Day 11 began with legal arguments on the defense’s animation they created to illustrate their case for the jury.  The prosecution changed their mind from yesterday and now stated that they believed the defense couldn’t meet Daubert and wanted a Daubert hearing.  The defense stated that the animation was changed 3 times to address the state’s concerns with accuracy.  The defense also argued that evidence admissibility doesn’t have anything to do with disagreeing with an expert’s opinion.  And that the animation is in line with evidence already before the jury, such as John Good’s testimony, Dr. Bao’s testimony, Dr. Di Maio’s testimony, and George Zimmerman’s walk-through/reenactment video.  Admissibility is measured by the reliability of the evidence and whether or not it will help the trier of fact, as well as the balance of prejudicial and probative.  Daubert and Pierce hearings were done simultaneously out of the presence of the jury.  Daniel Shoemaker took the stand and explained that he is a crime scene reconstructionist who also works on government proposals.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and works in the information graphics industry.  He has worked for Fortune 500 companies and auto companies doing their graphics presentations.  He did that for a few years and then went to California and did the same thing using better technology.  In both places, he was the senior artist at his respective employer.  He told the court that he has done that work for the past 13 years.  He now owns his own company and also added working with attorneys some time ago.  He originally consulted on just graphics like PowerPoint or poster boards, but then moved into recreations.  He stated that when he first started, he worked in only 2D, but technological advancements have made it possible to work in 3D animations.  Also, he originally hand measured, but now can measure using lasers and other technology.  He stated he also uses Total Station Data (often used by law enforcement and road crews).  The robotic surveying laser creates points in a space and records data relative to each other, which can then be used to recreate the area accurately.  Depending upon the project, he uses between 2 and 500 points of data.  He doesn’t use the point cloud version, he individually records each point.  He also uses Matter Point and Visual Statement software.  In addition, he uses a special protective motion capture suit to map a person’s movements and then put that on a figure in the animation.  He testified that he’s worked on 59 civil and criminal cases.  He has testified in trial before and had his presentations used by lawyers for the jury.  He testified about recreations in 20 cases.  His testimony was never disqualified by the court.  He stated that this case is unique because there is real time audio evidence, which aids in a timeline creation for the animation.  He told the court he used police reports, testimony, discovery, mapping and scanning the scene, photographs from the scene, and the prosecution’s Total Station Data.

“I believe I had everything I needed to recreate the scene,” Shoemaker told the court.

The animation and the slides were shown to the judge and cross-examination was continued until after trial.

The first witness of the day was Dr. Vincent Di Maio.  He told the jury that he is a physician in forensic pathology.  He graduated from medical school in 1965.  He did 3 residencies and obtained 3 certifications (anatomical, clinical and forensic pathology).  He explained the difference between them to the jury.  He testified he then served in the Army.  He was assigned to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.  After which, he was a Medical Examiner in two offices from 1972 – 2006, at which time he then retired.  During his time in Texas, he worked for Bexar County and established a County-run crime lab and was also in charge of that for about 16 years.  He started a private practice in consultation after retirement and he also became the chief editor for the American Journal of Forensic Medicine.  He also serves on the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which was established to investigate bad crime labs and technicians.  He testified that for about “30 years” MEs have known that you don’t put evidence in plastic.  It is standard and even an ME without any crime lab experience would know that.  It degrades evidence.  He also was a professor in forensic pathology for a time as well.  He has published 88 peer-reviewed articles, 13 chapters in other people’s books, and 4 books himself.  One of his books was on gun shot wounds based upon his research and experience, another book was a handbook on forensic pathology (which was used by Dr. Bao according to his testimony to form some of his opinions), and his last book was on excited delirium.  He told the jury that 35 to 37 of his peer-reviewed articles were about gun shot wounds.  He stated he has completed 9,000 autopsies and overseen 27,000 more.  He works mostly these days in civil cases, such as defective firearms or possible suicides when life insurance is involved.  He told the jury he started his gun shot research in the military.  They used microphotography or microflash techniques to study gun shots and also did a study of 50,000 slides of Vietnam injuries.

He told the jury that when the firing pin hits the primer, it explodes.  Then, the gun powder is ignited, which then converts into gas.  This gas causes a buildup of pressure, which eventually pushes the bullet into the barrel.  Some of the gas gets in front of the bullet as this process is occurring.  The barrel is also filled with air.  So, when the bullet goes down the barrel, the force pushes the gas and air out in front of it.  The first thing that comes out of the gun is a cloud of gas, like a mushroom on its side.  Then the bullet, then the big cloud of gas and then the powder grains.  He testified that if you have a contact wound, the gas will tear a whole before the bullet or soot gets there.  The gas and air would, for example, tear a whole in clothing or skin.  He told the jury that people think that blanks can’t kill people, but you don’t need a bullet.  The force of the gas and air can injure you, even kill you.

He stated that he worked for the U.S. Dept. of Justice on the police murder cases during Hurricane Katrina.  He testified he’s worked on war crimes cases for both the Marine Corps and for the United Nations.  He worked for the British government on the Bloody Sunday Massacre case.  He has testified in most state courts in the union, federal courts, Colombia, Canada, South America, South Africa, and Israel.  He has won some professional awards.  The defense wanted to enter his CV or curriculum vitae into evidence, the prosecution objected, but it was overruled and the CV was admitted.  He told the jury that he reviewed George Zimmerman’s injury photos, the autopsy report/photos/toxicology report, crime scene photos, medical records, the witness statement of John Good, the 911 calls, the reenactment/walk-through video, DNA reports, the firearm examiner’s reports, and depositions.  He testified that the case is more about whether or not the physical evidence matches George Zimmerman’s account, so he didn’t review all the witness testimonies, especially those that didn’t see anything.

He told the jury the most important thing for him was the autopsy report, which included photographs of the wound and the firearm examiner’s reports.

“The photographs show contact discharge of a weapon against the clothing…I agree 100% with the firearms expert…the muzzle was in contact with the clothing…”

“When you look at the wound in the chest…circular punched out wound…laid in an area of powder tattooing…they’re not powder burns…”

When the powder grains come out of the gun, the grains produce marks and reddish burns.  He testified that some people will call it stippling, but he likes to call it powder tattooing.

“The person was alive at the time…there was a distribution…this indicated that the gun was not against the skin…it is my opinion that the muzzle of the gun was 2 to 4 inches away…”

He testified that the red or reddish brown marks around Trayvon Martin’s gun shot wound are created because the person is alive at the time.  The distribution area was 2-by-2 inches.  If the gun was at 0.5 inches away or less, there would be no tattooing.  As you move back, the density of the dispersion decreases and your area of tattooing enlarges until the marks disappear completely at 3 feet.  The size and density of the tattooing shows it was 2 to 4 inches away, Dr. Di Maio testified.  He explained to the jury that he got interested in gun shots when he wanted to know if the  way experts determined range or distance away at the time was valid.  He discovered through research that the “white paper method” was valid up to 18 inches away.  In this case, he testified that the firearm examiner noted it was a ball powder variant, so he knew that that type has a lot more grains within it, this would produce a denser pattern.

“It’s kind of like a hose…the farther away…the bigger the pattern.”  After a certain distance the velocity is lost in the water, just like in powder and it just falls.

He told the jury that the clothing was not in between the powder and the skin because the tear in the clothing was produced by the force of gas and air in front of the bullet.  In other words, the gas and air tore a hole in the clothing and the bullet and larger cloud would have nothing in between it and the skin.  “In this case, the clothing didn’t filter out the powder…”  He testified that if the gun had been pressed up against the skin, the powder tattooing wouldn’t be there at all, instead it would be inside the body.

Don West:  “Literally, having written the book, is this hard for you?”

Dr. Di Maio:  “This is basic…101.”

He told the jury about the autopsy findings.  Trayvon Martin’s wound was an inch to the left of his mid-line.  It went through the space between the 5th and 6th ribs, it went through the sac that surrounds the heart, through the left ventricle, and into the right lung.

“There’s some…” left to right trajectory, but it’s “not radical”.

He testified the wound isn’t exactly 90 degrees.  He told the jury that MEs always talk in the viewpoint of the deceased.  “It does not appear…” to be a precise straight on shot.

“The medical evidence…is consistent with…his statements [George Zimmerman]…the gun was in his right hand…”

Dr. Di Maio testified that when someone uses a gun they have a natural inclination to turn it or twist it slightly.

He told the jury that, “…if you lean over somebody…the clothing…falls away from your chest…”

He stated that since the clothing was 2 to 4 inches away, closer to the gun than the skin, then that is “consistent with” someone leaning over, not lying on their back.

“If you are lying on your back your clothing is going to be against your chest,” said Di Maio.

He testified that Trayvon Martin having wet clothing and a heavy unopened drink in his front pocket would “tend to reinforce…” this finding.  Wet clothing has a tendency to be heavy and fall, and if you have something heavy inside your clothing, it weighs it down and brings it away from you.  “This is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman’s account…”  He told the jury that consciousness is the ability to move and is determined by the amount of oxygen in your brain, it has nothing to do with your heart.  You normally have about 10 to 15 seconds of reserve oxygen inside your brain.  The brain controls all movement and speech.  10 to 15 seconds is the minimum amount of consciousness without blood flow to the brain.  If there is better blood pressure, it can be longer.  Some people get shot and black out right away, others don’t even know they are shot.  Time of death is considered cardiac in this case.  You have a through-and-through wound to the heart and one or two wounds to the lung (the bullet fragmented).  Every time the heart contracts, he told the jury, it pumps blood through your body and out your injuries.  You then lose blood.  If you engage in a struggle, your heart will increase in speed.  Trayvon Martin was a healthy young person, his heart rate excited would be probably 110 to 120 beats per minute.  If his heart was beating at 100 beats a minute and he loses a tablespoon of blood each beat or 15 CCs, then he would have lost 1/4 of his blood in the first minute (1500 CCs).  In 2 minutes, he would have lost 15% of his blood supply.  Assuming all of these conditions, Dr. Di Maio testified that in all probability, Trayvon Martin would have died in 1 to 3 minutes.

He stated he could have blacked out, which is psychological and has nothing to do with the physical, but “that’s the best you can give in estimates…”  He told the jury that he had a case where an individual was shot at point-blank range with a 12-gauge shotgun, which shredded the heart, but he was able to turn and run 75 feet before collapsing and dying.  Trayvon Martin had the “potential” to move and speak for about 10 to 15 seconds after being shot.

“Once you are unconscious you don’t have voluntary movement…” and you don’t feel pain.

He testified that he agreed with Dr. Bao, the injuries to Trayvon Martin’s hands were abrasions.  They are “consistent with” hitting a hard surface.  He told the jury that bruising can happen or it might not happen, “it depends upon which part of the body you punch…”  He testified that sometimes bruising can be only visible under the skin and the best thing in this case would have been to open up the hand and look under the skin for this.  He also told the jury that once your blood pressure disappears, you can’t bruise.  He testified that Trayvon Martin lost blood pressure quickly after being shot.  Dr. Di Maio was questioned on George Zimmerman’s injuries.

“What will happen is…the head will move…the head’s fixed…the brain will shift…the brain is like jelly…back and forth in the cranium…”

He testified that if your brain hits the inside of your bone you can get bruising on the brain or bleeding of the brain, if the hemorrhage is sufficient enough it will kill you.  The brain is a bunch of cells connected together.  When the brain moves back and forth due to impact, the connections stretch.  Within the limited motions of life, bumping your head or walking, the connections can handle it, but if the movement is even mildly violent, the connections will become damaged.  Sometimes the connections can heal.  In an automobile accident, he explained to the jury, the force is so great on your connections in your brain that they will die because they cannot be repaired.  He told the jury the positive thing is that you have some cells that you can lose, but you eventually reach a point of impairment or death.  He testified that striking your head on a hard surface is a concern for intracranial bleeding.  For example, concrete does not yield, instead your head will.  He testified that you can get mild concussions from falling, you might not lose consciousness, but you will be “stunned”.  He testified that the severity of the stunning depends on the force, susceptibility, and how many hits.  If you have the sufficient force needed to tear the skin, like in this case, “you will be at minimum stunned.”  He told the jury that we all hit our heads all the time, but how many times do you get a laceration because of it?  It isn’t common, so there has to be trauma.  They went over George Zimmerman’s injuries for the jury.  He testified that Zimmerman has two impacts on the back of the head, not one.  This is because there is a “valley” between the two swollen areas under the lacerations to the back of the head.  “It’s real simple…” a round object hitting an unyielding flat surface cannot hit in one area and injure two separate areas.

He testified that there are two ways that the skin tears.  1.)  A direct perpendicular impact that crushes and tears the skin due to force or 2.) the surface holds the skin after impact and the rest moves away, tearing the skin.

The lacerations indicate severe force, “it’s a marker of force…”  “It’s not like you just bump your head…”

You can have severe head trauma without having a mark on the scalp.  This is common in abused children, they can get skull fractures with no external signs.  “Stunning” is like an ultra mild concussion.  He testified that getting a concussion and then getting a series of more concussions can cause you to collapse, it is a known disorder and occurrence with football players.  Being stunned is not incapacitating.

He told the jury that the punctate marks on the side of George Zimmerman’s temples on both sides are consistent with his head being struck off of a rough surface that was not flat, like concrete used in sidewalks.  He testified that the swelling of George Zimmerman’s head in various areas shows he suffered from hematoma or bleeding under the scalp.  He showed the jury that the first photo taken of his bloody nose (the one taken for identification purposes) shows that Zimmerman had a displaced fracture in his nose.  His left side is flat and the right side is bulging and that is why the EMT thought his nose was broken.  The swelling decreases, according to photos, several hours later, so it was probably pushed in consciously or unconsciously by someone, possibly an EMT and then was held back in place by muscle.  It is “consistent with” being punched.  He testified that the two reddish marks on the forehead are consistent with, not concrete, but being struck by someone and that it was too far from the nose to be the same punch.  “I think you have 6 identified…” hits.  Two to the back of the head, one to each temple, and two to the front of the face.

“There is definite evidence of six impacts…that doesn’t mean there aren’t more…”

On cross-examination, the prosecution asked him if he was testifying to who was defending themselves, who started the fight, whether there even was a first punch, or what led up to Trayvon Martin’s death?  He answered that he was only testifying to the gun shot wound being consistent with what George Zimmerman said.  He testified that in most cases you should look at all witness accounts, but in a self-defense case, he was the only one that was there, so you have to see if his account is consistent with the evidence.  He testified he used the reenactment/walk-through video because it was the most complete statement given by George Zimmerman.  He testified he wasn’t saying to disregard the other witnesses, that’s what the jury decides, what he does is evaluate the injuries.  He testified that “hypotheticals don’t have to be true…” He was just saying what was consistent with the evidence.  He testified that he can only say whether or not George Zimmerman’s statement is or is not in line with the evidence and that will tell whether he is telling the truth or not.  Bernie de la Rionda showed Dr. Di Maio Zimmerman’s flashlight and asked him if it could have caused the injuries to Trayvon Martin’s hand and he demonstrated striking someone in the hand with the flashlight.  Dr. Di Maio testified that if it was metal yes, but since it is plastic and light, it “would not be significant”.  It could bruise him, but “it isn’t a deadly weapon.”   The prosecution brought up that he did animal testing while in the Army.  He testified that it was all done by regulation and ethical guidelines.  The animals are anesthetized before they are used in the experiment.  These tests were the only way to check the validity of firearms experts’ claims.

“This is not exactly a complicated case forensically.”

He testified he charged $400 an hour for this case, as is his standard.  The prosecution brought up he testified for Drew Peterson and Phil Spector.  He responded affirmatively and he testified he has testified for both the state and defense in many cases.  He testified that “you can’t determine that by any scientific means…” how the gun was pulled by George Zimmerman.  “It’s outside my ability to make a conclusion like that…”  He answered several of Bernie de la Rionda’s questions with “I’m not testifying to that.”  He reiterated that Trayvon Martin had to be in “some way over him [Zimmerman].”  He told the jury that the problem with saying that they were facing each other and George Zimmerman was holding on to his clothes is the shirt would be pulled forward, but the trajectory would be completely different then it was.

“The physical evidence is consistent with Mr. Martin being over Mr. Zimmerman.”

The prosecution tried to argue that George Zimmerman could have hit a tree branch.  He testified that some of the wounds could possibly consistent with a branch being used to strike George Zimmerman, but others are not, like the contusions on the forehead.  He also testified that wood gives, that’s why police used to use wood clubs because they were less dangerous.  If a person is alive, bruising of the hand, if it was going to appear, would appear a few days later.  He testified that the GCS score of George Zimmerman isn’t surprising to him and it is what everyone normally has.

The lacerations to the head are “indicative of a hard impact…”

He testified that the medical personnel didn’t note the injuries as detailed as he’d want and that is common because they are concerned about treatment.  He also told the jury that swallowing your blood won’t necessarily interfere with communication, it depends upon how much you are bleeding.  The prosecution tried to ask him about how people wear hoodies that are too large for them.  He testified that the 2 to 4 inches have nothing to do with the clothing because the air and gases would have removed that, “I’m talking between the skin and muzzle.”  He testified that scalp bleeding is always profuse, “that’s how the design is.”  He stated that if it was normal swelling to the nose it should not have gone down in 4 hours.  On redirect, Dr. Di Maio noted how unreliable witnesses can be.

“I have to base my opinion on objective evidence…witnesses are wrong all the time.”

He told the jury about a case he had where there were multiple witnesses who swore they saw a man standing over another man and shooting him.  The problem was that the bullet didn’t come from that man’s gun and it was a ricochet from 30 feet away.  The defense asked him about the possibility of what Mrs. Sudeka said where she saw George Zimmerman shoot Trayvon Martin while he was on his stomach and Zimmerman was standing over him.  Dr. Di Maio testified that was impossible because, “he was shot in the front.”  He agreed that it was an example of witnesses no matter how well meaning just being wrong.  He clarified his testimony in the tree branch hypothetical given by the state.  He stated that there were no tree branches in the area, just trees.  If George Zimmerman was sitting up against the tree and his head was being violently struck against it then “it would still be blunt trauma to the back of the head…”  He testified the cement was more plausible, “especially when you look at the injuries to the side of the head…”  He also stated that Mr. Good’s testimony was “consistent with” the forensic evidence.  He testified that the black eyes were a “secondary blackening” where the blood leaks into the eye and that would not be consistent with a direct hit to the eye.

“He’s obviously been punched in the face…If you get punched in the nose, believe me, you know it.”

He testified that you are in pain, fear, and you are stunned.  You can’t interpret what’s going on.  Someone may say, oh you’re alright, but you can die a couple of hours later.  “You don’t play around” with head injuries.  You should always go to the hospital.  The police, he testified, should have taken George Zimmerman to the hospital not the station.  If he had died, the station would have lost a family wrongful death lawsuit, it happens a lot.  It also happens in prisons who don’t take people to hospitals because they don’t outwardly appear injured severely.

He testified about plastic vs. paper and the degradation of evidence as well as the need to dry out evidence so that it doesn’t mold or get bacteria growth.  He also testified about how environmental factors affect evidence quality.  He testified he couldn’t tell whether George Zimmerman’s nose bled immediately.  He told the jury the absence of evidence isn’t evidence, it doesn’t mean anything, the presence does.  He testified that the ME should never leave a body and should always be present including before and during the clothing being removed and packaged.  An ME is supposed to oversee his or her assistants.  They should be making sure the assistant doesn’t stack evidence or get evidence contaminated by throwing evidence on the floor or lose evidence or not package it right.  Preservation of evidence is important.  He also testified that the ME should examine the clothing before it is removed from the body.  He also testified that nothing should be washed before examining it, including hands (if they were washed in this case before photographing).

On recross, he testified that it doesn’t matter what happened, the wound should have been photographed before any clothes were pulled away.  The whole chest was clean in the photograph.

“The techniques weren’t exactly correct…”

He testified that he couldn’t use witnesses to make any autopsy decisions because they are all over the place.  He must look at just physical evidence.  On re-redirect, he testified that if John Good didn’t see something, like hits, that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

The next witness was Norton Bonaparte Jr., he worked with the mayor.  He testified that the decision was to play several tapes for the Martin family as a courtesy before public release.  He couldn’t recall whether he or the mayor played the tapes.  They were on a disc and played on a laptop.  He testified that there were no discussions with law enforcement on preserving any witnesses statements, “at that point they weren’t witnesses.”  He testified that there was no consideration about whether or not to play the tapes separately for the family to prevent identification bias.  He testified that the family, the mayor, him, and the family’s attorneys were present.  He stated to the jury that he asked the family if they wanted law enforcement to be present and they said no.  He also stated that there was no consideration for recording the event for future purposes.  He testified they were just releasing it to the media.  On cross examination, the prosecution asked if the bottom line was just that they were trying to do the decent thing and that’s why it happened that way?  He agreed.

The next witness was Eloise Dilligard, she testified by remote video, but unlike last time, an idiot-proof method was used.

She testified that George Zimmerman was her “friendly neighbor.”

She testified that she was coming home from Walmart and noticed a police officer behind her.  She knew she hadn’t done anything wrong, but pulled over and he proceeded past her.  She noticed he went into her neighborhood, Retreat View Circle.  She stated that she followed and noticed police cars and crime scene tape.  She circled around to find out what was happening.  She asked two men, but they didn’t know.  She noticed George Zimmerman’s truck, but couldn’t find George Zimmerman anywhere.  She testified it was rainy that night.  The truck was down by the crime scene.  She stated that she didn’t know Jenna Lauer, but agreed that the truck was in front of her house.  If you walk out her door, it was a little out in front to the right.  She stated that there were people around the tape and that she noticed someone that she recognized from an HOA meeting and “I simply asked her what was going on.”  After that, she made an attempt to talk to other residents.  She told a law enforcement officer she wasn’t there at the time and didn’t witness anything, didn’t have any information.  She was asked to wait to see if she could identify the suspect or victim.  He returned with an IPhone with two photos on it.  She stated that there was an Asian man possibly named Jerry or John and a couple, one named Jeremy who were also there.  The pictures were shown to them.  She recognized George Zimmerman.  It was the picture where he had a bloody nose.

“His nose was very bloody and to me it looked very disfigured…it was not the way I knew him.”

She stated that she said to the officer, “that’s my neighbor George.”  She testified that the other picture was a man he’d seen in the neighborhood earlier that day, but she didn’t know who he was.  She now knows that it was Trayvon Martin.  She told the jury she didn’t see Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s wife there.  She was concerned about him being injured and her not knowing because she was his next of kin.  She knew she wasn’t in danger, so she left and went back to her home and walked over to the Zimmerman residence.  She knocked and rang the bell, but only heard the dog.  She testified she was later interviewed by police and the FBI.  She told the jury she’s heard the Lauer call on the news.

She testified that George Zimmerman has a “light male voice”

and based upon knowing him for 2 years in casual conversation, not knowing Trayvon Martin’s voice, “I’d say it was his (Zimmerman).”  She testified she’d never seen him yell for his dog or at his dog, he would talk to his dog in conversation.  Throughout her testimony, she called the road Retreat View Circle, but was corrected later that it was Twin Trees Lane.  She testified Zimmerman’s truck was near the T.

The jury was excused, court was recessed early.  The attorneys argued over the animation and its admissibility.  Mr. Shoemaker, the information graphics expert finished his testimony in the hearing.  The judge expressed some concerns with the possibility of a sequestration violation by the defense.  The judge deferred her ruling until later on the admissibility of the defense’s animation and the admissibility of Trayvon Martin’s text messages and photos on his cellphone as well as a Facebook message.  John Connor testified before the court about how he got the messages and how the phone was protected by a double password and that applications were used to hide the deleted messages about guns and fighting and how an application was also used to change the extension on files to prevent them from being opened.  The judge expressed some concerns about authentication.

Court recessed at almost 10 p.m.  The courtroom, at around 8, actually had its automatic lights go off and they had to be reset and at the end of the day, the judge actually walked off the bench while defense attorney Don West was still speaking to her.  The judge also had to extend George Zimmerman’s curfew.

Court returns tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. with legal arguments on these issues.  Another issue supposed to be taken up tomorrow is some type of issue with Mr. Donnelly’s testimony.

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Comments
  1. Lon Spector says:

    We have (I know I’m going to mangle my spelling) “sibboliths” (Accepted articles of faith) spooned out by the NATIONAL news media. (A distiction should be made between the national and local news media.) The national news media will tell you that the plight of the African American is always and only due to white racism. On the rare ocassion , when they must report on black on white crime, the story is either minamised: “This is just the hate that hate produced.” Or simply buried in a small squibe on page 29a. The local news media is relucantly obligated to report on actual incidents ocurring in their communities. Even then, they often, carefully edit the story and tone down the emotional impact to the white audience. The great tragety of America is that while we have a “free press” we don’t have a fair press.
    I’ve only been using the computer for a few months (I’m a very perculuar case.) But one thing I’ve noticed is the appaling lack of tolerance towards other people’s viewpoints. It’s as if everyone is preaching to the converted on thier individual blogs, and woe to the person who posts a contrian viewpoint. The first thing I did upon learning to operate a computer was to research Casey Anthony. Why? Because I realized (from regular book reading) that the story was larger then the sum of it’s parts. The Casey case not only touched upon the issues you cover here, but related to a vast array of contempary socilogical and cultural issues. But I seriously doubt that if I’d grown up using the computer, I’d have been able to desern this. I simply would have stayed within the narrow realm of my intrests and belived what my perfered blog sites told me. Like Hitler, I would have read just to confirm my beliefs.
    I’m not going to hold out much hope that people can change their essesential natures. Only Godlike intervention keeps this world for desending into complete chaos. But if people can realize that they have been “programmed” from many different sources, they can be snatched from the fire one at a time.

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