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Sage advice for children

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In light of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy, it is appropriate we all do a little thinking about how these situations happen.

In spite of the fact that nobody other than Mr. Zimmerman knows what really occured that sad night, we can all look back on our own experiences and maybe find some sage advice we can give our kids to help them avoid a similar tragedy.

In the March 29 Chronicle, an article by Jesse Washington of the Associated Press laments that he had to tell his 12-year-old son about the “Black Man Code.”

Essentially: 1) Always pay close attention to your surroundings, especially if you are in an affluent neighborhood. 2) If you dress in certain ways, people might be suspicious of you. 3) Never argue with the police or someone with a badge or gun – do not flee or fight – but protect your dignity.

Mr. Washington then goes on to talk about Mr. Dotson, chairman of the 100 Black Men of America, and the instruction he received as a youth and how it evolved over time. His grandparents and parents told him to respond with respect and not be combative.

Today, Mr. Dotson tells his children they should always be respectful, but should not tolerate being disrespected.

Yeah, what a great idea! Tell your children to “protect their dignity” and to never “tolerate being disrespected.” Maybe that explains the level of violence our black community is experiencing. Might be time for some of us to reconsider the advice we are giving our children.

Let me share the non-race-specific lessons my dad taught me. Essentially: 1) Always pay close attention to your surroundings. 2) People judge you by how you dress – make me proud of you. 3) Never argue or show disrespect for your elders. To “protect my dignity” I learned that “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I also learned that avoidance was the best way to not be “disrespected.” This lesson also suggested that “the best thing to have in a fight is a two-block head start.” This advice is something that I think most of us older people were exposed to in one way or the other, and it sure worked for me.

I was also taught to not be confrontational, and I would not normally make adverse comments about what Mr. Washington or Mr. Dotson told their children. However, since they seem to feel it’s appropriate to publicly express their thoughts, I felt a response was necessary to help others perhaps find a better message for their children.

Ed Shippey

Aiken, S.C.

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Retired Army
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Retired Army 04/03/12 - 07:16 am
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Mr. Shippey writes:"In spite

Mr. Shippey writes:"In spite of the fact that nobody other than Mr. Zimmerman knows what really occured that sad night,"

While that may be true on the surface and satisfy those with, shall we say, less than honorable intentions, the surfacing of the police station video, the analysis of the 911 tape and a close examination of Zimmerman's past is certainly strong evidence that Zimmerman is not telling the truth of what went down that night.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 04/03/12 - 07:23 am
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As for the rest of the

As for the rest of the letter, good stuff. A physical or even an angry response to a disrespectful statement from another is never a good response, especially if the respondee happens to be an unarmed black teenager in a predominatley white neighborhood. It could get you shot.

And no it's not a good idea to confront the police under any circumstance other than with a good lawyer in a controled enviorment.

JRC2024
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JRC2024 04/03/12 - 07:58 am
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The best thing to do in all

The best thing to do in all situations is not be disrespectful to anyone.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 08:05 am
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Has anyone seen the enhanced

Has anyone seen the enhanced police station video showing the abrasions on the back of Zimmeran's head? Do some actually think there is a police conspiracy?

This letter writer makes a good point, however. It's reasonable for neighborhood watchers to follow someone. When he approaches someone, it's reasonable for the person being followed to explain what he's doing in the neighborhood. He doesn't have to react negatively to those trying to secure their neighborhoods. A little common sense here.

Haki
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Haki 04/03/12 - 08:58 am
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1. The suspicion was a young,

1. The suspicion was a young, black teen walking in the neighborhood that Zimmerman did not know.
2. He was told not to confront Travon.
3. Zimmerman got out of his truck and ran to Trayvon.
4. A young man is dead.
5. 911 tapes have been verified Trayvon was screaming for help.
6. Mr. Zimmerman lied about it being him screaming for help.
7. The investigator wanted to charge Mr. Zimmerman.

As a young man, my parents sent me out everyday not knowing if I would come back. Not from what I did, but for what someone thought I would do. That's the reality. The writer has no idea how that feels and no clue how that shapes a psyche.

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 04/03/12 - 09:00 am
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Exactly what evidence did Mr.
Unpublished

Exactly what evidence did Mr. Zimmerman outwardly to identify himself as being on neighborhood watch patrol? I would not have concluded he was performing that role based on the clothing he was wearing in the police video. Was his vehicle marked in some way? Did he identify himself as such to Trayvon Martin? It seems that effective deterrents would be designated clothing or a hat for volunteer watch people and a magnetic sign on their vehicles as they patrol the neighborhood. Otherwise, it looks to me that Zimmerman was playing the role of an armed neighborhood thug looking for trouble. Very typical of a cop wannabe.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 04/03/12 - 09:01 am
3
3
Forget it, Riverman. R.A. has

Forget it, Riverman. R.A. has already made up his mind that Zimmerman "executed" Martin. That's what he posted Saturday.

No evidence is needed. No evidence will be considered. It's all a conspiracy against an innocent black youth. Zimmerman must be condemned immediately, even before the all the facts are brought to light.

Only a public lynching will satisfy folks like this.

TParty
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TParty 04/03/12 - 09:15 am
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"When he approaches someone,

"When he approaches someone, it's reasonable for the person being followed to explain what he's doing in the neighborhood."

You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. You most certainly don't have to explain yourself when your walking home after buying a snack.

As for the letter:

"Tell your children to “protect their dignity” and to never “tolerate being disrespected.” Maybe that explains the level of violence our black community is experiencing. Might be time for some of us to reconsider the advice we are giving our children."

Protect your dignity means don't allow yourself to be harassed or be a victim.

"I was also taught to not be confrontational". I wonder if you were taught to allow bullies to have their way with you.

Bizkit
29296
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Bizkit 04/03/12 - 11:57 am
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Both had legal right to walk

Both had legal right to walk there and talk there. They could follow each other all day long. There is no law against talking to someone-they don't have to answer but they can't assault you for a simple question. The question is why was there a physical fight and who struck the first blow. Whoever is guilty of assault. Zimmerman should have never been carrying a gun, but then again without it he could possibly be dead (although personally I doubt it). One thing for sure is the media is passing on misinformation and inciting this as an issue, which will likely destroy any legal case and precipitate more violence. The justice department needs to investigate these supposed news outlets. All the armchair analysis is premature without being involved with the real evidence. Solidad Obrien finally concedes there is a "possible" abrasion but no bandage(implying well he maybe hurt but it wasn't bad)-is she a physician? would she know a bandage is warranted? The Dem controlled media wants to bait a race issue for political purposes is the obvious answer. People are killed everyday-white on black, black on white, black on black, any ethnicity vs any ethnicity. This is an obvious but disgusting political ploy. What a bunch of political ho's.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 04/03/12 - 12:29 pm
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Bizkit writes "The justice

Bizkit writes "The justice department needs to investigate these supposed news outlets.".

I'm sure that will go down well with media of all stripes. Of course that little ol' thingy in the Constitution could problematical for that idea.

Actually what the Justice Dept should and hopefully is doing is investigating the case, not the media covering it.

In other news The Florida State legislature is seeking to tampen down the threat of escalating violence by putting a three day waiting period on a bag of Skittles.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/03/12 - 12:45 pm
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You can't hide behind free

You can't hide behind free speech while inciting violence. Some of this is no different than the rhetoric of the Black Panthers. It is transparent that this injustice is no different than similar ones that happen everyday but this one is being politicized by the Dems. If Zimmerman had been black and Trayvion Hispanic it would have been a one night headline. Well I don't know the Dems are playing for the hispanic vote too-hmmmm you can't afford to alienate the african-american vote. Well it couldn't play. This reminds me of Casey Anthony with all the armchair analysis. Even if Zimmerman gunned him down intentionally he will never be prosecuted because of this interference-just watch. I was just as hesitant about the bicycle slaughter incident(where the physician died) here but eventually an arrest and prosecution was finally made. I was angry because no immediate arrest, the police seemed to bungle the crime scene, etc. I won't fall for that again.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 04/03/12 - 02:11 pm
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1
palmetto, you ask a valid

palmetto, you ask a valid question. In our neighborhood, there is a magnetic sign that is place on the drivers door, don't know if this is the case in all neighborhoods.

Just as your's is a valid question, one that comes to my mind is what was Trayvon doing just walking around looking at houses (especially in the rain). According to the transcript to the 911 Dispatcher, Mr. Zimmerman stated he's acting suspicous, he's just walking around the houses. If Trayvon was heading back to his dad's fiance house wouldn't he have been heading in a particular direction and not wandering around, looking about? Also, why didn't he get off the phone from his girlfriend and call someone, if he was scared. It's been stated black men don't call 911 because they won't be believed but he could have called his dad? I'm sure his dad would have come met him for his safety.

Bizkit
29296
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Bizkit 04/03/12 - 02:17 pm
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Beware the cop and detective

Beware the cop and detective wannabes. Must be the moral to this story.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 04/04/12 - 01:33 am
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InChristLove: “Just as your's

InChristLove: “Just as your's is a valid question, one that comes to my mind is what was Trayvon doing just walking around looking at houses (especially in the rain). According to the transcript to the 911 Dispatcher, Mr. Zimmerman stated he's acting suspicous, he's just walking around the houses. If Trayvon was heading back to his dad's fiance house wouldn't he have been heading in a particular direction and not wandering around, looking about?”

That’s Zimmerman’s description and we have information that Zimmerman is a very level headed individual with discerning observational skills and lots of experience having made forty-six 9/11 calls. Here he zeroes in on a particularly troublesome neighborhood hooligan:

“On April 22, 2011, Zimmerman called the police about a ‘7-9’ year-old black male, described as ‘approx. 04ft.’ tall with a ‘skinny build,’ who was walking toward an elementary school.”

I’m pretty sure this was actually a gangster leprechaun.

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-23/politics/31228645_1_black...

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 02:52 pm
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Retired Army makes an

Retired Army makes an accusation:

The surfacing of the police station video, the analysis of the 911 tape and a close examination of Zimmerman's past is certainly strong evidence that Zimmerman is not telling the truth of what went down that night.

Wait a minute:

The police station video — Somehow, ABC News has been able to "enhance" the video and it shows at least one gash on the back of Zimmerman's head.

The 911 tape — I have no information on this.

Zimmerman's past — Wait a minute. His past does not automatically mean he is not telling the truth about being assaulted.

If Martin actually landed the first punch, Zimmerman is allowed by law to use deadly force. We need to put emotion aside and follow the evidence and the law.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 04/03/12 - 03:03 pm
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Little Lamb: “If Martin

Little Lamb: “If Martin actually landed the first punch, Zimmerman is allowed by law to use deadly force.”

That’s not how the law reads:

"Florida2011 Florida Statutes CHAPTER 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—"

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 03:11 pm
1
0
That's sneaky, BJ. You gave

That's sneaky, BJ. You gave us paragraphs (1) and (2) of the justifiable force law, but conveniently left out paragraph (3). Here it is:

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

If Zimmerman was attacked by Martin, the homicide was justifiable under that paragraph.

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 03:12 pm
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By the way, Georgia and a

By the way, Georgia and a host of other states have similar laws.

KentDaniel
12
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KentDaniel 04/03/12 - 03:27 pm
0
0
the way you carry yourself

the way you carry yourself and interact with others will dictate normally how you will be treated. How do you think this would have turned out either one would have simply introduced himself to the other and had a conversation.
One of two things happened 1--Zimmerman drove up and shot the kid for no reason or 2-- there was a fight and he shot the kid during the fight.
What led to the fight we don't know--- but if Zimmerman was out to kill the kid--- why fight him? Could Trayvon have acted different? Could he have said things that would not have escalated things? Death is a mighty big price to pay for immature behavior or standing up for one's self because you don't like someone looking at you

Bizkit
29296
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Bizkit 04/03/12 - 03:35 pm
0
2
Were Skittles and Ice tea

Were Skittles and Ice tea found at the crime scene or a Jiffy video tape to substantiate his story? Most teenagers are pretty lazy nowadays and it seems odd he would walk a mile in the rain to pick up Skittles and Ice tea. Has anyone compared Trayvons fingerprints to those of recent break ins to determine if he was up to no good. How bout Zimmerman. Had he joined any neonazi skin head groups lately. Had he posted on Facebook how he was going to gun down a black man. Has anyone compared Zimmerman's fingerprints to crime scenes-the perfect alibi. All this just shines on the ridiculous nature of most of these posits.

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 03:40 pm
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Letter writer Ed Shippey

Letter writer Ed Shippey makes a powerful and excellent point about this absurd attitude going around today about being "disrespected." Shippey is correct when he mentions that this attitude has led to violence. When asked why a fistfight or gunfight started we hear, “Man, he was dissin’ me. I ain’t toleratin’ dat.”

Well, the truth is that we must tolerate disrespect. Tolerating it (while retreating if feasible) could prevent violence.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 04/03/12 - 03:44 pm
0
1
Little Lamb: “That's sneaky,

Little Lamb: “That's sneaky, BJ. You gave us paragraphs (1) and (2) of the justifiable force law, but conveniently left out paragraph (3)….

If Zimmerman was attacked by Martin, the homicide was justifiable under that paragraph.”

Wrong twice, 1) nothing sneaky going on, just the avoidance of redundancy:

The same clause (caps below) is contained in 776.012 (1), to wit:

“(1) He or she REASONABLY BELIEVES THAT SUCH FORCE IS NECESSARY TO PREVENT IMMINENT DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM TO HIMSELF OR HERSELF OR ANOTHER OR TO PREVENT THE IMMINENT COMMISSION OF A FORCIBLE FELONY; or”

Which is materially the same wording found in 776.013 (3)

“(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she REASONABLY BELIEVES IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO TO PREVENT DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM TO HIMSELF OR HERSELF OR ANOTHER OR TO PREVENT THE COMMISSION OF A FORCIBLE FELONY.”

And 2) If Zimmerman believed there was a threat to his life or serious bodily harm, It’s up to a jury to decide if his fear was REASONABLE. You don’t just take his word for it.

For some reason you are rendering equivalence between the words:

“REASONABLY BELIEVES IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO TO PREVENT DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM TO HIMSELF”

And

“attacked by”

What if Martin through a water balloon at Zimmerman; that would be an “attack”.

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 03:54 pm
0
0
The case doesn't get to a

The case doesn't get to a jury unless the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction believes it can make a case. Here, the Sanford police department hierarchy thought that Zimmerman's statement and the evidence were consistent that a crime was not committed by Zimmerman. Since they believed Zimmerman, then they would have concluded that Martin committed the crime of assault and battery, but he did not live to be indicted.

Also, the reason I used the word "attack" is because paragraph (3) of the law uses the word "attack." There are several differences between paragraph (1) and paragraph (3). Each has its own scope and purpose.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 04/03/12 - 04:09 pm
1
1
Refresh my memory on what

Refresh my memory on what Chris Serino, the lead homicide investigator wanted to charge Zimmerman with?

What was it he said in his Feb. 26 affidavit?

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 04:24 pm
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Police officers have emotions

Police officers have emotions and feelings, too, and sometimes those emotions and feelings get in the way of sound judgment. The lead investigator wanted to charge and arrest Zimmerman, but fortunately he has a supervisor who wanted to follow the law.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 04/03/12 - 04:28 pm
0
1
As a reminder, the 5th

As a reminder, the 5th Amendment double jeopardy clause refers to trial on the same charge:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

It does not say:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime by the cops or DA…nor shall any person be subject to questioning twice by the cops or DA for the same offense…”

If it did, Gary Ridgeway would be free.

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 04:34 pm
0
0
Oh, believe you me, I am

Oh, believe you me, I am convinced some prosecutor somewhere will intimidate and pressure some law enforcement agency to arrest and charge Zimmerman, so the prosecutor can indict (probably on involuntary manslaughter). They will do it merely for Al Sharpton to save face. They know they will never get a conviction, but at least Al will have his ego intact.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 04/03/12 - 04:44 pm
0
1
Sounds like Zimmerman could

Sounds like Zimmerman could be charged with second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter under 782:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&U...

Or he could face no criminal liability under 776.012. Florida’s homicide statute (782) is in conflict with 776.012, so which supersedes?

Since there appears to be a conflict it’s looks like the conflict must be resolved by the branch of government that deals with conflict resolution in the presence of ambiguous statutes; what is that branch called, I can’t remember, does it rhyme with sort or is it fort or…?

faithson
4838
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faithson 04/03/12 - 04:52 pm
0
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the real question is the

the real question is the propaganda used to 'create' these new laws. More guns and laws allowing their use.

Little Lamb
43990
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 04:54 pm
1
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bjphysics wrote: Florida’s

bjphysics wrote:

Florida’s homicide statute (782) is in conflict with 776.012, so which supersedes?

Don't forget also section 776.013, where the stand your ground law actually resides. I am no lawyer, but using the principle of presumption of innocence, I would say that the more lenient statute would supercede.

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