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Whatever rings Mel's bells

Archive for March, 2012

Script Frenzy

Tomorrow starts “Writing Insanity: The Spring Session.”

Not content with spending copious amounts of time and energy and frustration in November on National Novel Writing Month, I have decided to compound the insanity by doing Script Frenzy this year.  SF is similar to NaNoWriMo, except you write a hundred pages of script and you do it in April.

I’ve never written a movie script.  I’ve never actually seen a movie script.  But I’m going to try and do this anyways.  Why?  I don’t really know.  Just seems like it might be fun.  There’s no pressure, since I’m not doing it WITH anyone, and I’m not going in expecting to win.  But it will be interesting to see what pops out of my brain.

For more info you can go to the Script Frenzy website.

Trayvon Martin

Yeah, I know.  It’s a hot button issue and I should probably keep my nose out of it.  But apparently my good sense isn’t in charge these days, because I started listening to the 911 tapes yesterday and I heard some things that seem to clearly indicate what happened.

First of all, I’d like to point out that the facts aren’t all out there for us to see.  So any opinions we form at this point will be incomplete at best, and absolute crap at worst.  But there seem to be a few things that are not being disputed.

1.  Zimmerman was the organizer of his neighborhood watch program, in a neighborhood that had recently experienced several break-ins.  He saw a young man he did not recognize and reported him to 911.

2.  Zimmerman was told by the 911 dispatcher not to pursue or approach the person he saw, direction which he ignored.

3.  Martin saw Zimmerman and ran away from him.  Zimmerman followed Martin and confronted him.  A few minutes later, when the two men were behind a house, Zimmerman shot Martin, killing him.  Several people called the police and reported screaming, fighting, and gunshots.

The big question is, What happened when Zimmerman caught up with Martin?

One of the citizens who called in said, “The guy on top has a white t-shirt.”  Martin was wearing a dark grey hoodie, so it looks like Zimmerman’s claim that Martin pushed him down is crap.

Another resident who called stated that she heard moaning and begging, followed by gunshots.  Again, that doesn’t seem consistent with a fight.  One person who heard and was very concerned about the screaming was reassured that the person she heard was still alive.

Martin’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him when Zimmerman first confronted him, says that Martin was trying to get away from Zimmerman and was scared.  This is borne out by the 911 recording I listened to, in which I heard Zimmerman telling the dispatcher that he was following Martin, and giving him directions such as “He just went around the corner,” and “There he is.”

Autopsy results haven’t been released yet, which is apparently SOP at this point in an investigation, but the funeral director who prepared his body has stated that he saw no evidence of a fight, specifically referring to a lack of bruising or scrapes to Martin’s hands and/or knuckles.

So what are we supposed to think from all this?  What conclusion is rational, given the evidence we have now?

Well, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Zimmerman got himself worked up over a genuine concern (the safety of his neighborhood and his neighbors), but took it too far.  He should have backed off when he was told to.  That was his first mistake – he didn’t report it and let the cops do their job.

Second, I’m going to put 2+2+2 together (Zimmerman pursued Martin, Martin tried to get away, the girlfriend heard the beginning of a verbal altercation with Zimmerman as the aggressor) and POSIT that at some point Martin decided to stand up for himself.  You see, there’s a law in Florida (called a Stand Your Ground law) that states, when someone threatens you, you have the right to fight back, including the use of deadly force if you think it’s needed.  In fact, it’s been invoked by some reporters as a defense for the shooting: Martin was threatening Zimmerman, Zimmerman defended himself.  End of story.

Except we’re talking about the armed aggressor pursuing an unarmed innocent and ultimately shooting him.  The kid didn’t do anything wrong, for god’s sake!  And here’s this middle-aged man, chasing after him, giving him an attitude for no discernible reason.  Do you really think Martin wouldn’t have come back at Zimmerman?  Do you really imagine a 17-year-old male who was accosted without cause, walking through a strange neighborhood at night, pursued by god-knows-who with god-knows-what intentions, isn’t going to put on the bravest, boldest, most testosterone-charged face he has, to fend off the attacker?

Yeah.  I didn’t think so.  17-year-old kids aren’t known for being the best at making conciliatory or diplomatic gestures.  You know who’s supposed to be known for being more reasonable?  Grown men in positions of authority and responsibility.  Men like 28-year-old George Zimmerman, the neighborhood block watch captain.  The guy who volunteered for a position that first and foremost entails keeping people safe.  The guy who, as he was reporting Martin’s presence, started out by saying, “These @$$holes always get away.”  Oops.  that doesn’t sound very responsible to me.

So maybe it all came down to two male egos.  Each man thinking he was in the right, each man thinking the other was inexcusably wrong.  Neither man willing to back down.

This is my opinion.  This is only an opinion.  Any resemblance this opinion bears to the reality of the events in question may unfortunately be tenuous at best.

But I hope it’s pretty close.  In fact, I’d be lying if I told you I’m not pretty certain that this is exactly what happened.

Then again, my opinion doesn’t really matter in this.  I’m not connected to the case, I’m not even a resident of the state where it happened.  But sometimes I just hear all the hype and get the urge to try and figure it out for myself.

And really, this event does inform certain aspects of my life.  For example, as a gun owner in an open carry state, where I might choose to wear one of my weapons out in public, it points out to me that whatever I am armed with, be it a handgun or my razor-sharp wit, I have the responsibility to use it wisely.  And sometimes that means not using the weapons I have available to me.

I’m not even going to get into the question of police misconduct.  From what I’m reading, that’s a whole ‘nother hairy ball of wax that will take another day of investigation just to get the bare bones.  And I have too much on my plate to dig into this any further right now.  Besides, many of those facts haven’t come out yet.  Like what exactly was the “conflict of interest” that caused the head prosecutor Norm Wolfinger to resign? And what evidence did the responding officers see that caused them to believe Zimmerman that Martin attacked him?  And what exactly were the extent of the injuries to each party?

So maybe next week.

Birthday thoughts

Obviously updating my blog has not really been much of a priority for 2012…  So it’s about time I fix that.  I shall begin by posting here a bit of life commentary I wrote today.

34 years ago today at 1:39 in the morning, my mother and a doctor she didn’t really like that much got to introduce me to this world. When I was a wee thing (six-ish perhaps?) I nearly got swept away by a river. About ten years after that I was thrown from a horse and fell wrong, and got the immense joy of laying on the ground, unable to move, wondering if I would ever walk again. (Spoiler alert: I did.) Eight years after that, during an incredibly difficult part of my life, I decided I was done with it all and started planning my exit strategy. (Spoiler alert: I changed my mind.)

Every day now, I get up and choose what kind of day I’m going to have. Every day I choose what kind of life I’m going to lead. I’m not gonna lie to you, some days I don’t make good choices. AT ALL. But you know what? It’s pretty darned incredible to look at my life; at what I’ve done and where I’ve been. It’s pretty darned exciting to see all the potential, to look at my bucket list and know that it’s a pretty safe assumption that I’ll live long enough to knock a good number of things off. It’s pretty darned encouraging to know that I have people to share this life with, from casual friends that I rarely see to dear ones that I spend a great deal of time with. It’s pretty darned humbling to read about people who have done more with their lives when they have less to work with than I do.

So every day I get up, and I’m proud that more often than not, I choose to do good and useful things with my life. I choose to do right and to help those around me. I choose to learn so that I can make even better choices.

I’m not perfect. And life isn’t perfect either. But I’m awfully fond of it, and I’m very happy to be here. And I’m soooooo excited to see what the other two thirds of it are going to hold!

It’s a good day. 😀