Your Lying Eyes

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20 September 2007

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Thuggery

Down in Jena, Louisiana, they're some real bigoted, narrow-minded folk. They seem to think that when 6 people gang up on another, beat him unconscious and kick and stomp him on the ground, that's a serious crime deserving of serious punishment. The national media knows better, and has been on a crusade to depict this incident as the second coming of the Scottsboro Boys. But it only shows how decrepit the civil rights movement has become.

If there is any outrage in this case, it is about the common prosecutorial conduct of piling on multiple versions of the most serious criminal charge conceivable in order to force a plea out of overwhelmed plaintiffs. Rather than simply charging the boys with aggravated battery, which is what this clearly was, the prosecutor charged them with attempted murder and conspiracy. Prosecutors do this all the time with all defendants - white, black, rich, poor, man, woman - and it ought to be stopped, in my opinion.

But the outrage isn't about this practice. Just what it's about I'm really not sure. There were clearly some racial tensions brewing at the high school, leading to a dispute over who could sit under a disputed tree - white kids or black kids. But look at how the media naively portrays this dispute:
In September 2006, a black student asked the vice principal if he and some friends could sit under an oak tree where white students typically congregated. Told by the vice principal they could sit wherever they pleased, the student and his pals sat under the sprawling branches of the shade tree in the campus courtyard.
Of course it didn't happen that way - I have no idea what exactly went down, of course, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite like that. At any rate, 3 white students - two of them pretty serious losers, it seems, and pretty un-intimidating ('doofuses' is one's first impression) from their pictures I saw on CNN - hung nooses from the tree. Because they weren't expelled - they were suspended 3 days and required to attend sensitivity training - many in the black community were sore. Two of them eventually dropped out of school, anyway. A couple minor incidents occurred over the next 3 months, but nothing serious until this beating.

What this seems to be about is the growing assertiveness of the civil rights community - think Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - to have veto power over the prosecution of blacks alleged to have committed crimes against whites and to be able to demand prosecutions of whites who are thought to commit crimes against blacks. We see this in not just the Duke rape case but also in the prosecutions of police for using deadly force on the job as well as in the wrist slappings handed out in the heinous beatings of two white girls on Halloween in Long Beach. Using organized protests and throwing around the "R" word, activist can easily intimidate most politicians, prosecutors, and judges into seeing things their way. No, the civil-rights movement ain't what it used to be.

Which, as I have argued before, explains Rudy Giuliani's popularity. Everybody in the country knows that he told these people to eat shit and stood his ground, much to the enmity of the civil-rights community. This is indeed admirable in the man. Unfortunately, it may be his only admirable quality.

See also Chris Roach's take on this. Here's CNN's Roland Martin attempting to explain what it's about. Read his ramblings and tell me he isn't essentially validating my assertion above. CNN has really been on the 'cutting edge' of this issue, airing an astonishingly credulous "Special Investigation" last evening.


Blogger Black Sea said...

My first exposure to this story came courtesy of NPR. Yes, I confess, I was listening to NPR, but then again, it's always interesting to experience an alternate worldview.

Anyway, their take on this incident couldn't have been any richer if it had been written through the collaborative efforts of Duke University's "Gang of 88."

I fully agree that charging attempted murder in this case constitutes prosecutorial overreach, and ultimately weakens the prosecutor's credibility. On the other hand, if you swallowed the NPR storyline, then the prosecutor should have deemed this a case of justifiable attempted homicide and instead filed charged against local officials for crimes against humanity.

September 21, 2007 6:29 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

I too listen to NPR, regularly. It is simply the best news presentation your going to get. Usually it takes litte effort to 'listen between the lines' around their leftish bias, but on issues of race they throw away all pretense of fairness - there are no two sides of any race controversy.

September 21, 2007 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before anything else, Jesse and Al need a "comeback". Blacks are losing influence due to their numbers being stagnant against the huge tide of all of the other minorities in this nation now, and all these know how to do is screetch louder and louder against that. Compared to 1991, people have much less concern over black poverty than what they used to. Latinos are much more in the nations conciousness now.

FoxNews, who are very aware that Rudy is "strong" on this kind of issue, will gladly pump it because I guarantee you he is Murdoch's favorite candidate.

Until we know what happened, we are all kinda grasping at straws.

The beaten kid supposedly was making fun of the noose incident aloud at the school and used racial epithets quite a bit in doing so. However, there is no way to really confirm any of that until plenty of witnesses say so. Unfortunately, they will probably never get to the bottom of what happened down there leading up to the beating.

The prosecutor ought to be disbarred, and lose his liscence to practice law in all fifty states for the remainder of his life, thus wrecking his career (and hopefull his marriage). Sometimes I feel like Im the only one who really knows how wrong "overcharging" can be, and how contrary to the spirit of the consitution this is. If a pal of yours gets into a fight at a bar, does NOT throw the first punch, but wins big time (throws someone on the ground hard after beating him up), he can (and did) get charged with everything plus the kitchen sink (plus "resisting arrest" for smarting off to a police officer). He didn't really do anything except defend himself a little too effectively. Legal bills were ridiculous, probation a pain-in-the-ass.

Our jurisprudence is set up to deal with scum now, but it can overwhelm the ordinary man with a wife and kids and professional responsibilities. It can literally ruin him. If you are a homeless drifter, or "in the life" drugging it up, living with various girlfriends, parents, friends, or relatives (or some ramshackle rental trailer), the law can't really take much from "they" make the law ever more forceful against the underclass who does not have much to lose, thus making it a nuclear weapon against responisble citizenry.

September 21, 2007 11:42 AM  
Blogger Roach said...

Thanks for the link.

September 21, 2007 3:20 PM  

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