Monday, July 15, 2013

a conceal carry pledge for Illinois

There have been a variety of responses to the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin. The comfortable middle ground is that verdict was a correct rendering of Florida law. Zimmerman and Martin both made regrettable decisions in hindsight.

I think there are things that the State of Illinois could do to prevent bad outcomes. I want to propose an idea that should not be controversial.

If you are going to carry a firearm in public, you have to live up to higher expectations than the basic person on the street.

Getting a conceal carry permit should require the individual to sign a statement with provisions enforceable in the law. (continued below)

Jason Lee Eaton on Trayvon Martin

Sam Snow posted this video on Facebook without comment approximately 11 AM EDT, Monday, July 15. The comments below are the complete transcript of the Facebook discussion between Jason Lee Eaton (personal blog), Sam Snow and me (Carl Nyberg).

Jason Lee Eaton lists his residency as Cocoa Beach, Florida as of July, 2013 and he's from Homestead, Florida.

 JLE (shortly after the video was posted):
His second point is pure conjecture, and is the crux of the whole issue. 
Whoever initiated the fight is to blame, and that's the one thing we don't know for certain.
SS (about an hour later):
Depends on when you want to call the starting point of the conflict.
For me, it was the instant the neighborhood watch hero decided to follow the kid walking home. You take that away, and you have no conflict, no adult shooting a minor in the chest, no trial.
It isn't that I think Martin was a saint; no 17-year old kid is. I wasn't. But I know damn well that if I were walking home and some stranger came up to me apropos of nothing, you bet your ass I would get anxious. You ever been mugged? That fight or flight adrenaline rush you get? It's like that.
I'm pretty sure that Martin did not engage Zimmerman. In fact, I'm pretty sure that when Zimmerman got the idea to start following this kid, Martin was oblivious. I'm also pretty sure that Zimmerman ignored the 911 dispatcher's advice to not continue pursuit. If you remove Zimmerman from the equation, the story ends like this: Kid walks home from convenience store, then wakes up the next morning.
Now, if this sort of thing is okay, if I am suddenly allowed to pass judgment on any random passersby, confront them, and expect them to respect my assumed authority without punching me in the face and trying to get away, then why bother having a police department at all? We can all be stupid versions of Batman, now. Who needs police training when it turns out a hunch and a CC license is all we ever needed to keep the peace? Hell, Zimmerman is like Oprah for vigilantes.
Never mind that Zimmerman discharged a weapon in his own neighborhood, thereby proving himself to be a greater actual threat to the safety of the people he claimed to be looking out for.
Maybe we don't know for sure who started the actual pushing and shoving, but at the same time Zimmerman had no idea what Martin was up to, and yet he followed and shot the kid anyway. Circumstantial conjecture with a touch of stereotyping thrown in for good measure. That much is true.
Zimmerman, whatever the verdict, still has a kid's blood on his hands. And thought the courts may have absolved him from any wrongdoing, he knows what happened and he will see that dead boy for the rest of his life.
The below transcript shows the instruction by the dispatcher to not follow the kid. We've seen the result. My observation stands, especially with regards to the woman who was given 20 years for firing warning shots with no actual death involved.
This was a high-profile case, and high-profile lawyers and dipshit pundits have been having a field day shaping the way we're supposed to think about this narrative, mostly by giving us partial information or fragmented reports, but none of it would have mattered if Zimmerman had just minded his own business, or, at the very least, had just waited for the actual cops to show up.
SS also included a link to the transcript.

JLE responded:
Following someone is not illegal. Assaulting someone is. The warning shots were into a wall on the other side of which were sleeping children. Thank mandatory minimum sentencing for the result. Warning shots are illegal.
CN responded:
Why would you assume that Trayvon Martin assaulted Zimmerman? Who came to the table looking for a conflict?
Why would you assume Zimmerman assaulted Martin? If he wanted to initiate a confrontation, he could have done so while Trayvon was walking towards his truck.
There is no way to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who initiated the assault. The evidence backs up Zimmerman's story 100%, but still, there isn't enough to prove it conclusively.
Lacking evidence to the contrary, why would I believe differently?
If Zimmerman wanted to avoid a confrontation, he could have, y'know, avoided the confrontation.
CN added:
The thing about hardcore bigots is that they are so invested in their prejudices, they can't evaluate information objectively.
CN more:
Who had the history of being in similar situations? Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman?
And so could trayvon. According to both Zimmerman and his friend Jeanelle, Trayvon initiated the confrontation.
Who initiated the encounter?
I'm not a hardcore racist by any stretch of the imagination.
Yes, in my opinion, Trayvon Martin, motivated by his own racist attitude, felt that he could get away with beating down this cracker, who happened to have a gun.
Zimmerman committed no crime by following him, or calling the police to let them know about the situation. If Trayvon had called the police to report the "creepy ass cracka" instead of thinking with his fists, it would have been a different situation. And if Zimmerman had simply ignored the kid, it would have been a different situation.
And if the kid would have went home, it would have been a different situation.
Instead, I believe he decided to break the law by assaulting Zimmerman, and there is no evidence to prove otherwise.
Hell, when the police told Zimmerman that the whole thing was captured on video he said "Thank God"
Does that sound like the reaction of a man who is lying about what happened? If that video existed there would be no question, so we have to rely on physical evidence (trayvon's knuckle abraisions and lack of defensive wounds, zimmerman's injuries and the grass stains on the back of his jacket) and eyewitness testimony (Trayvon was sitting on Zimmerman's chest pounding his face into the sidewalk).
Even though the defense wasn't allowed to present evidence of Trayvon's predilection for violence, the prosecution didn't have enough to prove Zimmerman started it.
Zimmerman's suspicion didn't harm Trayvon. Zimmerman's observation didn't harm Trayvon. Trayvon's choice to commit felonious assault on a cracka harmed Trayvon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

making elections fair and inclusive in Illinois (amending Illinois Constitution)

Below is a brainstorm amendment to the Illinois Constitution.

It is an attempt to make elections significantly more fair and inclusive.

Elections shall be fair to individuals as well as political, religious, ideological and ethnic minorities. 
All Illinois citizens shall have the right to vote except for individuals convicted of attempting to influence elections through fraud or other criminal acts. 
The State of Illinois shall make voting as accessible as possible through implementing best practices, including those used in other states, countries, jurisdictions or in the past.
How individual citizens vote shall be secret. 
Efforts to prevent election fraud shall be as effective as possible without reducing participation in elections. 
A citizen shall vote from his/her primary residence. 
The definition of "primary residence" shall be established in law by the General Assembly.
Any citizen who does not have a primary residence shall explain under oath why the address s/he is voting from is more appropriate than any other address. 
Illinois shall use voting and tabulation systems and technology secure from tampering, fraud and failure. 
Election results shall be audited for accuracy in accordance with best practices. 
All elections won by less than one quarter of one percent of the votes cast shall be recounted. All campaigns within one percent of victory shall be allowed to witness the count. The General Assembly shall pass law governing the rules for citizens and media to observe the count. 
The General Assembly shall determine when the right to vote is returned to those who have lost the right to vote through criminal acts. 
The citizenry shall have the power to compel the General Assembly to vote on best practices when 100,000 citizens petition the General Assembly to vote on a proposal. If the proposal fails to become law, the petitioners shall be able to challenge existing law in court. If the court determines the proposal is an improvement to existing law, the proposal shall become law.