I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but a sleuth was never one of them until I started talking about the George Zimmerman case. I was aware of the term before though and felt it carried with it a bit of a negative connotation. I get this picture in my mind of some poor washed out wannabe detective who couldn’t cut it in real life detective work that now injects himself into high profile cases attempting to “crack the case” if you will, all from sitting behind a computer. I suppose some of what I have done parallels with that to some degree but I have never been under any illusion I would crack anything nor have I had any desire to be a part of the official investigation or defense of George Zimmerman. I simply just have been putting my thoughts out there.
On the other hand I suppose the term can be one of endearment, it depends on the context of course. I’ve noticed descriptions of that sort mixed with appreciation so I often it take as a compliment. And to that I say thank you and I’ll just keep chugging along to use a term from one of my sons cartoons.
When talking about detective and police work throughout this last year I think all of us
have come to recognize just how very human we all are. All of us make mistakes including members of the SPD, FDLE, FBI etc. The “Iced Tea” is a prime example of that. Despite having the can right there at the scene and in evidence police described it as “Iced Tea” when no such description exists on the can itself. Quite the contrary, the explicit description on the can itself states “Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail” displaying a big watermelon cut in half with the rest of the can solidly covered in red and green. The only thing that carries over to the “Iced Tea” version is the brand name Arizona and the symbol. There’s just no mistaking the two, yet despite this police described it as Iced Tea.
But that simple mistake carries with it some significance. No doubt Crump et al. also made the same mistake by injecting that “iced tea” into the narrative. He didn’t know that Trayvon actually purchased the watermelon cocktail rather he was reading the police reports describing iced tea and trying to formulate the story from that and other bits of information he got from the family. As I describe in my post The Many Manipulations, Myths and Lies of the Zimmerman/Martin Case the idea was to contrast the item of Trayvon “Iced Tea” with the item of George “The Gun” and as propaganda goes it was successful in helping to cement in people’s minds the guilt of George and innocence of Trayvon.
Amazingly on April 2, 2012 during the interview of W8 the prosecution Bernie de la Rionda told W8 that she said it was Iced Tea that Trayvon purchased:
BdlR: I think I already asked you, but let me make sure. He did tell you what he was at the store the store that he had gotten candy or something, and you said iced tea, right?
But earlier in that interview W8 stated “some drink” not “iced tea”:
BdlR: Okay, and did he tell you what store he was going to?
W8: No; he was sayin’ corner store.
BdlR: Did he say why he was going to the store?
BdlR: What did he say he was going to the store for?
W8: Get his little brother, uh, some food and some drink.
Now the iced tea has become official under oath testimony of W8 as she answered in the affirmative to the “fact” that Trayvon told her that it was Ice tea because Bernie told her it was.
I don’t believe any of this will carry over into the actual trial however it goes to show just how far reaching the simple mistake of calling the watermelon fruit juice cocktail “iced tea” actually goes and one must question; if that can happen for one thing in this case then what of the rest? What other ramifications could fester and grow from making seemingly innocent and simple errors? Especially given something as significant as a person’s death and potential imprisonment for the life of another? Suddenly the weight of the “iced tea” becomes very heavy in light of that and truly no light matter.
The other day I was thinking about the audio “experts” as it relates to W11 and the screams. Within that context I was thinking of the scientific method, philosophy of science and epistemology. That’s how I think. I don’t think like a detective or cop because I have no knowledge in such areas but I do in the aforementioned areas. I said if they truly want to be scientific about it they would have to go back to the actual scene and recreate the best they can the environment and test from there. In that I was reminded of the 1995 film Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. There’s a scene in that film where Morgan’s character(Detective William Somerset) is telling Pitt’s character(Detective David Mills) what a detective does:
Somerset and Mills come out from the Print Lab. A janitor is
mopping the hall. The computer is HEARD WHIRing AND CLICKing
onwards. Somerset sits with a groan on a couch outside the lab
door. Mills flops beside him.
You meant what you said to Mrs. Gould,
didn’t you? About catching this guy. You
really want to believe that, don’t you?
And you don’t?
(laughs, very tired)
I wish I still thought like you.
Then, you tell me what you think we’re
All we do is pick up the pieces. We take
all the evidence, and all the pictures and
samples. We write everything down and note
what time things happened…
Oh, that’s all.
We put it in a nice neat pile and file it
away, on the slim chance it’s ever needed
in a courtroom.
It’s like collecting diamonds on a desert
island. You keep them just in case you
ever get rescued, but it’s a pretty big
ocean out there.
And so I was reminded just how important and critical it is to be absolutely detailed and accurate as humanly possible when investigating. So when investigators talked with W11 they should have had, with excruciating detail, W11 describe her environment and everything that occurred. No doubt they did that but they did not do enough. One element of that would be the make and model of the phone she used. It very well may have been at the time a detail that was seemingly unimportant to note into evidence but it’s important to know now because in order to recreate with as much accuracy as possible one would need, if not that actual phone itself, then a phone of that model or the models same characteristics.
An expression at this point that may be running through your head is “hindsight is 20/20”, to be sure, however there’s something to be said regarding police work and investigation where I think it’s clear that if this concept of being overly critical and overly descriptive were instituted then we would have no need for hindsight. Does the detective or cop have to describe the color of W11’s cat if she has one? If it might be relevant, sure. And there’s the rub. What’s relevant and what’s not? How does a cop or investigator know? They don’t and as such requires the overly critical and overly descriptive approach.
There is also another area of philosophic study, aside from epistemology and philosophy of science, which I apply to the George Zimmerman case which from an outsiders perspective may appear or come off as sleuthing and also plays into the method discussed above. One of my favorite areas in philosophy is moral philosophy or Ethics if you will. To be a true agent of ethics one must gather unto oneself as much detail as can possibly be gathered before coming to conclusions of right and wrong and what ought be done. This for some of you will explain in part my frustration at the defenses handling of discovery. I can’t do my job because of it. O’Mara’s holding me up dammit, lol.
In the end I do not consider what I do as sleuthing. I have no aspirations of becoming or pretending to be a cop, detective or investigator. I have no interest in becoming the next Sherlock Holmes or the next Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle. I am under no illusions that I can affect the criminal case that has been laid against George Zimmerman nor change the way cop work, detecting, investigation or prosecution occurs in the world. I’m just a guy putting his thoughts out there and if you find value in anything of what I do then I am truly appreciative of that.
Enjoy. Examine. Find the Truth.