[Weekly Review] | July 16, 2013, by Jacob Z. Gross | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Trayvon Martin’s killer is acquitted, Yasiin Bey is force fed, and Sweden gets disability-themed beer

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

In Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman, the neighborhood-watch volunteer who in February 2012 shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter by reason of self-defense. “The only one who was injured at all, except for the gunshot,” said Zimmerman’s attorney, “was George Zimmerman.” The trial judge ordered the return of the gun Zimmerman used to kill Martin, protesters demonstrated in cities across the United States, and Zimmerman’s family expressed concern about his safety. “There are people,” said Zimmerman’s brother, “that would want to take the law into their own hands.”[1][2][3][4][5] Dzhokar (Jahar) Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, and supporters stood outside the courthouse yelling “Justice for Jahar!”[6] The Texas state senate passed a bill that bans abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy and requires clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, among other provisions that could force 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics to close. Senate security officials allowed citizens to enter the gallery for the debate while carrying firearms, but confiscated tampons and pads. “Women don’t understand why you keep coming after them,” said a senator who voted against the bill. “I suggest babies are thinking the same thing,” said a senator who voted in favor.[7][8][9] The Illinois state Supreme Court ruled that doctors must notify the parents of girls 17 and younger who seek abortions, and the North Carolina House of Representatives added abortion restrictions to a motorcycle-safety bill.[10][11] Ireland’s Parliament passed the country’s first law legalizing abortion for medical reasons, and Fine Gael MP Tom Barry publicly apologized for pulling MP Áine Collins onto his lap during debate on the bill. “She just wants it,” said one of Collins’s colleagues, “to go away.”[12][13]

The United States urged Egypt to release deposed president Mohamed Morsi, who has been detained in an undisclosed location since being ousted in a military coup last week, and who prosecutors announced would be investigated for spying, inciting violence, and destroying Egypt’s economy. A crew of television journalists from Al Jazeera was removed from a press conference held by the interim military government. “We are in Egypt,” said a police spokesperson as the crew was escorted out, “the country of democracy.”[14][15][16] Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated that he would not grant political asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden. “He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” said Putin. “Such a present to us.”[17] Defense attorneys in the trial of former Army private Bradley Manning for providing classified military documents to WikiLeaks argued that Manning had acted with good intentions. “Activism is fun,” said a witness, quoting Manning’s correspondence. “It doesn’t do much good unless you get hurt, however.”[18][19] Yasiin Bey, the rapper formerly known as Mos Def, released a video of himself begging for the premature halt to a force-feeding procedure he’d submitted to in protest of its use on at least 44 hunger-striking inmates at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A federal judge ordered guards at the facility to stop touching the groins of detainees when looking for contraband, and instead to shake the waistbands of prisoners’ underwear.[20][21] Corrections officials in California threatened to punish more than 12,000 prisoners conducting a hunger strike to protest long-term solitary confinement by placing them in solitary confinement.[22] More than 150 prisoners, including nine convicted terrorists, escaped a prison in Medan, Indonesia, after setting it on fire during a riot.[23] A former U.S. intelligence official revealed that accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been allowed to design a vacuum cleaner while he was being held at a CIA black site code-named Britelite.[24]


A Russian court found Sergei Magnitsky, who died in 2009, guilty of tax evasion, and the Mexican town of San Agustín Amatengo elected as mayor a man who’d faked his own death.[25][26] Investigators proved conclusively that Albert DeSalvo was the 1960s serial killer known as the Boston Strangler, using DNA evidence obtained by trailing the deceased suspect’s nephew and swabbing a discarded water bottle.[27] Police arrested an Ohio man for the fifth time for having sex in public with a rubber pool float, firefighters in Ibiza used a buzzsaw to free the penis of a 51-year-old German tourist from a sex toy, and officials in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, proposed to administer birth control to local deer.[28][29][30] A Swedish disability-rights group introduced CP (cerebral palsy) beer as part of its Crip Is Hip campaign.[31] Chuck Foley, the co-inventor of the game Twister, which was accused of being indecent when it debuted in 1969, died at age 82. “Once you get men and women in play positions, unless you’re drinking, you forget the sex thing,” said Foley in a 1994 interview. “The urge to win takes over.”[32]

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