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Thread: George Zimmerman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    You internalize too much of what I say. If I don't directly accuse you of it, then I'm not talking about you.

    And I don't see anything wrong with criticizing the survey for being horribly biased, even if we agree on points that exist independently of it. Isn't that the thing you love to call me on? Posting what you perceive to be a twisted version of facts in order to push an agenda? Yes. Yes it is.
    Except you often post things that are twisted, and then refuse to admit that it's twisted or say that it's okay to include false information if the overall point is good. In this case, I said in my very first comment that I was aware it wasn't a balanced survey, and merely said that some of the facts in the survey were new to me.

    Anyway, I've noticed you go through these same motions every time we argue: first you take my criticisms to heart (in this case, my original criticism of the survey had nothing whatsoever to do with you; I fixated on the survey and criticized it, and you jumped in defending it as if I had attacked you instead); then, after that argument is well under way, you decide that we agree and so why am I arguing with you? And then you finally throw up your hands and accuse me of "arguing with you as if you were someone else." If you would not take my arguments so personally, we would never have had a major disagreement in the first place. Not everything I say is about you.
    Haha, I've literally never done that. On that article, for example, even after my first comment where I clearly stated I was aware it wasn't a balanced survey, but brought to light some new facts I wasn't aware of, you responded by talking about Zimmerman not being a racist. Wtf does that have to do with what I was posting? How am I not to take that as directed toward me when you are *responding to me*? If this is always how you argue (which seems to be what you're saying), that's extremely weird. In the whole argument, I didn't care about Zimmerman being racist. And then I said again, "You're still entirely focusing on aspects of the survey that I'm not talking about because they were not relevant to my understanding of the case. I didn't post this to say it's chock-full of great facts and presents everything evenly." but you ignored that completely and went on.

    You got me, I'm a secret racist against Zim. It's all part of the conspiracy. Nice catch.
    I was actually asking why, but defensive sarcasm works, too, I guess. I thought it was really weird. Most people I've seen have been consistent - either first or last names. I've also noticed you shorten Trayvon to Tray, but still type out Zimmerman a lot. It was an honest question because I found it strange.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    Except you often post things that are twisted, and then refuse to admit that it's twisted or say that it's okay to include false information if the overall point is good. In this case, I said in my very first comment that I was aware it wasn't a balanced survey, and merely said that some of the facts in the survey were new to me.
    Actually, I don't do that. We had that conversation exactly once, and that's actually not what I said, that's the spin you pejoratively insisted on putting on it. I never said, "I think it's okay to post false information if you are promoting an agenda." If you recall, what I actually said was that I had failed to properly verify the information before presenting it, because it was something that I had heard many times before and simply assumed to be true without really thinking about it. It was a mistake on my part that I admitted to after a brief exchange; I never once said, "Well it's false, but it supports my agenda so I stand by it."

    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    Haha, I've literally never done that. On that article, for example, even after my first comment where I clearly stated I was aware it wasn't a balanced survey, but brought to light some new facts I wasn't aware of, you responded by talking about Zimmerman not being a racist.
    Because that's what the survey was about. The survey was addressing claims that Zimmerman was racist -- specifically, people who were unhappy with the ruling because they believed Zimmerman was racist -- and I was saying that, while there are surely some people who think that, they are in the minority. The racism charges came from the fact that the police refused to prosecute for over 40 days, and the fact that they drug tested Tray's corpse but not Zim, among other things. The biggest racism charges came from the system.

    Just because you post a survey and leave some comments on it, doesn't mean I'm obliged to address your comments before I address the survey. You can't seem to understand that I wasn't talking about you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    Wtf does that have to do with what I was posting? How am I not to take that as directed toward me when you are *responding to me*?
    Case in point: I was not responding to you. I was responding to the survey that you posted. Unless you are saying that your opinion is the same as the survey, then I literally said nothing about you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    If this is always how you argue (which seems to be what you're saying), that's extremely weird. In the whole argument, I didn't care about Zimmerman being racist. And then I said again, "You're still entirely focusing on aspects of the survey that I'm not talking about because they were not relevant to my understanding of the case. I didn't post this to say it's chock-full of great facts and presents everything evenly." but you ignored that completely and went on.
    That's because I wasn't addressing your claims. You learned something from the survey? Great. Awesome. I don't care. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, and on top of that, it was extremely biased. That was my observation. Had nothing to do with you whatsoever.

    I find this whole argument ironic because the reason you posted that was because you wanted other people to read it (and presumably share their thoughts on it). So I read it and did exactly that, and you got defensive as if I had attacked you. And that is not the first time you have done that. I think that is weird.

    FTR, here was the relevant criticism from my initial comment, pertaining to racism:

    ...whether or not Zim was racist is really beside the point. Whether or not he was racist, whether or not Trayvon was a thug, or any of that, is completely irrelevant to the events of that night; if he was racist, but he hadn't killed or assaulted Trayvon, then that would be within the bounds of the law; being racist isn't a crime in itself. Likewise if he had NOT been racist, but still killed Trayvon without provocation.

    It just seems odd that this "survey" seems to focus so much on Zimmerman not being racist. That's kind of dodging the issue here, and twofold -- for one, the initial police response was what originally raised concerns of racism (because of how they handled the case and initially refused to even investigate the incident, and basically took Zim's word for it). Zimmerman wouldn't have to be racist for that to be an issue.

    But my question is, why are there no questions about Zimmerman being arrested for domestic violence in the past, or assaulting a police officer? Why does the survey only focus on what Trayvon did that you "may not have heard of?" It seems like subtle character assassination, laced with assertions that it's most definitely NOT character assassination.
    Where, in that response, did I address you or anything you personally said?

    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    I was actually asking why, but defensive sarcasm works, too, I guess. I thought it was really weird. Most people I've seen have been consistent - either first or last names. I've also noticed you shorten Trayvon to Tray, but still type out Zimmerman a lot. It was an honest question because I found it strange.
    That's because I type full names by default, but when I'm in a hurry (which I was yesterday), I sometimes use nicknames/abbreviations. Feel free to read into that whatever you like.
    Last edited by Static_Martyr; 07-30-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    The point is that civilians are supposed to retreat from the scene and allow trained law enforcement to take care of it.
    That's a matter of opinion. I could argue in favour of that opinion or I could argue against it. Both have merits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    In public, it's not necessary for you to "stand your ground"
    But without that protection things could become rather messy. What if you felt, for any number of reasons in any given situation, that fleeing was either impossible or too risky. You take action to protect life then find yourself being sent to prison because someone who wasn't actually there felt you could have probably just run away after all. I see your point, I really do, I just think that SYG potentially boosts protection that existing self-defence laws should already provide but in practice possibly don't. And this is why I don't consider it redundant.

    I could also argue that this is about more than necessity. Dignity is involved too. Should a person be obligated to run away from an aggressor like a coward? Sure, running away is the smart thing to do. But we're not robots. We're human beings. Dignity and self-respect are necessary for maintaining our quality of life. So for a moment stop looking at this with just cold hard logic and look at it like a man. Most of us have been socialized to think that you're not a real man unless you're brave and, essentially, stand your ground in conflict situations. To legally require us to act against a lifetime of conditioning is asking a lot and could cause permanent trauma.

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    I have a tendency to write in train-of-thought, so I kinda articulated that as I was typing it.
    Ah, I should have simply taken it that way. I tend to write that way myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    When civilians get unnecessarily involved in a crime, it greatly increases the likelihood that something will go wrong and somebody will get hurt.
    Well, if you want to look at it like that, cops getting involved in anything greatly increases the likelihood that something will go wrong and somebody will get hurt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    If you want the power to go around stopping criminals, then become a cop.
    You know, this is really starting to weird me out. So much of what you're saying sounds just like stuff I used to say. I used to see things much more black and white than I do these days, and I used to support law enforcement and government a lot more than I do now. A couple of things changed me. For one thing I started to have a lot more direct experience with cops and people who were persecuted by cops. As for the other...well, my wife became a hardcore anarchist and activist. I am not an anarchist, and I'm no longer with her, but it seems that some of her opinions must have rubbed off on me because now I can't help but feel that cops just might be the enemy, little more than bourgeois tools whose only real job is to maintain the status quo and keep the poor and the minorities in their place. So I just don't know what to think anymore. I want to be a supporter of law and order. I want to support government and the rule of law. I want to have total faith that I can rely on cops to go around stopping criminals and keep me safe. But somewhere along the line I seem to have acquired some seriously nagging doubts. My ex believed that we could exist without government and formal law enforcement. I always asked her how, in her fantasy, good people would be protected from the violent, brutal scum of humanity. She seemed to think that people could somehow defend themselves. I basically don't. But, at the very least, I think they should always have the right to try. I think we need cops but shouldn't be obligated to rely on them. It is an ideological question as well as a practical one. It is, to some degree, about freedom. Don't mind me, I'm just riding the midnight thought-train to anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    So what is the job of law enforcement, then? If we are not supposed to trust them to resolve violent crimes, what is the alternative? Anarchy? Would you abolish the police force? Or something else?
    I'm afraid I don't really have any answers, but I like that you're asking the questions. Let me ask you one in return. When someone who is not a firefighter pulls someone else from a burning building, should they have just waited for the professionals to turn up? When someone is having a heart attack should you just idly watch until paramedics arrive? Assuming you agree it is ok for non-professionals to take action in these situations I wonder why you are so opposed when it comes to incidents of criminality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post

    Also, which is worse: an innocent man going to prison, or an innocent man being killed?
    It depends how you want to define it. There can be no right or wrong answer to this question. My personal opinion at this particular moment is that they are approximately equally unpleasant prospects.
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    But without that protection things could become rather messy. What if you felt, for any number of reasons in any given situation, that fleeing was either impossible or too risky. You take action to protect life then find yourself being sent to prison because someone who wasn't actually there felt you could have probably just run away after all. I see your point, I really do, I just think that SYG potentially boosts protection that existing self-defence laws should already provide but in practice possibly don't. And this is why I don't consider it redundant.
    I consider it redundant because, even without SYG or CD, it's still entirely possible to defend yourself in public. The fact that Zimmerman was found not guilty even though his defense never actually invoked SYG is evidence of this. All SYG does is make it even easier to justify using deadly force, even if it's not necessary. We already have laws on the books that allow for immediate use of force in the event that one's life is in immediate danger and running is not something that is a guarantee of safety.

    Most of us have been socialized to think that you're not a real man unless you're brave and, essentially, stand your ground in conflict situations. To legally require us to act against a lifetime of conditioning is asking a lot and could cause permanent trauma.
    I really don't think testosterone poisoning has any basis as a legal principle; "being a man" is another poorly-defined principle that varies from person to person. To me, being a mature adult means knowing when to fight and knowing when to flee, and not staying around to play hero when it's not necessary just because of some misguided notion of proving how big my penis is.

    Well, if you want to look at it like that, cops getting involved in anything greatly increases the likelihood that something will go wrong and somebody will get hurt.
    Yes, but again: why have cops, then? If they have no special authority in a dangerous situation, what is the point in investing into the training and employment of law enforcement officers at all?

    I used to see things much more black and white than I do these days, and I used to support law enforcement and government a lot more than I do now.
    I don't support cops because they are the government, nor do I support them unilaterally (if you were on my FB feed or one of my IRL friends, you would see me making fun of and deprecating cops more often than not). However, I acknowledge the *intent* behind having officers, i.e. what they were meant to do when the position was conceived, and so while I frequently disagree with the actions of police officers, I also acknowledge that there are officers who do their job and have other people's best interests at heart -- for example,

    I'm afraid I don't really have any answers, but I like that you're asking the questions. Let me ask you one in return. When someone who is not a firefighter pulls someone else from a burning building, should they have just waited for the professionals to turn up?
    That's really a different situation, though I see what you're trying to say. In a firefight, there are only two parties at risk (the victim and the rescuer/good samaritan); in a violent situation, there are potentially three people (the aggressor, the defender, and the good samaritan); one could say that in a violent situation, you don't necessarily have the right to step in and risk aggravating an already dangerous situation and trying to be a hero and rescue someone else, though if you can do it without risk, then power to you. However, there is a difference between going out of your way to help someone in a dangerous situation, and playing hero when it's not really necessary. In discussions about these types of conflicts, I'm often troubled by people's inabilities to perceive the difference between the two.

    In a more direct comparison, though, we would say that in a violent situation there is only the aggressor and the defender (which is the comparison I assume you meant to make) -- if that's the case, then we already have laws which allow a person to defend him/herself in the event of an unavoidable conflict, so that's really a moot point; going back to the fire rescuer, if a passerby happens into a fire and tries to rescue someone before the police get there, he is only risking his own life (the victim is basically in the same amount of danger whether the person tries to save him or not). In a violent conflict, unnecessary maneuvers could cause stray shots to be fired, which could harm passersby.

    [NOTE: For clarity's sake, let me specify that when I say these things, I have in mind something more of a hostage situation, where a gunman is threatening violence against one or more persons unless his/her demands for property or money are met. In those types of situations, it's very much not recommended to try and fight the person who is holding hostages (or threatening violence in a crowded area with a gun), because it may agitate the situation in a way that is not necessary and may end up getting more people killed. In the event of a more spur-of-the-moment act of violence (like a streetside robbery), I would say that it's a little different, in that it's a matter of weighing the value of the property against the value of the person's life; I'm not one of those people who thinks that threatening someone else's property automatically negates the value of that person's life, so I don't think lethal force is justified; I also don't think that any level of force is necessarily justified (i.e. I don't think that if someone tries to steal your purse, you have the right to beat them up, kidnap them, bring them to your house, tie them up in your basement and torture them until they die, for example). There is such a thing as excessive/cruel/disproportionate retribution.

    It depends how you want to define it. There can be no right or wrong answer to this question. My personal opinion at this particular moment is that they are approximately equally unpleasant prospects.
    I just think it's wise to acknowledge that this dynamic is a two-edged sword. There is also the chance that the person being killed is innocent.
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    I don't have much more I want to add to this thread at this time but after you wrote all that in response to my post I felt it would be wrong of me not to at least acknowledge it. I think we've both said some interesting things here but to continue at this point would most likely result in us going round in circles merely paraphrasing what we've already said.

    I do want to add though that I don't have the same concern for the safety of an aggressor as you seem to have. You seem to be taking a noble and admirable position but I just can't find it in myself to care. I would have once, but I've just been the victim of crime too many times. I've spent much of my adult life living in poverty, and shockingly I didn't even choose it, regardless of what MOTO believes. And I never received any benefits. But anyway, as an example, my car was stolen once, from right outside my apartment. They actually broke in to the apartment to steal the car keys. I expect you can imagine how much of a problem this was for someone already basically living in poverty. And this was in a town that really had no usable public transport. We were just fucked. We couldn't get anywhere and certainly couldn't buy another car. That was almost a decade ago now but you know what? If I could find the motherfuckers who stole my car I'd beat the shit out of them right now. I'd have no legal justification to do so whatsoever and I don't care at all. Because yes, property is not more important than life. But sometimes, when you take property from someone else, you're doing a lot more than just taking their property. I once had to try to comfort my wife who was weeping uncontrollably after having a second securely locked bicycle stolen from outside our apartment. At that point I would have beaten the thief to death with the fucking bicycle if I could because he hadn't just taken her bicycle, he'd taken her faith in humanity, he'd taken any feeling of security, he'd taken away her hope and all the crushing despair of our shitty lives rushed in and overwhelmed her and I couldn't protect her from it. Again, I'm not suggesting I should be legally allowed to beat the guy. I'm illustrating that law is complicated, because life is complicated, and you can't just analyze every situation with a logical cool head because that's not how we live our lives. That's not what it is to be human. And yes, the law needs to be better than that, I understand. But really I just wanted to demonstrate how it is possible to value property higher than the well-being of an aggressor without just being a despicable capitalist.
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    Oh, trust me. I understand what it feels like to have valuable things stolen from you. But your story actually makes my point better than I ever could: many people feel that the law and its loopholes are a tool for their personal acts of vengeance. And if we make the use of lethal force too easy to justify legally in a public setting, then people will take advantage of that. It's happened already in several cases in Florida alone. That's really my main issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    And if we make the use of lethal force too easy to justify legally in a public setting, then people will take advantage of that. It's happened already in several cases in Florida alone. That's really my main issue.
    That sounds pretty interesting. It's 6:30am here and I need to get off the damn internet right now but if you could provide any links to articles regarding those cases I'd enjoy reading them later.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    That sounds pretty interesting. It's 6:30am here and I need to get off the damn internet right now but if you could provide any links to articles regarding those cases I'd enjoy reading them later.
    There's one case in particular that I'm thinking of; I will find the youtube video of the original story and post it in a bit (can't seem to find it right now....it was about a guy who killed a teacher who lived next door to him, he filmed himself confronting them and saying, "I fear for my life, I fear for my life!" and then he shot and killed the unarmed teacher; he was going to get away with it, but evidence turned up indicating that he had told a friend prior to the incident, "Hey, if you just film yourself saying that you fear for your life and giving fair warning, you can kill whoever you want!").

    EDIT: Here is the TYT coverage of it....I actually saw it first on another channel, and David Pakman before that, but I can't find either of those. This one gets the point across, though. Although this was when the case first went to trial, before the ruling....I will try to find a more current version.

    EDIT (again): This may not actually be the case I'm thinking of, since none of the stories mention him telling a friend about how to manipulate the law in advance....but all the same, it makes my point, that people abuse the law to escalate situations that would not escalate normally, because they feel they can get away with it under SYG. I will still try to find that other story, though.

    But off the top of my head, this study from the Tampa Bay Times demonstrates some of the weird ways the law can be (and has been) applied, like this case where a drug dealer invoked SYG in order to get off scott-free *twice* on homicide charges, or another case (several, actually) in which people with prior histories of violence had periods of violent behavior (and prior arrest records) which culminated in homicides, which they were then acquitted of after invoking SYG.
    Last edited by Static_Martyr; 07-31-2013 at 11:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    There's one case in particular that I'm thinking of; I will find the youtube video of the original story and post it in a bit (can't seem to find it right now....it was about a guy who killed a teacher who lived next door to him, he filmed himself confronting them and saying, "I fear for my life, I fear for my life!" and then he shot and killed the unarmed teacher
    I know your point was to illustrate that people will try to abuse the law, but in this example he didn't get away with it. He was found guilty of murder. Surely people have always attempted to abuse the law and always will try to abuse the law. I don't specifically mean SYG, I mean any and all laws. There will always be people who try to exploit the system and that just means the system needs to be resilient to that. Like in this case.

    Derrick Hansberry thought John Webster was having an affair with his estranged wife, so he confronted Webster on a basketball court in Dade City in 2005. A fight broke out and Hansberry shot his unarmed rival at least five times, putting him in the hospital for three weeks.

    Ultimately, a jury acquitted Hansberry, but not before police and prosecutors weighed in. Neither thought Hansberry could reasonably argue self-defense because he took the gun with him and initiated the confrontation.

    A judge agreed, denying him immunity at a hearing.
    I'm finding it very hard to form an opinion. On one hand, yes, it looks really bad that he took the gun with him and initiated the confrontation. However, it's not that simple. Assuming he was legally permitted to carry the gun then he did nothing wrong by having the gun with him. He also had every right to enter the basketball court, assuming it was public, and every right to speak to Webster. And if Webster started the physical fight then Hansberry did have the right to defend himself. The whole thing looks very bad but if you break it down to its constituent parts it's difficult to pinpoint where Hansberry did anything wrong, exactly. It seems to me the exact moment of wrongdoing occurred when the fight actually started. If Hansberry initiated the fight then it's murder. If Webster initiated it then it's not.

    I've picked this case to discuss because I think it illustrates the general problem very well. It feels like the whole damn thing is Hansberry's fault for confronting the guy in the first place, but really what has he done wrong? Legally nothing. I'm not going to get in to the debate about whether what is legally acceptable is always ethically acceptable, but they should be one and the same. If you think that Hensberry was in the wrong then laws need to be changed to make that so. Which laws would you change, and how? As far as I can tell abolishing SYG wouldn't have changed the outcome of this case as he was never granted SYG immunity in the first place. As far as I can tell, standard self-defence laws can be abused almost as easily as SYG.

    I looked over all the articles you linked to and the common problem seems to really be that there is no uniformity in how SYG is applied. I don't believe that people intentionally trying to abuse it is the problem as people will always try to do that with any law. They're getting away with it because law enforcement, prosecutors and judges don't agree on when it actually applies. It seems to me like those people need to get their shit together and start doing their jobs better. But maybe, if that just isn't possible, SYG should be scrapped. In this form, at least. Maybe, if the professionals can't agree on when SYG provides immunity, every single case like this should go to a full trial with a jury and let them decide. That seems more in keeping with the spirit of the justice system I suppose.

    Apologies if I contradicted myself anywhere. This is serious train-of-thought stuff and I'm too exhausted to thoroughly re-read my post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    I know your point was to illustrate that people will try to abuse the law, but in this example he didn't get away with it. He was found guilty of murder. Surely people have always attempted to abuse the law and always will try to abuse the law. I don't specifically mean SYG, I mean any and all laws. There will always be people who try to exploit the system and that just means the system needs to be resilient to that. Like in this case.
    The way I see it, if someone deliberately tries to abuse the law to their personal gain, and they succeed, then that's an example of a law with a loophole that can be abused. And that is a bad thing. One of the stories I linked to included a drug dealer who killed two people and was not even *charged* with homicide because he plead SYG and prosecutors accepted it:

    Tavarious China Smith was not particularly lucky. A small-time drug dealer in Manatee County, Smith sold crack and marijuana not once, not twice, but three times to undercover cops.

    But in one respect, Smith, 29, hit the jackpot.

    On two occasions, more than two years apart, he committed homicides but was not charged thanks to provisions of Florida's "stand your ground" law. Smith claimed self-defense in both cases and prosecutors agreed. He never faced a judge or jury for fatally shooting Nikita Williams, 18, in February 2008 in a drug-related incident or Breon Mitchell, Williams' 23-year-old half-brother, in December 2010.
    I can't help but feel that such instances are proof that the law (at the very least) needs to be reexamined.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    I looked over all the articles you linked to and the common problem seems to really be that there is no uniformity in how SYG is applied. I don't believe that people intentionally trying to abuse it is the problem as people will always try to do that with any law. They're getting away with it because law enforcement, prosecutors and judges don't agree on when it actually applies. It seems to me like those people need to get their shit together and start doing their jobs better. But maybe, if that just isn't possible, SYG should be scrapped. In this form, at least. Maybe, if the professionals can't agree on when SYG provides immunity, every single case like this should go to a full trial with a jury and let them decide. That seems more in keeping with the spirit of the justice system I suppose.
    If you want to simplify it to that, you could say that SYG is very, very poorly defined, and that is one of the major issues I have with it.
    Last edited by Static_Martyr; 08-01-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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