Sunday, March 25, 2012

Updates 3/25/12

Hello everyone.

My goodness, I am so late this morning! My apologies.. I forgot to set an alarm.

On to the news:

-- Thousands of people across the country are marching for justice for Trayvon Martin, many of whom are wearing dark hoodies and carrying bags of Skittles in solidarity with the young man. Protests have sprung up from Portland (OR) to Portland (Maine), Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and everywhere in between. Some people are confused about the outrage from Black churches but not White ones, as I've seen in several articles lately. I'll discuss this more below.

-- Police arrested several Occupiers during a march in NYC yesterday, but official numbers have not yet been released. Occupiers are demanding the immediate resignation of NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. At least one journalist had a plainclothes officer attempt to block them from filming an arrest. The march was a strong reminder that police tactics are rapidly delving into excessive force. Many protesting wore mock-ups of police uniforms and decorated their bicycles to look like police scooters. Police escorted the march on its entire path. The rally was billed an anti-police brutality march, but many could be heard chanting "Justice for Trayvon" along the way.

-- Now for some positive news! Occupy DC held an unusual General Assembly yesterday, with something new on the agenda. A couple, identified by their Twitter handles as Pocahontas and Hunter, put their wedding nuptials up for a vote from fellow Occupiers. The pair doesn't recognize the government's ability to recognize their marriage, and instead opted for fellow protesters to decide. After a bit of joking and laughter, the large group voted to approve the marriage. Congrats to the happy couple!

I have some video and pictures for you, provided by Gaia8. This media shows the recent protests for Trayvon Martin in Chicago. Gaia8 also plans to document the Chicago Spring, and I hope she will be willing to share that with us as well.


Flickr images-

THIS IS MY OPINION SECTION. Just a warning that you may not agree with me. That's fine.

So now I'm going to discuss Trayvon Martin a bit with you. I know this is a bit overdue, but I have some insight to share, and hopefully you will understand where I'm coming from. First, I'm going to link an article to you. This actually offers a video of CNN reporters playing the 911 call that Zimmerman (the night watchman) placed to police before he fatally shot Trayvon Martin. If you scroll down past the video, you'll come across the actual recording of the full 911 call.

I'm well aware that the video and article claim that Zimmerman uttered a racial slur, and I'll talk more about that in a minute. But first I'm going to point something else out.

So here's the story. Apparently there had been some recent break-ins in the gated community where this all happened. Mr. Zimmerman saw Mr. Martin walking in a dark hoodie and carrying something, and grew suspicious. He even says that he thinks Mr. Martin may be drunk or on something in the recording. Mr. Zimmerman proceeded to follow Mr. Martin, who was on the phone with his girlfriend, telling her someone was following him, and it scared him. At one point, Mr. Martin runs from Mr. Zimmerman. From then on, the story is only told by Mr. Zimmerman, because Mr. Martin was fatally shot by him. Mr. Zimmerman claims that he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense, and according to Florida laws, that's okay. However, the story goes a bit deeper than that.

In the call itself, you can hear that Zimmerman is slightly out of breath. You get this conversation between Zimmerman and the operator:

Operator: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yes.

Operator: Okay, we don't need you to do that.

So first off, you have the 911 operator actually tell him NOT to follow Martin. That's like Rule #1 of a "suspicious character." You don't know what a person is actually doing, who they are, what they may have... Police will always tell you NOT to follow the person, for your own safety. But Zimmerman disregarded the operator's instructions, and did it anyway. It's not illegal to disobey a 911 operator in Florida, but it does raise some questions on the character of Zimmerman. He obviously did not want to wait for police to arrive to do their job, so he went to do it for them.

Next we have the issue of a racial slur. To be completely honest with you, Yes. It is there. I heard it. As a linguist, I have access to transcription tools that most of the public doesn't. I'm going to get technical here for a second, so bear with me. I will explain.

In terms of legalities, when a person utters a racial slur just before killing someone, it becomes a hate crime, which is federal jurisdiction. That means that the local and even state police forces no longer have any authority in the case, and all authority goes to federal investigators. This is important, as in this case, the local authorities refused to arrest Zimmerman due to his claim of self-defense.

Some people claim to have heard it. Others say they don't hear anything of the sort. I have a program on my computer called Speech Analyzer. It allows me to input recorded data and look at the waveforms and spectrograms associated with the patterns of speech. What this means is that I can tell you what kind of sound is being uttered. In this case, I can definitely see the frication of the [f] in the first word, followed by a "pop" from the stop in the second part. I can also view the vowels, and listen to the sounds piece by piece. Which means the first word, in my experienced opinion, is "fucking." The second word is a bit more difficult, because Zimmerman is whispering, which tends to irritate my tools. There is still a clearly visible "pop" at the beginning, which means it is a stop. Stops are letters like p, t, and k. There is also a clearly visible and audible u, n, and s. U is the letter we use for the sound "oo" like in "cool." So that means the word is either "poons," "toons," or "coons."

Now, since my equipment tends to be faulty when it comes to whispering, I took to a different technique. Listening closely to whispered stops, they each have something a little different. P tends to just pop and move to the next sound, T tends to come out more like an S, and K has what I call a "scratchy" consistency. In Zimmerman's speech, he is breathing heavy, but I still firmly believe he is issuing a K.

I would be willing to testify in a court of law that Zimmerman utters the words "Fucking Coons," right before he shoots Martin. That's how confident I am in that assessment. I also believe that Zimmerman utters another racist phrase before he ever says the obvious racial slur. 22 seconds after Zimmerman remarks "Yeah, he's a Black male," he says "These assholes always get away." I don't know about you, but I firmly believe that in the context of the situation, he was talking about Black people.

So that's it. That's my assessment. In my opinion, Zimmerman committed a racially motivated murder and should be tried by the federal government as such.


To those article writers out there that are having bitchfits about "Occupy Wall Street is trying to steal the Trayvon Martin movement to give them leverage," please feel free to shut the fuck up. We have just as much right as any other protesters to be damned outraged at this, and you look like you are talking out of your ass. If you aren't outraged about it, you need to go back to the 1950s when shit like this was ignored. Because it isn't ignored now, and it won't be.

Fuck off,


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