Disgraceful Persecution of a Man


Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

Related Post Roulette

63 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    “Kill all witnesses” is what a cat says.
    Of course, being a cat, it is convinced
    that washing its paw will regain its lost dignity.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I blame California’s rock culture.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Geez its not like people are gunning down wayward teens with shotguns from the safety of their houses. Oh wait……………crap.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    As I have said elsewhere, my contempt for George Zimmerman shall be demonstrated in the form of dismissal of him as a matter of any cultural importance whatsoever. A petty criminal of a variety as common as ragweed, he is at this point properly a special project for local law enforcement.Report

    • Avatar Squeelookle says:

      I find it impossible to dismiss him as a matter of cultural importance when those of the conservative side continue to wish to laud him as a hero and place laureled wreaths on his thuggish brow, lionizing and canonizing him for nobly killing the unarmed “savage” among their midst. Zimmerman himself may in the grand scheme be unimportant, just as Rodney King was relatively unimportant. What is important is those things their actions, their treatment by different cultural groups, and the aftermath reveal about our society.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        I think it’s dangerous to dismiss him.
        Personally, the whole thing reminds me of Bernie Goetz, and how the Guardian Angels got to be a big thing shortly after that. That used to be who we are as a people.
        These days, deification of law enforcement coupled with militarization of local authorities, brings us the infamous Mr. Zimm. That’s who we are as a people now.
        40 years ago, a person would properly be indignant were they asked to show identification before boarding an airliner. That’s how far we have fallen.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Yah, “special project” of the local cops AND the feds:

      You know, ’cause the “justice system” is what WE tell you it is and if we don’t like the outcome we’ll “find a way” to make you pay regardless. Thanks for endorsing that! Given you’re an attorney should I be surprised or not?Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Clearly, the fact that George Zimmerman has been arrested for pointing a gun at his girlfriend is evidence that the police have jimmied up some charges to get the guy.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I’ve no idea what my being an attorney has to do with my dismissively low opinion of the aforementioned Mr. Zimmerman. Brandishment is a crime, isn’t it? A petty, tawdry crime committed by small, worthless oxygen thieves, garden-variety household thugs capable of asserting their manhood in large part only by threatening their girlfriends with domestic violence in response to the offense of their having demonstrated supremely bad taste in men.

        This is not national news.Report

      • Avatar Pyre says:

        @damon It should be pointed out that Zimmerman was only a special project of the Feds while Chelsea (then-Bradley) Manning was on trial. I imagine that Burt Likko is correct in that he is now only of interest to local law enforcement.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      @ Burt,

      You said “he is at this point properly a special project for local law enforcement.” So, your contempt for Zimmerman, which I conclude means for his prior actions, in which he was found not guilty, justify your endorsement that he be singled out by law enforcement for “special treatment”. The only definition of “special treatment” that makes sense to me is that it means: “find a way to jail him”. I guess I expected an attorney to have a more dispassionate outlook. One who might look askance at using the full force of gov’t in a pressure campaign to convict a man for anything they can because they failed the last time.Report

      • “So, your contempt for Zimmerman, which I conclude means for his prior actions, in which he was found not guilty, justify your endorsement that he be singled out by law enforcement for “special treatment”. The only definition of “special treatment” that makes sense to me is that it means: “find a way to jail him”. ”

        Because Burt’s comments are all about you.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        “Not guilty” is not the same thing as “innocent.”

        The presence of reasonable doubt as to who initiated the confrontation between Mr. Zimmerman and his victim — which I do not dispute — does not exonerate Zimmerman from having apparently sought the confrontation out. This is a man who deliberately put himself in a situation where violence and use of firearms was substantially likely to occur.

        The sort of man who does that is the sort of man I want law enforcement to watch closely, lest his propensity for finding himself in violent situations escalate to the point his criminal profile is no longer accurately describable as “petty.” A “not guilty” verdict obviates this not a jot.

        If he commits no crimes, he has little to fear from heightened scrutiny. Until then, he’s given local law enforcement good reason to single him out for heightened scrutiny. I do not specifically want him jailed. But I do specifically want him monitored.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        lest his propensity for finding himself in violent situations escalate to the point his criminal profile is no longer accurately describable as “petty.”

        Say, if he killed somebody?Report

      • Avatar Squeelookle says:

        His mistake this time was leaving the witness alive to contradict his story.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Ah yes, here’s the kicker Burt…

        With enough time everyone can be found to be in violation of some law. And when does constant monitoring = harassment?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @ Jonathan

        Since Burt didn’t dispute my intrepration, I’d say I was correct.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Or maybe I’ve just said everything I wished to say.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        This is a weird conversation, Damon. You wrote

        “The only definition of “special treatment” that makes sense to me is that it means: “find a way to jail him”, ” followed by “Since Burt didn’t dispute my intrepration, I’d say I was correct.”

        Burt wrote: “I do not specifically want him jailed. But I do specifically want him monitored.” Which pretty clearly disputes – to the point of explicitly rejecting – interpretation.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        With enough time everyone can be found to be in violation of some law.

        Not everyone will be repeatedly reported as abusive, pointing guns at girlfriends, and shooting unarmed teenagers, though.Report

      • @damon Such an argument is both silly and factually incorrect.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I don’t believe anyone at OT ever wrote about this story, so I’ll throw in a mention here.

    Included in the “praise” Mike mentioned is this: Zimmerman doing a factory-tour photo-op in August with Kel-Tec, the gun manufacturer that made the gun Zimmerman used to kill Martin.


    • Avatar Squeelookle says:

      Don’t forget the times Kel-Tecs have been given away as “raffle prizes” at Zimmerman appearances either.


      • Avatar Neil Obstat says:

        Given the Mrs. & I have been perusing for a new defensive pistol for Herself, I can now definitively state from which manufacturer I will NOT be purchasing.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      Ugh. That is one of the most morally repugnant things I ever read.Report

      • Avatar James K says:

        Indeed. I can understand wanting to be able to use deadly force against an attacker, as a regrettable necessity. But to glorify it? Even leaving aside Zimmerman’s needless aggression, that is a terrible attitude to have.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        It’s a common one. I know lots of gun-owners. Lots. Hunters, people who just like to shoot, people who just love guns.

        I know folks with concealed carry licenses. Most of the gun-owners I know are sane, responsible people. The concealed carry license guys? You’ve got two paranoid guys — both convinced that there are apparently roving bags of thugs just itching to break into their houses. One of them — promise — carries TWO guns because he’s afraid that when he’s attacked he won’t be able to reload, and he needs to be sure he gets ‘all of them’.

        The other is terrified of a home invasion or a carjacking. Neither have ever been the victim of a crime more serious than someone toilet-papering their houses, and live in safe areas with low crime rates — and virtually zero violent crimes. (It should be noted that both are white, but in all fairness one tends to talk about black thugs and the other hispanic gang-bangers, so equal opportunity racists).

        The other guy….he’s..eager. He’s living to be a hero. The way he talks, the things he says — he’s basically hoping some guy will try something.

        I’m sure there are plenty of people with CC permits who are sane and have reasons for carrying that are pragmatic. I’ve never met them, but I’m sure they exist. I only know three guys and another two who plan to get one, so not exactly a large sample.

        But way, way WAY too many seem to want to carry a gun either as a security blanket (these are the guys who shoot their kids or spouses in the dark, on accident) or they’re carrying it because they want to be tough guys, action heros, or just need 9mm of bravado. (Those are the guys that, well, shoot ‘suspicious’ looking kids).

        On the bright side, none of the people I know with a CC permit have ever fired their guns at anyone. (And amongst the hunters and sports shooters, I’m aware of two really close calls — but I know a lot of guys who do that, and their stories go back decades).Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        My experience with the concealed carry folks is about the same, with very few exceptions. It’s one of those “paranoid weirdo” red flags. I keep thinking of this:

        Shurtleff said Tasker routinely wears two guns in a shoulder holster to legislative meetings.

        There’s the class “gun owner” which contains mostly normal people, barely distinguishable from the population at large. There’s “concealed carry permit holder” which is definitely distinguishable. Then there’s “concealed carry permit holder who regularly carries two guns to perfectly safe places.” That last one is a doozy.

        I think that holsters are like cats in a certain sense. There’s a reasonable number of them to have, and once you go beyond a certain threshold, it’s strong evidence that you’re a bit of a kook.Report

  6. Avatar Johannes says:

    Bravo. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain would both applaud. (Not so sure about Ambrose Bierce, mind…)Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    If Twain were somehow alive in the present, he would have no shortage of material to work with. Unfortunately, modern tastes in language might work against him.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Not to go all victim blamey, but someone needs to explain the parable of the scorpion and the frog to any woman who would date Mr. Zimmerman in the 2nd half of the year 2013.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      I confess, I was wondering about this myself.Report

    • Avatar Squeelookle says:

      But haven’t you heard? He’s a good man, wrongfully accused who was only defending himself against a vicious negroid thug. A model citizen in fact who was trying to defend his neighborhood from the hordes of criminals invading it. And the soon to be ex-wife is a gold-digger who lied about him so that she can get more out of the estate in their divorce proceedings. And the court ordered anger management sessions were the result of a misunderstanding. And the restraining order filed on him by a past girlfriend due to domestic violence is all in the past really.

      I think I just threw up in my mouth a little even thinking about saying those words aloud. Blaming the victim is not right but you have a point. We have to wonder about someone who can believe all those things at once and support Zimmerman and think he is blameless.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      But it does go all victim blamey.

      And it’s also the question I ask myself.

      So how does one balance the need/importance of making wise choices to minimize potential of violence in your life vs. being blamed for violence someone else visits upon you?

      That, to me, is the question. A very important question. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re dating Mike Tyson, OJ, or Zimmerman; if they hurt you, it’s still them that done wrong. Any excuse that shifts the blame for their wrong-doing to you is a horror; for they done wrong.Report

      • Avatar Rod says:

        I’ve been thinking on this, zic, and I propose that our conceptual error here is in imagining that there’s a single gob of responsibility, like a pie, so that saying anything like, “She/he could have avoided the problem if…” puts a slice of that pie on the victim’s plate leaving something less than a full pie of responsibility (blame) for the perpetrator to eat.

        Instead, I would propose that everyone owns their own full pie of responsibility, so that we can acknowledge cases where the victim could have avoided the problem and/or should have known better (like dating George fucking Zimmerman), thereby owning a slice of some size, big or small, depending, of her own pie while still insisting that the perpetrator has to eat 100% of his own pie. She made an error in judgment while he committed a crime.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

        everyone owns their own full pie of responsibility

        Yes! They do!Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        The mistake I think is to confuse moral and prudential oughts and the relevant responsibilities. Consider the case when I leave my door unlocked and someone comes into my house and takes my stuff. He morally ought not to have stolen my stuff. He is fully morally responsible for his actions. I can legitimately blame him for stealing my stuff. I prudentially ought to have locked my door (which is merely to say that locking my door would have been the prudent thing to do). I am not morally required to lock my door, and the only sort of responsibility I bear for failing to do so is prudential responsibility. But whereas assigning moral responsibility can legitimately be called blaming, assigning moral responsibility cannot. Or else the term blaming would lack the kind of bite in which victim blaming becomes problematic. Or to put it differently, it is victim moral blaming which is problematic since that seems to wrongly assign moral responsibility. victim prudential blaming (if there is any such thing) is a very different thing which unfortunately shares some of the same terminology as the moral version. But the prudential one can be justified when a person does not even take standard precautions.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        You’re saying that the pie is not a zero-sum pie.Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        I think you have the right way of looking at it. Attribution of cause should not be the same necessarily as attribution of blame.Report

      • Avatar Rod says:

        @vikram-bath , I was thinking of your post when I wrote that comment!

        @murali , @jamesk, Yes! That’s precisely what I’m getting at. The woman who gets drunk and accepts a ride home with a stranger and that stranger who then rapes her have both done something “wrong.” But the woman’s “wrong” was making a mistake and the stranger’s “wrong” was committing a crime. Surely we can acknowledge the former without absolving the latter?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Surely we can acknowledge the former without absolving the latter?

        One would hope so. But this does not seem to be how things often work in a courtroom, where character seems to mater so much, and a mistake of judgement casts shadows of doubt on the allegation of being a victim; most particularly for women and non-white men.

        Socially, we can agree that there is, in each choice, it’s own pie of blame; but within our justice systems, those pies all get thrown into and ground up by the same garbage disposal.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        But this does not seem to be how things often work in a courtroom, where character seems to mater so much, and a mistake of judgement casts shadows of doubt on the allegation of being a victim; most particularly for women and non-white men.

        I don’t understand this comment. For one thing, the entire purpose of a trial is to attempt to cast doubt on the case against the accused. I suppose we could remedy this by shifting the burden to the defense, but I don’t see how that would be a net gain for our criminal justice system.

        As for the part about women, do you have some evidence for what you are claiming. If anything, the criminal justice system is quite kind to women. See this paper for instance: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2144002

        This paper assesses gender disparities in federal criminal cases. It finds large gender gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution (averaging over 60%), conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables. Female arrestees are also significantly likelier to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      It’s slim pickings out there. For both men and women.

      To me, it’s easy to set the bar of datability above George Zimmerman, but there are a lot of folks out there who feel they can’t be that picky.Report

  9. Avatar Notme says:


    As usual you leave out relevant facts. Zimm didn’t just pull out a gun and shoot Martin. There were witness that testified that Martin attacked him first. Try and get the facts right, please.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      There were witness that testified that Martin attacked him first.

      Try and get the facts right, please.

      To the best of my knowledge, there are no witnesses that testified that Martin attacked him first. Well, unless you count George. All of the witness testimony concerned the fight in progress.

      Whether or not Martin attacked him first is conjecture (I personally think it’s sorta likely, but we’re not talking about my conjectures, we’re talking about facts).Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      No, no one testified to that. Only two people were present when the confrontation turned violent. One is dead, and the other chose not to testify under oath.Report

      • Avatar Not me says:


        Fine, to assuage your liberal sensibilities, I will rephrase my statement to say that Martin attacked Zim right before Zim exercised his right to use lethal force in self defense. As for the fact that Zimm didn’t testify under oath, you as a liberal should know that the fact he didn’t testify doesn’t mean sh@t. His isn’t required to and that prosecution can’t ask the jury to make note of that fact, either If anything the prosecution erred in playing the interrogation testimony for the jury as it allowed Zimm to tell his story without being under oath.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Fine, to assuage your liberal sensibilities, I will rephrase my statement to say that Martin attacked Zim right before Zim exercised his right to use lethal force in self defense.

        Better to rephrase that as what you believe happened, rather than to state it as as a certain fact.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It doesn’t matter what my politics are: you don’t know who attacked whom first, nor does anyone else except Zimmerman, and he has never testified.Report

      • Avatar Not me says:


        You keep harping on the two issue1)was Zimm the “attacker” and 2)Zimm didn’t testify. As a lawyer I can tell you that neither has in relevance in reality. As far as number one, it doesn’t really matter who initiated the confrontation, only who was the final aggressor. The person who is the initiator can become the victim and have the right of lethal self defense in a second. As for number two, I already said that the right not to testify cannot be used to infer guilt. These are concepts taught in first year crim law.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Your laws are really fucked up if a person can provoke a person, kill him and then get away scot free.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        “Our Laws Are Really Fucked Up” is the Florida state motto.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        No one was discussing guilt. We were discussing the truth of “There were witness that testified that Martin attacked him first.” The answer: it has none.

        And if it doesn’t matter who attacked first, why do you keep insisting that Martin attacked first?Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Our laws are pretty fished up even without considering the murder aspect.
        One thing that I find particularly disturbing (at present) is the expansive interpretation of certain affirmative defenses; qualified immunity specifically (a holdover of the common law from the time of James I, and common to all English-speaking nations, AFAIK).
        Two cases I’ve read from the Eastern District of Missouri (and the location may be incidental) which illustrate the matter rather clearly. The one was a police officer in Sugar Creek who arrested a wealthy business for DUI. The businessman was well-connected, and charges were dropped the next day and the arresting officer fired. The officer filed suit for wrongful discharge (section 1983 litigation here), and the suit dismissed on grounds of qualified immunity.
        The second was a Kansas City, Missouri police officer who refused to lie under oath as the prosecutor had requested of him. He was fired for it, and filed suit (wrongful discharge, section 1983, etc.). Again, the suit was dismissed on grounds of qualified immunity.

        To cut to the chase:
        Any police officer that works for a corrupt police department who refuses to engage in corrupt practices prevalent in that department and suffers (what would otherwise be) compensable damages related to that refusal has opportunity for redress foreclosed.
        Or the inverse:
        It is required by law that each and every police officer working within a department with corrupt practices should engage in those corrupt practices as a condition of employment.

        I call that pretty fished up.

        But I have to wonder about Australia, Canada, and England; how these same immunities are adjudicated there.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Sometimes, it’s best just to outsource this work to people who are better than I am (and likely ever will be).

      And it may well be true that Trayvon Martin was empowered by a heretofore unknown strain of marijuana which confers super strength. That in a fit of Negroid rage, a boy with no criminal history decided to ambush a hapless neighborhood watchman. That the boy told Zimmerman, “You gonna die tonight, motherfucker,” punched him, banged his head against the concrete repeatedly and then reached for his gun. That in killing the boy, Zimmerman rid the world of a gun-runner and drug dealer.

      And it may well be that George Zimmerman is yet another victim of the nefarious forces of black privilege. That he is helpless against the hordes of hyper-violent blacks, crazed women and the machinations of Eric Holder. That George Zimmerman continuing to live armed is evidence of sane public policy and a polite society.Report

  10. Avatar Major Zed says:

    I don’t quite see your point. He was arrested for murder. Now he’s arrested for assault. What’s fickle?Report

  11. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Similarly, when a man pulls out a gun and shoots an unarmed boy, and rather than being punished for it, is proclaimed a hero by many of his countrymen, who not only praise him but in addition send him monies amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars as reward for having killed that boy, how can we then chastise him for merely pointing a gun at a woman?

    This is an embarrassingly disgraceful mischaracterization of events.Report

    • Avatar Notme says:

      “This is an embarrassingly disgraceful mischaracterization of events.”

      Not for a liberal. If you hang around here for a while you may get used to it.Report