On Quin Hillyer’s Nuanced And Thought-Provoking Treatise On Race

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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121 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Great piece, Elias.

    The attempt to make apples-to-apples comparisons of bananas-to-oranges situations is equal parts confusing and infuriating.  It is as if there is an outright refusal to see or acknowledge the presence of nuance in the world.  If you can’t tell the difference between the entirety of the situation surrounding Owen’s brutal assault and the entirety of the situation surrounding Martin’s death, there is something off.  Way off.  And, the truly unfortunate part of all this, is that these people put so much shit in the water that any meaningful conversation is lost.

    Instead of talking about the fact that racial animosity and hatred is a two-way street, we’re dealing with this shit.

    Instead of talking about the way certain members of certain marginalized groups (rightly or wrongly) feel so abandoned by the legal system that they take such extreme measures of extralegal “score settling”, we’re dealing with this shit.

    Instead of rightly acknowledging that the alleged attackers in Owen’s case are degrees of magnitude more deplorable than Zimmerman, we’re dealing with this shit.

    Just to be clear, the actions taken by Owen’s attackers are far worse than those taken by Zimmerman.  It’s not even close.  Anyone who attempts to draw a comparison between Owen’s attackers and Zimmerman is an idiot.  And if Owen’s attackers are not properly brought to justice, for reasons related to race or otherwise, a level of outrage equal or greater than that aimed towards the authorities in Sanford and SYG laws is more than justified.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

      “If you can’t tell the difference between the entirety of the situation surrounding Owen’s brutal assault and the entirety of the situation surrounding Martin’s death, there is something off. ”

      You’re right.  One was an angry mob stirred up by rhetoric and overtly motivated by racism.  The other was one guy who was, at least by his lights, defending his and his neighbors’ property.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Looking at the crimes themselves, you are absolutely right (assuming the report on Owens is accurate and I habe no reason to think otherwise). And I said as much in my comment.

        Of course, if you think the crimes themselves makeup the “entirety” of either situation, you are taking too narrow a focus. Most of the outrage in the Martin case was directed at the police and the DA… NOT at Zimm. If Owens’s assailants are not properly brought to justice in a timely manner, such outrage would be just as, if not even more so, justified. Another point I already made. Where the comparison that Hillyer is trying to make breaks down is when we see an arrest in the Owens case 5 days after the attack, with the delay being because they were still attempting to determine who the attackers were/are. Zimm was free for how many weeks despite knowledge that he was the shooter seconds after the incident.

        What I’m really hetting at is… What was the point of your comment? You said what I already said, with your usual snark, as if I hadn’t already said it.Report

  2. Chris says:

    We have a guy who pretty much writes Hillyer’s post in the comment section or the sideblog every time race comes up. I’m sure he’ll be here in a little bit to write it again in defense of Hillyer. It’s a common way of looking at things: it’s not fair that black people get to be all victimy, and that there are leaders of the black community who talk about the victiminess. I’m white, and I want to be all victimy too!

    Part of their goal is to make it only about the victimization, and eliding the effort to empower people, because it’s precisely the empowerment that worries them. You and I, and our friend who’ll be here soon to tell us about how the tables are turned in this case or that and the media doesn’t care, and RACE CARD! and so on, don’t really need to be empowered as white people, because you know, we already are. But again, that’s where their motivation comes from. White Europe is dying, as our friend tells us every once in a while. We’re next. Scary, gold teeth, looks like a black man not a black kid to me, RACE CARD! look at this case where some black people attacked a white person! Whew, disaster averted.

    Also, I love Al Sharpton. He’s not perfect (neither am I, last time I checked, though I may have achieved perfection since then), but he does a great deal of good, and he’s generally pretty upfront about what he sees and thinks.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris says:

      +1 to all points.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

      Sharpton sold out long ago… Beck and Sharpton suit each other so well.

      Now the civil rights leaders I know… 😉Report

      • Chris in reply to Kimmi says:

        How did Sharpton sell out, if you don’t mind me asking? By taking a show at MSNBC? Wouldn’t you? I haven’t seen much of it, I admit, but then I don’t have cable and when I’m around cable I don’t watch cable news channels.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

          He sold out when he stopped actually trying to solve problems and turned the circus into “all about me, all the time”

          The people leading the “million hoodie march” and the people leading that Jena thing? They’re doing good — it’s not “about them.”


          • Chris in reply to Kimmi says:

            Sharpton’s currency is his visibility. I have no problem with it.

            I do have a problem with the antisemitism that’s common among some older civil rights leaders, though.Report

            • Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

              Sorry, I’m not putting it right, if you think I’m kvetching about his visibility… plenty of people are visible and doing good work. He just doesn’t really seem to, from what I’ve seen. (any bets on how many people have him blackmailed?)Report

            • Scott in reply to Chris says:


              So you have no problem with Sharpton’s Tanya Brawley circus?  Never mind that it was a hoax and Sharpton paid damages for defamation.Report

              • Chris in reply to Scott says:

                Scott, he made a mistake. It was a big one, sure, but he vets his cases pretty thoroughly, so several people made mistakes on multiple levels.

                Have you never made a mistake? Don’t answer that question. I know it doesn’t matter what Sharpton does, to you. You’re going to get to this point no matter what.Report

              • Scott in reply to Chris says:


                If defamation is what you would consider to be a “mistake”, then no I’ve never made a mistake.Report

  3. Tom Van Dyke says:

    Sorry, you didn’t lay a glove on Hillyer, Elias.  You concede his larger point by admitting you almost didn’t hear of this incident, running across it rather by accident in a blog somewhere.

    And calling his essay “rage-filled spittle” is not an argument.  You really didn’t disagree with him, you merely attempted to minimize and dismiss him.  This one was not good.Report

    • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      The two cases aren’t at all similar. The police are investigating the attack and presumably press charges when they have a suspect. That is completely different from letting the admitted killer walk without charges after doing a half-assed investigation.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

        Mo the cases are related because of the “That’s for Trayvon.”  This case, however, another that has received little national attention, is quite similar.


        Hillyer’s essay isn’t as much about the interelatedness of the cases or tu quoques, though, but about the questionable behavior of Sharpton, the attorney general, and the president.


        • Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          and our friend who’ll be here soon to tell us about how the tables are turned in this case or that and the media doesn’t care


        • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Except based on the arrest they made, it has little to do with Martin and is related to a feud that goes back at least 3 years.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

            Mo, the thesis/argument is that by Holder backing Sharpton and POTUS personalizing it with “my son,” the Martin-Zimmerman tragedy is polarized, and therefore the fallout is all interrelated.

            Your disagreement

            Except based on the arrest they made, it has little to do with Martin and is related to a feud that goes back at least 3 years.

            would be a principled counterargument, much better than “rage-induced spittle.”  My primary objection was that Hillyer was not engaged fairly.  Hey, I had a run-in with the guy some years back.  I was calling for the end of the Rebel battle flag on a southern-oriented blog.  I took a lot of shit for that, too.  I’m used to it, but I do prefer sparring with folks like yrself who keep it above the belt.  Cheers.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Sorry, but “run across it on a blog somewhere” is where we heard about Trayvon Martin, too.

      I don’t seek out stories of violent crime.  By and large, the media doesn’t bring lots of attention to them unless there are celebrities involved.  The reason Trayvon Martin’s killing (eventually) made the national news is that the man who shot him was let go without being arrested.

      If the men who assaulted Matthew Owens aren’t brought to justice because of police apathy or legal loopholes, then you can start to complain about the news coverage.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      “You concede his larger point by admitting you almost didn’t hear of this incident, running across it rather by accident in a blog somewhere.”

      Actually, I came across the Martin story on TNC’s joint, where he was covering it for quite a while before the National media bothered.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Elias & I were both speaking of the Matthew Owens story, Tod.  That TNC was all over the Martin-Zimmerman story comes as somewhat unshocking.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Fail. You made the point that Hillyer is rifht because Martin got national coverage and Owens didn’t. People are pointing out it took a while for Martin to gain national coverage. Surely that is a conversation even YOU can follow…Report

        • Rtod in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          No, Tom. I was responding to your insinuation that the Martin case was instant news that later hit the blogosphere, where this new one had to go through the blogosphere to get noticed. since I actually quoted you prior I have no idea how you missed the point.Report

        • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          TNC said he didn’t want to write about it and promote it because it would be too depressing. He didn’t write about until something like 2 weeks after and people kept asking him to.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Jeff Wong says:

            Don’t be naive.  When black people write about other black people, it’s because they’re playing the race card.  Black people can also play the race card by writing about white people; they’re tricky that way.    It’s completely OK for white people to write about white people, because there’ nothing racial about white people..  It’s also OK for white people to write about non-white people if they’re saying that the non-white people they’re writing about are more like white people than other non-white people are.  It’s even OK for white people to write about black people, so long as they don’t generalize from “Every black person I write about is a criminal” to black people they’re not writing about at the moment.  That would be almost as bad as playing the race card.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      How many black women went missing this week, TVD?

      Now again, without the google.

      I don’t watch the blog which keeps track of ’em, but I do recognize that it is there, and that people die because of the inherent racism of our system.

      So keep looking, sir, as long as you can stand. And when you can’t stand it no more, go do something about it.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

        Not a bad objection, Kimmi, but Natalie Holloway or Laci Peterson weren’t exploited into an indictment of American society and “the system.”  It’s not about the press following sensationalism, it’s more about the exploitation of what is increasingly looking like a tragedy sparked by two hotheaded young men.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


          Read the whole thing, it’s good. If you’re gonna exploit a tragedy — do it for great justice.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

            I dunno, Kimmi.  Looks like mebbe Angela Corey is oh-for-two.

            I don’t really mind you changing the subject, but I am a bit busy at the moment.  Perhaps you should do a guest post.  All I could think of was Blenda Gay of the Philadelphia Eagles

            In December, 1976, Roxanne Gay cut her husband’s throat as he slept, killing him. She was charged with the murder by the Camden County, New Jersey district attorney. Roxanne claimed that the attack on her husband was purely self-defense and alleged that her husband was extremely violent and abusive. Camden police indicated that she had made over 20 calls to the police in three and a half years. Neighbors claimed that after an Eagles’ loss, Gay “bounced his wife off the walls”.[5] His wife had signed a complaint against Gay after one hospital stay, but later dropped the complaint.[5]

            The case became a cause celebre for the feminist movement due to the allegations of long-term domestic violence. Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine helped raise money for her defense. Ms. Magazine alleged that when Roxanne called the police, officers would often discuss football with Blenda.[6]

            A panel of psychiatrists in a sanity hearing found that Blenda Gay had not abused his wife and Roxanne Gay’s attorney admitted that there was no evidence that the beatings had occurred.[5] Ultimately, Roxanne Gay was determined to be schizophrenic and confined to a the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.[3] All charges were dropped.[5] She was released in 1980.[7]

            These things sure get complicated.Report

        • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          How could Holloway and Peterson be exploited into an indictment of the system? Why would anyone do that? The authorities and the broader public went to unusual lengths to address these cases. There’s no institutional neglect to point at for ax grinding. They sent jets and Marines to look for Holloway after all.

          Holloway and Peterson were exploited because they were hot and their stories fit a Law and Order:SVU plot,… ratings.  And Peterson’s case was exploited to some degree for the pro-life cause.

          Peterson’s case had many elements of absurdity. She was a missing person initially when the news broke out in California. It was odd that a very pregnant woman would disappear, her husband

          NBC’s edited tapes and insinuations about racial slurs were dishonest. That was not right. Maybe we might not have heard about Trayvon if there wasn’t disinformation spread about his race (or his last name wasn’t Zimmerman). Race is now an issue in the case because it’s reasonable to suspect racism by police nullification.

          Who knows, maybe we’ll find out that it was actually Al Sharpton who edited the 911 tapes and broadcast them. Or that it wasn’t institutional racism, just the State’s Attorney being sick of investigating justifiable homicide and having no one to convict. Or maybe they’re low on money and manpower.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Do you want every murder to gain national attention?Report

    • Taylor in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Is this white boy serious? Or is TvD doing performance art parodying what the typical racist would say?Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    The one thing that bugs me the most about all this is that there do seem to be some degree of shenanigans going on. The news leaked about the Zimmerman shooting was a textbook case of making sure that one does not jump to conclusions, wait until more evidence is in, eventually stuff will come to light.

    The earliest news leaked about Zimmerman was all news that painted Zimmerman in the most unflattering light and only as more and more information came out did stuff that made Zimmerman’s side of the story sound equally credible (and, indeed, if you stopped paying attention halfway through the story, you might be tempted to still be saying things that had since been clarified).

    Indeed, when I first heard about the story, I had thought that the argument that I’d be having about the Martin shooting was over Stand Your Ground (and, by extension, Castle) Laws. Instead it became an argument about race.

    Now, with the advent of the attack mentioned in the OP, it seems that, yep, it’s very much an argument about race and what the various stories *MEAN*.

    For what it’s worth, here’s another fairly recent story that you’d think would be about SYG (and Castle) laws but, instead, is obviously an argument about race.

    When it’s obvious that there is not equal protection under the law, it’s fair to ask why. Race certainly seems to be a factor in why there isn’t… but the narratives going around obscure the deeper arguments, it seems to me… and, it also seems to me, that the deeper problem is with the institutions charged with protecting, serving, and adjudicating the law.

    They’re failing. They are obviously failing. It seems to me that if we changed *THAT*, we’d be striking the root of the problem.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

      Notably, the same prosecutor who overcharged Zimmerman, Angela Corey, is the one who threw the book at Alexander.

      JB, there’s skepticism that Angela Corey overcharged Zimmerman precisely because her rep was for “being tough on blacks.”  State Attorney is an elected post.  Had she not charged him, letting Zimmerman off the hook would have become her political middle name.Report

    • Jeff Wong in reply to Jaybird says:

      There’s nothing wrong with talking about race, if we’re talking about root causes to problems.

      If racism went away, then black people would not experience ostracism by police and their fellow citizens.

      It’s like Turkey so adamant about denying genociding the Armenians. They seem to argue that they didn’t actually kill the Armenians, they just exiled them on a long march to Armenia with no food or supplies. Also, the Kurds were the ones who did the actual raping and killing. It’s dickish.

      It is important to generally address the problem of unequal justice as a separate problem. But then again, this whole incident demonstrated very clearly that race is an issue when you have all of these people going the extra mile to make up stuff and insinuate how Trayvon deserved to die because it wasn’t that Zimmerman mistook him for a crook because he was black and wearing a hoodie, but that Trayvon really WAS a thug and a crook, or was on his way to becoming it.

      It’s like how Penn State football fans rallied behind their pedophile enabling coach and then decided to repurpose their last football games as “awareness for the victims of boy rape.” Utterly sick. I’m glad it came out, but I never suspected it to be that horrid.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jeff Wong says:

        The unequal justice is related, intimately, with race though.

        If Trayvon had shot George, he’d have at least as good a claim to be standing his ground as George had but the cops would have investigated and charged Trayvon. They didn’t charge George until sufficient public pressure forced their hand.

        This indicates a deep rot.Report

        • Robert Greer in reply to Jaybird says:

          Exactly.  I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about the Trayvon uproar.

          In another venue, I’ve asked a longstanding conservative interlocutor whether he thinks Zimmerman would have been arrested if the races were reversed.  No response.  I asked him the same question two more times, again with no response.  I wonder why.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jeff Wong says:

        There’s nothing wrong with talking about race, if we’re talking about root causes to problems.

        If only, Mr. Wong.  Pat Moynihan blamed the problems of the black family on institutional racism, but was called a racist anyway just for pointing those problems out.  Talk about race honestly and you’re screwed is the lesson of Moynihan, prescient and prophetic as we was.


        It is evident now that Moynihan failed in 1965 to foresee how deeply his grim observations would offend black people (and some white liberals) who heard or read about them in the papers. Other critics complained that the report, calling for careful study of the situation, avoided specific policy recommendations. Feminists later objected to his focus on the plight of men—and to the patriarchal assumptions (widespread in 1965) that seemed to them to underlie it.

        Since the late 1980s, a few black scholars have dared to praise the report, notably William Julius Wilson, whose The Truly Disadvantaged in 1987 described “social pathologies of the ghetto.” In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama also wrote favorably of the report. But many black militants have persisted in misunderstanding or misrepresenting it. Blaming white racism for black problems, they have failed to see—some apparently do not wish to see—that Moynihan was a clear-headed advocate of social justice. And many white liberals, fearful as L.B.J. had been of alienating black leaders (or of being called racists themselves), have also shied away from frank discussion of one of America’s most pressing social issues.

        This is a very great shame, for far from blaming the victim, Moynihan identified what he memorably called a “racist virus in the American bloodstream” as the source of “three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment” of black Americans. Though he dwelt on the disastrous legacies of slavery, his report focused on contemporary economic problems, notably black male unemployment. It was a structural, not cultural, explanation for the subordination of black people—one that made a “Case for National Action.”


        • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          That’s unfortunate.Report

        • karl in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          To bring up the Moynihan report as an example of getting in trouble over race without referring to the phrase “benign neglect” — which is what made the controversy — seems just a tad neglectful.Report

          • Chris in reply to karl says:

            In Tom’s defense, “benign neglect” was a phrase Moynihan coined during the Nixon administration, while the report was for the Johnson administration. The report itself was heavily criticized pretty harshly, largely because the Johnson administration kept much of its contents secret while bits and pieces were leaked to the media. In fairness to its early critics, they didn’t have all the facts because the Johnson administration wouldn’t give those facts to them.

            I’m sure Tom’s also aware that the Moynihan report has been the subject of a great deal of serious scholarship, even in the last few years, and that familial and cultural issues within the African American community are things that black people themselves discuss fairly openly these days (and have been, to some degree, for some time). What matters is how you discuss it, and from what stance. Tom “Gold Teeth” van Dyke is going to have trouble talking about some of these things, because he’s already shown that he has race issues. Someone who discusses them openly and respectfully will probably be OK, even if that person is white.Report

    • Jeff Wong in reply to Jaybird says:

      Oh, and I don’t completely disagree with you. SYG, Castle doctrine, and Concealed Carry will get looked at for sure as to what the standards of self-defense are, whether there need to be more educational requirements and testing to set a minimum baseline to prevent these types of accidents. It’s what the media seems to be turning its attention to now that the “racism” in the case has been demonstrated to be a fraud.

      Both of those FAMM cases you mention are more absurd. It is worrying that Corey throws the book at these obvious cases of self-defense. Zimmerman doesn’t deserve to be charged with 2nd degree. The 20-years minimum sentence is clearly unconstitutional. Wollard’s case seems clear that the boy wasn’t threatened by the gun being drawn on him. It creates a terrible precedent that tells gun owners they need to kill in self-defense to be in the clear. Or let the perp bleed to death.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    How are we defining the media at this point? When I hear Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, or any Fox News anchor report on a story while simultaneously complaining about the media, it makes my head explode. They ARE the goddamn media! This guy is the media! Cite a specific platform not covering it and maybe we can talk. Of course, you’ll still be making a “silence is deafening” argument but at least you wouldn’t be completely ass backwards.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

      It’s real simple, K.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to James Hanley says:

        If I have one complaint about that site, it’s that it begs to be parodied while making itself too hard to parody.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          There’s actually some suspicion that many of the pages are in fact parodies put up by liberals, but that they can’t be rooted out because it’s impossible to tell the difference from the “real” pages.  Poe’s law has not yet been repealed.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

            You can check the page history to see who’s been editing them. For an example, check the Obama page.  The last edit, marked 17:17, 25 April 2012, re-inserts the description probably our first Muslim president, (it had previously been removed by same stray sane person).  It was made by Andy Schlafly himselfReport

            • James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:


              Understood, but how much control do they have over who gets into edit?  That is, how open is their editing process and are they sure that everyone who edits actually is a conservative and not a liberal pretending to be a conservative to play games with them?

              I mean, I don’t know that its happening; I’ve just heard some liberals suggest it could be happening. A rather gleeful suggestion it was.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

                If I see a page where the majority of the edits are by one of the site’s principle contributors, I infer that its contents are pretty much OK with them.

                And you did understand what I said: a contributor removed the nonsense about Obama being a Muslim, and Schlafly explicitly restored it.  He’s not getting punked: he believes it and thinks it’s important to spread the word.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to James Hanley says:

                If wikipedia is regularly edited by computers (they sound like they’re from China, guess their grammar is still not 100%) … yeah, this is too easy to parody.

                But hell, if you’re Anonymous, you got your own damn wiki for boasts.

                And liberals got their own things to do, rather than edit some stupid site that nobody looks at.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

      This is Reuters, not Fox:

      “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”

      In fact, if this were Fox, fuggetaboudit.Report

      • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        If Fox were more like Reuters, they could slip in unnamed sources like all of the other times they refer to unnamed sources or the more inclusive sounding “Some say” or “Many believe”.


        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jeff Wong says:

          Mr. Wong, you don’t want to go there, but if you do:


          In reporting on an initiative to abolish the death penalty, the L.A. Times tells us about the “[g]rowing numbers” of people — conservatives, even! — who oppose capital punishment:

          Growing numbers of conservatives in California have joined the effort to repeal the state’s capital punishment law, expressing frustration with its price tag and the rarity of executions.

          The numbers have grown so much, it’s now a “chorus”!

          The chorus of criticism has death penalty advocates worried, even though California voters have historically favored capital punishment, passing several measures over the last few decades to toughen criminal penalties and expand the number of crimes punishable by death.

          Way back in 2004, I discussed the way this newspaper employs phrases like “growing chorus” to describe public opinions they agree with:

          [W]hy another story on this topic? Blame the “growing chorus”:

          A growing chorus of Bush critics has emerged in recent weeks, saying his youthful conduct then is freshly relevant today.

          I have warned you that such language is a signal that the paper agrees with the criticism. When the paper disagrees with criticism of a candidate, it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges.


          • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            It’s such a fake trend that five states in five years have abolished it. Has there been a five year period like that in the past 30 years? What would a real trend look like?


            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

              Patterico’s is a formal argument, Mo, the mysterious journalistic technique of “some say” and “a growing chorus,” etc., and he nailed ’em good.

              I might even vote for the damn thing for my own reasons.  This isn’t about that, OK?Report

              • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Not sure I see the formal argument as Patterico dismisses an article with actual evidence (five states in five years) with a sarcastic “It’s a growing chorus!”Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

                The LA Times [falsely] frames the “growing chorus” is within California, hence not the other states you argue from.  Fact is, the last time they polled California [if you trace the links], capital punishment still had a strong majority in favor.

                “The growing chorus” has absolutely no grounding in empirical fact, only the “journalist’s” imagination and perception.

                And we’re getting way off the point, but I will tell you since I live in CA and hear the ads, the argument is that we execute so few people that it’s not worth the $100 million-plus each it takes to waste one.  It’s a utilitarian argument more than a moral or a “justice” one.

                The people of California to date have wanted to reserve the death penalty for


                cases like this, and not abolish it.

                The Roman Catholic Church’s argument against capital punishment is not that it’s immoral but that it does no greater good in preventing things like that.  Considering the psychological harm it does to the innocent people who have to carry out executions, I lean against.  But between you and me, Mo, I think the arguments in favor of executing human beings like Lawrence Singleton are stronger.Report

              • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                If the only people that got executed were the Lawrence Singletons of the world, there wouldn’t be as many roadblocks and states wouldn’t be abolishing left and right. The problem is almost 300 inmates have been exonerated by the Innocence Project in 20 years. 20 were death row inmats. Of those, 70% were minorities.

                Not sure what society gains with a dead Lawrence Singleton than one who is behind bars for life. He’s safely away from society either way. And if it turns out he’s innocent, at least you can let him live the rest of his life as a free man. You can’t undo the chair.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

                Mo, if California reserves the right of capital punishment, it’s precisely to execute the Lawrence Singletons, the worst of the worst.  Sorry I didn’t make that clear.  I didn’t want to get too far off track from the OP, which is about Quin Hillyer and Sharpton and shit.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”

        I don’t believe there’s been much criticism of Zimmerman having some suspicion.  Nobody that I’ve seen has criticized him for calling the cops to report a suspicious person.  It’s only his other actions that have been criticized.Report

        • Actually, James, I believe the prosecution’s whole theory of the case rides on racial animus, it being necessary for the “demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life” part of the 2nd Degree Murder statute.  The indictment also mentions “profiling.”

          If it ever goes to trial, “profiling” itself would or could be put on trial.  To stalk Trayvon Martin simply because he was young and black, the stereotypical criminal, can be argued as a “depraved mind.”  However, if Martin fit the description of recent perps, it’s common sense.

          The “depraved mind” via racial animus is also key in the theory of the case because that makes Zimmerman legally responsible for what came after the 911 call, even if it was Trayvon who swooped in and attacked Zimmerman.  Anyway, that’s my own analysis of the only way the prosecution can work and why it included “profiling” in the affadavit, unless it can prove Zimmerman initiated the hand-to-hand combat, which seems doubtful.


      • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        If Al Sharpton said, “You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Bush’s America the black kids now get beat up with the white kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.'” He’d be rightly excoriated as a race hustler and opportunist. Yet for some reason, guys like Limbaugh aren’t ever called race hustlers. Wonder why that is….Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

          Mo, you’re changing the subject, and I do recall that the context was that the incident actually happened just like that.

          At this point, to speak frankly on race, even hiding behind Pat Moynihan’s skirts—and noting that I personally had a run-in with Quin Hillyer over the Confederate battle flag—is impossible here or anywhere, and that’s the joke, and the tragedy of it.

          The truth is hiding in plain sight.

          This is Reuters, not Fox, a black person, not a child of “white privilege” or the rest of that blahblah

          “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”

          That woman is more important to America than Al Sharpton, man.  It’s all there.  She’s ground zero and the rest of us are just talk.  If only she felt free to speak.

          George and Trayvon were both just kids really, adolescents playing grownups, playing out the drama of a world they never made.  Zimmerman was Batman and Trayvon was Malcolm X.  Bad movie.  Stupid movie.Report

          • Mo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            George Zimmerman isn’t a kid or an adolescent. He’s 28, he’s a grown ass man. Trayvon was a kid (unless he committed a crime, then he’d be an adult).

            I’m not changing the subject. I am asking why the Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons of the world are the only ones considered race hustlers. The Hillyers and Victor David Hansons of the world don’t want to have an honest and frank conversation about race, unless they’re using it as a club to wield against the Sharptons of the world It’s a shame that Moynihan’s intentions were misinterpreted. However, the intellectual heirs to him in this space are still in the same party that he was in.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mo says:

              Zimmerman is an adolescent.  Adolescence knows no age.  Moynihan, now there was a man, and far more worthy of discussion.  Your call, brother. I’m happy enough we got that far, to the grownup table.Report

              • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                In the article you cited above portrayed Zimmerman as a fairly responsible and diligent adult.

                I was surprised to find out that Zimmerman had only bought the gun a few months before shooting Trayvon.

                There was a time between when I had a carry license and when I took a course on lethal self-defense covering the legal issues and Rules of Engagement. Perhaps he didn’t get around to that.

                In which case, this is really a public policy problem. People need to receive more education before obtaining their carry license. At least more than the optional pamphlets.Report

          • I’m baffled by the comparison of Trayvon to Malcolm X.

            Both were black, yes. After that…I’m at a loss.Report

  6. wulfy says:


    “Systemic” problems with blacks are of their own making and that of the plantation called the Great Society:

    1. Blacks commit crimes at a far higher rate than other races.

    2. Blacks are much further behind in school than other races.

    3. Blacks in general disproprotionately behave violently and and criminally in mobs, beating people and robbing stores.

    That’s the system level of black behavior.  If there is any “systemic” policy change that could work, it isnt appeasement, or more wealth transfer.  those policies have failed.  the only thing that will work systemically is to

    A. Cut off welfare

    B. Cut off affirmative action

    C. End the dispropoportionate hiring of blacks in federal agencies, which are largely incompetent covers for wealth transfer.

    The reparations period of American history is over.  Time to kick these lazy freeloading welfare slugs (including whites) out to the curb and make them get a friggin job.  and if they protest y rioting or robbing, they will get a bullet in the friggin head.

    Tough love is the answer to the race problem.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to wulfy says:

      Whoever you are, “Wulfy,” you’re not helping.  Pls take the grenade-tossing elsewhere.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        American Renaissance people are like Ron Paul supporters.  It’s like they just magically know if someone on the internet they’ve never seen before is talking about their pet subject.  If only they would use their powers for good.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        It looks like Derbyshire is on another drunkblogging bender now that he is out of work.Report

      • wulfy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Fascinating Tom,

        That you call facts and tough love policy opinions “grenades”.  I can only conclude that these particular facts and unpopular opinions (among statists) are shockingly angering to you because your egalitarian religion is being blasphemed.

        Re-read my comment and ask yourself if the facts I cite are wrong, or if my policy recommendations would be economically ineffective, or are they just just inconvenient to the demagogic “capitalism is racist” implication of your Marxist policy goals.

        I’m not helping Marxists, I admit that.  You’re all dead-enders.  I’m helping people who are undecided about whether egalitarianism or meritocracy is the better future for the country.Report

  7. Robert Greer says:

    “C’mon, Mr. Sharpton: Come show that you aren’t a vicious thug with compassion only for black people. Come on down and have a press conference demanding justice for Matthew Owens.”

    Why would Sharpton do that?  Like him or not (I do, personally), Sharpton’s raison d’etre on the national stage is his expertise regarding the systematic mistreatment of blacks by the dominant culture. I understand the desire for an easy symmetry, but until the security apparatus of the United States is controlled by black interests and trains its violence disproportionately on white people, a white man analogy to the Trayvon case will be chimerical.

    That said, not everyone we consider “white” was always fully accepted into that favored racial classification.  I wonder if a good strategy for blacks would be to educate non-Anglos about how their ancestors were racialized and how that led to systematic discrimination against them.  Perhaps a few Italian- or Irish-American Studies departments are in order.Report

    • Actually, Mr. Greer, it’s my observation that we are each most effective pacifying our own tribes.  Yes, Sharpton’s act is stirring shit up.  A responsible citizen—one worthy of Attorney General Holder’s approbation in his role as a gov’t official—would be a peacemaker, one who chilled things down.  Sharpton has never been accused of that.

      So too, POTUS made things hotter, not cooler, with the “looks like my son” bit.  This is Hillyer’s larger and most defensible point.

      Perhaps a few Italian- or Irish-American Studies departments are in order.

      Well, it’s turned out that “IRISH Need Not APPLY” is an urban legend.  But yes, they caught discrimination.  As did Asians, bigtime, but they are doing OK in the USA.

      As are black immigrants from Africa and the West Indies, BTW.  The African American experience is not easily analogized to other ethnicities.  In fact, that current narrative doesn’t hold up well when it’s attempted.Report

      • I call bullshit.  When minorities play “peacemaker,” it doesn’t benefit anyone except the domineering majority. Ironically, you sound like a Northern white liberal when you insist that the powers that be will make sure everything will be okay for the minorities if only they play by the established rules and don’t raise any trouble.  Because raising trouble is the only way minorities have ever roused anyone from the catatonia of privilege, your prescription is tantamount to an endorsement of the status quo.

        You’re right that there are vast disanalogies between once-underprivileged white groups and the descendants of slaves.  But I think the pernicious myth of post-raciality is endemic enough that it’d be valuable to get those groups to understand even the elementary sketches of racial analysis.Report

      • Jeff Wong in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Given what we do and don’t know about what actually happened, do you think Trayvon’s parents should simply sit down and shut up? If people had seen what or it had been recorded on someone’s phone, there would be more clarity. How would you feel if Trayvon was your son and got shot and the police decided to just take the shooter’s word for it?Report

    • Chris in reply to Robert Greer says:

      I don’t know about other Italians (I’m half), but I grew up learning about discrimination, to the point of lynchings, of Italians throughout the country. I wonder if this is largely a matter of where my Italian American ancestors settled. They settled in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, in coal mining country, in the early 1920s (both of my grandparents were born in Italy and moved here before age 3). They were largely rejected by “Anglos” and Irish (the latter of whom they, and the Poles, and the Hungarians, and the various Slavs were replacing in the mines and other unskilled jobs), and either formed completely separate communities with other Italian immigrants, or larger immigrant communities (my great uncle lives in the same house outside of Pittsburgh today that he’s lived in since the late 1930s, and his neighbors have for that entire time been mostly Polish and Hungarian). Despite my relatives experiencing this or learning it directly from those who experienced it, they tend to be some first-class racists towards black people (and Hispanic people, and anyone from anywhere in Asia whose skin is as dark or darker than theirs’). So I don’t know if history will help much, when those who should be learning from it are firmly benefiting from being assimilated into the dominant culture.Report

  8. Michael Drew says:

    Presumably the police concluded that these men were acting in self-defense, or in any case that they did not have probable cause to conclude that their use of violence was unjustified, nor thus that a crime had been committed, and therefore concluded that the course of action they must follow was to at most seek them out for questioning about the incident – and all of that is why these cases are being suggested as comparable.

    …Oh wait:

    Tuesday 8:35 p.m.
    Mobile police tell News 5 they still hope to make an arrest in the Matthew Owens case before the end of the night.

    Owens was beaten Saturday night in front of his home on Delmar Drive.” [Etc. etc. etc. at link.]Report

  9. Royce says:

    Mob beating goes unreported for two weeks, tweet references Trayvon Martin

    “a white couple was brutally beaten by a mob of black youths at an intersection in Norfolk, Virginia”.


    Yet another statistical anomaly.Report