zimmerman’s word for it? It’s not like he has an ulterior motive for saying that or anything. What’s amazing is some people arguing that even a trial is not warranted at this point.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                Generally, the prosecutor only brings a case to trial when he thinks he has enough evidence for a reasonable chance at conviction. I’m not privy to the details of the investigation, so I can’t say whether a trial is warranted. It’s not clear why the prosecutor originally declined to charge Zimmerman.

                My main complaint is that, to listen to many on the left, you would think that this were an open-and-shut case and that the only reason Zimmerman isn’t in jail right now is that the police are a bunch of racists (because if there’s one thing racists love to do, it’s cover for Latino murderers).Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 says:

                Well, they could also be looking at the dead guy and thinking – well, he looks like this, he must have done something wrong. Whether the shooter is Latino, Asian, alien from Mars or whatever might not matter.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Your corn must be doing well, what with all those strawmen to protect it.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Of course that only means there was some reasonable doubt about his guilt…there’s a reason the terminology is not “we have found the defendant innocent.  So a book claiming to prove his innocence is making a somewhat stronger claim than the jury did.Report

  8. Avatar Kazzy says:

    OJ was found not guilty largely because the prosecution did a piss poor job of explaining the DNA evidence. This was before CSI and all that and many jurors didn’t understand or trust what was then new science. Add in OJ’s celebrity and the fact that a key state witness was recorded using the N-word and you see why he was aquitted. For the record, I think it is pretty clear he did it. Consider this my official denouncement of the Juice.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy says:

    And now we have all just played into Tom’s bullshit game…

    As a few pointed out above, most reasonable people are in far greater agreement on this case than disagreement.

    Most people believe that this matter ought to be settled in a court of law or at least through a more thorough investigation.

    Few people have actually claimed to “Hang ‘im high.”

    Few people have actually claimed that the investigation and its findings are beyond reproach.

    Most people are bothered by distortions in the media on both sides.

    Few people actually believe that there is a vast smear conspiracy against Martin.

    Few people actually believe that there is a vast smear conspiracy against Zimmerman.

    Most people recognize that race was a contributing factor to both the incident itself and the larger response by all parties.

    Few people actually believe that Zimmerman is a Klansmen hellbent on killing black boys or that police never botch investigations involving white victims.

    Few people actually believe that Trayvon is a gangbanging thug who deserved what he got or that people are only outraged when black folks are victims.

    Maybe I’m wrong here, but I’ve seen few people genuinely take the latter two positions in each of these triads… at least not here.  People may have bumped up against them as they retreated to their corners in the inevitable shouting matches then ensued, but I don’t know that I’ve seen any folks here genuinely take these up in a reasonable way.  There is certainly room for debate within that which we might agree (e.g., we might agree that race was a factor but disagree to what extent it was and what ought to be done about that).  And there might be people who genuinely disagree with the more broadly accepted line of reasoning who can contribute meaningfully to the conversation.  A minority position is hardly an invalid one.

    But Tom has us at each other’s throats with his own race baiting.  There are plenty of situations better suited to compare to Trayvon than OJ.  But OJ was another racially charged situation and Tom is seeking more obfuscation of the facts here because I suspect he genuinely holds one of the minority positions (not a problem in and of itself) and/or is bothered by his perceptions of those who might disagree with him (even within an area that they largely do agree on).  Tom’s post offered no attempt at clarity, no attempt at genuine discussion.  He is smart enough to offer a thinly veiled, after-the-fact justification that he avoids being officially branded a troll, but that makes his post no less trollish.

    This post simultaneously added heat while restricting light.  We are all shouting at each other again while Tom snickers quietly to himself, knowing that any real attempt at discussing hot button issues like race, police/prosecutorial misconduct, media bias, false claims of racism are thwarted.  Tom is not interested in having discussion.  He is interested in scoring points.  Don’t play his game.  Let his bullshit stand alone.  Don’t let its stench taint you.  I know this is easier said than done, as I’ve fallen victim to it far too many times.  But we ought to at least try.  Most of us are better than this and the LoOG is better than this.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:

      I for one am glad that there is finally defiinitive proof that OJ is innocent. Thankfully he had good counsel. I think this case shows that the system works.Report

    • Avatar Bad-ass Motherfisher says:

      Tom is here as a catalyst for our spiritual growth as a community.

      I think most people here are interested in political discussion, and there’s at least the potential for moderating ones views.   I know that I have been swayed to another’s viewpoint here at least as often as I sway anothers.

      But Tom is an adrenaline addict.   He comes here to stir up shit.    And from what I’ve seen, he’s been startlingly successful at it.    If you actually pay attention to the conversations he starts (as well as those he disrupts), he’s uninterested in engaging the actual ideas that anyone else puts forwards.   He bobs, and weaves, and accuses others of bad faith or (gasp!) liberalism.    When his ideas are rebutted, he changes the subject, or complains about the liberal “echo chamber.”    If his tone and manner is addressed, he postures as an intellectual Don Quixote, standing for timeless ideals that the rest of us are too corrupted to understand.    Iif ideas enter the discussion, it’s only by accident, and they will soon be discarded.

      This is a surprise to no one.    We know the nature of this particular beast.   When we have evolved as a community, we will just simply ignore him.    And he will dry up and drift away.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        There’s a buddhist story about how one particular volunteer at temple was incredibly annoying to almost everyone in the group. When a new retreat was about to start one of the group leaders told the guy he had to leave since he was just too much of an annoyance. When Trungpa heard about this, there was shock in his face. “You have to go into town and track him down, apologize to him and get him back here!” The others in the room were shocked. “But all he does is annoy people and distract them from their practice!” “Exactly!”Report

        • Avatar sonmi451 says:

          Commenting on a blog is not someone’s life work or a spiritual journey. Patience is an overrated virtue sometimes, especially when it lets all manners of things off the hook, just like courtesy and politeness can become overrated.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Still, this story has been stuck in my head since I read it.

          Thank you for sharing it.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

         When we have evolved as a community, we will just simply ignore him.    And he will dry up and drift away.

        I think you’re right about the first part.  For a long time, Tom was taken seriously by a lot of people here. At this point, there are only a couple people (Tom and Burt spring to mind) who take him seriously, and the number of people who engage him at all has shrunk significantly. I think it may be time to simply ignore him now.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I have indeed noticed that whenever I make a point that seems good to me, he doesn’t respond. I tend to chalk this up to “forgot about it” as a general rule. Roger certainly seems amenable to being steered back onto topic (and tries to do the same with me, I should note).

        Is TVD behaving much differently than the rest of us?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        FWIW, I did not intend for my comment to springboard yet another round of Tom bashing.  Rather, I was saying that we should sometimes step back and look at how we got to where we are in a given discourse.  We are fully capable of being at each other’s throats without a provacateur (and sometimes this is a good thing, as such conflict can serve as a catalyst to reflection and growth).  But in a situation like this, where I feel it is clear that someone, who ever it may be, is simply stirring up shit and hoping to watch the world burn, let’s not give him/her that satisfaction.Report