Open Discussion Regarding Establishing Guidelines and Rules for Users

I just banned Terrance Jones from this site after warning him yesterday to stop misrepresenting the evidence and insulting people. He was quite abusive and I have no doubt that his absence is a relief to many of you.

Me too.

Unfortunately, we are likely to encounter more trolls and I want to establish a set of guidelines and rules to refer to in deciding whether to banish someone.

I don’t want a long list of rules, but some sort of guidelines seems reasonable, so I am soliciting suggestions.

Here are a few of mine to start the discussion.

I do not want an echo chamber. I want to encourage evidence-based debate in which the ideas expressed stand or fall on their own without regard to whether people like or dislike the person who expressed them.

I want people to feel safe here, so they will not be afraid to express their ideas.

I want people to follow the Golden Rule and treat each other with respect.

Sarcasm and snark are welcome, as long as it isn’t personal.

Now, let me here from y’all.

80 Responses to Open Discussion Regarding Establishing Guidelines and Rules for Users

  1. I have a new post up setting forth the guidelines and rules for the site:

    Welcome to My House

  2. ajamazin says:

    The Frederick Leatherman Law Blog is most interesting and highly informative.

    It is a privilege to participate in the discussions, not a right.

    I defer to the professor’s judgment re: Commenting Guidelines.

    Thank you!

  3. TruthBTold says:

    It is so obvious that these new multiple posters and posts are Terrance Jones. I wish this site was set-up in a way where you can ban a person’s IP address, so he or she won’t be able to register with new usernames from the same computer.

    • Recreantnejos says:

      Those are quite the allegations. The professor has already said he “figured out how to ban someone by Name and IP address.” So, I must not be the droid you’re looking for.

      Maybe you should work on tolerating minority viewpoints instead of crying out for the ban-hammer for posters with opinions you don’t like.

      • aussie says:

        Nothing wrong with a minority or opposing viewpoint — but please base it on evidence or at least speculations based on evidence.

        “Evidence” does not include earlier statements anywhere that have been proven to be wrong (eg TM’s knuckles being covered in blood GZ’s injuries being life-threatening, TM being a gang member and/or drug dealer etc).

        “Evidence” does not include pure allegations (eg that TM attacked GZ) or imputations of motive that are not backed by other evidence (eg there is no evidence TM had a violent history so claims that he attacked because he was a thug are not evidence based; that GZ followed TM at least part of the way is in evidence through his own NEN call; looking at motive he does have a recorded history of violence) etc etc etc

        Repeated refusal to show evidential backing for anything you say will also be taken as trolling, not as expressing a minority viewpoint.

        Tthis blog is not about slanging off at each other, but about producing the evidences that have caused us to reach our viewpoints. Legal arguments, if you like, not just plain opinions.

        • By “evidence” I am referring to information in the police reports, lab reports, medical reports, the Medical Examiner’s Report and witness statements, including the defendant’ many statements.

          Although statements by the lawyers are not evidence, what they say is fair game for comment, as are their legal pleadings and all of the court’s orders.

      • Recreantnejos says:

        aussie says:
        July 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm
        \”Nothing wrong with a minority or opposing viewpoint — but please base it on evidence or at least speculations based on evidence.\”
        — With the exception of a misinterpretation of DNA, it seems to me he pointed to evidence to back up his claims.

        \”“Evidence” does not include earlier statements anywhere that have been proven to be wrong (eg TM’s knuckles being covered in blood GZ’s injuries being life-threatening, TM being a gang member and/or drug dealer etc).\”
        — The last two have been neither proven nor disproven. I can\’t count the times I\’ve read things about Zimmerman that there is either no evidence for or that are contradicted by massive evidence.

        \”“Evidence” does not include pure allegations (eg that TM attacked GZ) or imputations of motive that are not backed by other evidence (eg there is no evidence TM had a violent history so claims that he attacked because he was a thug are not evidence based; that GZ followed TM at least part of the way is in evidence through his own NEN call; looking at motive he does have a recorded history of violence) etc etc etc\”\”
        So saying that Trayvon attacked GZ because he identified with thug-like behavior is NOT OK. But it IS OK to say that Zimmerman is a racist, evil, a sociopath, that he premeditated Trayvon\’s murder, etc. Got it. Seems very fair and balanced to me.

      • aussie says:

        Recreantnejos
        “because he identified with thug-like behavior” there is no evidence for. Also none for such identifying actually causing someone to attack someone else. On the other side there is evidence of arrests (if not convictions) for violence which better support a theory of his having started the altercation. Racism is displayed on his own MySpace page and and testified to by at least 2 character witnesses.

        I don’t believe anyone said GZ premeditated the killing.

        If you see anything here that is “contradicted by massive evidence”, then the right thing for you to do is put that evidence here…. not go name-calling other posters. Weighing up the evidence is what it’s about.

        Sometimes interpretations and theories are introduced to try making sense of the evidence we have. That is not the same as claiming those theories are “true facts”. The theories are put up specifically so others can examine them and try to knock them down.

        • “The theories are put up specifically so others can examine them and try to knock them down.”

          Yes, indeed. Scientists do this all the time. They call it the scientific method.

          • ajamazin says:

            Professor,

            Scientific method/

            Et tu, Brutus?

            On another thread, I wrote re: the “theory”, more accurately termed
            hypothesis, that some of us entertain that Zimmerman did not act alone:

            “A conspiracy is a crime planned/perpetrated by 2 or more people.
            A conspiracy theory does not imply delusional thinking or paranoia.

            A conspiracy theory is often the basis for solving a crime.”

            Recreantnejos countered with

            ““A conspiracy theory does not imply delusional thinking or paranoia.”

            Groundless ones that are outside the bounds of reason do.
            My understanding is that discussions are supposed to be evidence-based.

            If I were to present a theory about Trayvon attacking Zimmerman as part of his initiation into a local gang, how quickly would the forum call for the ban-hammer?”

            aussie added

            “I don’t believe “conspiracy theory” and “theory of conspiracy” are quite the same.

            Conspiracy theories surrounding this case are along the lines of who is pushing it to cause what riots for whose political advantage.

            “………“Hypothesis” would be a better way of stating the idea that perhaps there was another person knowingly involved IN THE KILLING. …..”

            Professor, I thought my head would explode!

            How could I address these comments without first clarifying the
            terms, the concepts, the methodology…..?

            Your thoughts Professor, please?

            [I recently earned my doctorate and my brain is still numb.]

          • Congratulations on earning your PhD!

            You are absolutely right to propose the hypothesis that George Zimmerman may have premeditated Trayvon Martin’s death and he did not act alone.

            The question you ask is legitimate because of the apparent coincidence that GZ just happened to see TM that rainy Sunday night around 7 pm.

            I think it’s always legitimate to question whether apparent coincidences are coincidences or something else.

            We now have so many examples of inconsistent statements and outright lies by GZ that everything he says should be subject to question.

            His story about going shopping at Target with his wife for the weekly groceries after mentoring minority children sounds extremely dubious, given the lack of any independent corroborating evidence that any part of that story is true.

            It’s also reasonable to ask where his wife was and why he believed it was necessary to take his gun to go shopping.

            I do not care whether he could legally do so. That is irrelevant.

            Why did he take it with him?

            One thing I have wondered about is whether he had a grocery list. If he did, the police should have seized it when they took his clothes.

            If he did not have one, I would be inclined to conclude that he was not on his way to Target to shop for groceries.

            I do not believe his story about mentoring children and I will not believe it until the children and their parents come forward and confirm it.

            Since they have not done so, I now regard his account for being where he was when he encountered TM to be a total lie.

            Therefore, I ask myself why he would fabricate such a story?

            The only answer I can come up with is that he did it to conceal that his spotting TM and pursuing him was not due to a coincidence.

            Your hypothesis is justified, but we still do not know why he was there.

            The prosecutors may know the answer, but I doubt it because the answer might turn this case into Murder 1.

            Good work.

      • Prof,

        I can’t help but notice this last reply of yours has no factual basis to support it.

        “You are absolutely right to propose the hypothesis that George Zimmerman may have premeditated Trayvon Martin’s death and he did not act alone.”

        Why would this be absolutely right to propose? Many legal minds were shocked by the 2nd degree murder charge and have commented on the weakness of the probable cause affidavit, yet you support proposing a harsher charge than the Prosecutor? Based on what evidence?

        —–

        “The question you ask is legitimate because of the apparent coincidence that GZ just happened to see TM that rainy Sunday night around 7 pm.”

        Circumstances happen by coincidence all the time. To suggest there is more, requires some factual basis for that conjecture. What is yours or ajamazin’s?

        —-

        “I think it’s always legitimate to question whether apparent coincidences are coincidences or something else.”

        I would agree, in general, but when a “rule” of sorts has been established to remind people that legitimate, fact-based discussions are encouraged, it would also imply that discussions not based on facts or evidence are discouraged, so I’m perplexed by your encouragement of this particular argument.

        —-

        “We now have so many examples of inconsistent statements and outright lies by GZ that everything he says should be subject to question.”

        This is why evidence is so important. My previous experience has made me a very cynical person and, as such, there is very little I believe from any one person, except my wife. Inconsistencies about events prior to the altercation, unless they uncover some act of preemption, are actually irrelevant, since both Martin and Zimmerman were acting within the law.

        —-

        “His story about going shopping at Target with his wife for the weekly groceries after mentoring minority children sounds extremely dubious, given the lack of any independent corroborating evidence that any part of that story is true.”

        Irrelevant without some evidence suggesting there was a preemptive element to the act.

        —-

        “It’s also reasonable to ask where his wife was and why he believed it was necessary to take his gun to go shopping.

        I do not care whether he could legally do so. That is irrelevant.

        Why did he take it with him?”

        People carry their firearms all over the place. After a short while, it becomes habit and one doesn’t even think about it. When people ask these questions, as I’ve seen before, I think it says more about their disagreement with right to carry laws than it does about the individual carrying.

        —-

        “One thing I have wondered about is whether he had a grocery list. If he did, the police should have seized it when they took his clothes.

        If he did not have one, I would be inclined to conclude that he was not on his way to Target to shop for groceries.”

        I never take a paper grocery list; I use my iPhone. This would be an example of your inclination to jump to a conclusion without evidence.

        —–

        “I do not believe his story about mentoring children and I will not believe it until the children and their parents come forward and confirm it.

        Since they have not done so, I now regard his account for being where he was when he encountered TM to be a total lie.”

        Irrelevant without some evidence suggesting there was a preemptive element to the act.

        —-

        “Therefore, I ask myself why he would fabricate such a story?

        The only answer I can come up with is that he did it to conceal that his spotting TM and pursuing him was not due to a coincidence.

        Your hypothesis is justified, but we still do not know why he was there.

        The prosecutors may know the answer, but I doubt it because the answer might turn this case into Murder 1.”

        Exactly. The Prosecution would have charged 1st degree murder if there was any evidence to suggest it. Since there is not, they have not. Speculation about what-ifs or could-bes does not help anyone if they truly wish to see what the facts say.

        • You said,

          I can’t help but notice this last reply of yours has no factual basis to support it.

          “You are absolutely right to propose the hypothesis that George Zimmerman may have premeditated Trayvon Martin’s death and he did not act alone.”

          Why would this be absolutely right to propose? Many legal minds were shocked by the 2nd degree murder charge and have commented on the weakness of the probable cause affidavit, yet you support proposing a harsher charge than the Prosecutor? Based on what evidence?

          So what, if “many legal minds were shocked by the 2nd degree murder charge and have commented on the weakness of the probable cause affidavit.”

          I think for myself, as anyone should, and my legal mind, which isn’t made out of chopped liver by the way, was not shocked by the alleged insufficiency of the affidavit of probable cause. I thought the argument was a pro forma objection that every lawyer makes with no expectation of winning. In other words, it was basically a waste of time and just for show without any real substance.

          Besides the issue is ancient history. The Court denied the motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause and we are now at least two months downstream. There was no appeal and the issue, assuming for the sake of argument that there was an issue, has washed out and will never be an issue on appeal, assuming there is a conviction and an appeal. I can think of no valid reason for Zimmerman supporters to keep beating this dead horse as though it were something that matters No amount of whining and hand wringing is going to resuscitate the horse and bring it back to life. There are far more important issues to discuss.

          Now, regarding your comment that I support proposing a harsher charge than the prosecutors decided to charge.

          You mischaracterized what I said because I never recommended charging GZ with Murder 1.

          This is what I said,

          I said maybe it was a coincidence that their [GZ and TM] paths crossed [that night] according to chance and maybe it wasn’t.

          I assume GZ lies about everything because we have caught him in so many lies that he is unworthy of belief.

          Therefore, I question whether he told the truth when he said he was on the way to Target to do the weekly grocery shopping after mentoring children with his wife.

          Absent independent verification of his statement that has not been forthcoming, I will continue to assume that he lied.

          The question is, Why?

          I do not know the answer, except to say that I suspect he is covering up something that he does not want the public to know.

          If I were investigating this case, I would be searching for that answer.

          I added that there is a possibility that such an investigation might bear fruit and for that reason alone, a trained investigator should pursue it and confirm or deny the possibility that GZ was covering up some activity he does not want us to know.

          Let us suppose for the sake of argument that GZ was engaged in some form of criminal activity. The prosecution would know what it was and might seek to introduce it or might not. Rule 404(b) would govern the admissibility of such evidence.

          Or, let us suppose that the investigation turns up evidence that GZ had targeted TM and the murder was premeditated. If that were the case, the prosecution would be justified in presenting its evidence to a grand jury and asking them to return an indictment charging Murder 1.

          The investigation will continue until the case is submitted to the jury. We are still in the early part of the process and there is absolutely no good reason to close the book on George Zimmerman yet.

          So, you see I approved of the process of thinking about the case and asking questions. If that process is not followed to its logical conclusion the police and defense investigators are not doing their jobs competently and professionally.

          I trained my mind long ago to think this way and I have had a lot of success uncovering significant evidence that changed my perspective and approach to a case that I was handling.

          To criticize the process of periodically reviewing a case and asking new questions on the ground that the specific facts you suspect and want to confirm or eliminate are not yet known simply makes no sense

          I actually doubt you disagree with my statement now that I have explained what I said and why I said it.

          Please read what I write more carefully before you comment.

        • You said,

          Circumstances happen by coincidence all the time. To suggest there is more, requires some factual basis for that conjecture. What is yours or ajamazin’s?

          I cannot speak for ajamazin, but I happen to believe that there are no coincidences. I do not literally mean all coincidences are meaningful, but I am open to that possibility and many wonderful things have happened to me as a result of approaching my life in that fashion

          I approached my law practice with that thought ever present in my mind and used it to considerable success in trial.

          A person cannot learn anything or grow in wisdom, if they never challenge authority, ask questions and think outside the box.

          You seem to favor cutting off inquiry and ignoring your instincts unless you have facts and a logical reason to justify expending some time and effort to investigate a line of inquiry. That probably seems eminently practical and self-evident to you, but I am creative and curious by nature and regard your viewpoint as far too rigid.

          We might make a good team, if we worked together because we would balance each other out. On the other hand, we might be at each other’s throats constantly disagreeing on tactics.

          I can’t tell you how many times I have flown by the seat of my pants operating on instinct during trials, particularly during jury selection and cross examination, making connections and discovering stuff that I never imagined existed.

        • “I think it’s always legitimate to question whether apparent coincidences are coincidences or something else.”

          I would agree, in general, but when a “rule” of sorts has been established to remind people that legitimate, fact-based discussions are encouraged, it would also imply that discussions not based on facts or evidence are discouraged, so I’m perplexed by your encouragement of this particular argument.

          You misunderstand.

          Evidence based discussion is the goal, but you have to have facts or evidence to have that sort of discussion.

          The purpose of investigation is to discover those facts.

          Asking what if, and conducting an investigation to confirm or eliminate a theory is standard practice and this is why I always worked with an investigator and never assumed that the information obtained in discovery was the end of the inquiry. For me, it was just the beginning and looking for things that seemed out of place or coincidences that seemed unusual for the most part led to the discovery of additional important information that we never would have found if we had not asked what if.

          Granted, sometimes the inquiry leads nowhere or conclusively refutes the theory, but this is a process that must be followed until all inquiries have been exhausted.

          Whenever I started a trial, I was confident that there would be no surprises because I had already explored all of the possibilities before jury selection started and worked through all of the evidence-based discussions with the defense team.

          I suspect you misunderstand what I have been saying.

        • “We now have so many examples of inconsistent statements and outright lies by GZ that everything he says should be subject to question.”

          This is why evidence is so important. My previous experience has made me a very cynical person and, as such, there is very little I believe from any one person, except my wife. Inconsistencies about events prior to the altercation, unless they uncover some act of preemption, are actually irrelevant, since both Martin and Zimmerman were acting within the law.

          I’m certain your wife will be happy to hear that you said that. The way my mind works, however, I instantly noticed that statement and asked myself why you inserted it in your sentence. Now, I’m not going to play the speculation game because I don’t think it’s appropriate in this forum at this time. I’m just using your sentence as an example to explain how my mind works.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am capable of linear thinking and use it like a tool to accomplish certain tasks that it is uniquely capable of performing well. But I do not identify with my logical mind.

          I’ve said this before in this forum and I used to tell my students to always listen to their instincts and learn to trust and follow them. Like the logical mind, they are a tool that can be used to make new discoveries and learn new things.

          Ultimately, I follow the scientific method forming theories, conducting investigations to test those theories, and reviewing the evidence collected to determine whether the theory is true or false.

          Is the picture coming into focus?

          Okay, now I will adamantly disagree with this statement that you made:

          Inconsistencies about events prior to the altercation, unless they uncover some act of preemption, are actually irrelevant, since both Martin and Zimmerman were acting within the law.

          That statement makes absolutely no sense and it’s a statement that a lot of Zimmerman supporters, including a lot of lawyers have made.

          Here’s what’s wrong with it.

          To decide what actually happened, we have to look first at the physical evidence and when we have that figured out, we will take a look at Zimmerman’s statements to determine if they are consistent or inconsistent with the physical evidence.

          Next, we will organize and sort the inconsistencies and contradictions according to their materiality. Then we look for patterns asking ourselves whether there is a discernible pattern to his material inconsistencies and contradictions. The most obvious one is his refusal to admit that he followed Martin. Instead, he admits to walking in the same direction, but he claims he intended to walk over to RVC to find an address to give the dispatcher to provide to the officer en route to the scene.

          He did not explain why an address on RVC would be a good place to meet the cop when his vehicle was parked on TTL.

          But he never provides an address and, as it turns out, the location where he parked his vehicle on TTL was right in front of the entrances to the townhouses located in the building right in front of his face. He could not have failed to notice those addresses by the front doors of the townhouses in that building, because he had to walk toward them on his way to the cut-through to RVC. Nevertheless, he did not provide an address on TTL, which would have been the logical thing to do because his vehicle was parked there at a location easily accessible by the cop entering the front entrance and driving past the clubhouse following TTL to his vehicle. Yet he did not provide an address on TTL to the dispatcher, either.

          Instead, he told the dispatcher to have the cop call his cell phone when the cop arrived in the neighborhood.

          Now we have to ask ourselves why, if he was not following Martin as he claimed, he did not wait in his vehicle or immediately return to it when the dispatcher told him not to follow Martin?

          Why did he not provide the dispatcher with the nearest address on TTL, which was right in front of his face?

          The obvious answer is he intended to search for and find Martin before the officer arrived in order to detain one the “assholes” who “always get away” before the police arrive.

          Those were his words recorded on the dispatcher tape, so we know his intent.

          You and others have stated that all of the information upon which I relied to deduce Zimmerman’s intent is irrelevant “since . . . Zimmerman was acting within the law.”

          You and the others have got it backwards. Whether Zimmerman’s actions were within the law is irrelevant to determining his intent when he encountered Martin.

          His intent is relevant because it is the key to answering one of the most important questions in the case. Was Zimmerman the aggressor?

          I do not believe the prosecution will have any trouble convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman lied to the dispatcher and the police when he denied following Martin and he lied to conceal that he went searching for Martin and when he found him, he attacked and attempted to restrain him.

          He was desperately trying to conceal what he did, for example, by claiming that he never ventured south of the T-intersection even though Martin’s body was found more than 40 feet south of the intersection.

          He had no reason to lie, unless he was the aggressor and confronted Martin.

          The case is relatively simple to figure out in the end.

          He was the aggressor.

          He lied to cover that up and the jury is going to convict him of Murder 2.

        • “His story about going shopping at Target with his wife for the weekly groceries after mentoring minority children sounds extremely dubious, given the lack of any independent corroborating evidence that any part of that story is true.”

          Irrelevant without some evidence suggesting there was a preemptive element to the act.

          You do not know if he lied and, if he did, why he lied, and whether the reason he lied has anything to do with the encounter until you investigate and find out the answers to those questions.

          I don’t know what you mean by a preemptive element, but if the answers to those questions provide a motive and an explanation for why GZ followed, attempted to detain and killed Martin the evidence will certainly be admissible.

      • “So what, if ‘many legal minds were shocked by the 2nd degree murder charge and have commented on the weakness of the probable cause affidavit.’ I think for myself …”

        As well you should, but thinking for one’s self does not mean that anything goes. As you’ve made clear, one may be banned, in part, “after [a] warning … to stop misrepresenting the evidence.”

        —–

        “Now, regarding your comment that I support proposing a harsher charge than the prosecutors decided to charge. You mischaracterized what I said because I never recommended charging GZ with Murder 1.”

        I did no such thing. You encouraged (supported) proposing a “hypothesis that George Zimmerman may have premeditated Trayvon Martin’s death and he did not act alone.” If this were the case, it is a proposal for a harsher charge than the prosecutors decided to charge. Since it is based on no evidence, it can be likened to one of your characterizations: “it was basically a waste of time and just for show without any real substance.”

        —-

        “I added that there is a possibility that such an investigation might bear fruit”

        Are you investigating this possibility? Have you called the Special Prosecutor or the SPD to ask them to investigate for this possibility? If no, then this line of discussion is “basically a waste of time and just for show without any real substance.” In fact, there is only one reason I can think of to go down this path, without any underlying support, and it is not mere curiosity to see what fruit it may bear.

        Questioning everything is a great approach, but there must be some support for it in the first place. Investigators don’t go off on wild goose chases, because they lack the resources and the time. It would be reasonable for the investigators to look into any potential for other persons to be involved and check on the validity of Zimmerman’s statement about going to the store. Thinking that this is some great “out-of-the-box” thinking is a wild exaggeration. It is standard procedure, as you should be well aware of. It appears there is no evidence to support the belief that this was premeditated or there was another person involved. The state said so.

        —-

        “A person cannot learn anything or grow in wisdom, if they never challenge authority, ask questions and think outside the box.”

        I completely agree. The rest of your supposition about your impression of me is utterly false.

        —-

        “The purpose of investigation is to discover those facts.”

        True, but you are not investigating anything. You are interpreting the facts that have been investigated. And, just because you do not know, let me say that I have a very strong background in investigation. I know how to conduct an investigation, I’m well-versed in questioning techniques and tactics and I know when to follow leads and when something is not a lead. In other words, you’re not speaking to some past student of yours. I am not a layman.

        —-

        “I instantly noticed that statement and asked myself why you inserted it in your sentence.”

        I thought about preemptively quelling some sideshow comment, suggesting my wife, if I were to have one, must hate being around me. I’ve seen it before, so I inserted it. I also thought about those predisposed to the, oftentimes, irrelevant and completely fabricated use of psychoanalysis and the subsequent comments that may come if I inserted it. Either way I would be questioned, so I inserted it so when my wife reads what I write, she feels complimented.

        I’m not surprised that you went for the psychoanalytical approach.

        —-

        “Okay, now I will adamantly disagree with this statement that you made: Inconsistencies about events prior to the altercation, unless they uncover some act of preemption, are actually irrelevant, since both Martin and Zimmerman were acting within the law. That statement makes absolutely no sense and it’s a statement that a lot of Zimmerman supporters, including a lot of lawyers have made.”

        I don’t need to go through this post in its entirety. The gist of your belief is that you think Zimmerman attacked Martin, making him the aggressor. I would agree, as this would be the first instance of one intruding on another person’s liberty, if there was evidence to support it. But, since there is no physical evidence of this, your belief cannot be substantiated. There is evidence, as the state has admitted to, that Martin attacked Zimmerman. Walking or even running up to Martin is not sufficient grounds for Martin to attack. In between the “chase,” there were words spoken. Both accounts of those words are not sufficient grounds for Martin to attack. Save the conjecture about what you think occurred or why you think Zimmerman was not looking for an address. The facts remain that it appears Martin struck first without reasonable grounds to do so.

        —-

        “You do not know if he lied and, if he did, why he lied, and whether the reason he lied has anything to do with the encounter until you investigate and find out the answers to those questions.”

        I know what you know. I know there have been dozens of investigators tracking down all elements of this case. I suspect, since there has been no mention of inconsistencies relating to going to the store, that the investigators have determined that there is no reason to go down that path. Other than Zimmerman, or some other family member, actually admitting he wasn’t going to Target, there would be virtually no way to discover if he was lying. In other words, it is “basically a waste of time and just for show without any real substance.”

      • recreantnejos says:

        The professor’s very first post on Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman written in late March was titled
        “Zimmerman Did Not Shoot Trayvon Martin In Self-Defense”.

        Keep in mind this is before Angela Corey had even reached a decision on whether to charge Zimmerman, and long before the release of the discovery in the media.

        I think this illustrates your propensity to leap to unsubstantiated conclusions very well. Some of the things you wrote include:

        “…we know from his 911 call that he ignored the 911 dispatcher’s admonition not to follow the “suspicious person” whom he called about.”
        Your conclusion that his 911 call proves he ignored the NEN dispatcher’s advisement is simply untrue. Even after much of the discovery has been released, we *still* do not *”know”* this to be true.

        “We also know that nothing Zimmerman said about the “suspicious person” was reasonably suspicious. That is, the facts and circumstances that he described (i.e., walking down the sidewalk while Black and wearing a hoodie) would not cause a reasonable person to suspect that Martin was committing a crime.”
        That his suspicions were wholly unreasonable is not only unestablished, but you completely mischaracterized what he *actually* said. At no time, then or ever since, has he ever said this person’s race or clothing had anything to do with his suspicions. Not once.

        “Nevertheless, Zimmerman initiated contact with Martin and apparently attempted to detain him without waiting for police to arrive.”
        One of the lead investigators of the prosecution has admitted that they do not have any evidence disproving Zimmerman’s account that he was walking back to his car when Trayvon confronted him.

        Yet, you, before any discovery had even been made available, established this as a fact. There is *still* no evidence to establish this as a fact even today.

        “This case does not appear to be complicated to analyze. Zimmerman ignored the 911 dispatcher’s advice and, according to his own version of what happened, he attempted to detain Martin without a reasonable suspicion to believe Martin was committing a crime or lawful authority to detain him.”
        “…according to his own version of what happened, he attempted to detain Martin”. What?? You really jumped the shark on this one. Of course, at no time- EVER- has Zimmerman indicated that he tried to detain him. Not when you wrote this- and not at any time since.

        “At this point, racism and corruption appear to be the most likely explanation for the failure to arrest and prosecute George Zimmerman for intentionally killing Trayvon Martin.”

        “experts have excluded George Zimmerman as the source of those screams to a reasonable scientific certainty.”
        Here, you simply take their word for it. Later, the FBI unambiguously stated that this could *not* be done.

        “In addition, EMS documents obtained by the New York Daily News do not support Zimmerman’s claim that he sustained physical injuries during his confrontation with Trayvon Martin.”
        I’m not sure what EMS documents you were basing this on. But he obviously did sustain physical injuries.

        Then, based on a series of unsubstantiated premises, you form your conclusion:

        “Therefore, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense should be rejected and he should be charged with intentional murder.”

        Even the lead investigator of the prosecutor has said there is nothing to contradict Zimmerman’s claims to have been heading back to his car when the confrontation happened. Even the prosecutor’s lead investigator has said he does not know who started the confrontation.

        But, before the guy had even been charged, you had established these things as facts.

        Your very first post on this matter demonstrates a propensity towards hasty conclusions.

        Is it not clear that you rushed to judgement very early on in this case and have never looked back?

        • Is it not clear that you rushed to judgement very early on in this case and have never looked back?

          Nope, not at all.

          My conclusions have been confirmed.

          Don’t forget that I was a felony criminal defense attorney for 30 years and during that time I tried hundreds of jury trials with a high rate of success.

          Part of the reason that I was so successful was my ability to accurately assess the strengths and weaknesses of my cases.

          After awhile I could predict the outcome of trials with a high level of accuracy and my clients for the most part trusted my judgment, so I did not very often try a loser case.

          Don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that I am infallible and I have made mistakes as well as been mistaken.

          But on the whole, I knew what I was doing and I was right more often than wrong.

          I started this blog to share what I have learned, as most of it was not written down in books and you cannot find it anywhere.

          Of course, you are right to question and my ego is not so fragile that I cannot withstand criticism.

          Gee, I can even laugh at myself when I screw up and I take orders from my African Grey parrot.

      • Recreantnejos says:

        “The Court denied the motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause and we are now at least two months downstream. There was no appeal and the issue..”

        I don’t believe the defense ever filed a motion to dismiss.

        “He could not have failed to notice those addresses by the front doors of the townhouses in that building, because he had to walk toward them on his way to the cut-through to RVC. Nevertheless, he did not provide an address on TTL”

        First, it was night, it was dark, and his immediate focus was to see where Trayvon had headed. He may not have paid attention. That’s a moot point though, because the actual issue was that he didn’t remember the name of the street, so the address numbers on TTL wouldn’t have helped him anyway. He knew the name of the other street so he thought he could get an address there to give the police when they called.

        “I do not believe the prosecution will have any trouble convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman lied to the dispatcher and the police when he denied following Martin and he lied to conceal that he went searching for Martin and when he found him, he attacked and attempted to restrain him.”

        Don’t you think the prosecution should start with it’s own investigator who said there was no evidence of this?

        “The obvious answer is he intended to search for and find Martin before the officer arrived in order to detain one the “assholes” who “always get away” before the police arrive.

        Those were his words recorded on the dispatcher tape, so we know his intent.”
        Yes, his intent was to let the dispatcher know which way Trayvon was headed so he didn’t get away. So, he headed to the “T”, looked south, and didn’t see him. By the time Zimmerman had finished his phone call, Trayvon could have been far, far away. He obviously wasn’t.

        “He was desperately trying to conceal what he did, for example, by claiming that he never ventured south of the T-intersection even though Martin’s body was found more than 40 feet south of the intersection.”

        Zimmerman, in the dark, and in the midst of being attacked, he quite understandably was unable to accurately pinpoint where it ended up.

        You choose to interpret this as him “hiding something”. Why on earth would Zimmerman *knowingly* claim that the altercation ended up somewhere that it *obviously* didn’t?

        If he had accurately remembered where the final altercation took place, then surely he would have described the altercation as ending up there. It would be absolutely pointless for him to “lie” about.

        Most importantly:
        His keys were found near the top of the “T”. Additionally, multiple witnesses describe the altercation as beginning at the top of the “T” and then moving south to where it ended.

        In other words, evidence indicates that the altercation began at the top of the “T”. Meaning, just like the prosecutor’s investigator said, that the evidence does not contradict Zimmerman’s account about how the altercation began.
        In fact, it lines up quite well with it.

        Now, we know why Zimmerman would have been at the top of the “T”. What was Martin doing there?

    • I did ban his IP address.

  4. Recreantnejos says:

    Frederick Leatherman says:
    July 30, 2012 at 11:44 am
    Incidentally, for the record, I do not agree with anything you said in defense of Mr. Jones in your long post.

    boar_d_laze says:
    July 30, 2012 at 11:29 am
    I strongly disagree with nearly all of your premises, and completely disagree with your conclusion.
    ————
    Your shared disagreement with my conclusion doesn’t impeach it.

    • I am not going to argue with you and I do not care if you agree or disagree.

      I made my decision and do not regret it.

      You are welcome to stay and discuss the case, so long as you engage in an evidence-based discussion and refrain from personally attacking people with whom you disagree.

      If you cannot abide by those two simple rules, go someplace else or start your own blog.

      If you remain and break those rules, I will ban you.

  5. Recreantnejos says:

    In all fairness, Professor, the only example I saw where “Mr. Jones” misrepresented the evidence was when he said that there was evidence of Zimmerman’s blood on Trayvon’s sleeves. (It turns out that it might have been Zimmerman’s DNA, not his blood.) But this does not appear to have been an intentional mistake but one quite prone to being made.

    In at least one case, you accused him of “misrepresenting the evidence”, when it appears that he was correct in pointing out that Zimmerman’s keyring was found at or near the intersection.

    More importantly, I have seen many instances on this forum where one could argue that evidence has been ‘misrepresented’, even by you. Some of it is a matter of interpretation I suppose, but it seems to me that you are far more tolerant of ‘misrepresentations’ when they are made in favor of Zimmerman’s guilt.

    As far the insulting tone of “Mr. Jones”‘s posts, this is true. To an extent. He did indeed imply that some of the theories espoused and conclusions drawn about Zimmerman (or the events of that night) were foolish or characteristic of mental derangement on the part of the person espousing them. But I don’t recall him ever calling someone an ‘idiot’, a ‘dumbass’, ‘retard’, or anything approaching vulgarity.

    Might it also be considered hypocritical, for example, given your implications on several occasions that supporters of George Zimmerman are inherently racist?

    This “Mr. Jones” also referred to Trayvon Martin as “Lil Skittles”, which some took enormous offense to. Personally, I consider this fairly mild, and believe it is only ‘outrageous’ to those already inclined to view Trayvon Martin as an innocent victim and George the haphazard (or malevolent) aggressor.

    Indeed, I have seen countless statements, quite unfavorable to George Zimmerman, that appear to have escaped notice. This forum is filled with examples, but perhaps the best one might be the recent implication that George Zimmerman is an “evil” person.

    it would be hard to imagine a worse characteristic to apply to someone’s character, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, I suspect that if “Mr. Jones” or another poster were to have ever imply the same about Trayvon Martin, cause would be found to take enormous offense.

    I would imagine that “Mr. Jones” admires your stated goals and intentions. If you were to enforce your “ruleset” consistently, I would imagine “Mr. Jones”, would be far more inclined to respect them. I imagine it is the hypocritical and selective enforcement that irks him.

    This is a forum lead by someone not only convinced of Zimmerman’s legal culpability, but who implies the most disparaging terms to this person’s character, and who implies disparaging terms (“racists”) to those inclined to believe in his innocence.

    With the only exception having been removed, the rest of the forum is comprised entirely of those inclined to see things the same way. Most of whom, with some exceptions, come across to me as sycophants eager to agree, but reluctant to disagree with their leader’s findings. You claim not to want an echo chamber. But is this not essentially what you have? (Especially now, with the absence of “Mr. Jones”.)

  6. aussie says:

    Frederick, is there any way to ban or bar a person, without removing any of their posts?

    It is very confusing to read replies to Terrance with his posts gone. It makes some of the good contributors seem very rude to each other for no reason, where they’ve just replied to him as “you”.

    I think you could leave the troll comments to avoid this problem. When you ban him, make a @@@@@@@@@@ decorated notice so everyone sees it, stating
    ” XYZ you have been barred for ABC reason. Others please don’t reply to him anymore as he is no longer here”.
    (Unless WP has a way to make one post larger and darker font, that would do too).

    • Frederick, is there any way to ban or bar a person, without removing any of their posts?

      I honestly do not know the answer to your question. He was the first person I banned,

      I sorted all of his comments together and sent them to the spam folder hoping that the program will now recognize a new post he might attempt to make as spam and automatically divert it into the spam file.

      I’ll check, but I am not sure there is another way to do it.

      Maybe if there’s a registration file, I can do it that way.

      EDIT: I just figured out how to ban someone by Name and IP address. Word Press automatically sends any comment posted from the IP address and Name to the spam file.

      • aussie says:

        Ah, various software I work with is like that. All anti-spam, not anti-troll. It assumes you don’t want to keep some evidence as to why someone got barred.

        That he was the first says a lot about how you set up your topics in the first place, to attract only peaceful and thinking people.

        (I only found you through the GZ connection, but I think I’ll be coming back for more).

    • Vickie Votaw says:

      Please, please, please don’t put any of TJones posts back up, they were so hard to wade thru, sorry Aussie, that is a gut reaction!

      • Don’t worry. Ain’t going to happen.

      • aussie says:

        You’re in luck. The site I work on, when people know someone’s begging for a suspension, they quote big slabs of his content, so that after he’s barred the remaining comments still make sense. This saves new arrivals trying to answer the long-gone troll, but makes more cohesive reading for historic purposes.

        All of you are quite right. Archival continuity is far less important than people not being offended all over again. I withdraw.

  7. Patricia says:

    Professor, here’s my input:

    1, When responding to a post, start with that person’s name/call sign so they and other posters understand your point of reference.

    2. Do your best to include links or reference documents, if you have them.

    3. Understand that each of us was a newbie at one time. We have learned from each other as we struggle with discovery. Make everyone feel welcome, even if they seem clueless – they just need a clue from you.

    4. I would prefer not to give up vulgar language if I am quoting, because it’s an element of reality. Keeps us mindful that we are searching for reality. I have been around a lot of cops and learned all those words before GZ was born.

    5. Don’t correct others’ grammar. Errors as proved by evidence, yes, but not how they write. I’m just glad they care to write.

    6. Terrance never bothered me but he was a bore and he took way too much of the Professor’s time. He was burden and so he got jettisoned. Life is indeed tough.

    7. Please keep references to Obama or Romney or any political party out of your posts. I learn nothing about the crime from them.

    8. As always, I appreciate everybody’s input. We’re enrolled in Leatherman Academy, and it’s a tremendous experience.

    9. Go, Team!

    PS: Please forgive, but is this too snarky?

    I want to know if the Zimms were “mentoring the children” during the same hours they watched THUGBOYS four times.
    (Timeline matches.)

    • I want to know if the Zimms were “mentoring the children” during the same hours they watched THUGBOYS four times.
      (Timeline matches.)

      Shame on you.

      That was very naughty 🙂

    • SouthernGirl2 says:

      PS: Please forgive, but is this too snarky?

      I want to know if the Zimms were “mentoring the children” during the same hours they watched THUGBOYS four times.
      (Timeline matches.)

      Hilarious!

      I’m still laughing about them watching thugboys. Even if not true, it’s still funny. 4 times? LOL!

  8. Digger says:

    WeeBitch, you is the intelligence.

  9. Digger says:

    HA HA HA Ed, I am an Idiot, and I love it!

  10. TheWeeBitchUnderdogs says:

    What purpose is there in calling anyone an Idiot under any circumstances, if this is acceptable and not personal then I need to go back to the uncivilized existence and get educated. Any discussed differences can be done effectively without calling anyone by ANY improper demeaning name that infers they are not as intelligent as the one calling them that. How would the caller know anyway. There may be categories the caller could never touch on in comparison. What an Idiot, calling someone an Idiot! At what point in time do any of us come to a place of never coming off like an Idiot?

    • ed nelson says:

      To Wee Bit:
      At what point in time do any of us come to a place of never coming off like an Idiot?
      This is a “way good point”…

      Hey Weebit, can I correct your a grammah…? about this sentence: [“without calling anyone by ANY improper demeaning name that infers they are “]…

      Should be… implies. Because implies means it shows, infers is… that one derives from it a meaning… hell we had many arguments in my house about that one, so hope you like it that I said that.

      without calling anyone by ANY improper demeaning name that infers they are, should be …. IMPLIEs t hey are… hyahya hya!

  11. ed nelson says:

    Prof Fred, sounds like an admirable set of rules and guidelines for contributors to any civilized site. As it happened a couple days back, I may have offended, per to the feedback I got from one person, however, to me it was completeley understandable because I used a kind of lurid term, (a different way to say: “digital penetration” etc.
    I don’t like dirty talk either. It doesn’t make anything better, but is sometimes tollerable if it may endeavor to demonstrate some form of vernacular speach/thinking/elemental… WTF, for many have been in the places where the… patwah… can be a little burdomsome… ( was a “stevadore” for a few decades, and that was not too distant from the sailors and pirates, as far as correct grammah… tut tut tut.

    EN

  12. Dennis says:

    We should all be friendly and have respect for one another. That is why we call this civilization. Terrance could not debate the facts and resulted to personal insults against anyone that is anti-Zimmerman. I do not resort to insults and I have dealt with plenty of these types of people debating evidence with people in the Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox cases. I literally had to deal with delusional people that believed Knox and Sollecito levitated over all of the blood in the room when the sole perp Rudy Guede stepped through all of it and left his footprints. Frederick, were you following the Amanda Knox trial in Italy?

    • No, I did not follow it.

      I disengaged for several years from the violent world of crime in which I had been engaged as a lawyer for many years.

      These eyes and ears have seen and heard a lot of real life horror and I could not handle it anymore.

      I needed a break.

      Now I’m back blogging, teaching my audience and loving what I do.

      • Dennis says:

        I really respect you as a person and your legal analysis of the Zimmerman case is very interesting. If you don’t mind me asking, do you feel guilty at all for defending any of the clients that you have represented? I would just like to hear your insight since you are a retired defense attorney. Thank you..

      • lynp says:

        I understand that Professor. I worked 20 plus years in an Inner City Emergency Dept. One day, while observing a mother holding dearly to a dying child, I turned around and thought I can no longer absorb the tragedy and horror of broken bodies and broken lives.
        I think Zimmerman made terrible judgement errors on that fatefull night resulting in poor Martin’s death. He is going to have to do jail time and pay but he is not the devil either.
        I do believe in the existance of Evil and it requires lots of prayer and good works to counter it.
        Holmes like Jared is clearly Mentally ill. Neither will ever spen a single second of life without bars again. Probably they will both be in a Locked Ward of a Mental Hospital forever.

  13. aussie says:

    Frederick, I think you just need a Terms of Service that says spamming is forbidden, and the owner may at his discretion bar anyone who is disrupting the dialog.

    That would cover repeated insulting words, talking totally off-topic, repeatedly insisting on a point, in other words ranting instead of discussing. Other commenters can be the “jury” on this, as they will themselves warn the miscreant, if they feel it’s disruptive.

    As someone working on a large site with too many rules (but beyond my control), I think a small owner-controlled site doesn’t need a lot of rules. A big place needs to codify its laws so the many enforcers are more or less on the same page. A blog like this can manage with just “common law” as it attracts people of similar values, even if thy don’t always (or ever) agree on the topic itself.

    My site has a rule against insulting others, for example. Dozens complain each day of being insulted – because they FEEL insulted when someone disagrees with them. We filter swear words and the worse racial slurs, but trolls can w0rk their w@y around them…or come up with insults that leave out the more common words.

    I agree formal “civility” is not necessary as a rule. Sometimes a person needs to be told he’s being stupid (once). You can warn people if you believe they’ve stepped over the line, which you will know for sure when others are also saying so, as was the case with Terrance Jones.

    He was warned. Had he then behaved for several days, then gone off again, another warning would have been enough, ie if he’d demonstrated that he was trying. There was a glimmer of understanding in him at one point. Sadly it flickered out.

    I do suggest a warning be emphasised, with capitals or bold or some graphic decoration @@@@ or ======== so they can’t say they didn’t notice it.

    In short, I think you handled this case right, without written rules; for the rest I think Mike S got it spot on.

  14. Mike S says:

    Professor, I think you already established perfectly workable guidelines in how you dealt with Terrance. I don’t think you need to add to them.

    To parrot back what I’ve seen in my short time reading your blog, what’s working is this:

    – Try to base discussions on evidence. Speculation, elaborate schemes, even short wild goose chases are OK, so long as they’re rooted somewhere in evidence.

    – Allow for lively debate

    – No rigid rules, let the guidelines bend and see where people go with their ideas

    – If someone strays too far from the rules, tap them on the shoulder and give a friendly reminder.

    – If they keep needing reminders, or continually escalate, ban them when you think they’re never going to behave

    What else do you need?

    • Mike S says:

      I forgot to add the most important thing: lead by example. I think many people here take their cues on behavior and what’s acceptable here from you, and that’s worked out pretty well. Keep up the good work.

      Oh, and don’t punish people who reply to their own posts too harshly 😉

  15. TruthBTold says:

    Case #1 wrote,

    “The point is not that I am arguing rudeness for the sake of rudeness, but when someone makes a good point, but out of frustrations say, “You idiot, you are wrong…” And they list the reason you are wrong, the problem becomes that civility then becomes an excuse to ignore the reasoning and argue over whether the argument was presented in a civil enough manner.”

    A mature, informed, intellectual person need not lead off with you idiot or anything like that. Of course, that is not going to go over well with someone because it’s childish and unnecessary and it causes, if they had any valid and logical points, to get lost in the midst of the name calling. I don’t see what the problem is to prohibit individuals from engaging in that type of behavior.

    “People should not be required to present well reasoned and fact based arguments in a way that makes you feel good about the situation”

    Again, I don’t think anyone has said this or is advocating for this. Anyway, I’m out of it. I’ve contributed to what was being asked and all is good for me.

    • Case#1 says:

      You are showing your bias rather than discussing how arguments can be right or wrong like you seem to think you are arguing. You keep saying that you aren’t doing that, but you in fact. Re-read your priorities here.

      One of the differences between Liberals and Leftist is the notion of what passion means to an argument. Negative passion, despite the implications of your argument, does not mean an argument is right or wrong.

      Someone who is angrily against my views of the Zimmerman case is not made wrong because they let their emotions show in making an otherwise sound argument. People aren’t automatons.

      • crazy1946 says:

        I think that what would be best is to allow Professor Leatherman set the rules. I would comment on your attempt to inject your political views into this site, but instead will simply ignore your hateful retoric towards a sitting president and consider that you, due to age, possibly lack the wisdom to understand how to deal with other people in what could only be called an intelligent way. Hopefully you will treat people on this site better than your attitude indicates that you will. As for myself I will follow the rules as set out by the Professor! Have a good evening….

      • Case#1 says:

        This is a strange argument:

        (1) The political example is an analogy to provide another way of looking at the world than how you see it. So is the Obama example. It was meant to illustrate no emotions at all. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to back up the assertion were the main point to debate a political issue rather than underscore how a group that’s dedicated to a certain view can use rules to distort meaning.

        (2) You and others have stated what you want. Its the Professor’s call, but I find it strange argument to use that call as a way to ignore a disagreement when he asked us for our views on the subject.

        (3) Finally, its always interesting when someone is arguing for one thing,a nd then they do the complete opposite in actual response. You want civility, and then when someoen disagrees with you, you start making insults about how old you think I am, etc. Really strange argument from someone stating their goal is civility rather than controlling debate.

  16. GrannyStandingforTruth says:

    1. I recommend that using abusive language, personal attacks and insults should be number one on the list of guidelines. In addition, a person should be given one warning and that’s it. 2. Credible sources only and Fox News is not one of them.

    • GrannyStandingforTruth says:

      I meant that using abusive language towards anyone posting, personal attacks, and insults will not be tolerated on here and should be number one of the list of guidelines.

  17. Vickie Votaw says:

    I second crazy1946, I think you were very patient & you tried to help the poor devil. I’m so very glad he is gone.

  18. Professor, I would like to see one more guideline posted. With so much information out there, I’ve discovered several bogus sites that create stories with information that is certainly not true, sites that disparage both sides. The minds that comment on this blog need to be careful to always check sources before posting anything as fact.

    • TruthBTold says:

      @ diaryofasuccessfulloser,

      I agree. We don’t need that type of stuff to further support what the evidence is already showing us. GZ has claimed self-defense and we deal with that. It’s not an us against them meaning, but we don’t want to lose credibility by entertaining and attaching ourselves to uncorroborated and rather outlandish “information.”

  19. crazy1946 says:

    Over all I am finding that this is a great learning site. As you noted we have encountered only one openly offensive individual so far, and as the site is discovered, it will attract more. There is no real way to know how a person will act until he/she is actually here and posting. Unless you have a full time 24/7 mod then some will slip thru the cracks and cause problems for at least a short period of time. The way you responded to the individual you banned over the last few days was much more patient than many other people would have. I give a you a salute for the way you did respond to him. Until some one invents a troll gun that allow one to be shot thru the computer monitor we are stuck with the use of physical removal and banning.

  20. Case#1 says:

    I also the value of what you saying on the flip too. You don’t want your site to be a place of censorship like Talk Left, where its quite clear that the constantly shifting rules are really just a way for Jeralyn to eliminate anything she doesn’t like, but this again is a reason and empiricism point. That she will not allow logical inference is a sign she’s not based in reason rather than sing that she is because she’s only interested in the “facts” Such constraints only make sense if humans were all knowing and didn’t have to rely on reason to fill in the gaps.

  21. TruthBTold says:

    Professor,

    I am in agreement with what you have set-forth. Abusive language, foolish rhetoric, and disrespect is unacceptable from anyone and really distracts from the purpose of this forum. I understand individuals that believe GZ’s claim of self-defense will comment, but personally I am not going to engage those individuals much. Perhaps, it’s just the nature of this case. If people are going to interpret evidence the way they deem it fit and be inflammatory, then attempting to engage in a spirited discussion is going to be futile. I am just speaking for myself of course. Thank you.

    • Case#1 says:

      One thing I do disagree is the idea that this is about being polite to each other. That, I hope, is not the point. We don’t need to like or be nice to each or say things nicely. It just has to be backed up by more than attitude.

      • TruthBTold says:

        @Case #1,

        I guess this is in response to my comment. I don’t believe that anything you just said hasn’t been said or agreed with already. Maybe I am not quite grasping your point.

      • crazy1946 says:

        I could only question your point here. Is it your opinion that it is not necessary to be civil in an open discussion? I know that my response to an individual that has an “attitude” is not positive regardless of how many facts that person presents. Being civil to each other and not hostile in presentation of opinions and facts will go much farther in making your point and encouraging others to understand your thoughts and position on any subject. Perhaps I am misunderstand your words?

      • Case#1 says:

        My point is that as a rule, once you fall into the civility trap (and I believe is a trap since “what’s civil” is a matter of opinion) it becomes a problem of “you offend me”

        If I am permitted use the term, the Obots are experts as claiming a violations of the rules of civility as a way to avoid well reasoned arguments and empiricism.

        I think any rule structured around civility ultimately becomes a means of controlling what is said. Not just how it is said.

        I don’t think has been made quite clear since its rarely discussed, especially amongst the middle in the U.S.

        The point is not that I am arguing rudeness for the sake of rudeness, but when someone makes a good point, but out of frustrations say, “You idiot, you are wrong…” And they list the reason you are wrong, the problem becomes that civility then becomes an excuse to ignore the reasoning and argue over whether the argument was presented in a civil enough manner.

        Again, something that infects quite a bit of American politics is the over emphasis on civility above reason and empiricism.

        This is not to say one needs to be nasty for the sake of being nasty. This is to say that a rule about civility brings with it problems about avoiding uncomfortable truths. To put another way, “not everyone who talks civilly is presenting a well reasoned argument or one based in empiricism. Not everyone who is rude is necessarily presenting an argument not based in reason and empiricism.” They are completely different things. One is form- civility. The other is substance- reason and empiricism.

        Most placed end up choosing civility over substance when push comes to shove so I always point out the problem with crafting rules with civility in mind, even if you say right now, of course its obvious to everyone.

      • Case#1 says:

        As an illustration of the point- note how many people already are saying civility is top on their list (form) over empiricism and reason (substance). I am making a point winder than here, but it amazes me how many people fall back on it. I never noticed it frankly until a couple of years ago when a friend online started to point out that this need for civility rather than earnest introspection is a problem in American politics and discussions. I don’t mean the invective approach where that’s all they say. I mean where you are offended by something because of how they say it without bothering to read what they said to you. People should not be required to present well reasoned and fact based arguments in a way that makes you feel good about the situation.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Case#1: I respect your opinion, however I disagree with the point about it not being important to be civil in a discussion/debate! If your point is so weak that you must be agressive to beat down your rival then there is a basic problem with your facts. I can not understand why you would feel that it is a good debate tactic to call some one “stupid” or other less than polite names! If one is truely as intelligent as one thinks they are, they can make their points known and understood in ways that are not offensive or vile! From my prospective when you approach me with an attitude you need to prepare to be either responded to with an equal or greater dose of attitude or ignored. Good manners in discussions is not something that you are born with it is an acquired skill, one that too many people do not possess! If you find an error in spelling or composure in this post, I can only blame my not so smart phone and bad eyesight along with my age for the errors! 🙂

      • Case#1 says:

        Actually, what’s weak is that your ego is so fragile that you need people to be nice to you in order to listen to their arguments.

        It says you can only make them so long as the world is as you want it to be.

        Part of the problem here ultimately becomes “what do you mean by civility”

        Obots swear if you don’t venerate Obama that means you are not being civil when you say that he did not fight and indeed sabotaged the Public Option no matter how much evidence you bring to the table.

        I just think civility as a goal is a dangerous standard. its often used by those who are facing disagreement to promote their real goal- avoidance of disagreement.

        If you can’t handle someone saying nice things about you in a public forum that’s a problem you need to address rather than creating rules to say they can’t say unkind things about you since thats in the eye of the beholder anyway.

        I have called people stupid, and proven my point in other forums only to be told “well you are using an ad hom” etc

        The problem wasn’t that I actually was. The problem was that I had to say it in a way that allowed them to feel good about themselves rather than require them to back up what were increasingly absurd arguments

        The problem with the guy that was banned was that he was making absurd arguments not backed in reality.

        One of the things I find fascinating about this country right now is that as we are being literally robbed financially by a corrupt system, we are still seating around debating the need to be civil.

        Wrong priorities. If someone who is pro-Zimmerman calls me an idiot, but then backs it up with evidence and reason to prove that Zimmerman is not guilty by reason of Self Defense or SYG, I am going to listen to that person over someone who tells me they agree with me.

        Its a question of priorities. I prioritize substance over form. You believe form is the same as substance. That’s not surprising. That ‘s what most of the American public as we have seen after the Crisis of 2008 also thinks. Heaven forbid we get angry and show emotions that are backed up with strong reasons. No, its better to be polite and wrong than angry and right.

        For me personally, as a matter of testing my own views, I prefer someone who is passionate and thinks I am wrong who can prove it so that I can correct my own thinking than someone who is not.

        Of course, in a perfect world we get both, but in the real one, where human emotions are going to fly, I choose reason and empiricism even if some uncomfortable emotions are involved.

      • greenwarrior says:

        “I prioritize substance over form. You believe form is the same as substance.”

        No one here said form is the same as substance. That sounds like an interpretation of yours to try to win the argument you’re presenting.

        It looks to me like you’re trying to present a case for being able to insult others in the passion of the moment. Everyone else here seems to be saying they’d prefer the substance in a manner that doesn’t annoy them. And personally, I’m wearying of reading your argument which seems to be escalating in your telling others what they think. If it continues, I’ll probably just stop reading any comments you offer.

      • Case#1 says:

        This:

        “It looks to me like you’re trying to present a case for being able to insult others in the passion of the moment. Everyone else here seems to be saying they’d prefer the substance in a manner that doesn’t annoy them. And personally, I’m wearying of reading your argument which seems to be escalating in your telling others what they think. If it continues, I’ll probably just stop reading any comments you offer”

        Underscores the point I am making to the Professor. It underscores why someone on the minority end of a position here will face a problem.

        For the record, as the Professor will tell you, (1) I think Zimmerman is guilty; (2) I have not once insulted anyone here and (3) I am saying people think differently and shouldn’t be expected to thinkt he same way as what the majority here thinks.

        Does that look anything like what Green just wrote?

        The “escalation” that Green refers to is a disagreement that has not once involved me name calling or putting anyone down, that I backed up with examples, etc.

        Thus, the danger of civility policing. The arguments quickly turn into “you have to agree with the group or else you are not being “civil.”

        You can do what you want with the rules here. Its your blog Professor, but that’s the issue if anyone does happen here who is pro Zimmerman defense.

        • I agree with your point that an over emphasis on civility can stifle passion, freedom of expression, and creativity. The other extreme of brow beating someone with insults is not desirable either.

          Like so many things, a balance must be struck and it looks like I’ll be the one to strike it.

          I will add that I’ve never seen you come within hailing distance of any boundaries.

          Your contributions always will be welcome.

      • ajamazin says:

        Isn’t it precious!!!

        Case#1 has discovered “empiricism”!

  22. Case#1 says:

    I agree with your approach. It sounds extremely fair to say that you want substantive debate without bad faith actors ignoring the principle of what basic reasoning and empiricism requires- which is all I see you as saying here. This is a concept that is alien to many sites, including Daily Kos, which operates off of pure belief as the equal to reason and empiricism.

    You don’t want people who legitimately can argue self-defense or SYG to feel that they can’t post, but you don’t want the same process that infects the rest of the political discourse in this country to become the norm for your site.

    I have a friend with whom I correspond. we are starting to come up with some basic phrases:

    (1) Convoluted rationalization is not the same as complexity.

    (2) Opinion is not the equal of reason and empiricism. This second one is where both sides (including some the supposition here about Zimmeman’s case that suggest he’s more villainous than what the case requires) can stand to take a step back. In other words, I would say to someone “Just because you can think something up, does not mean its empirical or reason based.”

    There are others (e.g., know your biases and watch out for delusional thought), but I think this reaches the point.

  23. TheWeeBitchUnderdogs says:

    Well put Professor Leatherman! Man, you should have been running the whole world of internet blogs!! There has been a wide wide spread of personal attack and bullying a-going on. GZ’s all over the place, stalking, suspicions, a clamoring to be the hero.
    Not only are you a professor of law, you also are understanding of the nature of snarling mad dogs and how to subdue the possibility of a pack attack 🙂 Thank you!

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