Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Jena Six quizzical...

A bitch watched several news reports about the Jena Louisiana protests that featured snippets from the District Attorney’s press conference. Something he said just stuck with me…like someone singing off key in the midst of a fantabulous choir.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said of the victim (the white male student) "The injury done to him and threats to his survival have become less than a footnote."

Which would have shamed some people except for the fact that the victim was healthy enough to get his party on later that evening following the “injury done to him.” Mayhap the young have quick recovery skills…or perhaps “the injury done to him” wasn’t as serious as the attempted murder charge it resulted in.

District Attorney Walters went on to add…

"This case has not, never has been about race. It's about finding justice for an innocent victim, holding people accountable for their actions. That is what it's about."

Let’s dust that one off and take it for a spin, shall we?

No one is disputing the fact that a fight broke out. What is in dispute is whether the fight equaled attempted murder and whether the only people worthy of being charged in connection to that fight were young black men.

Cough.
I’m quizzical about the “holding people accountable” part of the District Attorney’s statement.
It really bothers me and I think I know why.

Pause…sip water…continue…

It’s bullshit.

Only some people are being held accountable for the fight…only black students have been charged…and this case was made “about race” by the very same D.A who is now trying to spin his way out of a public relations shit storm.

Further more, in the post-Columbine post-Virginia Tech era of education a bitch is beyond shocked that the District Attorney didn’t feel compelled to “hold people accountable” for the hanging of nooses on school property that kicked this shit off.

The students who hung three nooses in response to three black students having the audacity to sit under the unofficially yet officially white’s only tree located on school property where given in-school suspensions.

Blink.

Let me clear something up for anyone who is confused about the nooses hanging from a tree thing.

A noose hanging from a tree only means one thing.

It threatens lynching and therefore threatens murder.

Nooses hanging from trees never have been, are not now and never will be a joke or a prank and everyone involved in this case knows that.

Nooses hanging from a tree are a terrorist threat against the lives of others.

Except in Jena Louisiana…where the District Attorney speaks about holding people accountable but takes a pass when it suits him.

Boys will be boys when nooses swing under the white man’s tree.

What does it take for the D. A. to hold those "boys" accountable in Jena?

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees?
Uh uh...hell no.
There will not be another harvest of that strange and bitter crop...

26 comments:

BarefootCajun said...

How about the white kids that beat the snot out of one of the Jena6 with a beer bottle at a party the night after the noose incident? (Robert Bailey, if I'm not mistaken, was the victim of this incident)

How about the white kids that commited aggravated assault outside the convenience against two of the Jena6 by pointing a shotgun at them?

Why did the guy who took the shotgun away from those white kids charged with theft of a gun?

So much for this case not being about race and being all about holding folks accountable. Seems like the only ones held accountable were the black kids. And I want to know how tennis shoes can be considered as "lethal weapons", which is what the D.A. argued (successfully) in Mychael Bell's first trial?

I was unable to take off work to get to the march this morning. Many of my fellow church members are there representing me. But I will be on the steps of the state capitol this afternoon for the rally there.

The Lazy Iguana said...

A fight is a fight. My memory of High School was that if there was a fight, EVERYONE involved was in trouble. Even the people on the side yelling "kick his ass!". Everyone.

I still work for the public school system, part time. As a substitute. It is something to do on my days off for a quick and easy $90. Better than nothing. Anyway, this gives me the ability to keep track of rules and the student code of conduct. It has not changed. Everyone involved in a fight is usually in some trouble. Not just the darker students.

Also, I think that here hanging a noose under a tree would have got someone in trouble from the start.

How this was allowed to escalate to the point of a fight breaking out is just crazy. This kind of thing is easy to catch in the early stages and take care of.

And EVERYONE in a fight is in trouble. Usually everyone gets the same punishment - unless the fight is super one sided (the other party does not fight back or try to back down or whatever).

Getting an ass kicking for being a noose hanging in the tree asshole (WHO does that kind of shit and does not expect a beating?!?!?!) and then going out that night to party does not sound like a one sided beating to me. Attempted murder? Come on! Assault? Maybe. But how about the other side? Charge both, let a jury figure it out.

Or just take care of it in house. Everyone gets suspended and a discipline record. End of story.

I am still embarrassed for the USA over this. Really. This kind of shit just needs to end already. I would like to be a part of the 21st century.

catnmus said...

This morning I read the AP story. It said:

"He [DA Walters] said he didn't prosecute the students accused of hanging the nooses because he could find no Louisiana law under which they could be charged. "I cannot overemphasize what a villainous act that was. The people that did it should be ashamed of what they unleashed on this town," Walters said."

And I thought to myself, that is a good point. What COULD he do, if there's no law they could be prosecuted under? But after reading your blog, I now realize I was wrong.

These students could have been charged with making death threats. They could have been charged with intimidation. Heck, they could have been charged with vandalism. To say that "I didn't do anything because there was nothing I could do" is a complete and utter cop-out, not to mention shows exactly whose side he's on, harsh words above notwithstanding. Where were those harsh words on the day the nooses were found?

Then again, he's probably not ashamed of the fights and such - only the publicity.

... while wearing a black shirt.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened by the reality of racism that still exists in this country. I was walking yesterday in a park, and saw some guys practicing something that looked like rugby. It was curious to me so I watched for a moment and then kept walking. A bit later I hear someone running behind me. It was one of the guys who had been practicing and he asked me "if I happened to pick up an IPOD that was by their stuff." I was appalled, could not believe what I was experiencing nor hearing. A great number of people walked by that same area but I guess since I am black, in his mind I had to be the one who stole the IPOD. This was so mind boggling. It changed the entire evening for me. It changed how I feel about the park which I loved and about my level of trust. It is insane that these things along with stuff like the JennaSix is still happening. I am tired of racism being perpetuated upon me and my fellow African Americans. Where is our justice?

Yankee T said...

((shaking head))
The whole thing is so discouraging to me. I can't seem to shake the blues brought on by this. I have an underlying feeling of sorrow for our country and our children, all the time.

Ant Annie said...

I cannot believe that stuff like this still happens [middle class white girl in the northeast talking]. To say that this is not about race is an insult to everyone's intelligence. Does that DA think that we were all born yesterday? Like a friend used to say, "I was born at night, but not last night."

This whole thing sounds like a 1950s movie, not life in the 21st century United States. Grow up, Jena - you're giving Louisiana a bad name, enforcing the stereotypes some people hold of the south. They say that it is wrong to stereotype people, and then something like this happens. Well now what are we supposed to think?

Even someone like me (who has absolutely no legal training) could find something with which to charge the kids that put up the nooses. What exactly is an in-school suspension? You have to come to school, but you can't go to class? Or you have to stay late? Puh-lease... To ignore the crimes done by the white kids and let the whole thing escalate to the point that the black kids were arrested for attempted murder is insane! Actually the whole "attempted murder" charge is pretty insane - it was a school fight. Suspend them all.

I am sad for our country when things like this happen. And even sadder for the young folks who get caught up in the drama. The abuse of power that is playing out in Jena needs to be investigated by someone at the federal level - these young folks need to be protected from the racist idiots. And the DA should turn in his white robe...

I don't know if this will help race relations in the US or set them back 50 years.

I hope all turns out well for the Jena 6 (and the rest of humanity).

Ant Annie in Pittsburgh

Jane Know said...

"Which would have shamed some people except for the fact that the victim was healthy enough to get his party on later that evening following the “injury done to him.” Mayhap the young have quick recovery skills…or perhaps “the injury done to him” wasn’t as serious as the attempted murder charge it resulted in."

Classic white male victimization (i am white). I'm sick of this bullshit. Those people are so quick to forget the injustices that were done to the black kids in the first place, and focus only on punishment for ONE of the many crimes that were committed in this whole ordeal. I wish they could see the bigger picture like the rest of us do.

Anonymous said...

Jane Know, so now we can interpret crime based on how much damage is done? How about rape and the woman is not beaten. I guess that calls for a light sentence? You people are stupid. The sentences are too harsh, agreed but you morons want the "freed" not prosecuted fairly. Some moron posted that hanging a noose is a death threat. How idiotic.

Shark-fu said...

anonymous...

I never called for unfair prosecution of anyone involved.

But a noose can only be one thing.

It is only one thing.

That, m'dear, is fact.

Jane Know said...

Um. Okay "Anonymous." Your argument would have a little more clout if it wasn't based solely on calling people "morons."

When did I *ever* say they shouldn't be prosecuted fairly? Of course they should. But fair doesn't include a double-standard for white people. (ie- prosecuting black people for 2nd degree murder while letting the white students go without even a school suspension).

Dusty said...

Excuse me whilst I pull out the four letter words here...

Fuck that sumbitch DA..that worthless bag of batshit has the audacity to say its not about race? Does he think the public at large is dumber than a bag of hammers?

The 24 hours news channels are running with this..and I am so glad they are finally talking about it. Too bad it took Jackson and Sharpton going down there to get this front and center, I ain't a big fan of Sharpton's, I think he does more harm than good most of the time.

That the idiots of Jena have bad manners and practice racism is a given at this point. We need to shine the light of truth into their beady fucking rat eyes.

Only if you have been touched by racism personally can you truly understand the importance and destruction of institutionalized racism.

I expect white folks to be outraged, but nothing more. I live on both sides of that fence and that gives me the right to say what I just said.

BarefootCajun said...

As I stated in my blog entry this afternoon, the DA didn't really have to dig very deep to find something to charge the noose-hangers with. Here in Louisiana we have a statute called "Terrorizing". He could have used that if he'd really wanted to.

Anonymous, no one ever said that the Jena 6 should not be prosecuted for the fight. However, what they are charged with is definitely overkill. Not only that, there were definite charges that some of the white students should have been charged with.

Bug_girl said...

thanks, Shark-fu, for saying exactly what I was yelling at the radio today, when a white minister from Jena was saying that Jena was "misunderstood" and that blacks over-reacted to the noose.

GRRRR.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

"Nooses hanging from trees never have been, are not now and never will be a joke or a prank and everyone involved in this case knows that.

Nooses hanging from a tree are a terrorist threat against the lives of others."

And THAT is precisely the root of this matter and sadly, precisely the part of it that 99.99% of white people just don't get.
Maybe if their grandfathers had been lynched or maybe if they really had some tiny inkling of what a lynching might be like in real life, they WOULD get it and be willing to take a look at racial justice in this country.
OK, I'mm gonna stop now and save it for my own blog.

Anonymous said...

Nothing surprising here (I am white, but do read). Racism and the excesses of the law are present in the newspaper all the time. The man killed by dragging in Jasper TX. The TX town sheriff arresting some 40 black people on bogus drug charges (Bob Herbert kept harping on this until white folks noticed).

The most pathetic thing about it is that the white inhabitants of Jena are whining, "but the town is being shown as racist, we aren't like that". The white boys who hung the nooses had to learn racism from someone.

If I were the school principal, I'd take the whole lot of the kids, white and black, and make them clean highway berms of trash or other physical labor in the hot sun for community service hours. It's a school fight in which no one got seriously injured, ferchrissakes. That's for the brawl. Admit all of them back to school. Then require the white boys to read and write book reports on history of slavery, the Civil Rights movement, and so on, books to be chosen by a black authority on teaching black history to high-school level kids, work to be done in after school detention. (conflicting with all sports activities). That's for the nooses. Black kids don't need to do anything.

Anonymous said...

oops, that was me, NancyP

Rileysdtr said...

Wow. I go to a conference for four days and see what I miss?

"A noose from a tree means one thing." Amen. You're absolutely correct. But as adults we are looking at this through the prism of whatever wisdom we have earned.

Teenagers - who has done something stupid, offensive, threatening, etc. in their day? Anybody who "thought it was funny" yet managed to offend? The Prince of England wore 1940s Rommell-style Nazi desert fatigues to a costume party. Ever dressed up in black face for Halloween? Gone to a party as a pregnant Nun? Called the smallest boy on the playground "faggot"? Played "Smear the Queer?" Gotten greased on illicit rum and then lit a fire on the local golf course? Anyone from Detroit remember "white fight" days at school?

Anybody? (crickets chirping...)

My point is everyone has done stupid things. And yes, it is always about race, no matter how much we as human beings of different shades claim it isn't. It is always about race, gender, sexuality, language, culture, and of course RELIGION.

These are kids. This should never have happened. And when it did, it should have been dealt with based upon wisdom and common sense. Parents, teachers, police, D.A., and now Al Sharpton - I blame them. Not the white kids. Not the black kids. Not the brown kids. The adults involved. It's not a matter of "raising them up right" - kids do stupid things no matter how well brought up. It's how the adults who know better came in afterward that this tanked.

I am upset for the kids. I am upset for the town. I am upset that the rusty friggin' Civil Rights bus has got to roll again.

I am appalled that thousands of people have come from around the country to this town to protest in Jena, Louisiana and think THAT's all they have to do.

Brother Al, get off your far-too-well-fed ass, grab the bullhorn and the bus keys, and tell the self-righteous "We're driving, y'all. We're driving to New Orleans and to the coast of Mississippi and we're doing something with all this free time we seem to have. We're cleaning lots and building homes and picking up the garbage that is still THERE in the Gulf Coast and helping our brothers and sisters - regardless of shade - pick up the pieces of their 2-years-gone lives and THAT's what we're doing to stop injustice.

Jesus Wept. This is amazing.

Cliff said...

Very well written article. I'm definitely going to link to it from my own blog.

You notice the only people who are puzzled by the mention of this being a "race issue" are people who don't have to live with "race issues" every day. There version of a "race issue" is whether or not they should make an inappropriate joke when Black Coworker is present or not. Ha. America sucks.

Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that so many people who are not black feel so entitled to tell those of us who are how we should feel, think, and react about this situation in Jena (and ones like it). Its been a deep reality check.

-Delux

Roach said...

Rodney King was an outpatient too. I guess the beating of that model (PCP, criminally minded ex-con) citizen was A-OK too. Give me a break.

PS Nooses without more specifics are proteted free speech under the First Amendment, just in case you didn't know where that little tidbit of Americana came from. Read much?

Shark-fu said...

As a matter of fact I'm about to read your ass right now(wink).

Do you comprehend much? Or did you skim over the post and go right to the comments?

Beatings are not okay.

Those nooses, which appeared less than 24 hours after the students of color sat beneath the tree, were specific as a motherfucker. That is the pattern and it dates back to nooses being flashed around town after voter registration drives or any other act of equality.

This speech is no more protected that someone yelling fire in a movie theatre.

But you don't really give a fuck, do you Roach? C'mon...not really?

Right!

You need to pause, rewind and review reality.

Or mayhap nooses swinging from trees are your reality...in which case you need to piss off.

Toodles!

dad said...

and now there's this goddamned thing on the local evening news about a scared jewish couple in the suburbs who had swastikas spraypainted on their cars - and then the unbelievable line, "authorities are still trying to determine whether the act was a hate crime, or simply an act of vandalism."

what kind of stupid bullshit is that? who the fuck DOESN'T know what a swastika spraypainted on a car or a wall or a fence means?

ESPECIALLY in the fucking pacific northwest.

nooses draped over the branches of a traditionally "whites only" tree under which black youth audaciously sat...swastikas spraypainted on a jewish family's car...yeah, just a little bit of harmless hijinks.

oneofthree said...

Well, ok, here goes. I am a white, female prosecutor in Florida. I have a few comments, but let be begin by saying the hanging of nooses is morally wrong. It is a horrible action that opens wounds barely closed and pouring salt directly on said wound. I in no way condone the hanging of nooses.

With that throat clearing done, I beleive the hanging of nooses IS protected speech. Someone mentioned that LA has a terriorism statute - we have one in Florida; however, it requires a particular person as a target. I know, we all know, that those boys were targeting the black children that sat under the tree, but legally, can you prove it? No. Before you go off about it's obvious, there are a lot of things that are obvious that you cannot prove in a court of law.

If the LA statute is different, and allows for a broader purpose, then perhaps it would fit. Could someone point me in the direction of that statute?

I beleive all the kids who laid hands on any other (or pointed shotguns at anyone) should be charged. As for both sides of a fight being in trouble - not really. If it's a "public fight" then yes - if both sides were actively fighting and it's even on numbers, then yes. If it's 6 on one and that one gets knocked out with one blow and the others keep going - then no, that "victim" shouldn't be charged. Please note the use of quotes. He is legally a victim of a crime, and innocent one - no.

Again, I agree that anyone who broke any laws should be prosecuted - WITHOUT regard to race. But I beleive, legally, the nooses are protected speech - and if the school came down too harshly on those kids I also beleive they would have had an ACLU case against them for violating free speech.

Not saying the law is perfect - but what we have should be applied to everyone the same. The 6 that attacked the one - they need to be held accountable. It should be charged as a simple battery, and they should be punished accordingly.

sixfootsubwoofer said...

Hi, guys. Um, a semi-educated white dude wants to put in his two cents...

I'd like to hold up the Jena incident in relation to the Andrew Myers incident. You know, that college student who was beat the fuck down using tazers by the cops for ASKING A QUESTION. Why were there only 200 or so of dude's affluent white counterparts at the protest for his beatdown, and some tens of thousands of protesters at Jena? Why is there so much more of a public outcry about some kids beating up some kids, and some kids getting harsh charges by the cops, than there is a public outcry about some cops BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF SOMEONE WHO SIMPLY ASKED A QUESTION?

Is it the superior organizing skills of the black protest establishment? Is it the fact that racism is known to be a systemic problem within law enforcement?

Or is it the fact that it is much easier to get on a bus and go rally for something "close to us", a cause we can really understand because it has a tradition of healthy protest, a cause that directly impacts "us"?

Is it because racism is something that a few can understand because they might experience it on a daily basis, as opposed to the threat to a right we ALL take for granted that really DOES affect us all, namely free speech? Is it more important to stick with your race, or stick with the belief that free speech, truly "free" of state control or intervention, is more important to the overall health of our society?

Would blacks have gone to Florida to protest the actions against Myers is a noose had been involved?

I grew up down south, and I can tell you that the only way to change a really bad racist is to just contain them and wait for them to die or drink themselves to death. Of course, we should use the legal system to battle obvious racial profiling in charging and sentencing. We should band together as ONE when we see any form of injustice and flood the area with pissed off folks. BUT I think that our battles should be chosen more wisely. The protesters think they are doing a noble thing in Jena, and on one level they are. But in reality they are only going to make it worse for the blacks who will be left there once the freedom busses are gone. That's how they roll down there, believe me. Al ain't gonna convince any racist that blacks are just as good or bad as anyone else, those racists have to do that for themselves. And if the protests succeed in overturning those kids' attempted murder charges, it will be just a temporary triumph... until the next black dude gets gunned down "accidentally" in Queens.

Sorry Al, but you shoulda gone and stood with your fellow whites and spent some time fighting the bigger fight, the state control of our already virtual democracy by a militarized police force. While you're off fighting and rallying "your people", the Big White Man in his Big White House is busy tryin to fuck it all up for ALL of us.

Cero said...

What has amazed me (I live in Louisiana) about this is how many people I would not have expected it of, speak on this issue like this Roach. It is, ah, a bit scary.

Rileysdtr, I don't think this can be a mere 'misunderstanding' or 'not getting it' ... it sounds to me as though these kids who hang nooses actually *do* 'get' what they have been taught. That is what makes it scary.

'Misunderstandings' and 'not getting its' do exist at this age but if they are honest misunderstandings the issues are subtler. Hanging nooses from trees is just too d*** obvious.

And no this was not just any schoolyard fight.

Shark-fu said...

I agree that there has not been enough public outcry over the taser attack...but that doesn't mean the public outcry over Jena is misplaced.

I'm watching Eyes on the Prize and hearing that same 'you're just making it hard for local blacks' argument. It wasn't accurate then and it isnt accurate now.

Equality does not evolve. Ann Coulter herself has proposed that argument saying that the Civil Rights Movement wasn't needed.

But equality does not evolve...racists don't just die out, they have chil'ren that they raise to be racists too.

Regarding the comment by the prosecutor...thank you for your perspective. I wish more prosecutors were speaking out on this.

If three nooses hanging under a tree less than 24 hours after three students sat under it isn't a threat it should be.

I love the foundation of free speech in this country...I blog as a result of it.

But if I got into an argument online with someone and then went to their house and hung a noose from their tree I would be making a threat...wouldn't I?

These recent incidents (the taser and the nooses) are connected and are both attempts to control and silence the people.

The scab has been removed and there's a wound full of puss...