RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman aftermath 1: the New York Times continues to lie...

...and I say lie advisedly, because it is inconceivable, after so much attention was paid to the trial, that the Editorial Board of a major newspaper could still be getting this wrong.
The jury reached its verdict after having been asked to consider Mr. Zimmerman’s actions in light of Florida’s now-notorious Stand Your Ground statute. Under that law, versions of which are on the books in two dozen states, a person may use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm — a low bar that the prosecutors in this case fought in vain to overcome.
First, the jury was never asked to consider Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Stand Your Ground was never an element in the trial, and the defense conspicuously waived a Stand Your Ground hearing before the trial. Stand Your Ground modifies or removes the duty to retreat, and it is not relevant when, like George Zimmerman, you are lying on the concrete with a 17 year old thug-in-training* pounding your head into it. Unless, that is, an ability to melt into the concrete is one of your super-powers.

The New York Times hates Florida's Stand Your Ground law. That is not an excuse for lying about it.

Second, what they cite is not Stand Your Ground, but the ordinary standard of self-defense -- a reasonable belief you are in danger of death or grievous body harm (and how can one believe oneself in danger of GBH and not of death?) -- used, with some variation, in all 50 states, including New York.

* more fun with this later on.
(7/16/2013) Jacob Sullum has made the same point in far greater detail here. People have made the argument 'stand your ground' was covered in the jury instructions. This is because the Florida Supreme Court has a standard boilerplate set of jury instructions for justifiable use of deadly force.

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