Unless one has lived their entire life in a cave there is very little chance they have not heard that pithy phrase. And of course most know that it is attributed to Sgt. Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb on the 1960’s police drama, “Dragnet.” I still have that clip of Sgt. Friday, and his equally dispassionate partner, Bill Gannon, played by Harry Morgan of later MASH fame as Colonel Henry Potter locked in my head from seeing it so many times all those decades ago. And as I went researching that for this blog post I found it fortuitously even more germane than I imagined to the current subject, As Sgt. Joe Friday never said that. And isn’t that ironic, that I and probably many many more can both see and hear that video clip of Sgt. Friday dispassionately saying “Just the Facts Ma’am” in our heads when The facts are that he never said it: Nor did Harry Morgan. (You can find what Sgt. Friday actually said at: http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/dragnet.asp)
Likewise I find it incredibly amazing, and maddening beyond words (almost), to continually hear so many commentators, pundits, lawyers, experts, and virtually everyone before a camera or microphone today quoting or pointing out “facts” of the Zimmerman Martin case that never happened and simply do not exist. I find it especially maddening that so many blatant falsehoods are continually repeated, and believed by so many, when the real facts are so easy to find for anyone who really cares to know. And evidently, few really do. And although such unnecessary ignorance of the facts by so many is certainly their right, that so many couple that ignorance with proclaiming those ignorant and inaccurate (false) facts as pertinent and accurate facts of the case is as evil as say, profiling of a black youth simply because of his race or what he was wearing, which the FACTS show never happened, all OPINIONS to the contrary notwithstanding.
And in that vein of my suggestion that people should garner the facts rather than simply accept my, or anyone else’s opinion in the case before listening to any more of my input one should listen directly to the 911 tapes of the incident to ascertain if my analysis matches the facts or that I too am portraying them falsely. There are many copies of the Zimmerman 911 tapes available on the web from a quick Google search. Here is one such link that includes all of the 911 tapes of that night: http://trayvon.axiomamnesia.com/trayvon-martin-911-calls-audio/
OF HOODIES AND UNICORNS
So the first, and probably most widely spread LIE, stated as fact, is that Zimmerman stated or implied that Martin’s hoodie was a factor in his suspicions. As anyone can know as a certainty from simply listening to the actual 911 tape and from all of the police interview tapes and transcripts, Zimmerman never ever said or implied that the hoodie was a factor in his suspicions of Martin. The only mention Zimmerman made of the hoodie was directly in response to the dispatcher asking what Martin was wearing, to which Zimmerman replied: “A dark hoodie like a gray hoodie and either jeans or sweat pants, and white tennis shoes,” Regardless of this FACT virtually everyone, including those on both sides of the Zimmerman – Martin discussion have seemingly accepted as gospel truth that Zimmerman profiled Martin at least in part because of his “Gangsta Hoodie.” A whole industry has grown up around the false-fact that Zimmerman considered the hoodie as a factor in his suspicions. There have been “Million Hoodie Marches” (actually there were “hundreds” in attendance), congressmen, and whole sports teams and myriad public figures, and virtually everyone with a blog or twitter account has opined on the “fact” that Zimmerman profiled Martin’s hoodie. One is really left to wonder if it could perhaps be hoodie makers that are pushing this lie the hardest. And while one might ask why this particular lie is so important, especially considering “the fact” that black youths are “unfairly profiled” because of their hoodies; the importance is that this lie is a large factor undergirding the equally false fact that there is any evidence to show that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin. The FACT is that while Zimmerman may have racially profiled Martin in his own mind that night there is absolutely no evidence to bolster that other than the biased assumptions of the usual race-baiters, and their prey, and those who inherently profile whites as racially profiling them.
OF FACTS AND ASSUMPTIONS
Nothing could be clearer from the Zimmerman 911 tape that Zimmerman DID profile Martin because of his race. Zimmerman can clearly and unequivocally be heard to say “He looks suspicious; he looks black.” That truly is a scathing indictment of Zimmerman – if not for the FACT that that was a doctored tape and just as imaginary as Joe Friday’s quote, “Just the facts ma’am.” The FACT is that NBC outrageously doctored and released that tape to make it appear that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin. It is really a fascinating thing that NBC felt it necessary to doctor Zimmerman’s 911 tape to show “clear racial profiling” of Martin. One is left to wonder, why would NBC feel such need to go to such desperate lengths if there is so much real evidence of racial profiling available as so many proclaim? The simple and unassailable FACT is that no such FACTS exist. The real 911 tape shows that the “He looks suspicious” and “He looks black” statements by Zimmerman had nothing whatsoever to do with each other. The tape shows the dispatcher asking Zimmerman if Martin was “White, Black, or Hispanic” to which Zimmerman replied: “He looks black.”
Unwilling to let go of their assumptions portrayed as facts, the ever-vigilant race-baiters have now latched onto further statements on that 911 call wherein Zimmerman is heard to state: “He’s got his hands in his waistband… and he’s a black male.” Just as in the doctored 911 tape however there is a (short) gap between Zimmerman highlighting that Martin had his hand in his waistband and reiterating to the dispatcher that Martin was a “black male.” While one can credibly ASSUME that this is the usual white code-speak (Zimmerman is Hispanic), one could with the same credibility ASSUME that the two statements have nothing to do with each other. Though it could be helpful to those seeking a racial profiling connection to make the tenuous connection the dynamic situation could as easily explain them to those without an agenda or predisposition. Alternatively to the racial profiling assessment assigned to the two statements could just as credible be that Zimmerman had forgotten previously describing Martin to the dispatcher as a black male. This would seem especially true if race played no part in Zimmerman’s profiling of Martin. It is equally telling that Zimmerman in the next breath described Martin as having “a button on his shirt” which would be a difficult statement for the most ardent race-baiter to connect to racial profiling. When taken in context the evidence of that conversation indicates a George Zimmerman trying to describe Martin to the dispatcher with claims of his racial animus or racial profiling code-speak or bigoted “slips of the tongue” being at best, very flimsy.
And that, anyone who actually listens to the available 911 tape will see, is the entire extent of the “facts” and “evidence” of George Zimmerman’s profiling of Travon Martin that night. Yet still, unwilling to accept those facts the Martin sycophants, the race-baiters, and those with real and imagined anecdotes and claims of continuing racial profiling and oppression of blacks, continue to desperately search George Zimmerman’s entire life history for any signs of open or concealed bigotry. Another common claim as fact is that Zimmerman has a clear history of profiling blacks in the neighborhood as potential criminals. While those making such claims as loudly and repeatedly and broadly as possible to anyone and everyone that will listen such claims are simply not facts. While they may be facts, absent documentation of such, they can as easily be simple desperate slander of George Zimmerman. While there is also many claims of Zimmerman’s racial harmony, mentoring of black youth, taking a black girl to the prom, etc., good people will never accept claims for or against Zimmerman’s case unless and until they have adequately vetted those facts. Unfortunately the common nature of man seems to be to simply accept those facts supporting what they already believe and reject any facts in opposition to their presuppositions. While that is not morally wrong to assess the world in that way is evil to make allegations about a man’s heart or actions based upon such a poor way of assessing truth.
CHICKEN AND EGGS
Even if we take such claims of evidence of inordinate numbers of local black youth racially profiled by Zimmerman as proven fact we are still, at best, left with the tired old chicken-and-egg dichotomy of whether Zimmerman profiled too many black youth, or that too many black youth were proven to be committing crimes in the neighborhood, thus making profiling logical, if not politically-correct. And while claimed interviews of these local black youth reportedly elicited that they felt disproportionately and unfairly profiled by Zimmerman, such in no way proves or disproves whether these were actually criminals, or that Zimmerman profiled them because of their race. Nothing in their suspicions or claims against Zimmerman shows that he was not actually suspicious of them because they perhaps appeared to be casing houses or other suspicious behaviors having nothing to do with their race or physical appearance or attire.
And those suspicions actually articulated by Zimmerman on the 911 tapes and in subsequent interviews with police officers investigating the incident are available to anyone preferring facts over ignorant assumptions and irresponsible proclamations.
SO DID ZIMMERMAN PROFILE MARTIN?
Absolutely. Profiling potential criminals is the sole purpose of any neighborhood watch. The factors that Zimmerman considered however, are clearly shown in the 911 tape, and show absolutely nothing to do with his race, physical appearance, or attire. Zimmerman’s statements to the 911 operator are clear, unequivocal, and show Zimmerman to be suspicious that Martin was, contrary to virtually all reporting, not traveling anywhere but was instead just standing around in heavy rain seeming to be “just staring, looking at all the houses.” Zimmerman reiterated twice that Martin was strangely just looking around in the rain at all the houses. Zimmerman opined that he appeared to be ACTING strangely. His actual statement(s) were:
“He looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. He’s just walking around looking about.”
“He’s (unintelligible) just staring, looking at all the houses.”
In subsequent interviews with the police Zimmerman again reiterated that he thought it strange and suspicious that Martin was just standing around in the rain rather than traveling somewhere to get out of the rain. Clearly Zimmerman was sitting still in his parked truck watching Martin as he described him to the 911 dispatcher. Zimmerman then tells the dispatcher that Martin then apparently sees Zimmerman looking at him from his truck and approaches the truck, and only then does Martin take off … ”running.” This is 2 minutes and eight seconds into the 911 call that Zimmerman is clearly parked and watching Martin before Martin actually starts traveling anywhere (running). And this seems even now to me, a strangely long time for someone to be relatively stationary in the rain if as reported, they are simply trying to get back to the second half of a football game after a Skittles run.
And while it is not my intent to revisit, reanalyze, and retry the abundant circumstantial and physical evidence ad infinitum and ad nauseum as so many are, my intent is to show that there is abundant evidence to show Zimmerman legitimately profiled Martin because of his ostensibly suspicious actions and no evidence whatsoever to indicate his profiling of him based upon his race, appearance, or attire.
And one last widely reported “fact” that simply does not exist. Virtually all, on both sides of the issue, and even the defense have proclaimed that Martin was simply traveling home, and that Zimmerman misinterpreted his actions and intentions. While that ASSUMPTION is one possibility it is not FACT, nor bolstered by any FACT. While there seems to be no actual evidence other that Zimmerman’s assessment of Martin’s behavior that Martin was actually up to something, such as casing houses, that lack of evidence actually cuts both ways. That Martin was returning in the general direction of home from 7-11 with Skittles is irrelevant to his actions as he traveled. There is nothing in evidence to say that Martin’s Skittles run was not an excuse to case houses for future crimes as he traveled. Likewise talking to Rachel Jeantel on the phone is no evidence for or against ill intent or actions. While there is no evidence that Martin was actually talking to Jeantel about future burglary prospects, there is conversely, no evidence that he was not. And while we can assume and we can believe that Martin was not casing houses as he traveled, repeating those assumptions loudly, widely and incessantly cannot convert those assumptions and beliefs to facts.
So, though what Sgt. Joe Friday actually said is an incontrovertibly true statement “All we know are the facts ma’am,” Far too many are proclaiming that they “know” so much more than, and contrary to the actual facts.