May 17, 2012

My Zimmerman question to the NYT answered

From the New York Times:
Police Missteps in Trayvon Martin Case: Readers’ Questions Answered 
By SERGE F. KOVALESKI 
Thank you all for submitting such thoughtful questions and insights into the article ["Trayvon Martin Case Shadowed by a Series of Missteps"] about how the Sanford Police Department handled the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, on the night of Feb. 26. ....
Q. Has any solid evidence emerged after all these months of media frenzy that the story George Zimmerman told the police wasn’t true?
Steve Sailor
A. Some Sanford officers were skeptical about certain details of Mr. Zimmerman’s account. For instance, he told the police that Mr. Martin had punched him numerous times, but they questioned whether his injuries were consistent with the number of blows he claimed to have received. They also suspected that some of the threatening and dramatic language that Mr. Zimmerman said Mr. Martin used during the struggle — like “You are going to die tonight” — sounded made up.

And there you have it ...
-------------------------------
* By the way, The New York Times' misspelling of my name is no big deal, but it reminds me of why I've chosen to use a variety of handles that are easier for other people to spell than "Steven Sailer." In elementary school, I noticed that people tended to spell my name "Stephen Sailer" or "Steven Sailor" or "Stephen Saylor," or other variants. And who can blame them? It's naturally confusing.

So, to simplify things for everybody, I decided to use Steve to eliminate the Steven/Stephen problem. Online, I emphasize Steve over Sailer because the former is almost impossible to misspell. I picked iSteve.com because somebody beat me to Steve.com. I use SteveSlr as an email address to get rid of those hard to remember vowels in my last name.

I'd recommend to parents that when choosing a baby name, they consider the inconvenience an unconventionally spelled name can impose on their child, and even the inconvenience their child's altered spelling can cause other children with the conventional spelling.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

breaking news--evidence in TM-GZ case:

1) autopsy shows TM had drug in system

2) was shot from 1"-18"

3) abc report from Matt Gutman below now calls GZ a "multi-racial Hispanic" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
___________________________________
fROM abc:http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-documents-released-shooting-george-zimmerman/story?id=16371852

By MATT GUTMAN (@mattgutmanABC) , SENI TIENABESO (@senijr_abc) and COLLEEN CURRY

May 17, 2012
Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, had the drug THC in his system the night of this death, according to new information obtained by ABC News.

The revelation came as prosecutors in the case prepared to release to the public hundreds of pages of new evidence along with videos and crime scene photos.

Martin's death sparked public outrage after police released Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, without any criminal charges for the killing.

Zimmerman, 28, is a multi-racial Hispanic man who shot the black high school junior at close range on Feb. 26, and claimed self-defense, though Martin was unarmed. Zimmerman was later charged with second-degree murder, and the killing provoked widespread debate about racial profiling.

























Trayvon Martin Case: Zimmerman Medical Report Watch Video







Obama: 'If I Had a Son, He'd Look Like Trayvon' Watch Video







George Zimmerman Targeted on Twitter Watch Video






The autopsy report shows traces of the drug THC, which is found in marijuana, in Martin's blood and urine.

The autopsy also shows that Zimmerman shot Martin from a distance of between 1 inch and 18 inches away, bolstering Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin during a struggle that landed Zimmerman on his back, Martin straddling him and banging Zimmerman's head on the ground.

Martin's autopsy report also revealed that there was a quarter-inch by half-inch abrasion on the left fourth finger of Martin, another indication of a possible struggle. The teen, who lived in Miami, was in Sanford while serving a suspension for a bag of marijuana being discovered in his possession.

Later today, a trove of documents that are part of the discovery in Zimmerman's trial are expected to be released on a website run by the state's attorney, including 67 CDs worth of documents, video of Martin on the night of the shooting, his autopsy report and videos of Zimmerman's questioning by police."

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty longwinded way of saying "no".

NYT: don't ever change, baby.

Aaron B. said...

Steven Saylor is a favorite author of mine, but oddly that seems to help me remember the right spellings for each.

Rachelle said...

Given how the NYT shamefully handled the Duke Lacrosse story, it is hardly surprising that they are botching this.

They are striving to tell the story they want to tell rather than the story that exists.

How much longer before that pathetic rag goes bankrupt? I check its stock every now and then in anticipation.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, I recall the first time I saw a detective novel at the bookstore with the name "Steven Saylor" prominently displayed on the cover. My instantaneous reaction was, "Cool, but I wonder when I wrote this?"

Probably just after winning my Olympic gold medal in the Plunge for Distance ...

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read the ancient Rome-set mystery novels by your almost namesake, Steven Saylor? Pretty good stuff, actually.

Anonymous said...

My maternal grandfather changed the spelling of his surname by one letter before joining the Army Air Corps in WWII. His father disowned him for this stain on the family honor, but succeeding generations were glad. My mother was especially glad to be a Hardin rather than a Hardon!

Steve Sailer said...

That reminds me of how Ralph Lauren is always accused of insufficient ethnocentrism for changing his name to Lauren for Lipshitz. He always replies: Notice the 4th though 7th letters in my old name.

Anonymous said...

Standardized street names would be a lot better too. I only realized this when I moved to WEST Ave. I never had to say "that's W as in..."

David said...

While everyone was paying attention, it's "white Hispanic."

A couple months later, it's quietly changed to "multi-racial Hispanic."

This is similar to the type of thing that happened in the old days, when "REPUBLICAN COUNCILMAN X ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT" was above the fold ...and "Former Councilman X found not guilty" appeared weeks later as a correction in 9-point type on the bottom of page B-71.

The Times regrets the error (snicker).

Aaron B. said...

If anything about the MSM still surprises me, it's that they can be so very wrong on a story. Any decent liar knows that a key to telling a believable lie is to include some truth in it. But they don't try to slant the story, wrap the truth in a few well-chosen lies, make it lean 60/40 their way. No, they go whole-hog for the big lie, and when someone says, "Oh, come on now," they just pile it higher and thicker.

At this point, it appears that the first guess from the craziest commenter at the most right-wing blog was probably closer to the truth than what the MSM was peddling. Remember the initial story: A white (wrong) man called the police to report a black in the neighborhood (wrong). He was told not to pursue (wrong) and then shot the kid for no particular reason except suspicion and racism (wrong). The shooter had a history of domestic violence (wrong), assaulting the police (wrong), and acting like a one-man posse (wrong). The kid was a good student (wrong) who was just returning home from purchasing candy (looking wronger all the time). The shooter was much larger and stronger than the small, wiry kid so was under no threat from him (wrong).

On the other hand, right-wing blog commenters, basing their guesses on nothing but intuition and their knowledge of how the world works, suggested that: Martin would probably turn out to have had drugs in his system (true), he may have attacked Zimmerman and as a 17-year-old football player up against a pudgy 30-something could have done serious damage to him (true), this probably wasn't the peaceful gated suburb it was portrayed as (true), and so on. Of course, these commenters were accused of being racists themselves for even suggesting such wild possibilities.

At this point, you have to wonder whether anything about the original Narrative will turn out to be true. What's next: jewelry was found on Martin that belonged three doors down? Texts are unearthed that show Martin saying, "I circled around him, I'll get the f----- now"? Maybe we'll find out Martin actually pulled Zimmerman from his truck. Nothing like that would be a surprise now, because the lies were piled so high that you keep expecting to find more underneath.

Anonymous said...

Rachel said:

"They are striving to tell the story they want to tell rather then the story that exists."

Well said Rachel. That is the whole problem right there. The media has lied because they want to CHARACTERIZE this story, rather then simply REPORT it. Where did our media go so wrong? Whatever happened to newspapers and reporters simply REPORTING the news, rather then trying to shape or create news?

Dahlia said...

Steve,
My husband would also add to your advice to not give your child an ethnic name of a group the child does not belong to. My in-laws are simple people and unwittingly gave him a unique name used only by Jews.

Anonymous said...

Ralph Lauren is Scots-Irish?

Huh.

Anonymous said...

You mean avoid "Laqueesha"? Wait...it might be "Le Quisha."
Or La....never mind.

Anonymous said...

"If anything about the MSM still surprises me, it's that they can be so very wrong on a story."

Used to be they could get fired for filing an inaccurate story or two.

Now, it's a ho-hum thing to not only get the facts wrong, but to give one's opinion and find later that it was also wrong.

No one makes them pay a price.

Jehu said...

Aaron,
It's not just our intuition. It's that the story was covered by all kinds of outlets, and while most slanted the story heavily, many contained little bits of truth that conflicted with the other outlets.
Using a reverse of the process used in the Textus Receptus, evil racist white reactionary bloggers were able to infer the likely true narrative (that process being to gather the favorable to Zimmerman bits from several dozen stories and reject the nonsense that was the early consensus). The reason why this works is information that is exculpatory to Zimmerman in the early days was only reported somewhat by accident and only when it was nearly absolutely true.

medvedev said...

Some Sanford officers were skeptical about certain details of Mr. Zimmerman’s account.

So, what is it?
1) NYT authors are such idiots that they think that "officers were skeptical" constitutes solid evidence, or
2) NYT authors think that everyone else is an idiot who would believe that "officers were skeptical" constitutes solid evidence.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that some people create makeshift pipes to smoke marijuana with by poking pinholes in the side of a drink can.

One of the forensic reports says that Martin had a lighter and pin in his pocket. Did he intend to use the iced tea can in a non-traditional manner?

Kylie said...

My real first name can be spelled with a final "e" or without. My parents decided to pick the spelling without that "e". But my middle initial is "E", leading to constant misunderstandings and misspellings.

Thus, "Imogene" instead of "Imogen E."

RKU said...

Aaron B: If anything about the MSM still surprises me, it's that they can be so very wrong on a story...At this point, it appears that the first guess from the craziest commenter at the most right-wing blog was probably closer to the truth than what the MSM was peddling.

Well, I don't regard myself as particularly "right-wing" and I wouldn't like to think of myself as "crazy", but that was certainly my own educated guess at the time.

It's really not so complicated. The proven empirical reality is that the MSM is "unreliable" on this sort of racially-charged story, and its "unreliability" tilts in a particular direction. So it's quite likely that any plausible factual claims on the other side are probably correct, even if they're outnumbered 100-to-1 by the endlessly repeated MSM claims to the contrary. Just apply a little common sense and play the expected odds and you'll probably be correct most of the time.

Another way of describing it is the need to recalibrate your reality-detection instrumentation to allow for obvious MSM bias, just like you might need to adjust your sonor or radar or whatever for certain atmospheric conditions.

The Frankfurt School said...

The media has lied because they want to CHARACTERIZE this story, rather then simply REPORT it. Where did our media go so wrong? Whatever happened to newspapers and reporters simply REPORTING the news, rather then trying to shape or create news?


MOO HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Anonymous said...

namenerds.com
Caitlín
the name from which we get the anglicization Kathleen.
here are 155 plausible ways to spell the name

[Search any one of them, they're all legit.]

Caitlin Catelin Caytlin Caytelin Catlin Caetlin Caitelin Cayetlin
Caitlan Catelan Caytlan Caytelan Catlan Caetlan Caitelan Cayetlan
Caitlyn Catelyn Caytlyn Caytelyn Catlyn Caetlyn Caitelyn Cayetlyn
Caitlynn Catelynn Caytlynn Caytelynn Catlynn Caetlynn Caitelynn Cayetlynn
Caitlynne Catelynne Caytlynne Caytelynne Catlynne Caetlynne Caitelynne Cayetlynne
Caitlind Catelind Caytlind Caytelind Catlind Caetlind Caitelind Cayetlind
Caitland Cateland Caytland Cayteland Catland Caetland Caiteland Cayetland
Caitlinn Catelinn Caytlinn Caytelinn Catlinn Caetlinn Caitelinn Cayetlinn
Caitlinne Catelinne Caytlinne Caytelinne Catlinne Caetlinne Caitelinne Cayetlinne
Kaitlin Katelin Kaytlin Kaytelin Katlin Kaetlin Keightlin Kaitelin Kayetlin
Kaitlan Katelan Kaytlan Kaytelan Katlan Kaetlan Keightlan Kaitelan Kayetlan
Kaitlyn Katelyn Kaytlyn Kaytelyn Katlyn Kaetlyn Keightlyn Kaitelyn Kayetlyn
Kaitlynn Katelynn Kaytlynn Kaytelynn Katlynn Kaetlynn Keightlynn Kaitelynn Kayetlynn
Kaitlynne Katelynne Kaytlynne Kaytelynne Katlynne Kaetlynne Keightlynne Kaitelynne Kayetlynne
Kaitlind Katelind Kaytlind Kaytelind Katlind Kaetlind Keightlind Kaitelind Kayetlind
Kaitland Kateland Kaytland Kayteland Katland Kaetland Keightland Kaiteland Kayetland
Kaitlinn Katelinn Kaytlinn Kaytelinn Katlinn Kaetlinn Keightlinn Kaitelinn Kayetlinn
Kaitlinne Katelinne Kaytlinne Kaytelinne Katlinne Kaetlinne Keightlinne Kaitelinne Kayetlinne

...It's also been recorded as Katelyin, Kaitlen and Caitlon.

Svigor said...

I've heard that some people create makeshift pipes to smoke marijuana with by poking pinholes in the side of a drink can.

If they want to be called crackheads, anyway.

Reg Cæsar said...

I'd recommend to parents that when choosing a baby name...

I'd recommend to parents that they not choose a "baby name" at all, but an adult one. Fits better with that advanced degree...

Some go even further. Check out all the decrepit Jewish grandparents filling our kindergartens: Max, Sam, Sophie, Sadie, Abby, etc.

Peter A said...

My real estate agent in Vienna is named Sailer. It is a fairly common Austrian name - pronounced "Zyler" of course.

Steve Sailer said...

When I was in Austria in 1980 was the only time that my last name had any glamor. Several Austrians asked me if I was related to Toni Sailer, the national hero skier from the 1956 Winter Olympics.

Davor Thepiesky said...

The equation is simple, really:

Reporters (ostensibly) used to report the simple truth. But the truth (reality) is generally racist. Racism is bad. Therfore in order to not be bad, you can no longer report the truth.

James O'Meara said...

"I'd recommend to parents that when choosing a baby name, they consider the inconvenience an unconventionally spelled name can impose on their child, and even the inconvenience their child's altered spelling can cause other children with the conventional spelling."

This deserves some special coverage of its own. What the Hell is wrong with parents? Weren't THEY ever children?

I tend to keep people with 'odd' names at arms length, since its hard for me to believe that years of playground teasing, to say nothing of years of 'correcting' everyone around you, haven't scarred them in some way. Even the movies can't decided if it's Lechter or Lektor, and you see how he turned out!

And I'm not just talking about stupid "black" names; even White parents do this.

I once almost lost a client because some govt. drone was named "Tabatha" and I "insulted" her by addressing a letter to "Tabitha" -- you know, like the TV witch.

[Monty Python: "I know it's spelled 'Smith' but it's pronounced 'Throatwobbler'"]

I confess, I hadn't thought of the travails of Steven/Stephens, so I'll have to keep my 'i' on you too...

James O'Meara said...

"Steve Sailer said...

When I was in Austria in 1980 was the only time that my last name had any glamor. Several Austrians asked me if I was related to Toni Sailer, the national hero skier from the 1956 Winter Olympics."

I know the feeling... anyone remember golfer Mike O'Meara?

James O'Meara said...

"Some go even further. Check out all the decrepit Jewish grandparents filling our kindergartens: Max, Sam, Sophie, Sadie, Abby, etc."

Funny. Also goes the other way... I've dealt with mailing lists of Florida Judaic retirees with names like Baby, Honey, Snookie, etc. Must be wild on the shufflecourts.

James O'Meara said...

It suddenly occurs to me that "Keeping up Appearances" on the BBC is actually covertly a 'racist' portrayal of an upwardly 'striving' black family.

"It's 'bouquet,' spelled B-u-c-k-e-t"

pat said...

Steven Saylor would not be a guy with whom I would care to be confused. Saylor is a local. He lives in San Francisco and is gay. The Rome he protrays in his many detective stories has a gay agenda slant.

There are several series of novels based on the idea of detectives investigating murders in ancient Rome. I have read many of them, maybe most of them. Some people read Westerns. Others like pulp Science Fiction. I like historical fiction.

The most popular Roman detective series is probably the SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts. These are short easy reading mysteries with good historical accuracy.

Colleen McCullagh has a very good (and very long) non-detecive series of Roman novels with world class scholarship. She writes domestic scenes brilliantly but cannot depict a battle. This is a serious weakness for the disputaceous Romans.

Robert Harris, another brilliant main stream writer has several novels set in Rome. These writers are in contrast to the Roman detective speacialists like Linsey Davis, David Wisehart and Steven Saylor. Davis is fun but rather lightweight, Wisehart is simply a terrible writer and Saylor has his agenda.

In McCullough gay characters worry that they will be found out. The Lex Scantinia made homosexuality a capital offense, after all. In Saylor's books by contrast, the men are always casting steamy glances at each other, unconcerned about how they would appear to others. In Roberts novels, Milo is portrayed (accurately) as a former galley rower. In Rome the rowers were not slaves. Galley slavery is Midieval. In Saylor's books there are galley slaves who endure a lot of sexually charged gay BDSM. These scenes read like gay porn.

Saylor is not however particularly up front and obstrusive with his slant. I read a lot of his novels before I began to notice the patterns. But once my Gaydar was activated, I found it impossible to ignore.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

I suppose 'no' was considered too sparse. Perhaps, 'Hell no, but we sure like to speculate and stir the pot' would have covered it but that is still too honest.

No we'll give an answer of several sentences that only appears to answer your question. Unless of course, speculation is now 'solid'.

Anonymous said...

"Caitlín
the name from which we get the anglicization Kathleen.
here are 155 plausible ways to spell the name."

That beats the spelling contortions that the great prole baby names of the 90's.

Brittany Brytni Britney Britny Brittney Brittny Brytny

Shondreka Shondrekia Shandrekia Shan' drekia Shauderrekia Shawndrekia

Makayla Makala My'kalyia Mikayla Mykala ....

and on and on. I used to have sometimes three or four of these lassies with the same name in one class period.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Sailor,

I am doing a Jr. High paper about sailors, could you give me any tips about sailing and sailors?

Thanks,

Wade said...

Regarding the media's handling of this case and how society can hold them accountable... If Zimmerman is acquitted of all wrong doing (probably a long shot), are there any circumstances under which he could sue abc/msnbc for libel and/or slander especially under circumstances where reporters are shown to have intentionally mislead their audience (Gutman/The doctored tape which made it look like Zimmerman had asserted Trayvon was black without having been asked by the police dispatcher)?

Could such a case be mounted against a media outlet with Zimmerman being remunerated for pain and suffering?

Truth said...

"Anonymous said...

I've heard that some people create makeshift pipes to smoke marijuana with by poking pinholes in the side of a drink can.

One of the forensic reports says that Martin had a lighter and pin in his pocket. Did he intend to use the iced tea can in a non-traditional manner?'

I'm a writer, and I couldn't make most of this stuff up. My imagination just isn't that strong.

Bill said...

The real question here is "Why did the NYT respond to this question?"

Anyone with an IQ above room temperature can see that their answer is "No, but we dearly wish we could say yes." Why do that to themselves?

Geoff Matthews said...

I've been having to correct people on my name since 1st grade. It isn't that big of a deal anymore.
But it is good as a screener for telemarketers. As soon as some one asks for 'G-e-off' (with the gutteral 'g'), I know that they don't know me.

Geoff Matthews said...

Would have been nice if the reporter simply answered your question.

Anthony said...

Svigor - potheads have been using soda cans as makeshift pipes longer than crack has existed. I've seen friends of mine do it, back in the early 80s.

Anonymous said...

You will always be Étienne Matelot to me!

Kylie said...

"My real estate agent in Vienna is named Sailer."

Here in my flyover state, there is a town named Vienna, pronounced "Vi-enna". Even more piquantly, there's a town whose name is spelled "Versailles" and pronounced "Ver-sales".

But we all pronounce Featherstonehaugh as "Fanshaw".

Aaron B. said...

"Reporters (ostensibly) used to report the simple truth."

Well, for very large values of ostensibly. Reporters have always cherry-picked the right kind of stories and slanted them as much as they could get away with. But I get the impression that, if a reporter 50 years ago wanted to show that Republicans were philanderers (for instance), he dug around until he caught one philandering. It might take a while, and he might use it to promote incorrect conclusions (Republicans are singularly unfaithful), but at least the basic story would be truthful.

The problem with the current narrative (white, racist gun-owners are going around killing blacks with impunity) is that it's not just stretching the truth; it's outright false. You simply can't find examples of it without going back decades. (Which is kind of amazing, when you think about it: no white drug buyer ever shoots his dealer over a pricing disagreement?) They can (and do) claim that's how things are, but it's hard to really convince people without at least one example. So when they thought they finally had an example, they ran with it even though all the evidence actually worked against their Narrative.

To go back to my previous example, it's as if a reporter were determined to prove that Republicans are philanderers, but no one had been able to catch one cheating since 1954. So one day he snaps a picture of his town's mayor giving some woman a hug and claims it as proof of a Republican affair, even though it turns out the mayor was actually an Independent and the woman was his sister.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of reality & truth reminded me; commenter "Truth" was all over the comments when the Zimmerman-Martin story was fresh, but he seems to have become bored with the entire fray. Perhaps there are other reasons.

Anonymous said...

[Monty Python: "I know it's spelled 'Smith' but it's pronounced 'Throatwobbler'"]

A local government official in england had the name Andrea which is in Italian a male name and she insisted it was pronounced Arn-drea even though there was only one r.

(See Eyes passim to quote a well known magazine)

Svigor said...

Svigor - potheads have been using soda cans as makeshift pipes longer than crack has existed. I've seen friends of mine do it, back in the early 80s.

That's what all the crackheads say.

:)

Seriously though, perceptions do change, and aren't necessarily joined at the hip to good arguments.