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President Obama Urges Respect for Zimmerman Acquittal; Silent on DOJ Action

The President has issued a brief statement:

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.  I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that’s a job for all of us.  That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

I’m not sure what there is to say on that front. Many are waiting for the other shoe to drop: Will the Obama Justice Department pursue a civil rights action against Zimmerman?

My guess is that he won’t. Zimmerman wasn’t an agent of the state or part of an organized hate group. Indeed, aside from inferences based on his actions that night, there’s no evidence that he harbors any especial anti-black animus.

But, The Hill reports, there’s nonetheless pressure to do something.

The NAACP and other leading civil rights groups are pressing for Holder to open a federal case against Zimmerman, after he was found not guilty on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges by a Florida jury.

Holder, the nation’s first African-American attorney general, facing a difficult decision on a controversial case that has grabbed the nation’s attention and sparked renewed debate about racial profiling.

In a statement from NAACP President Ben Jealous, the civil rights group said they were “not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.”

“The most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life—was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation,” said the group in a petition unveiled Saturday night. “Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”

On CNN Sunday, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson also demanded that the Justice Department “intervene” and “take this to another level.”

 

Congressional Democrats are likewise applying pressure:

Many Democratic lawmakers are also joining those calls, with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) tweeting a message from Jealous asking for the DOJ to act.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted he was “deeply saddened” by the verdict, but was “pleased that DOJ is continuing to evaluate evidence.”

The DOJ launched a review of the shooting earlier this year and Holder said that they would take proper action if they had evidence of a civil rights crime.

So is the Senate Majority Leader, although, in Reid’s case, it’s rather tepid:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Sunday urged the Justice Department to review federal charges against George Zimmerman who was acquitted in Sanford, Fla., of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

“I think the Justice Department is going to take a look at this. This isn’t over with and I think that’s good. That’s our system, it’s gotten better, not worse,” Reid said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

Reid said he accepted the not-guilty verdict on murder and manslaughter charges.

“I am a trial lawyer and have [brought] over 100 cases to a juries. I don’t always agree with what the jury does that that’s the system and I support the system,” Reid said.

Thus far, at least, Holder is maintaining his boss’ public stoicism:

“If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action, and at every step, the facts and law will guide us forward,” said Holder in a speech in April to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

But Holder had cautioned in subsequent remarks that the DOJ faces a “very high barrier” when seeking to bring federal criminal charges in such cases.

My strong guess is that there’s no federal case. There’s quite likely to be a civil suit, however, as there was in the OJ Simpson murder case, with substantially lower burdens of proof. Sadly, however, I fear that the legal system is not Zimmerman’s biggest problem.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Well,his biggest problem is that he is just another cowardly white guy with a gun. Judging by many OTB commenters, as well as Republicanists in general, that is to be admired.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 25

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Poor Dick Cheney only got to shoot a guy in the face, and he lived.
    Zimmerman got to kill a kid.
    The Republican system lives….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 27

  3. Gustopher says:

    Sadly, however, I fear that the legal system is not Zimmerman’s biggest problem.

    It’s quite an indictment of the legal system when it isn’t the biggest problem of someone who followed/stalked and then killed an unarmed kid.

    But what is his biggest problem? That he’s a complete scumbag who is bound to get himself in worse trouble later? Roving vigilante gangs following him and then feeling threatened and gunning him down? Sharing Bob Dylan’s original last name?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 12

  4. Jenos Idanian says:

    My guess is that he won’t. Zimmerman wasn’t an agent of the state or part of an organized hate group. Indeed, aside from inferences based on his actions that night, there’s no evidence that he harbors any especial anti-black animus.

    A couple of years ago, the son of a Sanford police officer beat a homeless black man, and was going to get away with it. One citizen went around to black churches and helped them organize enough public pressure to get the assailant charged. Eventually, he pleaded guilty to battery.

    The guy who took on Sanford’s police chief and worked with the black community to get justice for a homeless black man? George Zimmerman.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

  5. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos is idolizing a cowardly bigot the shot an unarmed kid.
    What more do you need to know?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 20

  6. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    George Zimmerman.

    I was thinking back to your “get my curls dipped in the inkwell” comment the other day. It’s interesting that you recognize that you swoon like a schoolgirl when Zimmermann is mentioned. It displays a level of self awareness that is out of character for you.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

  7. PD Shaw says:

    The FBI announced a year ago that it found no evidence that Zimmerman was motivated by racial bias or hatred. Link

    FBI interviews with dozens of friends, coworkers and neighbors of George Zimmerman found no evidence that the accused murderer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was a racist, according to new documents released on Thursday.[...]

    FBI agents investigating whether race was a factor in the shooting spoke with Sanford police officers, Zimmerman’s bosses and colleagues, friends, neighbors and others to determine if he had ever shown any racial prejudice.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: It’s a bad habit of mine, but I just get this overwhelming compunction to point out things that are mind-bogglingly stupid and wrong.

    Especially when it’s you. You can’t quit me, and I seem to be heading the same way.

    Maybe the secret meaning of OTB is On Top of Brokeback…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  9. Jenos Idanian says:

    @PD Shaw: You just hush yourself. Don’t you DARE disrupt the stereotyping and myth-building with actual facts and other racist things.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

  10. michael reynolds says:

    There will always be fools. Nothing can change that.

    This was only a tragedy because a fool owned a gun. Subtract the gun and you have a shouting match, or maybe a fist fight. Then again, maybe you’d just have two guys who realized they had no beef, and they’d have shaken hands and walked away.

    It’s the gun that made Zimmerman feel like a superhero. It’s the gun that killed that innocent boy.

    Minus the gun Trayvon Martin would be alive. Minus the gun Zimmerman would not be a killer.

    It’s the guns, stupid.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 12

  11. C. Clavin says:

    No Michael…
    Absent the gun Zimmerman would have stood down as directed by the cops.
    His gun made him a big man…. Who could kill an unarmed kid… Instead of letting the kid kick his racist ass.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 20

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Zimmerman knows the truth…and will have to live with his cowardice for the rest of his life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

  13. Jim says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Jenos, you are not being helpful by pointing out facts that don’t fit the narrative.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

  14. Jim says:

    @C. Clavin: how many times would you let young thug slam your head into the concrete before you capped him?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 17

  15. Jim says:

    @michael reynolds: how do you explain mr. No limit acting like a thug?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 18

  16. anjin-san says:

    Zimmermann’s gun fueled false courage does seem to be the cornerstone of this whole affair. Absent the gun, this rather pathetic man almost certainly would have never left the safety of his truck, and would have done what a neighborhood watch person is supposed to do – observe and report. Period.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 5

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jim…
    I would not have stalked him in the first place…negating the kids chance to kick my ass…but once Zimmerman did he should have taken his beating like a man…instead of shooting the kid like a cowardly Republican would.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 16

  18. Jim says:

    @C. Clavin: GZ voted for Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

  19. tyrell says:

    This past weekend three people were killed in a nearby city. These were all separate incidents, two were shot and one stabbed. I do not know the various details, facts, motives, and profiles. I do not know the racial breakdowns. That does not matter to me and should not matter to anyone. Lives have been lost, families devastated, futures destroyed. Where are the protests? Where is the news
    media? Where are the politicians and opportunists? Where is Attorney General Mr. Holder and the Department of ” Justice”? Yet it will happen again next weekend in cities and towns across the country and in most cases you will maybe find a mention on page 5d in the newspaper section next to the car ads and lost cat announcements. What will be the next crime and trial of the month of the news channels? Where are they going to set up their onsite equipment and junk? Where will these politicians and “tv leaders” show up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  20. C. Clavin says:

    What kind of pussy shoots an unarmed kid???

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

  21. wr says:

    @Jim: “how many times would you let young thug slam your head into the concrete before you capped him? ”

    Well, gosh, Jim, I wouldn’t have pretended I was Batman and stalked this kid hoping to prove he was secretly the Joker. I wouldn’t have been wandering around with a gun hoping to display my adequacy by uncovering a Bad Guy in our midst.

    In other words, I would not have put myself in a position to have my head slammed into anything. And the kid would be alive and my life wouldn’t be ruined.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 7

  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Zimmermann’s gun fueled false courage does seem to be the cornerstone of this whole affair. Absent the gun, this rather pathetic man almost certainly would have never left the safety of his truck, and would have done what a neighborhood watch person is supposed to do – observe and report.

    You’re right, anjin. The instant Zimmerman stepped out of his truck, he DESERVED to get his nose busted and have his head pounded into the pavement. Hell, he should have just beaten himself senseless, and spared Martin the trouble.

    That’s your argument right there. Own it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 24

  23. C. Clavin says:

    A pussy that’s getting his ass kicked…that’s who.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: And you’re a misogynist, too. I’m so shocked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…
    You are absolving Zimmerman for all of his actions… Which makes perfect sense. Republicans always refuse accountibility for their actions.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 10

  26. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: Cram it, Cliffy. Zimmerman did several stupid things. But none of them were illegal.

    Martin, by throwing the first punch (and only punches, as indicated by the evidence), broke the law.

    You argue that “black” and “17″ absolve Martin of any responsibility for his actions, and that Zimmerman deserved to get “his ass kicked.”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The guy who took on Sanford’s police chief and worked with the black community to get justice for a homeless black man? George Zimmerman.

    Ironic then, that this was the same George Zimmerman who profiled a young Black kid wearing a hoodie (in the rain, of all places) as a possible criminal, and ignored an instruction by the 9-1-1 dispatcher to not follow the kid, and ended up killing him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 5

  28. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…Zimmerman shot an unarmed kid and killed him. Glad you think that’s cool. You pro-lifer ,you.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 9

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @tyrell:

    This past weekend three people were killed in a nearby city. These were all separate incidents, two were shot and one stabbed. I do not know the various details, facts, motives, and profiles.

    I’d be willing to guess that the circumstances in those situations were in no manner whatsoever similar to the Zimmerman-Martin incident. For example, did the police decide to conduct investigations, and if they had suspects did they detain them pending investigation, and charge them if circumstances warranted it? In Zimmerman’s situation he was not detained and a thorough investigation was not conducted until nearly 6 weeks following his killing of Martin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @Jim:

    how many times would you let young thug slam your head into the concrete before you capped him?

    The answer is none, because an intelligent person (George Zimmerman obviously not being one) would have stayed in the vehicle and let the police deal with this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Martin, by throwing the first punch

    You have zero evidence that Martin threw the first punch. What you have is your racist assumption. And your giddy, fist-pumping, high-fiving, skipping-like-a-little-schoolgirl glee at the fact that a kid died.

    Yay! Dead ni**er! Yay!

    Sickening little creep.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 16

  32. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: ignored an instruction by the 9-1-1 dispatcher to not follow the kid,

    Now you’re down to two lies. I guess that’s an improvement.

    1) Zimmerman DID stop following Martin. The 911 call shows that quite clearly.

    2) The 911 dispatcher did NOT instruct Zimmerman to stop following him, and testified that he explicitly did NOT offer any instructions. Their policies explicitly forbid them from issuing orders or even offering suggestions in such cases, and the tapes prove it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 17

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: You have zero evidence that Martin threw the first punch. What you have is your racist assumption.

    The medical evidence shows that Martin threw punches, Zimmerman did not. Therefore, Martin threw the first punch, the last punch, and every punch in between. See the injuries report — Martin’s knuckles were skinned and swollen, he had no other injuries besides the gunshot, and all of Zimmerman’s injuries were on his head.

    If you can show anything that indicates Zimmerman threw any punches in the fight, show it.

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  34. C. Clavin says:

    It doesn’t matter if the kid threw the first punch… If Zimmerman hadn’t put him in the position of heving to throw a punch.
    Republicans talk about individual responsibity an the bag it the first time it’s necessary to support their ideology.
    Pussies…each and every one of them.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: If Zimmerman hadn’t put him in the position of heving to throw a punch.

    And just what did Zimmerman do, or might he have done, to justify that first punch?

    Come on, Cliffy. I’ll even give you a pass on “heving.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  36. michael reynolds says:

    The medical evidence shows that Martin threw punches, Zimmerman did not. Therefore, Martin threw the first punch, the last punch, and every punch in between.

    No. It could show that Zimmerman threw a punch and missed. Right? Or three punches that missed. Or that he threw a punch which hit Martin in the torso. Or a punch that did not damage Zimmerman’s knuckles.

    There was no eyewitness.

    And of course we don’t even know for sure what Zimmerman has to say on the matter since he chose not to testify.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 7

  37. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    2) The 911 dispatcher did NOT instruct Zimmerman to stop following him, and testified that he explicitly did NOT offer any instructions. Their policies explicitly forbid them from issuing orders or even offering suggestions in such cases, and the tapes prove it.

    So, the 9-1-1 dispatchers broke the rules by instructing, er suggesting, er saying … that they didn’t need Zimmerman to follow Martin?

    Essentially, Zimmerman had a gun and he stalked/followed/insert-whatever-word-Jenos-wants-here Martin, didn’t stay in his vehicle as instructed/suggested/told/insert-whatever-word-Jenos-wants-here, and subsequently Martin was killed by Zimmerman. Frankly, Zimmerman was very fortunate that no eyewitnesses were there, and that he had this jury.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Or, let’s see, Zimmerman could have said, “I have a gun and I’m going to shoot you,” in which case Martin throwing a punch would have made sense, lacking any other chance at survival.

    Or, he could have had the gun in Martin’s face.

    Or he could have actually squeezed the trigger and forgotten he had the safety on.

    Or. . . Or. . . Or. . ,. because we do not know. We have no witnesses except a killer.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 6

  39. mantis says:

    The killer’s account should always be taken as indisputable fact.

    If the victim is black.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 5

  40. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: So, the 9-1-1 dispatchers broke the rules by instructing, er suggesting, er saying … that they didn’t need Zimmerman to follow Martin?

    The 911 operator used very precise language. “We don’t need you to do that.” Not “don’t do that,” not “please don’t do that,” not even “it would be unwise for you to do that.”

    And as I noted above, Zimmerman actually did stop following Martin at that point. So there’s no need to keep lying about it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

  41. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos…
    You tell me… What justifies killing an unarmed kid…when you have been stalking him and forcing a confrontation? Personally I can’t imagine killing an unarmed kid. You seem to think its cool. Explain what it is about shooting an unarmed kid that turns you on???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  42. michael reynolds says:

    The interesting question now that the main issue is settled is this: just what disease infects the minds of people like Jenos?

    He’s spent days interrupting various threads, hand waving in the air like a suck-up schoolboy yelling, “Oooh! Oooh! Zimmerman! Zimmerman! Can we talk about Zimmerman?”

    What is that, exactly? What goes on in his head? For normal people this is just a tragedy, full of sadness and loss, to include Zimmerman’s family as well as Martin’s. But for Jenos it’s just ever so exciting. He jumps out and down like a toddler needing a bathroom run, dying to talk about it.

    It makes him happy. That’s what’s so sickening. He’s actually happy about this.

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  43. michael reynolds says:

    The people who ought to be ashamed (aside from sickies like Jenos) are the Florida legislators. But of course they got just what they wanted: a dead black kid.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  44. C. Clavin says:

    It doesn’t suprise me that Jenos gets all hot about shooting an unarmed kid…look at Dick Cheney. Cowards support cowards. Jenos supports Zimmerman. The math works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  45. Jr says:

    @Jim: Wouldn’t have gotten his ass kicked if he decided not to play cops and robbers.

    Morons can try to put the blame on Martin, but Zimmerman instigated the entire conflict and he is likely going to get hit hard with the civil lawsuit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  46. Jr says:

    @C. Clavin: Yeah….it is called small penis syndrome……it is a major epidemic among conservative men ages 35-65.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  47. JKB says:

    There won’t be any civil rights prosecution nor will their be a wrongful death lawsuit. Does anyone really think the Dems want this playing the news all next summer when the mid-term election will be about whether the Dems can be trusted to conduct the government? Obama, the Florida governor, Angela Corey, various Dem Congresspeople and Senators, the mayor and a few Sanford city council member all want this to go away. If the lawsuits start, they will be dragged in and their efforts to deny Zimmerman his civil rights will also be on trial. The family will be quietly paid off by the Dems, NBC will be told by their White House masters to quietly settle with Zimmerman. Once the next shiny scandal arises to distract the public, this will be quietly buried.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  48. David M says:

    It be a lot better for the country if people with guns didn’t get the benefit of the doubt after killing random high school age kids.

    It’d also be a lot better if right wing nutjobs didn’t celebrate those killings.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  49. C. Clavin says:

    “…Does anyone really think the Dems want this playing the news all next summer when the mid-term election will be about whether the Dems can be trusted to conduct the government…”

    What the f’ are you talking about?
    Republicans are uninterested in, and unable to, govern.
    Try to grasp reality douche-fuck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  50. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    If the lawsuits start, they will be dragged in and their efforts to deny Zimmerman his civil rights will also be on trial. The family will be quietly paid off by the Dems, NBC will be told by their White House masters to quietly settle with Zimmerman.

    Democrats will pay off Zimmerman for shooting Martin?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  51. C. Clavin says:

    My comment was placed in moderation because I called JKB a douche-fu@&…anyone deny that representation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Um, yea. A wrongful death action is a virtual certainty. Martin’s parents have already torpedoed the homeowners association with one, and prevailed via settlement. They have absolutely no motivation not to go after Zimmerman in a civil suit.

    Heck, if I were them, I’d file one for no other reason than to give me the ability to force Zimmerman to testify. That alone would be satisfying. Nailing his ass to the wall with a multi-million dollar judgment that they’ll pursue until the end of time would just be the icing on the cake.

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  53. C. Clavin says:

    Actually… I think I’ve wrongly insulted douchefu@&s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  54. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Zimmerman can still, I believe, file a motion for immunity under the Stand your Ground statute which is no longer useful for the criminal prosecution but would give him immunity from civil action based on his use of self defense. The standard is a preponderance not reasonable doubt but based on the trial record they seem to meet that standard with the self defense assertion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  55. Stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Heh, keep believing that. There is a reason he did not file SYG in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  56. JKB says:

    @Stonetools: There is a reason he did not file SYG in the first place.

    Yes, because the prosecutors were hiding exculpatory evidence, misrepresenting the facts and improperly questioning witnesses. Plus, there was serious political pressure that couldn’t help but influence the judge. Now, the facts are in evidence for all to see. Plus, even the prosecutor said Martin struck Zimmerman first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  57. Stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Indeed there are more facts in evidence. Based on that, it’s clearer than ever that Zimmerman doesn’t have an SYG claim. But since you live in an alternate universe, you can’t see that. Carry on with your delusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  58. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You’re right, anjin. The instant Zimmerman stepped out of his truck, he DESERVED to get his nose busted and have his head pounded into the pavement.

    Wow. If you use all caps, do you automatically win the argument? Or maybe making up positions for others does the trick…

    Zimmermann is, of course, the architect of this tragedy. His desire to play cop and live out a hero fantasy led directly to Martin’s death. He was not even a good fake cop. Any cop will tell you, never put yourself in a position you are not equipped to deal with if it can be helped. Zimmermann was a miserable failure in his attempt to gain unarmed combat skills. He could not even maintain a C average in his criminal justice courses at the JC level. He was “the wrong stuff” personified.

    So Zimmermann, lacking any skill, competence, toughness, or street smarts, went for the great equalizer. He got a gun. No need to put in the long hours and years needed to gain actual skills, or simply admit he was not cut out for police work.

    Feeling brave with a gun in his belt, he got out of the truck to follow Martin, who, according to Zimmermann himself, was suspicious, even dangerous (might be on drugs, reaching into his waistband). We all know how this ended. All he had to do was stay in the truck, where he was quite safe – but no, Georgie wanted to be a hero.

    Wanting to be a hero, injecting yourself into situation you are not equipped to handle, is a very risky business. I grew up with a guy who was a monster body builder, known all around town for his strength. One night at a party, he decided to break up a fight.

    As far as I know, he had never been in a fight – guys would take one look at his biceps and go “no thanks.” He did not know that breaking up a fight can be a pretty dangerous thing to do. This was a drunken, out of control party, not a gym class. I guess he was counting on his physique and his weight room rep to carry him through it.

    Shortly thereafter, he was on his way to the ER with a horrifying injury. He was never the same, and he became kind of a tragic figure around town. Now he is now completely off the grid as far as I can tell.

    It’s bad enough when someones stupidity ruins their own life. In this case, Zimmermann’s stupidity ended Martin’s. And that has some people doing a victory lap. Sickening indeed.

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  59. Ron Beasley says:

    I understand that Zimmerman will get his weapon back. He was paranoid and cowardly before but he will be even more paranoid and cowardly now. How long before he shoots someone else?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Think again. Zimmerman can certainly TRY to convince the trial judge in the civil case that he merits immunity, but the statute specifically nullifies immunity in instances where the moving party instigated the event or chain of events that led to the action for which he is asserting immunity. Since Zimmerman began the chain of events by pursuing Martin, the argument will be made by Martin’s parents lawyers that he smoked any merit of immunity.

    Zimmerman would have had to have taken the stand and testified in the evidentiary hearing preceding his criminal trial had he moved for immunity. He didn’t do so, IMLO, because the odds of it being granted were not good and his testimony would be admissible in the criminal proceeding.

    The same rules apply for the civil action. He wil be compelled to testify at any evidentiary hearing resulting from a motion to assert immunity under SYG, and that testimony will be used against him in the event that immunity is not granted and they move to the civil trial.

    Notably, however, Zimmerman will be compelled to testify in that proceeding regardless of whether or not he asserts immunity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    because the prosecutors were hiding exculpatory evidence

    No. Were this the actual case, Zimmerman’s lawyers would have moved for a mistrial and filed disciplinary proceedings with the state bar. Brady violations are a monster no-no.

    We are quite certain that material was excluded, but the prosecution has no burden to tender material that isn’t exculpatory or which doesn’t help the defense impugn prosecution witnesses. Had Zimmerman’s attorneys had any evidence that such material was being withheld, they would have moved at trial to compel its production. The judge would have reviewed the material and, if in her opinion it had to be tendered, would have ordered the prosecution to produce it to the defense.

    They never made such a motion, which tells me that they are blowing smoke.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  62. Jc says:

    The thing that irks me about GZ is the unbelievable story. Stopping to get a street name in a development with three streets and one which you walk your dog and head the neighborhood watch, one which you called the police on so many times before, where they always ask for street names, where you have lived for four years. Or when you do confront the suspicious youth the first thing you hear is, “do you have a problem” and don’t immediately identify yourself as neighborhood watch. And when you have a gun you scream for help, then once you pull the trigger there is no more screaming or yelling. A guy 40lbs lighter than you gets the best of you. Who conceal carries a gun to Target when the main reason you bought it was because of a dog? Reading his whole account just seems to reek of BS, is what it is, but it just doesn’t all add up. But agree, without the gun, nothing would have happened. He never leaves his car.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  63. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jc:

    Or when you do confront the suspicious youth the first thing you hear is, “do you have a problem” and don’t immediately identify yourself as neighborhood watch.

    I still walk, by foot, not car, in the middle of the night. I don´t enter any kind of contact with anyone, even visual contact, specially in areas with few people, because any other people might be a mugger, or YOU might be confused with a mugger. And obviously, no one is in their best judgement at this time of the day.

    A guard or a cop is one thing. A random guy without uniform, and armed with a concealed gun, *confronting* people at night, from the practical point, is a nightmare..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  64. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    For normal people this is just a tragedy, full of sadness and loss, to include Zimmerman’s family as well as Martin’s. But for Jenos it’s just ever so exciting.

    Not just Jenos. I heard about the verdict from my right wing uncle, who texted me to literally boast about the not guilty call.

    I can’t speak for Jenos, but I know for a fact that my uncle is a good and decent human being, even if he is gullible when it comes to right-wing media. He’s not diseased so much as he’s just following the herd. Stupid him, of course, but those damn herd-drivers (looking at you, Hannity) deserve the bulk of the blame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  65. matt says:

    @michael reynolds: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.*cough* *hack*..

    @Jc: You don’t know what would of happened without a gun. You don’t know he wouldn’t of had a knife or a club instead. You don’t know he wouldn’t of used that instead and beat the kid to death. You don’t know that one “lucky” swing wouldn’t of resulted in the death of the kid. You don’t know so you blame the one thing you know you don’t like.

    Zimmerman obviously had no qualms with breaking the law so who is to say he wouldn’t of had a gun even if they were all illegal? Just making something illegal doesn’t make it disappear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  66. matt says:

    I find it hilarious that there is a whole group here who thinks that just by removing one weapon everything would of been hunky dory and perfect. How naive..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  67. superdestroyer says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You are wasting your time trying to argue facts with progressives. Progressives are all seeking status by trying to act the most sanctimonious. They are not about to let the facts get in the way.

    The progressives want their two minute hate and are not about the let reality get in their way. Remember, the long term goal of the left is to make everyone totally dependent upon the government. That someone want to protect their neighborhood or actually wants to prevent crime is somehow wrong.

    When the federal government is going to start arguing that calling 911 is racist, then no snitchin will become federal policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

  68. Jeremy says:

    @michael reynolds: Nobody knows what happened that night, Mike, but the claim is that Martin jumped on Zimmerman and started beating his head against the concrete.

    So maybe without the gun, Zimmerman would be dead, and another black kid would be going off to prison.

    Can we please stop putting the onus of all societal ills on the gun now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  69. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Yeah, tell that to they IT guy the Angela Corey just fired for having his lawyers tell the defense about the cell phone images and data. Data that the judge did order given to the defense even though later it was exclude from the criminal trail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  70. JKB says:

    @Jeremy: Zimmerman would be dead, and another black kid would be going off to prison.

    The irony is that had that occurred, the State of Florida with public support would move to try this “kid” as an adult. Same kid, same 17 years of age.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  71. C. Clavin says:

    Clearly I should not have been commenting while consuming adult beverages last night.
    That said;
    Had Zimmerman stayed in his truck as directed, and had he not been packing…the Martin kid would still be alive. Cause and effect is what it is.
    Still no one else witnessed the scuffle and I think I agree with James…the verdict here is correct.
    What turns my stomach is the glee shown by some here, and in the conservative entertainment complex, at Zimmerman getting away with killing an unarmed youngster…y’all are nothing short of disgusting.
    Zimmerman knows what happened…and will have to live with it for the rest of his life.
    I think those of you above who are celebrating the murder of Martin need to spend a little time examining your own moral charachter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  72. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: Zimmerman getting away with killing an unarmed youngster…

    Zimmerman didn’t “get away” with killing anyone. He justified his actions that resulted in the death of Trayvon under the long established common law for self defense.

    If there is a celebration it is for the rule of law which still prevailed in the face of political pressure from the highest reaches of federal and state government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  73. C. Clavin says:

    Keep on rationalizing, JKB…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  74. bandit says:

    @C. Clavin: Thought you were talking about yourself

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  75. bandit says:

    @C. Clavin: Love all the tough girl talk

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  76. C. Clavin says:

    Hey Bandit…hows that lead dogs butt smell?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  77. pylon says:

    Clavin: The verdict is correct under Fla law. In a lot of jurisdictions, self-defence, being a positive defence, musty be proven by the defendant. In some jurisdictions it’s an actual legal burden (not on a erasonable doubt standard though), and in others it’s just evidentiary. But the bottom line is that a defendant must at least take the stand to explain his actions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  78. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You are what we have come to expect from years of Harvard law education.

    I will grant that there are probably many Harvard alumni who went on to become competent at the law who cringe at your moniker.

    But, no, Zimmerman does not have to testify to see immunity. There is a body of evidence, including several videos of his walking police through the events. The standard is preponderance and does not require compelled testimony. Either the preponderance of evidence supports self defense or it does not. It would be hard for the prosecutors to object to the evidence since it was all properly entered into evidence during the criminal proceedings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  79. JKB says:

    @pylon: But the bottom line is that a defendant must at least take the stand to explain his actions.

    A defendant in a criminal proceeding never “must” take the stand. They may have no other way to introduce their explanation of the sequence of events but it is still their choice. In this case, there are several video “walk-throughs” with police with Zimmerman explaining his actions. Each attested to by a law enforcement officer as they were entered into trial evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  80. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Zimmerman didn’t “get away” with killing anyone. He justified his actions that resulted in the death of Trayvon under the long established common law for self defense.

    Exactly, it has long been established in Common Law that if a person carrying a gun profiles another person as being ‘suspicious’, and the gun carrying person follows the ‘suspicious’ person, and if the ‘suspicious’ person decides to confront the person with a gun, that that person has the right to shoot the ‘suspicious person. Blackstone addressed this back in the 18th century – he was prescient.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  81. James Pearce says:

    @Jeremy:

    So maybe without the gun, Zimmerman would be dead, and another black kid would be going off to prison.

    I find the idea that Martin’s hands could be, in some hypothetical scenario pulled from anal cavities, more dangerous than Zimmerman’s gun to be dubious, ridiculous, and unsupported by the facts.

    So to answer your question, no…..We cannot “stop putting the onus of all societal ills on the gun.” Thank you for asking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  82. al-Ameda says:

    @matt:

    You don’t know what would of happened without a gun. You don’t know he wouldn’t of had a knife or a club instead.

    In all likelihood, without the gun, Zimmerman would not have followed Martin. The gun gave him the courage to follow Martin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  83. michael reynolds says:

    @Jeremy:

    100% of gun deaths result from guns. True?

    This was a gun death, therefore it resulted from a gun. True?

    Zimmerman claims not to be some macho tough guy, yet he ignored common sense and went in search of a confrontation. Because he had a gun and knew he would prevail if there was trouble. Because in a fight gun beats Skittles. True?

    The willful, deliberate, self-imposed stupidity of the gun nut is an amazing thing to behold. Why not just take an ice pick and root around in your brain with it? You’d get the same result.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  84. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The medical evidence shows that Martin threw punches, Zimmerman did not. Therefore, Martin threw the first punch, the last punch, and every punch in between.

    Uh, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Jenoslogic in all its wonderfulness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  85. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    But, no, Zimmerman does not have to testify to see immunity.

    The point is that in a SYG hearing the state can call Zimmerman to the stand and cross examine him as a hostile witness. HL92 isn’t always right, but he is right here.
    Zimmerman on the stand would not do well, I think. There is a reason why Zimmerman didn’t exercise his right to testify in his defense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  86. pylon says:

    @JKB: They don’t have to, but in a positive defence jurisdiction, good luck with that strategy, since they have to prove they were in fear for their life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  87. pylon says:

    @JKB: LMFAO. You need to leave lawyering to lawyers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  88. Mikey says:

    @stonetools:

    There is a reason why Zimmerman didn’t exercise his right to testify in his defense.

    I wonder when that decision was made. Did the defense go into the trial planning to keep Zimmerman off the stand, or did they get a good way into it and decide Zimmerman’s testimony was not necessary?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. stonetools says:

    The current Florida self defense law is a monument to giving special privileges to the gun nut , thanks to ALEC and the NRA. It changed the law in 2005 to enshrine the “Stand Your Ground” doctrine into the criminal law on self defense, added a separate section immunizing gun users against civil lawsuits (the so called “Stand Your Ground hearing section) and made getting a CCW permit virtually automatic. Not surprisingly, it produced a trigger happy yahoo who went hunting trouble and who got away with killing someone when he found it. .
    This tragic death and Zimmerman’s acquittal just did not happen. It was the probable result of Florida legislation that granted special status to those who want to carry guns around and use them .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  90. C. Clavin says:

    @ M. Reynolds…
    Never Bring Skittles to a Gun-Fight.
    Be sure to share the t-shirt royalties with me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  91. JKB says:

    @stonetools: There is a reason why Zimmerman didn’t exercise his right to testify in his defense.

    The right is to not be compelled to testify, nor have not testifying used as evidence against the individual. The right limits what government can do not the individual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  92. C. Clavin says:

    Juror 37b, whose husband is an attorney, has signed with a literary agent.
    Now, a simple question: what makes for a better selling book…one in which Zimmerman is gound guilty, or one in which Zimmerman gets off?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  93. Sandman says:

    @al-Ameda:

    and ignored an instruction by the 9-1-1 dispatcher to not follow the kid

    Proof?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  94. JKB says:

    @Sandman:

    The proof is classified.

    Classified as Clinically Delusional

    But classified nevertheless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  95. george says:

    @anjin-san:

    Zimmermann is, of course, the architect of this tragedy. His desire to play cop and live out a hero fantasy led directly to Martin’s death.

    That about sums it up. I doubt he went into the situation thinking he was going to get a chance to kill someone. In fact, I doubt he was thinking much at all – as you say, he was playing cop.

    And as Reynolds pointed out, it was the gun that gave him the courage to try playing out his day-dreams.

    The solution to this situation isn’t in the court system (you’d need to change it to “guilty until proven innocent” to convict in a situation with no witnesses), but to make owning hand guns extremely restricted. Yeah, I know how likely that is in the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  96. al-Ameda says:

    @Sandman:

    @al-Ameda:
    and ignored an instruction by the 9-1-1 dispatcher to not follow the kid
    Proof?

    The proof is that clearly he was not waiting in his vehicle when he shot Martin.
    There, you’re welcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  97. Sandman says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Juror 37b, whose husband is an attorney, has signed with a literary agent.
    Now, a simple question: what makes for a better selling book…one in which Zimmerman is gound guilty, or one in which Zimmerman gets off?

    I thought only right-wingers were conspiracy theorists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  98. Sandman says:

    @al-Ameda:

    The proof is that clearly he was not waiting in his vehicle when he shot Martin.
    There, you’re welcome.

    Oh’ so we’re playing the “because I said so” game, not basing anything on facts? Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  99. al-Ameda says:

    @Sandman:

    Oh’ so we’re playing the “because I said so” game, not basing anything on facts? Got it.

    Do you read newspapers or watch reality-based news programming? Martin was not in his vehicle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  100. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “Remember, the long term goal of the left is to make everyone totally dependent upon the government.”

    We also want the official language to be Swedish. In addition, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  101. stonetools says:

    @george:

    The solution to this situation isn’t in the court system (you’d need to change it to “guilty until proven innocent” to convict in a situation with no witnesses), but to make owning hand guns extremely restricted. Yeah, I know how likely that is in the US.

    I’d settle for repealing the 2005 amendments in Florida ( and their copycat legislation in more than 20 other states). This is within reach.
    What the liberals need is their own version of ALEC, ready to propose model legislative packages that state and federal legislators can propose and pass into law. We probably need some catchier slogans too . “Duty to retreat” law is never going to sound as catchy and appealing to males as the John Wayne-ish “Stand Your Ground!”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  102. C. Clavin says:

    “…“Duty to retreat” law is never going to sound as catchy and appealing to males as the John Wayne-ish “Stand Your Ground!”…”

    It’ll never appeal to the 9mm muscle group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  103. rudderpedals says:

    @stonetools:

    One day hopefully not too far off we’ll see the headline “Vigilante Control Act repeals Stand Your Ground”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  104. RaflW says:

    @anjin-san:
    The cornerstone of this is absurd gun laws and a court system that defines self defense as walking up to an unarmed teen, harassing him until things get out of hand, and then shooting.

    How the hell that’s self defense is beyond me. Conservatives talk a big game about personal responsibility. But Zimmerman ignored direct instructions from the dispatcher to stay in his car, he tracked Martin down, engaged him, it went bad and he shot.

    Even some sort of reduced contributory negligent manslaughter would have indicated to Zimmerman and all the gun-toters out there that, hey, you have some degree of responsibility for what comes after your first stupid decision to engage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  105. Jill says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I agree. Its sad none of these others bother to get the facts, Zimmerman disengaged according to police dispatch, he never called 911, after following a person acting suspiciously while he was gasp on neighborhood watch protecting his neighbors. He had a gun, omg, to protect himself in an area where robberies and shootings happened often. Who are these idiots who make it about race?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  106. Jill says:

    @michael reynolds: How asinine.

    100% of car deaths result from car, therefore cars commit murder!
    We should outlaw them! Cars lead to highways, plastic, greenhouse gases, and cars kill 40000 Americans a year, don’t hear you bitching about them.

    If you actually read what did happen and followed the case you wouldn’t be spewing drivel about skittles, you must watch MSNBC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  107. anjin-san says:

    @ Jill

    Car accidents are, well, accidents.

    When you point a gun at another human being and pull the trigger, your intention is to kill them.

    There is a difference. A car is a highly useful device for transportation that can be very dangerous. We have gone to great efforts to make them safer, with some success, but they are still dangerous.

    Guns are designed to kill people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  108. anjin-san says:

    @ Jill

    while he was gasp on neighborhood watch

    This is patently untrue. Zimmermann broke neighborhood watches most important rules, and he has been utterly renounced and repudiated by the leadership of neighborhood watch. You don’t get to make up your own set of rules, then hide behind the legitimacy of an organization you completely disregarded and disrespected.

    protecting his neighbors

    Except his actions led to one of his neighbors burying his son. Some protection. I certainly know I don’t want any wannabe cops “protecting” me, my wife, my home, or my neighborhood. We have professionals for that. We pay them, we train them, we give them legal sanction. Let the pros handle it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  109. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Creating a duty to retreat gives power to bullies. I thought progressives were against bullying and want it to stop. Or was all the talk of putting a stop to bullying just something created by homosexuals to silence their critics? Why is the left arguing that bullying by blacks is totally OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  110. Rob in CT says:

    Creating a duty to retreat gives power to bullies

    The idea is that the law should serve to de-escalation, not escalate, potentially violent situations.

    I don’t believe that duty to retreat empowers bullies. Bullies tend to pick on weak targets. Mostly, the bullied do just want to get away.

    If you create a set of laws that serve to tell folks that what they REALLY outta do is arm themselves and stand their ground (yeah, you show that bully!) what you’re likely to get, IMO, is more violence, not less. The law essentially tells folks to escalate.

    And I really doubt the increased violence will serve to tamp down on bullying (and of course, when most people think of bullying, they think about stuff that’s going on in school, which doesn’t really have any connection to SYG law).

    Why is the left arguing that bullying by blacks is totally OK.

    Here on Earth Prime, no such thing is happening. I’m sorry that in your scary dreamworld people are saying “bullying by blacks” is ok.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  111. al-Ameda says:

    @Jill:

    Who are these idiots who make it about race?

    For one, the idiot was acquitted, and second conservative talk radio programming has quite a few idiots who remind us that it is definitely about race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0