Friday, July 19, 2013

Teen safety

~~The following is a public service announcement~~

Dear American Teenagers,

This bulletin will cover a few safety tips for you to keep in mind while walking home, to school or to a sporting/social event.

-If you're being watched by an adult in a car, don't worry. Even though this person is not in a police car, he's probably just a friendly neighbor looking out for you and everyone else. He might even have the important title of Neighborhood Watch Captain!

-If this individual gets out of his car and starts following you on foot, stay calm. His heart is in the right place. He's just making sure you're not causing any trouble.

-If this person approaches you, don't panic or act out even if he begins asking aggressive questions or if you feel threatened.

-You may choose to run away from this person, but that's risky. He could interpret that as suspicious behavior, thereby escalating the situation.

-The most important thing to remember is that if you do anything that makes this individual feel threatened or if you try to protect yourself because you feel threatened, he has the legal right to shoot you dead without warning.

Now have fun and stay safe out there!

*  *  *


Anonymous said...

...and whatever you do, do not attack that scary fat guy following you and beat the shit out of him, smashing his head on the ground. He might panic and shoot you.

--a not so white Hispanic

Erin O'Brien said...

The only person acting suspicious that night was Zimmerman--an adult who was watching and following a teen boy. Martin had every reason to believe Zimmerman was a predator.

Anonymous said...

Then perhaps Martin should have called the police if he felt so threatened.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if you actually read something about the trial or evidence. You might have taken 10 minutes to do a bit of research, HACK..

B.E. Earl said...

Anon - Because you're absolutely sure that your version of the events is more true than Erin's? Based on the trial and evidence? HACK backatcha.

Erin O'Brien said...

Anon, as far as I'm concerned, Zimmerman was threatening the kid as soon as he started watching him. If the kid jumped him, it wasn't right, but he was provoked.

Sure he could have called the cops and probably should have, but he didn't.

There are plenty of 17-year old boys who would pick a fist fight with some guy who was creeping on him--particularly if he thought Zimmerman was a sexual predator.

As for Zimmerman's statements, he's a man who shot and killed an unarmed teen. He'd say anything to stay out jail.

Other statements bothered Mr. Serino. Mr. Zimmerman said he was so afraid of Mr. Martin that he did not roll his window down to tell Mr. Martin that he was a neighborhood watch leader and to ask why he was walking in the rain.

“I did not want to confront him,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

Yet, after Mr. Martin ran away, Mr. Zimmerman said, he got out of the car and followed to see what street the teenager fled down. Mr. Zimmerman said he wanted to be precise.

“So you basically jumped out of the car to see where he was going,” Mr. Serino said. “That’s not fear. You know what I mean. That’s one of the problems I have with the whole thing.”


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Erin, u are so right on about this.. Others like myself feel, the mistake Zimmerman made was by getting out of the vehicle when told he should not... Who died and made him God?

Erin O'Brien said...

As for the lie detector tests, Anon A and Anon B and Anon C, I have every faith that Zimmerman believed every word he said.

So what?

He pursued that kid with a loaded gun for chrissake. Martin had no idea who he was. He was standing his ground too.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Erin: U can't reason logic w/illogical folk... its useless..

Bill said...

There was only one law broken that unfortunate night. The assault committed by Trayvon Martin. The tragedy would have been avoided if Zimmerman had just made his phone call and left, yes. But he did not break any state or federal laws. The message has nothing to do with hoodies or skittles. The message is, don't try to beat the shit out of someone. Particularly in a state that permits concealed carry.

Erin O'Brien said...

Just because shooting an unarmed kid is legal doesn't make it right.

I'm still waiting for the Anonoship to show where I missed how Zimmerman told Martin he was just doing his duties as a neighborhood watch captain. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why Martin wouldn't see Zimmerman as a threat.

Joe said...

Let us look at your post below. Kids are frolicking in a late summer evening. Some of them might have been eating skittles. The next thing they know some drunk guys flies up in a car and threatens them with an axe. Words are exchanged. teens being teens, the ya re a little belligerent Drunks being drunks, axe guy gets mouthy.

Shoving and pushing commences. Drunk guy falls under the fists of and kicks of angry teens. He swings the axe in self defense...

Is that murder? Is tha ta very real scenario gone horrible bad?

Anonymous said...

"The message has nothing to do with hoodies or skittles"-Bill

Denial Par Excellence.

Dearest Bill,

In an effort to enlighten you on the effects of prejudice and stereotyping I'd like to suggest a little experiment. Make a sign, a small sign will be fine, just so long as it clearly states "It's not about Hoodies." Now, venture forth from your oft stated domicile in the SF Bay Area to the area in Oakland, CA. bordered by Seminary Avenue, MacArthur Boulevard, 105th Avenue and San Leandro Street carrying your little sign and see if it evokes any reaction from passersby. Then let us here at the Owners Manual know how it went. I will stipulate that by taking your stroll you are not breaking any local, state or federal ordinances.

Yours in health,


Bill said...

For me to stand, or walk, in the area you suggest, RJ, with or without a sign, I would have had to be seriously drugged or drunk. Common sense. My mere presence, depending on the time of day, would put me in serious danger of bodily injury. I rarely visit Oakland, a liberal, crime ridden, terribly run city, kept that way by the election of idiot after idiot. Oakland has their own version of neighborhood watch.

Anonymous said...

Say, Anon-

Angry and cowardly-the best kind of racist.

And Bill, of course we all knew which side of the question you would find merit in. The side of the guy who pulled the trigger.

@Erin-the whole bullshit line about getting out of the car to ascertain which street he was reporting from? and then to see which street Martin went down? This is all taking place inside the property of a gated apartment complex with like three streets total. Why does a "neighborhood watch captain" question which street is which? Out of three streets.


Bill said...

Right, MR. I'm down with the white Hispanic and Charles Barkley. Oh. And the jury.

Erin O'Brien said...

I was waiting for that Hoose, but you have a few unseemly parallels.

Dad wasn't in a car. And I'm pretty sure walking around your property with an axe is legal-beagle everywhere in the United State and always has been.

As for your Hoosiers Against Drunk Axe Wielders (HADAW) campaign, good luck. I'm afraid, however, I won't be making a contribution.

You know, back in '72, a lot of guys would have approached the same situation with a unloaded shotgun. But an axe? Dad gets style points for the axe.

And don't you worry your gnarly old head about Dad, Hoose. He's been dead going on 11 years.

Anonymous said...

This is why we need guns. Ignore all that claptrap about defending ourselves from the government and securing our homes; we need guns so that when fear gets the best of us we can solve that problem permanently and then receive support for our cowardice.

If you can't fight a child to a standstill, don't get out of the car. Zimmerman is a bully and a coward, as well as a murderer. The law is wrong.

Erin O'Brien said...

"Zimmerman is a bully and a coward, as well as a murderer. The law is wrong."

+1 +1 +1

Joe said...

For the record, carrying a gun in Florida is just as legal as carrying an axe in 1972 Cleveland.

You can argue it shouldn't be, but facts is facts.

If Zimmerman (an asshole by any measure) had an axe or a ball bat you would be OK with him defending himself? Should have just let a 6'2" man/teen (with a history of MMA fights) beat his head on the ground until he lost all senses or worse?

He should not have followed Martin. But he did. That was not a crime. What should he have done after he was getting the snot beat out of him that would have pleased you critics?

I guess if you want to believe your Pop's situation and possible outcome is completely different, then good for you. I am not worried about your dad (RIP), I would have done just what he did. I am just pointing out how it could have gone very wrong. You can disagree to your heart's content.

Anonymous said...

@Bill...So, based on your response, one might conclude it would just be "common sense" for a black man in Florida not to wear a hoodie because it's peopled and governed by Conservative idiots who have their own neighborhood watch?

@Joe...agreed in Mr. O's case or your teen scenario things could have gone terribly wrong. Had that been the case I suspect someone would have been convicted of a crime, manslaughter, neglicgent homicide, something, in the jurisdiction in which it occured. Zimmerman has only been criticized by the court of public opinion. In the eyes of the law he did no wrong.


Erin O'Brien said...

Joe, I know the guns and killings are all perfectly legal. This unarmed 21-year-old was legally killed and he didn't even get close to his murderer. There are plenty more like him. Look up Christopher Cote. Look up Brandon Zeth. Pedro Roteta ran for more than a block trying to escape his murderer and failed. The killer was exonerated under SYG nonetheless (oh, and you'll like that one, the murder weapon was a knife).

While Zimmerman's lawyers didn't invoke SYG in his defense, you can bet Zimmerman had it in mind when he got out of the car.

SYG simply enables idiots to legally murder pretty much anyone anywhere.

As for Zimmerman's "beating," there is absolutely zero proof that Martin didn't feel threatened and was standing his own ground.

DogsDontPurr said...

~"As for Zimmerman's "beating," there is absolutely zero proof that Martin didn't feel threatened and was standing his own ground."

Amen, Erin! I loved the way you broke this down into two great posts. It never ceases to amaze me how polarizing an issue like this becomes. Sometimes I wonder if the people who pick and argue, are just doing so because they love to argue. No matter what side you take in this debate, you'll never win because there will always be someone who is vehemently against whatever your view is. Argh.

Bill said...

No RJ. But it would be common sense for anyone to not confront a stranger and try to beat the crap out of them instead of heading on home.

DDP, I can assure you that you and Erin and RJ and MR are NOT the majority opinion on this issue. Another thing. Wouldn't it be just a little boring if this blog was all about group think? Respectfully, Bill

Anonymous said...

Hiya Bill-

Above, where I used the word "racist", it was clearly directed at the 'Anon' above, and not at yourself. Eh, I know when I turned 80 my reading comprehension skills started to atrophy too. No blood, no foul, right?

What WAS directed at you was the observation that you have chosen to accept, lock stock and a smoking barrel, the version of events offered by the triggerman in a homicide. Now I am certain the fact that the triggerman was white and the victim was a black teenager had not one whit to do with your assessment of the veracity or the motivation of the triggerman. Nosirree, not a bit. So in the coming weeks, months and years I shall look forward with a sense of satisfaction as you bring forth examples from across this great land of ours of cases where the ethnic roles were reversed and you accepted the shooter's explanation lock, stock, and smoking barrel.

So we both have that to look forward to in our sunset years.

Oh, and one more thing? In the revisionist history department? The whole "white Hispanic" thing? That concept, 'white Hispanic' didn't originate with anyone who, broadly speaking, was of the opinion that justice could be served without a trial. It originated, and spread like an ugly virus, from the Fox/Limbaugh/fever swamp denizens of the right. And why did it appear? It appeared because those stalwart soldiers for social justice determined that if Mr Zimmerman were portrayed as something other than a plain old garden-variety white-bread-and-Miracle-Whip white guy, the coarse fact that a homicide had been committed and that the dead kid was black and the shooter was white and the shooter hadn't spent night one in jail, would seem somehow less coarse. They were trying to distance themselves from Mr Zimmerman, just in case.

You could look it up, by the way. There are search tools available on the web that can indicate where a phrase originated and in what volume and pretty much exactly when. I won't bore you with the details, because you don't really care.

Oh, and that reminds me! You know where ELSE George Zimmerman didn't spend the night of February 26, 2011? The HOSPITAL! That's right, the poor fellow, waylaid by the suspicious looking kid, who beat him mercilessly, to within an inch of his life, who in desperation was forced to resort to deadly force?

He didn't even go to the hospital. What a brave lad.

Sleep the sleep of the just, ye seekers of justice.


Anonymous said...

White hispanic was coined by the NY Times. Not every bad thing comes from the evil machine of Limbaugh/FoxNews.

Anonymous said...

Nap time and don't forget to take your meds, your daydreaming again.

Erin O'Brien said...

"You have chosen to accept, lock stock and a smoking barrel, the version of events offered by the triggerman in a homicide."

Zimmerman not only declined medical attention that night, he only went to the doctor after his employer mandated that he get a medical release to return to work.

I botched one of my links above, Here's the correct link and a quote:

Why wasn’t Mr. Zimmerman’s head more profoundly injured from repeated slams to the pavement, (lead detective) Serino asked. Why did Mr. Martin have only one wound to his hand, he asked.

Erin O'Brien said...

oops. posted without noting how much I loved your "smoking barrel" quote, MR, and how the number of people to which it applies is so stunning to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm really not looking forward to my sunset years.


Anonymous said...

@Erin-'Smoking barrel' isn't mine originally but it sure the fuck fits.

Have you watched or heard any of the remarks made by juror 'b-37', the woman who was giving interviews and discussing a book deal while the sound of the gavel was still echoing in the court room? She mentions several rationale for the verdict that weren't part of the trial record. I'd love to read a transcript of her voir dire.

Michael Lawless said...

No matter how I analyze this...the only meaning seems to be: If you're young...and black...and wear a hoodie...don't go out in the evening.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with your analysis but expand on it Michael. Look around ones geographic location. Act exactly like everyone else. DON'T GET OUT OF LINE!


Bill said...

And don't walk into a biker bar wearing a cardigan sweater and penny loafers and order a cranberry vodka.

The whole "hoodie" thing is getting old. Glad you didn't mention the Skittles.

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill, I know plenty of biker bars where you'd do just fine in your spiffy outfit. I'm also pretty sure a biker wouldn't stalk you and shoot you for wearing it.

Erin O'Brien said...

Almost palpable: the disappointment from the right over the practically* nonexistent violent response to the Zimmerman case.

*Yes, Bill, I know there was trouble in Los Angeles.

Erin O'Brien said...

And since you brought it up, Bill, do you think Zimmerman would have followed you in your cardigan and loafers?

Anonymous said...

That chickenshit pussy (Z*) sure as hell wouldn't follow anyone into a biker bar.


*Clarified, for the reading impaired.

Bill said...

Lest we get too hung up on biker bars or cardigans, you obviously get my point. Common sense! Don't piss into the wind. Don't tug on Superman's cape. Don't pull the mask of the Lone Ranger. don't mess around with Jim. Don't flip off a car load of teenagers, who just cut you off, when driving through East Palo Alto. Don't try to beat the crap out of someone in a concealed carry state. Monitor your teenager's Facebook page.

Bill said...

Reality check:

13% of Americans are black.

More than half of US murders are committed by blacks.

93% of blacks murdered are murdered by other blacks.

Al, Jesse, CBC. Ready! March!

Bill said...

Anyone want to fisk the "facts" in this youtube presentation?

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill (and I daresay Mr. Whittle): Martin is dead and Zimmerman is a free man.

Also, I'm pretty sure Mr. Whittle has no genitals.

Anonymous said...

African-American political leaders, educators, commentators and clergy all deal with black-on-black crime issues all the time. It's all around them, in all parts of their community. They participate in ongoing efforts every single day across this nation. They care deeply about the scars it inflicts on neighborhoods and on individuals.

And guess who doesn't give a flying fuck about it? White dudes who bring it up in situations just such as these. If they really gave a rat's ass about it they wouldn't bring it up in these situations and these situations only. They'd be aware that there are small battles fought all the time, not just the ones that make the national news.

Sinking to citing black-on-black crime stats is as sure a 'tell' on a certain mindset as saying 'Some of my best friends are...' or looking over both shoulders before telling a joke...


Bill said...

MR: Maybe if the press, and some liberal politicians, would "sink" to citing black on black crime rates, something WOULD be done about it. I talk about this stuff all the time. I've been bitching about Oakland and how unsafe it is and how they continue to kill each other, for years. It's sickening that they keep electing liberal do nothings who maintain the welfare society and do absolutely nothing about the crime. I'm white but I don't feel any guilt whatsoever, unlike some sissy ass white punks who refuse to deal with the truth in fear of hurting someone's feelings. Sometimes your holier than thou bullshit spewed here, gets old. You don't know anything about my friends or what's in my heart.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Bill, you're tragically misunderstood. Your 'yellow hoodie' comment in the other thread proves the exact level of your concern.


Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Gee, I missed all this because I spent the last four days drinking beer while bobbing around a cove on a lake in Tennessee for the last four days ...

I think I'll stick with the lake ... ;-)


Yabu said...


Erin, let it go...a jury of his peers did. Just because you don't agree with the verdict doesn't mean you need write a letter to American Teenagers. Obviously the Jury thought you were wrong. It's over, period.

Erin O'Brien said...

Yabu, I don't think the jury was wrong.

The laws are wrong. If Zimmerman stared down a passing woman and then got out of his car to follow her, walked up to her only to see her draw a can of pepper spray, he'd be well within his right to gun her down as well.

From the jury's instructions:

In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

Anonymous said...

Nicely played.

You cannot refute the Whittle video, so make fun of him.

You did learn some debate tactics in middle school after all.

Erin O'Brien said...

That video is pure conjecture and rubbish--a classic example of blaming the victim.

Anonymous said...

It's never over Yabu. But I know you and your ilk long for us to slumber.

A very intelligent academic brother calls out Obama for being a hypocrite:

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama surprised not only the press room at the White House, but the nation, I think, on Friday, in his first public remarks following the George Zimmerman acquittal. What are your thoughts?

CORNEL WEST: Well, the first thing, I think we have to acknowledge that President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminal—George Zimmerman is a criminal—but President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there’s actually parallels here.


CORNEL WEST: In Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen. So when he comes to talk about the killing of an innocent person, you say, “Well, wait a minute. What kind of moral authority are you bringing? You’ve got $2 million bounty on Sister Assata Shakur. She’s innocent, but you are pressing that intentionally. Will you press for the justice of Trayvon Martin in the same way you press for the prosecution of Brother Bradley Manning and Brother Edward Snowden?” So you begin to see the hypocrisy.

Then he tells stories about racial profiling. They’re moving, sentimental stories, what Brother Kendall Thomas called racial moralism, very sentimental. But then, Ray Kelly, major candidate for Department of Homeland Security, he’s the poster child of racial profiling. You know, Brother Carl Dix and many of us went to jail under Ray Kelly. Why? Because he racially profiled millions of young black and brown brothers.

Full Interview at "Democracy Now" July, 2013.

Randy Johnson

Anonymous said...

Hey! It's Yabu, everybody! Yabu's back.

Say Yabu, a while ago you told us all a story about a little-old-lady-tea-party-type getting roughed up by an Occupy protestor. She was minding her own business. Unprovoked. You never got back to anybody with the names of the victim and perpetrator. Or just the victim. Or just the perpetrator. Or the date it happened. Or the time it happened. Or the city in which it happened. Or the state in which it happened.

Or the country in which it happened.

Has your crack research crew had a chance to dig out those facts yet?

What's that? No? Still not enough time?



Erin O'Brien said...

Anon, I don't know why you and the other righties are so in-my-face over this. Y'all got your way. It's legal to shoot to kill in twenty some states at the slightest provocation.

In Arizona, I think they even nickname the law "Make My Day."

Now we'll see if this clown gets let off scot-free like Zimmerman did.

Anonymous said...


@ Erin-

Why are some of the righties still not content? As you mentioned above, the swamp-dwellers were promised riots by the Fox/Limbaugh/Bog-Blog wind tunnel. They're still feeling a little cheated.


I suspect that in a few individuals there is also a vestigial human conscience not yet totally subsumed by reptilian instincts and they are experiencing feelings of guilt that they can't process, but that will pass.


As far as the twenty-ish number of states in which the sensible and long standing Castle Doctrine, consistent with the common law as well as natural law, has been replaced with the surreal malignancy of 'stand your ground', one can find a common denominator: A.L.E.C., the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC presents itself as a 'non-partisan public private partnership' to facilitate the exchange of ideas, but in every single known instance of ALEC involvement in any legislative proposals they are ultra-partisan and dedicated to furthering corporate interests at the expense of the public's interests. You will find ALEC-issued boilerplate behind the tsunami efforts since the 2010 midterms to destroy public sector union rights, to pass suppress-the-vote voter-ID requirements, and of course 'stand-your-ground.'


What do these and other initiatives from the corporate/right-wing-Republican end of our polity have in common? They seek, in instance after instance, to destroy a sense of community and to destroy any sense among the public that government can work and that government can work for people like them and their neighbors. The very ideal of a free public school education, for generations an incubator of the egalitarian instinct, is under attack. Stand-your-ground seeks to diminish the prestige and reputation of the community-based public safety forces by amplifying fears and insecurities that in many cases are quite understandable. The assault on public-sector collective bargaining rights seeks to turn one portion of the middle-class against another portion of the middle-class as if teachers and cops were not simply their fellow citizens but privileged fat-cats by virtue of their middle-class health care and their middle class pensions. Voter ID restrictions to address non-existent voter-impersonation fraud serves to place the very legitimacy of our democracy under a cloud of suspicion. Even the post office is in danger of disappearing when for many rural or remote communities it is a vital link to the rest of our nation.

I warned you all about the soap-box...


Anonymous said...

I rather like your views from the Soapbox MR.

Recently had a good visit with an old friend that had the misfortune of residing in Alan West's district in South Florida. He got quite involved in the public response (successful I might add) to efforts to privatize the school system. Hard to think of anything more cynical than attacking teachers. Complex situation but failed in part because the major players had verifiable failures with mind-boggling misappropriation of monies in previous efforts to do the same thing in other locales, inside AND outside Florida. Of course, even in failure, those efforts can net MILLIONS for the sociopaths spearheading them.


Anonymous said...

@ RJ-The effort to high-jack Florida's public-school resources for private gain is redolent of the acrid reek of Mr David Brennan and his firm, White Hat Management. You know, 'cuz the good guys always wear white hats while riding to the rescue. Brennan has parlayed the oleaginous 'charm' of a dirt-lot buy-here-pay-here used car salesman with a disingenuous and relentless Babbitt façade and the very reasonable and affordable going rate for the purchase of members of the Ohio General Assembly into an operation that is currently estimated to be siphoning a BILLION dollars a year away from public education nationwide.

White Hat has metastasized into a number of states including Florida. And lawsuits about their management of the public funds steered away from the public schools seem to be following closely behind in every place they operate. They simply have refused in most instances to open their books to the entities which contracted with them to operate charter operations.

Failing White Hat operations in Ohio are seeing some of the biggest funding increases in the new biennial Ohio budget passed by the Republican legislature and signed by the Republican governor. (yes, that is the same budget proposal into which the cowardly legislature and cowardly governor snuck their attack on funding for women's reproductive health into law) Kudos to Mr Brennan on the above-mentioned bargain-hunting in the Ohio legislator market.

Make no mistake here: these people are cynically siphoning dollars intended for the education of our children for personal and corporate gain. They're doing it behind a façade of civic engagement. Little Johnnie and Little Suzy can't read, but hell, that's a superfluous skill for detailing Uncle David's yacht.


PS-RJ, if you want 'em I've got some sources jotted down here for further reading.

Anonymous said...

Is Detroit still in OHIO? Nice job

Anonymous said...

@MR. I appreciate the offer of the literature and shall make a note to self about it. However if I add anything else to my list right now I think my head will explode.


Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be too hard to understand the inability of the late T. Martin — a teenager, after all — to tell the difference between the behavior ascribed to G. Zimmerman and that of a stalker. Hell, not knowing of Zimmerman's wonderful dedication to public safety (!?), I as well would be creeped out. By contrast to Martin's reäction, I probably would just bide my time until the weird, apparent stalker got bored enough to return home to treat himself to his five-hundredth viewing of his DVD of “Taxi Driver,” in the company of the obligatory mirror.