George Zimmerman Wants Your Money

George Zimmerman has set up a web site with a Paypal button, asking for donations for his living expenses and legal defense.  That’s one Paypal button I’m never going to click.

He writes, “I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life.”

Well, boo hoo.  He should have thought about that before he went driving around with a gun looking for trouble.  Because I believe that if you go looking for trouble, you will definitely find it.  Especially if you take a gun along with you.

As for being forced to leave his life,  I think that accurately describes Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s legal team say they are no longing working for him.

SCOTUS Strips Us of Our Rights (and Dignity)

The Supreme Court has decided, 5-4 of course, that you can be strip searched when arrested for any reason, even the most minor of misdemeanors.*  The usual suspects (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy) voted in favor of strip searches.

In his dissent, Justice Breyer wrote that strip searches should be allowed only for serious charges and then only if there is a reasonable suspicion that justifies the search, such as a concern that the person is hiding weapons or drugs.  Under the majority’s ruling, neither of these standards would have to be met.

Americans have been strip searched when they were arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, not using their turn signal, and riding a bike without a bell.  A nun was strip searched after being arrested at an anti-war demonstration.

In the case at hand, Albert Florence was strip searched twice when he was wrongly arrested for a ticket that he had already paid.  So if you think it can’t or won’t happen to you because you’re so law-abiding, think again.

This is a terrible ruling that will have a chilling effect on people exercising their First Amendment rights.  I think people are less likely to come out for Trayvon Martin or Occupy Wall Street or any other cause, if they face the indignity and humiliation of a strip search when arrested on even the most minor charge.

This is the sort of stuff that happens to those arrested under tyrannical regimes that don’t tolerate dissent.  We saw such tactics during the Arab Spring.  Apparently this is our American Spring.

* Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington

Quote of the Day

“White supremacist sites, some of which have been followed in the mainstream press, have been busy hacking every aspect of Trayvon’s digital life, including his email, and using the material to imply he was a pothead and perhaps a dealer.  Most of those accounts didn’t mention all of the correspondence about SAT tests and scholarship applications. You find what you look for, I guess.”

David Carr, “A Shooting, and Instant Polarization,” NYT

Charles Blow on Trayvon the Person, Not the Symbol

From Charles Blow’s lovely column (“A Mother’s Grace and Grieving”) at the NYT about Trayvon Martin:

“He was a smart boy who had taken advanced English and math classes, and he planned to go to college.

“He was a hard worker who earned extra money by painting houses, and washing cars and working in the concession of the Pee Wee football league on the weekends.  He also baby-sat for his younger cousins, two adorable little girls, ages 3 and 7, whom the family called the bunnies, and when he watched the girls he baked them cookies.

“The only fight his mother could ever recall his having was with his own brother when Trayvon was about 4 and the brother was 8.  They were fighting for her attention, and it wasn’t even a real fight.

“To believe Zimmerman’s scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschoooler, chose that night and that man to attack.  You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster.  You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.

[I]t is important to not let Trayvon the person be lost to Trayvon [the] symbol.  He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him.”