Zimmerman ‘Road Rage’ and NPD Thread

September 13, 2014 65 comments

The full AP story:

Matthew Apperson had TWO run-ins with Tugboat. After the first, the cops told him they didn’t have enough to make a case. Apperson declined to press charges.  Two days later Apperson spotted GZ parked in his truck outside Apperso’s work. He called the cops who questioned GZ. GZ offered them a lame excuse. The AP doesn’t say whether the cops changed their opinion of a case against GZ in light of the 2nd incident, but Apperson again declined to press charges.  I don’t know if I blame him for wanting to stay as far away as possible from the Zimmervortex.

The Mashable page with audio of the 911 calls and video of the cops talking to GZ is here.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A driver says George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, threatened to kill him, asking ‘Do you know who I am?’ during a road confrontation in their vehicles, a police spokeswoman said Friday.

The driver, 35-year-old Matthew Apperson, told Lake Mary police officers that a passenger in a truck stopped at a light next to his car on a busy street in the Orlando suburb on Tuesday, rolled down his window and yelled, “Hey, what’s your problem? Why you shaking your finger?”

Apperson said he was listening to music with his windows rolled up at the time, and that the passenger’s yelling was unprovoked.

The truck’s driver then asked Apperson, “Do you know who I am?” according to a police report. Apperson said he believed it was Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was acquitted last year of second-degree murder for fatally shooting the 17-year-old Martin, a case that drew international attention and spurred national discussions about race and self-defense laws. Martin was black and unarmed.

“George Zimmerman was the driver, and they were threatening to kick my ass and to shoot me,” Apperson told a police dispatcher in a 911 call.

Apperson told the dispatcher that he pulled into a nearby gas station to use the phone since he didn’t have his cellphone, and the truck followed him. Zimmerman drove the truck up to Apperson’s car, blocking him in, Apperson said.

“He almost hit my car and he said he would shoot me then,” said Apperson, who told the dispatcher that he never saw a gun in Zimmerman’s truck. “Both of them were threatening to shoot me and kill me.”

Apperson called police from the gas station, but the truck was gone by the time officers arrived. Apperson, who has a concealed-weapons license, was carrying a firearm at the time, according to the police report.

Officers told Apperson that without other witnesses or clear video identifying the driver as Zimmerman, it would be difficult to make a case, the police report said. Apperson said he didn’t want to press charges.

On Thursday, Apperson said, he saw Zimmerman in his truck outside the disability benefits business where Apperson works.

“It seems like the guy is sitting there, waiting for me,” Apperson told a dispatcher in another 911 call. “It’s disheartening to see him lurking around here.”

Officers who responded to the call confirmed the truck driver was Zimmerman. In a police car video of two police officers questioning Zimmerman, an officer pulls out a gun from Zimmerman’s waistband. Zimmerman shows him what looks to be a license.

Zimmerman told officers that he had an appointment at the address, according to the police report. Also located in the strip of businesses are a psychiatrist’s office and a Christian counseling center.

Apperson declined to press charges again. When reached by telephone Friday, he declined to comment.

Zimmerman’s divorce attorney, Howard Iken, didn’t return a telephone call from The Associated Press on Friday.

Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Martin in self-defense during a confrontation in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.

Relatives of Martin accused Zimmerman of racially profiling the teen and instigating the fight. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law:

— Last year, he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Samantha Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives and prosecutors didn’t pursue the case.

— Earlier that year, Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were ever filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.

— Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic violations since his acquittal.

………………..

Do the descriptions below sound like anyone we know?

………
From The Mayo Clinic

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:

• Believing that you’re better than others
• Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
• Exaggerating your achievements or talents
• Expecting constant praise and admiration
• Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
• Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
• Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
• Taking advantage of others
• Trouble keeping healthy relationships
• Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
• Setting unrealistic goals

……..
From Wikipedia

People diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy. Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, include:[1]

• Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
• Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
• Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
• Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
• Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
• Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

……..

The following is excerpted from a discussion of narcissism created by the late Joanna Ashmon:  “I’ve written entirely from my own experience and personal interest; I’m not a therapist or counselor, have no relevant credentials.” She had a narcissistic parent and apparently had several other relationships with narcissists in her life. Though this is a personal reflection by a creative writer, it seems pretty consistent with the definitions by the medical professionals, and to flesh them out a bit.

The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial or it can be serious. When you ask them which one they mean, they’ll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it — really, how could you think they’d ever have said that? You need to have your head examined! They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they’ll say you’re lying, making stuff up, or are crazy.

Narcissists lack a mature conscience and seem to be restrained only by fear of being punished or of damaging their reputations — though, again, this can be obscure to casual observation if you don’t know what they think their reputations are, and what they believe others think of them may be way out of touch with reality. Their moral intelligence is about at the level of a bright five- or six-year-old; the only rules they recognize are things that have been specifically required, permitted, prohibited, or disapproved of by authority figures they know personally. Anyhow, narcissists can’t be counted on not to do something just because it’s wrong, illegal, or will hurt someone, as long as they think that they can get away with it or that you can’t stop them or punish them (i.e., they don’t care what you think unless they’re afraid of you).

Narcissists are envious and competitive in ways that are hard to understand. They are constantly comparing themselves (and whatever they feel belongs to them, such as their children and furniture) to other people. Narcissists feel that, unless they are better than anyone else, they are worse than everybody in the whole world.

Narcissists are generally contemptuous of others. This seems to spring, at base, from their general lack of empathy, and it comes out as (at best) a dismissive attitude towards other people’s feelings, wishes, needs, concerns, standards, property, work, etc. .

Narcissists are (a) extremely sensitive to personal criticism and (b) extremely critical of other people. They think that they must be seen as perfect or superior or infallible, next to god-like (if not actually divine, then sitting on the right hand of God) — or else they are worthless. There’s no middle ground of ordinary normal humanity for narcissists. They can’t tolerate the least disagreement. In fact, if you say, “Please don’t do that again — it hurts,” narcissists will turn around and do it again harder to prove that they were right the first time; their reasoning seems to be something like “I am a good person and can do no wrong; therefore, I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it now…” They can’t see that they have a problem; it’s always somebody else who has the problem and needs to change. They don’t want to change — they want the world to change. There are usually a favored few whom narcissists regard as absolutely above reproach, even for egregious misconduct or actual crime, and about whom they won’t brook the slightest criticism. These are people the narcissists are terrified of. Narcissists just get worse and worse as they grow older; their parents and other authority figures that they’ve feared die off, and there’s less and less outside influence to keep them in check.

Narcissists are grandiose. They live in an artificial self invented from fantasies of absolute or perfect power, genius, beauty, etc. Narcissists’ fantasies are static — they’ve fallen in love with an image in a mirror or, more accurately, in a pool of water, so that movement causes the image to dissolve into ripples; to see the adored reflection they must remain perfectly still. Moreover, they don’t see these images as potentials that they may some day be able to live out, if they get lucky or everything goes right: they see these pictures as the real way they want to be seen right now.

Grandiosity can take various forms. Narcissistic men are more likely than women to get hung up on their intelligence or the importance of their work — doesn’t matter what the work is, if he’s doing it, by definition it’s more important than anything you could possibly do. Narcissists I’ve known also have odd religious ideas, in particular believing that they are God’s special favorites somehow; God loves them, so they are exempted from ordinary rules and obligations: God loves them and wants them to be the way they are, so they can do anything they feel like — though, note, the narcissist’s God has much harsher rules for everyone else, including you.

Narcissists ordinarily have spotty memories, with huge and odd gaps in their recollections; they may say that they don’t remember their childhoods, etc., and apparently most of the time they don’t.

Narcissists are totally and inflexibly authoritarian. In other words, they are suck-ups. They want to be authority figures and, short of that, they want to be associated with authority figures. In their hearts, they know they can’t think well, have no judgment about what matters, are not connected with the world they inhabit, so they cling fanatically to the opinions of people they regard as authority figures — such as their parents, teachers, doctors, ministers. Narcissists stick to people they know personally, since they aren’t engaged enough with the world to get their authoritative opinions from TV, movies, books or dead geniuses/saints/heroes. If they get in trouble over some or another opinion they’ve put forth, they’ll blame the source — “It was okay with Dr. Somebody,” “My father taught me that,” etc.

Normal people work for a goal or a product, even if the goal is only a paycheck. Normal people measure things by how much they have to spend (in time, work, energy) to get the desired results. Normal people desire idleness from time to time, usually wanting as much free time as they can get to pursue their own thoughts and pleasures and interests. Narcissists work for a goal, too, but it’s a different goal: they want power, authority, adulation. Lacking empathy, and lacking also context and affect, narcissists don’t understand how people achieve glory and high standing; they think it’s all arbitrary, it’s all appearances, it’s all who you know. So they try to attach themselves to people who already have what they want, meanwhile making a great show of working hard. Narcissists can put in a shocking amount of time to very little effect. This is partly because they have so little empathy that they don’t know why some work is valued more highly than other work, why some people’s opinions carry more weight than others’. They do know that you’re supposed to work and not be lazy, so they keep themselves occupied. But they are not invested in the work they do — whatever they may produce is just something they have to do to get the admiration and power they crave.

Narcissists are impulsive. They undo themselves by behavior that seems oddly stupid for people as intelligent as they are. Somehow, they don’t consider the probable consequences of their actions. It’s not clear to me whether they just expect to get away with doing anything they feel like at the moment or whether this impulsiveness is essentially a cognitive shortcoming deriving from the static psychic state with its distorted perception of time.

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Mike Brown Open Thread

August 22, 2014 290 comments

I will have a post on the Mike Brown convenience store surveillance footage up later today (Fri.) or tomorrow (Sat.) soon. (I’m workin’ on it. You know how these things go… stuff  just keeps getting deeper…)

(fyi: the G3 clip above is slightly edited to fit the situation.)

 

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Open Thread: June 2014

May 30, 2014 177 comments
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Yet more SYG shit.

February 24, 2014 240 comments

Florida continues to reach new heights of “I can’t believe that actually happened. You have to be kidding me. Really? …” ***cringing in stunned silence***

Yahoo news is reporting today that the FL legislature is in the process of voting to EXPAND SYG:

<blockquote>On Thursday, a National Rifle Association-backed bill to expand the state’s self-defense statutes sailed through a key state House committee with bipartisan support. It is expected to pass the full chamber. …it amends “stand your ground” to include the threat of force, not just the use of force itself</blockquote>

Of course, this goes on top of the “no duty to repeat” and “it’s irrelevant whether the defendent was actually in danger as long as he believed he was in danger” parts. So, if this expansion had been in effect during the Dunn trial, Dunn wouldn’t have needed to claim that Jordan exited the car, or even that Jordan brandished a gun. He could just have said, “He said he was going to kill me, and he sure seemed dead serious about it, and I believed he meant it, so I figured he had to have some kin d of weapon available to carry out that threat, and i wasn’t going to wait around to find out the hard way, so I shot him before he could do anything to me.” (Kinda like, ‘We’re going to go to war with Iraq and kill 10s of thousands of civilians because we’re not sure their military doesn’t have WMD.)

I’m going to go throw up now.

ETA:

I’m back now. I forgot I haven’t eaten anything in the last 12 hours. So I’m just neuron-vomiting. Which, unlike a good chunk blow, doesn’t have that purging effect of  ‘I feel so much better now that that’s over.” It’s just an Energizer Bunny of psychic pain that keeps going, and going, and going…

The bat-shit crazy proponents of the SYG expansion are — disingenuously IMHO  –  claiming the purpose of the change is prevent recurrences of the Marissa Alexander case. So if a woman claimed “I thought he was going to beat me so I fired a shot over his head to scare him off” she wouldn’t be thrown in the slammer for 20 years.  Er, um, Florida, your law allows people to Stand Their Ground with LETHAL force. So you’re going to give Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards for “I thought he was going to beat me so I put two hollow points through his left ventricle.” Uh, did you guys THINK about this at all?

Oh, I get it! Since you know gals like Samantha Scheibe keep a gun under the bed, you’re just trying to establish an effective deterrent so GZ doesn’t smash any more tables…

In other news, HBO sports reporter (yes, sports) Jon Frankel sent an unchaperoned 13 year old boy out to stores to attempt to buy cigarettes, liquor, a lottery ticket… — in each case he was refused because sales of those items to minors is prohibited by law. I’ll bet you know what comes next: Frankel sent the kid into a gun show where he had no trouble at all buying a weapon. Frankel noted that in Pennsylvania “you have to be 18 to operate a deli counter meat slicer… but you can be 12 and operate a gun.” Hey, no worries! Pennsylvania passed an SYG statute in 2011, so Junior won’t have to go to juvie for mowing down the school bullies!

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Yet more Zimmershit

February 16, 2014 44 comments

From Gawker article “George Zimmerman Wants His Normal Life Back”:

George Zimmerman is not getting used to the rest of his life. In a new Spanish language interview with Univision that will air on Sunday night, Zimmerman details exactly how shitty his existence currently is, while also wondering why he can’t live like the rest of us.
First, the grisly details: Zimmerman is $2.5 million in debt. He claims to have post-traumatic stress disorder. He wears a bulletproof vest and follows “safety plans” while in public. He fears being murdered himself. He does not have a job. He does not have health insurance (no Obamacare, eh?). He says that he is homeless.
“Honestly, I [would] love to live a calm life without being in the press. I’d like [to be treated like] any American citizen,” Zimmerman says in the interview, according to a translation by the New York Daily News. “Have a ticket or an argument [and] not have everyone aware. But that’s my life and I do not understand why that is.”

Not surprisingly, the responses in the Gawker comments are mostly along the lines of  “Trayvon wants his life back, and your problems are your own damn fault for killing an unarmed kid!” But I want to note something else. These remarks show what an utterly mendacious bull-shit artist this guy is. Read this line (slightly edited) again:

“I would love to live a calm life without being in the press.” Zimmerman says in the interview.

Uh, George, if you really don’t want to be in the press, why are you GIVING INTERVIEWS to any media outlet that will put your fat mug up on the Tube? His statement above is just another LIE. He doesn’t want a calm life away from the spotlight. He’s a pathological narcissist who has been making trouble for himself his entire adult life so he can get people’s attention. He LOVES BEING IN THE PRESS! His little internal timer is going to go off every 30-90 days of quietude, and he’s going to pull some new attention-begging thing — create a new painting, offer himself for a new celebrity spectacle, whine very publicly about how he wishes the nasty media vampires would leave him alone — until people get bored and actually do stop paying attention to him. At which point he will either shrivel up into dust, or embark on some really drastic form of hey-look-at-me insanity that could well be dangerous to other people, and — should GZ survive his self-made Gotterdamerung — could well finally put him into prison for the rest of his days.

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Mistrial indeed

February 16, 2014 15 comments

So the Dunn jury couldn’t come to a verdict on the killing of Jordan Davis, and the judge declared a mistrial. Some folks are trying to put lipstick on this pig by taking a glass-half-full view of the fact Dunn was convicted of attempted murder of the other kids in the vehicle, and will likely be given a lengthy prison sentence regardless of the eventual outcome of the murder charge.

But the jury could not have been hung unless at least one member of the panel was so thoroughly convinced of Dunn’s claim that Davis had put him in mortal jeopardy that they could not be moved off of that conclusion. Which is absolutely outrageous, since Dunn’s story is clearly transparent bull-shit contradicted by all the other testimony and the physical evidence.

From which I must draw at least two disturbing conclusions:

1. Irrational bigotry, gun lunacy, or the combination thereof remain common enough in Florida that folks with these afflictions are probably going to wind up in every jury pool.

2. Even after the Zimmerman debacle, Conservative prosecutors like Angela Corey remain too chicken-shit to aggressively attempt to weed out the above during voir dire, or to raise the issue of racial intolerance at trial, lest they alienate the wing-nut base of their political allies and patrons (e.g. in this case, FL Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott).

Over on Xena’s blog, Rachael said “I’m glad he didn’t walk.” and then asked, “But is that enough?” I re-post my reply below:

No, it’s not enough.

For that matter, a conviction of Michael Dunn on M1 wouldn’t be enough either.

After all, what we’re talking about here most likely occurred because one or two die-hard bigots and/or gun nuts got onto the jury. A different roll of the dice in terms of who came up in the jury pool could have yielded a different result. But the larger conditions remain the same, and therein lies the problem.

Dunn is a nobody, mere human detritus, and his individual punishment means next to nothing in the big picture. In order to begin to approach “enough” we would need to see some changes in at least one of the various big-picture issues in play here:

a. Persistent wide-spread racist stereotyping of all young Black men as “thugs”.
b. The pernicious influence of the gun lobby and ALEC.
c. The ludicrous self-defense statutes promoted by the above.
d. The ideological orientations that prevent right-wing State Attorneys (e.g. Corey, Guy, et. al.) from prosecuting cases like the Dunn and Zimmerman trials effectively.

While race is obviously a big part of this, IMHO it’s very important to recognize a big part of this, the gun part, is NOT about race at all. The gun lobby wants profit, and like any endeavor ruled by the profit motive, they don’t care where the profit comes from. They would like nothing better for the “lesson” young black men take away from Davis’ death to be, “Damn, Jordan SHOULDA had a shotgun. If I’m going to survive daily life in this sea of gun-crazy crackers, I’d better be able to fight fire with fire.” Whoopee! More gun sales. Back to the Wild West when everybody was packing, no, better than that because in old Tombstone and Dodge it was just all the grown white men who were strapped, and now we’re gonna get EVERYBODY: all the men, women, boys and girls; white, black, brown, yellow, red; straight, gay, trans. No matter what your style, we have a gun for YOU.

The Zimmerman and Dunn trials establish precedent in the public mind if not case law that Florida actually encourages lethal armed response to confrontations. This not only legitimates white-on-black violence (which probably makes up a fairly low percentage of overall violence) but also violence within more homogenous communities. Got a beef with your neighbor, take your gun. Got a beef with your lover or spouse, take your gun. I don’t remember the details or numbers, but I recall hearing that since SYG was passed self-defense acquittals have gone way up, and murder convictions have dropped accordingly. So we have many, many cases that may have involved killers getting off with defenses as thin as GZ’s or Dunn’s, but they never made the news because they lacked the hot-button dramatic appeal of tweaking the racial divide. And with the publicity from the high-profile trials establishing that shoot-first-and-figure-out-your-story-later works, things are only going to get worse. Everywhere, For everybody.

So, yeah, the outcome of Dunn’s case has some symbolic significance in all of this. The big picture will indeed get worse if he is not convicted on re-trial. But the best a conviction can bring is to slow the bleeding (figuratively and literally). Action in a broader sphere will be required to begin to fix the problems, begin to heal the wounds. The Martin and Davis families seem to understand this, as their focus appears to be on the SYG laws more than the fates of the individuals who killed their sons. Alas, that doesn’t seem to draw the same kind of media attention and public interest that accrue when you can point at embodied and individually detestable villains like GZ and Dunn. But IMHO, it’s time to stop obsessing about the leaves, and start looking at who’s planting what trees in the forest.

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My Fearless Prediction For The Michael Dunn Trial

February 7, 2014 15 comments

Caveats:
1: I haven’t been following the Dunn trial, and since I actually have things I need to get done, I won’t be logging into the trial feed, or following blogs devoted to recaps of the proceedings.
2: As a review of the archives on the “We are desperate for donations. Please donate today.” Law Blog will attest (yes, that’s a direct quote), I was quite wrong in my prediction of how the Zimmerman trial would turn out. I thought Rick Scott and Angela Corey couldn’t afford a loss on such a politically charged case, and Corey would go all out to secure a conviction. Oh, how mistaken I was…

But I still think the politics matters, and having dropped the ball on GZ, it’s now REALLY important for these folks to win one. Corey’s actions in the Marissa Alexander case matter here as well. If both Dunn and GZ are walking free while Alexander remains under lock and key, that’s what the pundits would call “really bad optics.” Add in that, AFAIK, Dunn has not become the sort of Treeper/Freeper/Fox News/wing-nut cause celebre GZ became, so I doubt there’d be much political downside for putting Dunn away.

In addition to my hunch that the prosecutors will actually TRY this time, there’s the facts of the case itself. Unlike Trayvon’s killing, there were numerous eye-witnesses to the events immediately surrounding the David shooting. It should be clear from the testimony that Dunn had ample opportunity to retreat, that he initiated the confrontation by walking up to the car to accost the youths for their loud music, and that he continued to fire at the car well after it pulled out and he was no longer in any conceivable danger.

So his defense would seem to come down to “I really thought they had a gun!” Florida’s self-defense statutes may be insane enough that such a declaration could conceivably form grounds for an acquittal. And after the Z case, who knows what kind of instructions the judge might issue? But I just don’t see the external pressure to double-down on the Zimmerman rulings with an even more extreme case, and I have to imagine that judge and jury will be more likely to want to show the rest of the country “We’re not totally bat-shit crazy ALL the time!”

So I’m predicting a conviction, for murder one. Since Florida has lesser included charges available automatically, it’s possible the jury could drop to murder two, but as we learned during the Z trial, with the required extenuating circumstances that’s a very long minimum sentence as well.

We shall see, of course. Share your thoughts, if you have them, and if you’d like to post comments on the progress of the trial, feel free.

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