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Taking exception

August 9, 2013

I take exception to the Sunday July 28 editorial which characterized President Obama’s comments in the press room last week as arrogantly stoking the fires of racism....

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(54)

Tedeaux

Aug-09-13 4:39 AM

You can take all the exception you like, but there is one major problem with the comments made by the president, the Trayvon Martin case is clearly not a case where race played a part in his death. This has been investigated by at least two federal agencies that have been ordered by the President to find something to drag George Zimmerman back to court on so that he can be made an example of. Is representing the best interest of all of the citizens the President was elected to represent?

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mikekerstetter

Aug-09-13 6:14 AM

Obama is race baiting, pure and simple. He's in with the likes of Jackson and Sharpton.

It's telling that the beating of the 13 y/o white boy by 3 15 y/o black boys on the school bus in Florida isn't a race crime. Not that I think it was racially motivated, but if it were the other way around Sharpton and Jackson would have moved to Florida and been protesting and Obama would have been on TV promising justice. Why the double standard?

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DavidBross

Aug-09-13 6:19 AM

I remember when George W. reminded us that "They tried to kill my father" when discussing his view towards the various groups in the Middle East. It was inappropriate for him to reference such personal thoughts in regards to important issues regarding our country. I think it has been just as inappropriate for Obama to make similarly personal remarks (If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon) regarding the Martin-Zimmerman case.

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CarlHiller

Aug-09-13 6:24 AM

Another blind, hypnotized leftist speaks. Race played no part as Tedeaux stated, it is the race mongers, like Obama and Holder, Jackson and Sharpton, et al that continue to stoke what is not a prevalent issue today. The politics of division is the very centerpiece of Obama’s rhetoric, and is the antithesis of Dr. King’s dream. There is no defense for discrimination against anyone because of the immutable characteristics like their skin color, religious beliefs or ethnicity, likewise there is no defense to continually pit one race against another with the use of inflammatory words. America’s founders established a Bill of Rights not as “special privileges” bestowed by government, they were recognized as God-given rights for all. Whenever government starts handing out special protections and privileges for classes of people based on behavior, color or sexual orientation you are no longer protecting rights, you are denying them to others of different classes.

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 6:34 AM

DavidBross: "I think it has been just as inappropriate for Obama to make similarly personal remarks..."

On the contrary, it is refreshing to hear a politician's "personal remarks" rather than a words from a speech writer, a campaign manager, or PR firm. So often we have no clue of a politician's personal views until they come to play in pushing legislation that ultimately reflects those personal views.

By saying his son would have "looked like" TM, I doubt he meant physical characteristics. My take is that Obama meant his son would have been the same kind of teenage kid going about the business of being that kid. I believe he was saying that TM could have been his own son that night, as many other parents in this country were thinking.

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 6:43 AM

Carl, remember that slavery was not abolished until nearly 100 years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Remember that women could not vote in this country until nearly 150 years after ratification.

My point is that at time of passage, the government did in fact grant "special protections and privileges for classes of people based on behavior, color or sexual orientation."

Just because you have never experienced or seen racism personally does not negate its existence.

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Capricorn1

Aug-09-13 6:54 AM

Sideliner, when a president stands before the country and comments on a case that caused such racial hysteria with no facts to back up that hysteria, he is merely fueling the same. This case should have never reached the level of notoriety that it did. The governor should have never been forced to appoint a special prosecutor. If it wasn't for the fact that Sharpton and Jackson and the administration made it a racial case with no facts to back it up, the case would have remained in the jurisdiction it belonged. You even had one of the jurors, who by the way wishes she could have convicted him, state that this was NOT a racial issue and the case should NEVER have went to trial.

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Capricorn1

Aug-09-13 7:13 AM

Also Sideliner, do you feel it's appropriate for the president to even make remarks such as the ones he did during an open investigation? Hasn't he made the same mistake before? Look how he has tied the hands of military judges regarding sentencing those found guilty of sexual assault because of comments he made as commander in chief. Obama went to law school and he should know the effects his words will have regarding open investigations and it not only unlawful command influence as commander in chief, but it is extremely prejudicial.

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 7:16 AM

According to what I have read, it was TM's family, then Sanford and eventually the entire state of Florida that pushed for prosecution in this case and brought it to national attention.

And how was Republican Gov Rick Scott "forced" into assigning a special prosecutor?

Rather than being about race specifically, my take is that the case was more about the controversial Stand Your Ground Law.

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Capricorn1

Aug-09-13 7:38 AM

"And how was Republican Gov Rick Scott "forced" into assigning a special prosecutor?" -Sideliner

POLITICS

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Capricorn1

Aug-09-13 7:53 AM

"Rather than being about race specifically, my take is that the case was more about the controversial Stand Your Ground Law."

Do you really believe that? Sharpton and Jackson's rallies and the President's words regarding "his son" were all about race. That's all you heard covered in liberal media. This was all about race from the very beginning and the facts didn't support it. Zimmerman didn't even use the stand your ground defense. The case is closed, the president needs to shut down Holder's "investigation", and the American people need to move on.

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Capricorn1

Aug-09-13 8:06 AM

The President's remarks both before and after the trial should have been, "I'm not going to comment on an open investigation, next question". It is the same thing police departments across the country say and it's the same thing both the President and Holder should have said. Period. And if you're wondering why I say after the trial too, it's because this is STILL an open justice department investigation.

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enigma

Aug-09-13 8:09 AM

sideliner,"Rather than being about race specifically, my take is that the case was more about the controversial Stand Your Ground Law."

First, you couldn't be more wrong. Everyone from the parents to the President made this about race.

Second, what's so controversial about the 'Stand Your Ground' law? If I have as much right (or more) to be in a place as the person who is threatening my life, and I have the means to defend myself, why should I be legally required to run away? The only thing the requirement to retreat does is gives the bad guy the upper hand and turns our streets over to the criminals. Stand your ground has always been a part of common law and the fact that it even has to be formally codified does not speak well for the state of our nation. Read PA's 'Stand Your Ground Law". I think you might just find that it makes a lot of sense.

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SteelerFan

Aug-09-13 8:20 AM

sidelines: 'My take is that Obama meant his son would have been the same kind of teenage kid going about the business of being that kid.'

If the business of being that kid is wearing a dark hoodie and skulking around the neighborhood looking in windows.

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CMReeder

Aug-09-13 8:21 AM

Good letter!

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 8:21 AM

enigma, I agree that the PA Stand Your Ground law makes much more sense than the FL law: in order to use lethal force, your potential assailant must have a lethal weapon him/herself. I get that.

The problem I have with the FL law is that it sets up situations like the TM case; fear of one's life is so subjective and allows lethal force in situations that do not demand it. It has the capacity to turn our streets into The OK Corral.

What I see as a life threatening situation is going to be different than what you see. The PA requirement of the presence of a lethal weapon in the hand of an assailant is the perfect acid test.

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 8:31 AM

"skulking around the neighborhood" ?? Really? That is so subjective.

The kid was talking on a cell phone on his way home from the store. Probably walking, talking. Walking, stopping to talk some more. I have done the same thing while walking on the street talking on my cell. I may have even turned around and taken a few steps in the opposite direction.

In this case, Zimmerman was looking for suspicious behavior due to recent break-ins, as his job as NW dictated. The problem was that he applied that subjective view to a kid sauntering (not skulking) home after a treat-trip, talking to a friend on the phone, most likely distracted by that conversation and making moves that Zimmerman falsely perceived as threatening to the neighborhood.

This has been played out in the courts and in the media. I accept the verdict as just. I would however, like to see intelligent discussion and debate about all the issues surrounding the case to prevent such a tragedy in the future. Period.

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philunderwood

Aug-09-13 9:08 AM

Once laws were passed that stopped the discrimination of laws in some localities, some believed we needed affirmative action laws and regulations to make up for past discrimination. Some also believed that revenge for past discrimination was justified. A few self-proclaimed “black leaders” and community organizers have, and are, using the feeling of a need to get even to justify their existence and push an agenda. This has fostered a sub-culture that believes staying out of trouble, respecting others and working to get an education is "acting white." This case was tailor made for the get even crowd.

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enigma

Aug-09-13 9:08 AM

Sideliner, You are wrong about the PA law. It does not require that the attacker have a lethal weapon. Like all self defense laws, including Florida's, it requires that you reasonably believe that the use of deadly force is required to prevent death or serious bodily harm. In the case of the PA law it also includes kidnapping and rape. In the Zimmerman case, stand your ground was not an issue because he did not have opportunity to retreat. This was a straight self defense case which had nothing to do with stand your ground. That would mean that you're wrong on just about every point you're trying to make.

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mikekerstetter

Aug-09-13 9:10 AM

sideliner-"This has been played out in the courts and in the media. I accept the verdict as just. I would however, like to see intelligent discussion and debate about all the issues surrounding the case to prevent such a tragedy in the future. Period."

I'd like that too. First, the Zimmerman/Martin case had nothing to do with stand your ground. It was a self defense case. Zimmerman claimed, and no evidence was introduced to refute that claim, that Martin was on top of him beating him 'MMA Style' and Zimmerman feared for his life and defended himself by shooting Martin.

In PA it would be no different. Once Zimmerman was unable to retreat even if he wanted to, it became a self defense case. Let's start with those facts.

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enigma

Aug-09-13 9:24 AM

sideliner, If you want an 'acid test' for self defense, you will find it in all laws in the U.S. It's called the jury. The law requires that you are reasonably in fear of death or serious bodily harm. Who decides if you fear was reasonable? The jury. Not you, not the police, not even the DA, but the jury. It's not the O.K. coral. It's the best justice system in the world today. Not perfect, but the best. In the Zimmerman case, the jury decided that he was justified in using deadly force. To find him not guilty they had to determine that he was reasonably in fear for his life, and that he had not initiated the confrontation. This would be the same criteria in a PA case.

Have you got any more poorly informed comments to make about stand your ground that you would like me to refute?

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ToTEXASfromPA

Aug-09-13 9:31 AM

"which characterized President Obama's comments in the press room last week as arrogantly stoking the fires of racism."

++

After watching the video several weeks ago on that Friday afternoon, President Obama did have a nice chat talking from the heart and reflecting on TM, the case, and the plight of young black men in the US. There were news agencies (TV and on-line newspaper articles) that did hone in on a few terms and catch phrases and overplayed them a lot to make the President's speech sound worse than it really was.

In the total of the words that he chose to say that Friday, I wouldn't say that he stoked the fires of racism. But I do think that he was watching others throw wood and gasoline on the fire to get it roaring without providing the leadership to stop it. His inaction to tell others to stop actually provided encouragement for people to continue to escalate the issue and create more divisiveness. He should have said something like "It was a tragic

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ToTEXASfromPA

Aug-09-13 9:32 AM

Cont>>

"It was a tragic event, I have deep feelings for the parents but I don't believe MZ's actions were racist and it is time to heal and move forward."

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sideliner

Aug-09-13 10:17 AM

See www(dot)nbcphiladelphia(dot)com/news/local/Zimmerman-Trayvon-Pennsylvania-Stand-Your-Ground-215657201(dot)html

for PA Stand Your Ground differences with FL law. I have seen these same requirements listed on other news sites. If I am wrong in my statement that a lethal weapon must be present with an assailant, then I have quoted misinformation. Wouldn't be the first time on this site. Certainly won't be the last. If that is the case, I apologize for my faulty research.

Whether or not this case cited the FL law or not, it certainly brought attention to it. I am aware that SYG was not used as a defense in TM case. It did however bring up debate about it. That was my point.

And whether or not race was an issue in the case. it did bring up debate about it and that cannot be a bad thing. Open debate and intelligent interchange on issues is always a good thing. That was my point. Not that either issue was applied to this case, but that discussion arouse out of the case.

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Garben78

Aug-09-13 10:20 AM

This letter is just as crappy as the people who keep bringing up racism. Let it go already.

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