NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

Think Zimmerman is innocent? This article will change your mind.

“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.”
Abraham Lincoln

Did George Zimmerman need to shoot Trayvon Martin?

Probably not. At some point, Zimmerman obviously had control over his pistol. Pointing a loaded gun at someone generally elicits cooperation in all but the craziest people. If a greater deterrent is needed, the noise and muzzle blast of a warning shot is usually sufficient, especially if the combatants are—as they were in this case—not far apart.

Zimmerman supporters will likely think I am an armchair theorist. Not quite. I was shot, stabbed, punched, kicked, almost suffocated, and beaten to a pulp when I was a kid, targeted by people who evidently hated me so much for my appearance that they felt entitled to do something about it; calling me “nigger nose,” “nigger lips,” “bucky,” and “Mr. Magoo” apparently wasn't enough to vent their rage. As an adult, I was assaulted by a Mafia man and my electrician after he cut my phone lines and brought a hired thug to help him. These experiences taught me that adults, teachers, police, and prosecutors are often in la-la land, cluelessly blowing chances to nip problems in the bud and thus permitting them to snowball out of control so desperate people do desperate things, such as solving their problems with bullets.

Many years before I graduated from medical school, I learned that the human brain is wired in such a way that anger decreases self-control and increases self-entitlement, so angry people usually feel justified in verbally or physically assaulting others, and sometimes even shooting them.

I've used a loaded gun to defend myself and others, but never came close to pulling the trigger. Statistics prove that most guns used in self-defense are never fired despite the fear, anger, and self-entitlement that makes trigger fingers itchy. Only Zimmerman and God know why his finger was so itchy he had to scratch it by pulling the trigger. If I were on his jury, I'd vote for a conviction unless he had one hell of a good reason why it took a fatal shot to end his assault. If I killed every person who assaulted me, the local funeral homes would have been busy burying people who really didn't deserve to die. That's why I never pulled the trigger.

If Zimmerman wants to walk free, he should testify, explaining why he felt he had to do it. He can hide behind the carefully crafted words of his attorney, as many defendants do, but I and many others want to hear him tell the world why in the world he had to fatally shoot Trayvon Martin. There was apparently no verbal warning, no “stop or I'll shoot” command, no warning shot, and no shot to a generally nonfatal area, any one of which likely would have obviated the need to kill by shooting at the chest.

Zimmerman should have chosen one of the aforementioned ways to terminate the assault, which likely would have ended the second he had control of the gun even if he hadn't pulled the trigger. I speak from experience.

model of angry woman throwing punch

Zimmerman was likely emboldened by Florida's “stand your ground” law that makes it too easy to justify pulling a trigger. Would he have pulled the trigger if his assailant looked like the adjacent model? Almost certainly not; in fact, he likely wouldn't have even followed her—except perhaps to ask her for a date.

I've been punched by an attractive woman: a patient stoned on booze and drugs who was physically restrained by the ER physician working the preceding shift. I inherited her as a patient when that doc went home. A nurse decided to free her without asking my permission, and the patient promptly took advantage of that by leaving the emergency department, darting into the pitch-black night. I saw her leave and knew we had a duty to protect her, so I followed and asked the nurse to help me. She crossed her arms and stood in place, defiantly informing me the hospital had just enacted a policy that a quorum of five personnel must be present before they attempt to physically restrain a patient—not a good policy for a small hospital like this one that lacked a security guard and had one nurse working the night shift and two the afternoon and day shifts. Where's the rest of the quorum: the elderly registration clerk and … who else?

I asked the patient to return but she refused, adamantly insisting she was going to walk home. She lived about 40 miles away, and I doubted she could safely stagger there without being hit by a car or attacked by one of the many wild animals in that area. She wasn't in the mood for talking, just punching, so she struck me repeatedly with hands studded with large rings. I worried that she'd hit me in the eye and blind me because I couldn't see her punches coming, but I felt them, and they really stung. Earlier in the day, it took every police officer in the county and State Police from the adjacent county to get her out of her house; that extraction was so difficult they cut through one of her walls with a chain saw. Imagine that. This intoxicated woman was more than a handful for armed police officers in daytime who needed something beyond standard procedures to control her, so I wasn't surprised that I had to improvise a way to control her until the police arrived and put her in handcuffs.

To prove that Florida's “stand your ground” law has a bit too much of a wild West mentality behind it, I'll show how it could have justified me shooting that patient (some ER doctors carry guns to protect themselves and others from viciously violent assaults that injure and sometimes kill ER personnel). Here's the statute:

“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Now let's analyze its applicability to my situation:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity …”

I was not—obviously. I was working as an ER doctor, and my goal was to protect the patient to the best of my ability, and to protect the patient's daughter, who surely didn't want to be orphaned.

“… and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be …”

I had a right to be on hospital premises, trying to protect a patient I had a duty to protect.

“… has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

I therefore had no duty to retreat, according to Florida lawmakers, who gave me the green light to meet force with force (had I been in Florida). Since the patient could have blinded me, that's “great bodily harm,” so they say I could have used deadly force. But I didn't, of course, because I would rather be turned into a human punching bag, as I have many times, than shoot someone.

I could have shot my electrician, too. His violent assault of me put me in legitimate fear of my life, but rather than stand my ground, I ran away the second I could, and he followed, knocking me to the ground again. I captured some of this assault on videotape and might eventually post it online, but over 12 years later, I still can't summon the courage to look at it.

Some people might say that I am a wimp or spineless, but I am neither; I am just very, very reluctant to use deadly force even if the law gives me a convenient excuse for utilizing it. Zimmerman and I have different thresholds for judging when shooting is necessary. In my opinion, it wasn't in his case. People who assault others are by definition not angels at the time of the assault, but if a moment of rage were sufficient justification to kill, how many of us would now be alive?

“It takes far more courage and intelligence to understand a man than it takes to kill him.”
Adapted from unknown author

Some of the best medical research gave everyone, not just doctors and nurses, a simple way to harmonize with others, even when racial antipathy makes people otherwise want to manifest their prejudice, but this research tip is unfortunately not well known. I'll discuss it in my book on rapidly overcoming racism, bigotry, homophobia, and other forms of bias. Had Zimmerman read my book, I doubt that he would have pulled the trigger.

I no longer work in direct patient care. I am paid to sit and think, and everything I am paid to think up is new and outside the box since I am paid to think of novel ideas, not just echo old ones. Outside-the-box thinking comes as natural to me as breathing, so my outside-the-box ideas aren't confined to what I do professionally. One of my many outside-the-box ideas is a novel way to stop criminals in their tracks by using words, not weapons. I didn't use it on the electrician or the patient who punched me, but I used it several times on the streets of Detroit to terminate dangerous situations. Some of the other students weren't so lucky, such as one fellow who was robbed and stabbed to death. The criminal took his keys and address from his driver's license to enter his apartment, after which he raped and murdered the victim's wife and killed their 9-month-old baby.

I worked in emergency departments in Detroit and Flint when each were the Murder Capital of the United States, so I've had plenty of exposure to violent criminals. Coupled with my lesser exposure to them on the streets, I have a good idea when my outside-the-box methods of verbally discombobulating criminals can quickly short-circuit their criminal intent. If Zimmerman were equally inventive, he almost certainly would not now be in jail.

Zimmerman appears to have been the aggressor who initiated the confrontation. Trayvon Martin was armed only with Skittles. In recorded history, not a single assailant has ever chosen that candy as his weapon of choice, thus strongly suggesting that Martin was planning on having a bit of fun with that junk food, not contemplating actions that culminated in a deadly confrontation.

Zimmerman seemed so intent on protecting property and enforcing laws that he, like some overzealous police, went overboard and committed an even greater crime. The evidence suggests that Zimmerman was beaten by Martin, yet what might have precipitated that? Likely Zimmerman following and confronting Martin, putting him in fear of his life, thus giving the young man legal justification for defending himself, using deadly force if necessary according to Florida law. I've yet to see others make that point. Instead, they saw Zimmerman's injuries and assumed that give him the right to shoot.

Wrong, dead wrong. Florida's law does not authorize aggressors to use deadly force, and Zimmerman acted aggressively in this case, almost certainly jumping the gun. I've seen young people acting suspiciously on and around my property, but I didn't shoot them; I calmly walked over, smiled, and said “Hi. What are you doing?”

In another case, I didn't walk over calmly. From the god-awful sounds I heard, I assumed the young men I saw were abducting a woman or otherwise putting her life in jeopardy. I was a few hundred feet away when the rumpus began, so I could have run into my house and hid under my bed or called 911 and waited an hour or two for police to arrive (at which time I assumed the woman would be dead or raped), so I — not the coward you might imagine based on what I wrote above — armed myself with a .44 Magnum revolver and stopped the thugs from committing an even greater crime.

It's easy to be an armchair theorist, assuming you'd be so cool under pressure that you could defuse a dangerous situation with a gun, not escalate it, but I've done that, and Zimmerman could have, too.

Bidirectional racial animosity

Zimmerman and Martin seemed to each have a chip on their shoulders that contributed to misunderstandings that spiraled out of control. Black Americans commit a disproportionate percentage of violent crimes (more evidence), so Zimmerman likely consciously or unconsciously factored Martin's race into consideration when assessing the situation. Had Zimmerman witnessed the hot model shown above, a typical soccer mom, or a man dressed in a business suit or golf attire, he likely would have confronted that person so courteously that each walked away with a smile instead of one being beaten and another being killed.

Rule #1 for
confronting strangers
in your neighborhood:
Be neighborly.

While published accounts of Martin make him seem less than angelic, he had no history of viciously beating up every white or Hispanic person who spoke to him, so why did he begin punching Zimmerman? Probably because Zimmerman treated him like dirt — so contemptuously he snapped.

People often resent being categorized into racial groups. Even though I knew she was just kidding, it rubbed me the wrong way when my girlfriend called me “Chief” because I am part Native American. I am also related to a former President of the United States, but did she call me “President”? No. The white man in charge (President) has a positive connotation, while the Native American in charge (Chief) is often used disparagingly. I'm neither President nor Chief; I prefer to be addressed as an individual, not as a member of a racial group. (Relevant medical trivia: many physicians resent being called “Doctor” without appending their surname: Dr. Pezzi, in my case. The ire stems from being treated addressed as a nameless cog in the healthcare system instead of as an individual.)

Yet not everyone is as sensitive about race as I am. My best friend, an Italian, loves the nickname he created (“Dago”), and one of my former Asian girlfriends used “Chink” or “Chinky” in referring to her eyes, wondering if I found them attractive. I thought she had a beautiful face (she still does), but as a young man, I was focused on something else.

People often are too quick to assume that others are treating them differently because of their race. A case in point: a plastic surgeon who said that I called him in the middle of the night only because he is black. Wrong; I called him because I was working the night shift in the ER, he was on-call for plastic and hand surgery, and I had a patient who needed a hand surgeon.

I was stunned by that allegation because I knew Steve (as I'll call him) from residency; I'd had him as a more senior resident during my months training in plastic surgery (while I know how to repair tendons, ER docs commonly refer cases to other attendings). Steve was one of my favorite residents; I thought of him as a nice guy and a plastic surgeon, not as a black plastic surgeon. In fact, being as myopically focused on medicine and surgery as I was, I don't think I even considered his race for a split-second until he mentioned it. (Hard to believe? My professional focus was so strong during those years that I could go winter after winter without even once thinking of snowmobiles, which I was obsessed with before medical school and after my training.)

A few years after residency, Steve joined the hospital I'd been working in as an ER attending. I had a patient who needed his services, so I called him for that, not because he is black. (Parenthetically, I disliked my least-favorite resident not because he was white, but because he and the attending he idolized were subjecting patients to unnecessary procedures so they could bilk their insurance companies. He was so arrogant he seemed mystified why I confronted him over what was clearly unprofessional behavior based on what I was taught in medical school. He's still arrogant and now wealthy after decades of continuing his scam that insurance companies are too clueless to spot.)

If a highly intelligent and educated person like Steve can inject race into such an issue, it isn't surprising that other minorities sense racial overtones that exist only in their minds—minds that likely became so sensitive from enduring countless prior racial affronts. But like the dog who is kicked instead of the real culprit (e.g., the boss), when the wrath is let loose, who gets it isn't necessarily who caused it.

Zimmerman doesn't seem stupid, so he should have realized that blacks may have had prior negative experiences that predisposed them to be sensitive to how they are treated. His words and tone of voice likely rubbed Martin the wrong way, inflaming the situation instead of quenching it. Since Zimmerman was compelled to take anger management courses (see Notes section, below), he's probably not the placid, courteous man his attorneys likely coached him into being; he may very well be a hothead.

Other evidence (see Notes) suggests that Zimmerman unfairly racially categorizes some minorities. If he indeed called Mexicans “wanna be thugs,” he probably would hate my article on the priceless benefits of sponsoring immigration or how I put my Sea-doo, Ski-doo, and shed up for sale to help a deported Mexican-American reenter the United States.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States is a nation of cowards on racial matters. Gee whiz, I wonder why? Could it be that anyone who discusses anything to do with race is often called a racist even if he sticks to facts?

Race has driven a wedge between Americans, polarizing them. It's time to put this childishness behind us and squarely address racial animosity instead of sweeping it under the rug. Let's all adopt Lowe's “never stop improving” slogan. As I discussed in another article, we're all imperfect and most whites—not just a few—are racially biased, but the latter problem is easily cured. So let's focus on improving, not punishing. After decades of slamming others for being imperfect, they're no better than before.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Based on that definition, it is insane to allow this problem to fester when it can be quickly solved.

Advice from Lincoln

Lincoln's “I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.” quote is great advice. People often have a hair-trigger for disliking others. Parenthetically, that's one reason first dates are so nerve-wracking: fear that revealing common imperfections might lead to rejection.

My girlfriend recently noticed a car stopped in the road in front of my house in the middle of nowhere. I hopped on my tractor and drove to investigate, finding that a nice woman stopped her SUV to shield a fawn that was lying down in the middle of the road. Bambi left, we chatted briefly, smiling, I thanked her, and as she drove off, I thought, “What a nice person!” No gun, no grave, no trial, thanks to my unbiased get to know her better desire.

Another friend's opinion of police changed after watching several episodes of Alaska State Troopers on the National Geographic Channel. She previously disliked police after receiving a ticket she perceived as obviously unjust, but by watching the Alaskan boys in blue, she saw and was impressed by their common sense and down-to-earth humanity.

The endless racial divide

The Zimmerman trial stirred up predictable racial polarization. What began with two men in need of advice from Lincoln mushroomed out of control, with each going too far. Many whites think Zimmerman was justified in shooting because Martin was black, young, angry, and out of control (according to Zimmerman), but George Foreman is black and once was young and angry, but now he's happy, wise, rich, and lovable.

Perhaps Martin would have matured into someone much better than he once was. Foreman and I did as many others have. Martin won't have that chance because of Zimmerman.

With equal justification, I could have shot my electrician. At one point during his assault of me, he knocked me to the floor of my garage, triggering an avalanche of long boards (hundreds of pounds of oak trim) that fell onto my legs and chest, cutting me and temporarily incapacitating me. As I frantically struggled to push the boards off, the electrician's face contorted in rage as he reared a hammer back as if he were going to throw it at me or strike me with it. My father was killed because of a similar injury, so I knew that could have been fatal, yet I bent over backwards to do everything possible to not use a bullet to end an assault. Zimmerman did not, so even if he is found not guilty, he's hardly innocent. If every assault were ended with a gun, Bill Gates wouldn't worry about overpopulation.

If I heard forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden correctly, he thinks gunpowder stippling around the bullet wound suggests that Martin was backing up when he was shot—suggesting that Martin saw the gun and would have ended the assault even if Zimmerman didn't pull the trigger. Based on that and other evidence, I believe Zimmerman had a right to pull his gun to stop the attack, but not to pull the trigger. Zimmerman was frustrated by how “these assholes, they always get away” (his words, not mine), which likely made his trigger finger more itchy to ensure that Martin didn't get away.

Still not convinced? Try this one on for size. When I was about 12, one afternoon I was furious with my younger brother—so mad I wanted to punch him, yet I couldn't, because no matter how mad I was, I loved him. But I've been repeatedly struck by other relatives and I've heard of countless other cases, so I know that family members often fight physically. Note that Florida's “stand your ground” law isn't limited to shooting strangers who punch you; it applies to relatives, too. Considering the ways I've been assaulted, I could have legally shot some of the family members doing that, had we been in Florida, but after a few weeks to a few months of healing, I was pretty much back to normal and they'd long since cooled off, so we got on with our imperfect lives without the aggressor going to his grave.

I think that Zimmerman is guilty and should pay a price for his overreaction. He said he feared that he would die, yet as an ER doctor, I've seen considerably worse injuries in people who survived just fine. I surgically repaired their wounds, sometimes necessitating over a hundred stitches, and discharged most from the ER. Frankly, I've never seen anyone killed with such relatively minor trauma as Zimmerman sustained. Some of my injuries necessitated surgery, and he needed an ice pack and maybe a few Band-Aids—and for that, he is justified in shooting a kid in the heart?

Does. Not. Compute.

Too many people possess too much self-righteous anger. However good it feels at the time, it is usually blown out of proportion and not as justified as the hothead believes.

Nothing can bring Trayvon back, but his death will be in vain unless it becomes an example of what not to do and why. Racial harmony can be fostered by figuratively putting yourself in the shoes of others. Zimmerman seemingly put himself in the shoes of Clint “Go ahead, make my day” Eastwood who solved problems with hot lead. That's fine for Hollywood, but not the real world.

I say guilty. To my conservative friends who disagree: How would you feel if your son was killed for beating someone up?

He's guilty, isn't he?

Am I wrong?

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a man I deeply respect, not only believes Zimmerman deserved to be found not guilty; he thinks the charges were so lacking in merit he should never have been put on trial. I'll wager that Professor Dershowitz has never used a gun to defend himself or others, as I have on various occasions even though I do my best to be miles away from trouble. But when people hell-bent on causing trouble injected themselves into my life, I've found that guns have an almost magical ability to inject a bit of common sense into the minds of those who think violence is an acceptable way to get what they want.

Statistically, guns used defensively can almost always terminate the crime without firing a shot. Zimmerman had a choice to make: give Martin a few seconds to back off, or fill him with hot lead.

Zimmerman made the wrong choice, not only for Martin, but himself, too. Zimmerman's face is indelibly etched into the minds of many people, one of whom—perhaps dying of cancer with not much to lose—will kill Zimmerman to settle the score, in his mind. I don't favor vigilante “justice,” but the desire for revenge is part of human nature, and likely why Zimmerman pulled the trigger: not contemplating whether nuances of various laws gave him the legal right to shoot, but because he was mad as hell about his beating.

I concede that Zimmerman is likely innocent in a legal sense because Florida laws too easily give a green light to ending the lives of people committing crimes, almost all of whom need only see a gun to behave. Ultimately, laws define the boundaries of permissible behavior, not optimal behavior, so I think Zimmerman is guilty in a moral sense. Did he have to shoot?

No. He wanted to shoot.

I've had angry, out-of-control patients in the ER who could probably kill Zimmerman with a single punch. One of these men took on the entire security staff in a Detroit hospital, tossing them away as if they were stuffed animals. After years of dealing with enraged (often drunk, on drugs, or mentally ill) patients, I was punched occasionally but never needed to shoot anyone. Minutes into his first real encounter, Zimmerman just has to blow away his attacker?

I disagree, Professor Dershowitz. So does one of Zimmerman's jurors, who said he “got away with murder.”

But there's clearly a rage problem in the United States, disproportionately affecting black people, who commit a disproportionate share of the crimes, including ones that are senseless and sickening, such as the rape and murder of Massachusetts high school teacher Colleen Ritzer. Our leaders do nothing to address the root causes but they routinely inflame such situations with divisive rhetoric that fosters their ambitions. Ritzer was killed when her throat was slit. Contrary to what Mark Zuckerberg and his medical student wife believe, dying that way is horrific and agonizing.

Notes:

  1. Just Like Me: Understanding the Common Human Condition
    Excerpt: “It was called the "narcissism of small differences" by Freud. … One of the more powerful means to counter the toxicity of such intolerance is reflecting on all the ways someone else, particularly someone from an "other" group, is "just like me."”
    Comment: Martin liked tasty food, women, staying dry, and being left alone. I'm sure Zimmerman does, too.
  2. I don't believe that Trayvon Martin deserved to die, but he was hardly innocent. Evidence suggests that Martin could have escaped, but did not, although that may (speculatively) have been triggered by something Zimmerman said. The big unanswered question in this case is what made Martin snap. As I mentioned above, Martin had no history of similar vicious assaults, so what provoked his attack on Zimmerman?
  3. UPDATE January 10, 2015: George Zimmerman arrested on aggravated assault charge
    Comment: Either Zimmerman has remarkably bad luck, or he has one heck of an anger management problem.
  4. Zimmerman was compelled “to take anger management courses [in 2005] after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest [his] friend. In another incident, a girlfriend accused him of attacking her.
  5. George Zimmerman Myspace page: Trayvon Martin shooter called Mexicans ‘wanna be thugs’ (If this Yahoo News story is accurate, Zimmerman appeared to be a vile ticking time bomb long ago.)
  6. Zimmerman credibility could be issue in legal case Prosecutor and judge think Zimmerman intentionally misled the court …
  7. … and his wife evidently did: George Zimmerman's Wife Arrested on Perjury Charge
  8. George Zimmerman Prosecution May Use TV Interview as Evidence
    Excerpt: “Zimmerman has been described as "erratic" and difficult by his former attorneys.”
  9. Fluoxetine [Prozac] Increases Aggressive Behavior, Affects Brain Development Among Adolescent Hamsters
    Comment: Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Did Zimmerman take a drug that made him more likely to overreact? I say yes. ABC News reported that “prior to the shooting Zimmerman had been prescribed Adderall and Temazepam, medications that can cause side effects such as agitation and mood swings, but in fewer than 10 percent of patients.” People taking those and similar drugs are more likely to make a mountain out of a molehill. Before prescribing them, doctors should—but usually don't—warn patients that they may turn people into ticking time bombs. The bomb may go off, or it may not. Adderall® reportedly may cause “mood swings that include hostility and severe aggression.

    Temazepam (Restoril®)-like drugs can make folks more irritable. Life is full of irritations, and successfully navigating it requires that we deal with those annoyances without blowing a fuse. Besides avoiding drugs that may precipitate explosive behavior, how can you do that?

    bliss

    (1) Learn nutritional and other ways to increase bliss. Some foods and supplements can make a big difference. Don't let taste, convenience, and habit dictate what you eat and do. Educate yourself on how to feel better. See my article, Having more pleasure than you ever imagined: Is that possible or a pipe dream? BTW, it's possible—otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to write it! :-)

    (2) Look for the silver lining in the cloud. Example: One of my pet peeves is poorly engineered products, from abysmal software to you-name-it. As an inventor, I see obvious ways to make many products better, and it used to bug me that the companies who make the second-rate stuff (who survive because first-rate alternatives are not available) don't hire smarter, more creative people. Then it hit me: I am paid to be an inventor. If companies and their engineers were as good as they should be, I'd be out of a job (inventing, anyway) and back working as a doctor, prescribing too many pills for patients because I didn't have enough time to teach them better ways to solve their problems.

    Incidentally, superb nutrition can amplify intelligence and creativity. With it, I was able to go from a dunce to a doctor. My sixth-grade teacher said I was “slow” and I struggled my first two years of high school, but I graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school. How often does THAT happen?

    Now, as an inventor, I can focus on a topic and quickly see solutions for problems that were missed by the 107 billion people who ever lived, including engineers who specialize in those products and work on them day after day, year after year.

    Although I now have a high baseline level of creativity, I still must do some things to put my creativity into overdrive. Think about it: if an erstwhile idiot—me—can outperform people who were born smart and once left me in the dust, how could I turn the tables on them and leave them in the dust? If my brainpower-boosting methods were taught to everyone in the United States, or even 5% of us, our nation would be so successful that we would leave other nations in the dust, including China. Their low-cost (and often shoddy) products couldn't begin to compete with truly great products.

    So let's compete on innovation, not who can make second-rate junk the cheapest. This is a battle we could easily win if people weren't so wedded to inside-the-box thinking that makes them gloomily assume that they can't be much better than they are now. Wrong! YOU could do great things, too.

  10. Prozac may have set off teen killer, defense team says
  11. George Zimmerman’s jailhouse telephone recordings released
  12. Detective faulted George Zimmerman for not avoiding confrontation with Trayvon Martin
  13. Mychal Massie: The ugly truth about Trayvon
  14. ‘Stand your ground’ legal defenses worked in Florida even when victims were shot in back, investigation finds
  15. Houston trial focusing on stand your ground law
  16. Texas ‘stand your ground’ shooter headed to prison for 40 years for “shooting and killing his unarmed neighbor during a dispute over loud music.”
  17. Report: Trayvon Martin gun range targets were sold online
  18. Police Sergeant Fired Over Trayvon Martin Shooting Targets (also see Trayvon Martin Shooting Targets Were 'No-Shoot' Tools, Fired Cop Says—but were they Trayvon Martin targets?)
  19. Do I Look Bigger With My Finger On a Trigger? Yes, Says Study based on Weapons Make the Man (Larger): Formidability Is Represented as Size and Strength in Humans
  20. Lead Dust Is Linked to Violence, Study Suggests based on The urban rise and fall of air lead (Pb) and the latent surge and retreat of societal violence
  21. Uncontrollable Anger Prevalent Among U.S. Youth: Almost Two-Thirds Have History of Anger Attacks based on Intermittent Explosive Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement
  22. Exposure to Violence Has Long-Term Stress Effects Among Adolescents
  23. Childhood Adversity Increases Risk for Depression and Chronic Inflammation based on Clustering of Depression and Inflammation in Adolescents Previously Exposed to Childhood Adversity
  24. Maltreatment During Childhood Associated With Combination Of Inflammation And Depression In Adults
  25. Difficult Childhood May Increase Disease Risk in Adulthood based on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Risk Factors for Age-Related Disease: Depression, Inflammation, and Clustering of Metabolic Risk Markers
  26. New Discoveries About the Experience of Anger
  27. Similar case: two brothers accused of beating a black teenager while patrolling their neighborhood
  28. Revealed: How taxpayers paid for Justice Department unit to 'support protests after killing of Trayvon Martin'
    Comment: Community organizing …
  29. George Zimmerman trial defense attorney Don West: Controversial Instagram prompts rape threats
    Excerpt: “George Zimmerman's trial defense attorney Don West recently reported he received e-mails from people threatening his daughters with rape …”
    Comment: Those threats likely came from the same type of nuts who threatened to rape or kill Sarah Palin or her daughters.
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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