Daily Archives: May 10, 2012
BROWARD, Fla. (WSVN) — Multiple agencies are on the scene after a man fired shots at two police officers, wounding both of them.
According to police, a call came in at about 5:30 p.m. regarding a man dressed in black, carrying a gun and firing shots at passing vehicles on the Florida Turnpike, just south of the Hollywood Boulevard exit.
Police units from multiple agencies immediately responded to the scene. Upon arrival, two officers from law enforcement agencies were shot. One officer, who is reportedly a female Key Biscayne officer, was shot in the neck. Her condition is unknown.
The other officer who is an ICE agent is reported to have been shot in the hand, but remains conscious and alert.
Both officers have been transported to Memorial Regional Hospital.
The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident has caused major traffic delays in both directions of the Turnpike, near the Hollywood Boulevard exit. Drivers are urged to use alternates routes.
Police have established a crime scene in the area and continue to investigate.
Normally, when evidence is exchanged between the state and defense it becomes public record, but O’Mara said that may not happen right away in this case.
“Public release… may be delayed as we may be filing a motion to further redact information, and an opportunity to review the discovery is necessary to determine the applicability of that motion,” the statement says.
“While we understand the frustration of those who want to view the information as soon as possible, we believe that Mr. Zimmerman’s right to a fair trial, decided by an impartial, unbiased jury is paramount,” O’Mara said.
Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge in the Feb. 26 shooting of the Miami Gardens teen.
Every so often, an incident occurs in America that demonstrates how the racial “progress” it boasts of is more illusory than real, and how the “knee-jerk” solutions proposed by self-serving lobbying groups, and promoted by equally self-serving politicians cynically trolling for votes, often cause more harm than good.
One could argue that the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida is such an incident. It certainly unleashed the profit-driven lust of America’s corporate-controlled media, and underwent all the metamorphoses these media engender to promote controversy over truth.
Early-released photographs of Martin showed a smiling, baby-faced, African-American youth whose eyes sparkled with exuberance. By contrast, early-released photographs of Zimmerman depicted a sulking, scowling, sinister man. In addition, recordings of calls Zimmerman made to the police on the evening of the killing were altered by some of these media (intentionally or unintentionally) to imply that Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was fueled by racial animus.
But, once right-wing and racist commentators regained the stage, these depictions shifted. Martin was now at fault for “wearing a hoodie,” and the injuries Zimmerman allegedly suffered during the incident were prominently displayed.
But buried within these media machinations are some disturbing questions. The first is one that many people, of all races, have asked: Would the police have responded in an identical manner if Martin had shot and killed Zimmerman? The second is, what is exactly meant by the “right to stand your ground?”
Despite its tourist-driven “come-hithers” as the “Sunshine State,” Florida has a sordid history of injustices when it comes to its treatment of African-Americans-(for greater details, see Isabel Wilkerson’s excellent article, Trayvon’s Killing and Florida’s Tragic Past)-so there was nothing illogical about assuming that Zimmerman had been given preferential treatment by the police.
Also, one of the primary concerns raised by critics of “stand your ground” laws is that the only ones capable of asserting them are those who are not dead. This was made abundantly clear after police refused to arrest Zimmerman because nobody could dispute his version of events.
But, as difficult as it may be to do, if one strips away all the emotions and political rantings, the only logical conclusion to be reached is that Trayvon Martin was indeed the victim of an unwarranted shooting and that George Zimmerman did indeed commit a crime.
Reasonable minds cannot dispute that both Martin and Zimmerman had every legal right to be where they were on the evening of the shooting. And it certainly never entered Martin’s mind that a simple trip to the store would ultimately result in his death.
Plus, there is no doubt that Zimmerman is both the direct and proximate cause of Martin’s death. He is the direct cause because he pulled the trigger on the weapon that killed Martin. But he is also the proximate cause because, had he not taken the actions that he did, Martin would still be alive.
First of all, Zimmerman had already reported his suspicions of Martin to the police; second, he was instructed not to confront Martin, yet did anyway; third, once Zimmerman confronted him, Martin had as much right to “stand his ground” as Zimmerman did.
In fact, under traditional self-defense law-which dictates that the degree of force one responds with must be proportionate to the attack-Martin was the only one acting lawfully. He was doing nothing illegal, yet was chased and ultimately confronted (some might even argue falsely imprisoned) by a man who was already convinced Martin was “up to no good.” And even though nobody will ever know Martin’s mindset at the time of this confrontation, there can be little doubt that he perceived Zimmerman’s intentions towards him to be anything but friendly.
And the “injuries” Zimmerman allegedly sustained are irrelevant, because he, and he alone, was responsible for them. Had Zimmerman listened to the police and not confronted Martin, he never would have been in a position to be injured by him.
The fact that Martin apparently got the upper hand during this confrontation still gave Zimmerman absolutely no justification for shooting him. Martin neither displayed nor used a weapon, which made Zimmerman’s actions clearly disproportionate to the situation.
In addition, even most advocates of “stand your ground” laws agree that aggressors cannot instigate physical confrontations or violent incidents, then kill an innocent person they’ve provoked because they start losing the fight. To allow such a defense would be to allow every barroom brawling bully in America to shoot or stab any victim he fails to best in unarmed combat.
Crime is indeed a problem in America, and many people are indeed becoming disillusioned with the ability of America’s legal system to effectively prevent it. But even Charles Bronson, in his famous (or infamous) Death Wish movies, at least waited until it was clear a crime had been, or was being, committed before he pulled the trigger.
Sadly, given the sordid, racist history of Florida, and indeed many towns, cities and states throughout America, the outcome of the Zimmerman trial is probably preordained. An all-white jury will blame Martin for having the “audacity” to be an African-American teenager wearing a hoodie and walking through a gated community.
These jurors, on the other hand, will view Zimmerman as the faithful “community” watchdog, the personification of America’s frustration with crime, the man doing the job that the “authorities” are unwilling, or unable, to do.
And Trayvon Martin’s name will be added to the ever-growing list of African-Americans who, both as crime victims and as wrongfully convicted innocents, were lynched by America’s intransigently racist legal system.
President Obama on Wednesday roundly dismissed GOP rival Mitt Romney’s claim to credit for the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry as “one of his Etch-A-Sketch moments,” in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
During a visit to Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, Romney said the idea of a managed bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler had been his idea at the height of the economic crisis in 2009. “So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” he said.
Obama has argued that the managed bankruptcy could not have been possible without his decision to authorize a multi-billion dollar infusion of taxpayer cash to keep the companies afloat. Romney opposed federal government aid.
“I don’t think anybody takes that seriously,” he told Roberts of Romney’s claim. “People remember his position, which was, ‘Let’s let Detroit go bankrupt’ and his opposition to government involvement in making sure that GM and Chrysler didn’t go under.”
“And I – every businessperson and economist out there understands that at the time I had to make the decision, there was no private sector option. Nobody was opening up their wallets to lend money to GM and Chrysler,” he said.
While a few conservative economists have rejected the notion that government funds were required, the consensus of leading economists is that situation was so dire that the companies could not alone acquire necessary funds to proceed through the process.
“The companies would have shut down and the bondholders would have been wiped out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Nearly all analysts at the time felt at the time that without government bailout – GM and Chrysler would have been liquidated.”
Obama, who has made the revival of the auto industry a cornerstone of his re-election campaign, said a President Romney would have allowed the companies to succumb.
“We would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the Midwest,” he told Roberts. “So the people who are in the Midwest – you know, you go take a poll of folks in Detroit who buy that argument – I don’t think they’re going to be persuaded.”
Romney has argued that had the companies been pushed into managed bankruptcy without government assistance, they would have restructured and returned to profitability more quickly than they have.
It’s a common thing for a presidential candidate to pontificate about an issue of the day. It’s quite another for one to take credit for something he had no discernible role in.
But that isn’t stopping Mitt Romney. On Monday, in an interview with Cleveland‘s WEWS-TV, Romney said, “I’ll take a lot of credit” for the revival of the Detroit companies that went through federally sponsored bankruptcies.
As Justin Hyde on Motoramic put it, “It’s too bad for Romney that Al Gore invented the Internet so we could keep track of what actually happened.”
Nobody disagrees that Romney kicked off the debate over whether General Motors and Chrysler would be better off filing for Chapter 11, rather than go hat in hand to Congress for a bailout. His New York Times op-ed piece, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” has a place in the historic saga.
In the television interview, however, Romney takes his role further than just proposing an idea. Here’s what he said:
“ My own view, by the way, was that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that’s finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy. That was the right course I argued for from the very beginning. It was the UAW and the president that delayed the idea of bankruptcy. I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.”
One key point conservatives made in today’s story about President Obama backing same sex marriage is that it would drive away conservative Latino and African-American voters. That’s what folks like conservative activist Gary Marx told us.
That possibility “is wildly unlikely,” said Gary Segura, professor of American Politics and Chicano Studies at Stanford University and a principal in the polling firm Latino Decisions.
While many Latinos are Catholic, a religion which does not condone same sex marriage, Segura said Latinos rarely let their religious beliefs steer their votes. In a November 2011 poll that Latino Decisions did for Univision, 43 percent of Latinos supported same sex marriage, 13 preferred civil unions and 26 percent opposed gay nuptials. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will chair of the Democratic National Convention, wants support for same sex marriage in the party’s platform.
As for African-Americans, who now support the president by a ratio of roughly 9 to 1, Segura said, “it’s hard to believe that they are going to not support the first African-American president” because of something unrelated to the economy or race.