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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jena Six, my take:

By now, I'm sure that my very few readers are aware that I take a long time to form an opinion on matters of import. However, after reviewing the known facts about the Jena Six case, I'm only confused on one matter related to this case: Is it pronounced "Gina" or "Jenna"? I've seen Jesse Jackass on television pronouncing it "Gina", but citing him as a source on, well, pretty much anything is much like citing President Bush: It's likely to be incorrect, or draw incorrect conclusions from the correct data, and any statements are extremely likely to coincide with his own known biases, especially when those biases lead to conclusions that differ substantially from the facts. That said, they are both very occasionally correct.

Another thing that is unsurprising is that I will play the devil's advocate. I could cite a number of reasons, but in the end, it's just fun, and it's fun with a purpose. According to what I've seen and read, and for brevity, I will cite Wikipedia, the victim was knocked out and given a black eye for his trouble. Justin Barker was so severely injured that some reports place him at a party later that day, instead of at a hospital. He was so grievously wounded by six people that he ended up with injuries that can be found at a schoolyard fight, boxing match, football game, or countless other scenarios. What the Jena Six did was wrong. I'm sure we were all taught to try to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner. I also think all six should have been punished. Why were they not sentenced to three days in-school suspension just like the future Klansmen who put nooses in a tree the day after a few African-American students sat down in its shade during lunch? At an absolute maximum, if the prosecutor felt like being a hardliner, a day or two in juvie (or the county jail to cool off for the students who were adults under Louisiana criminal law) would not have been too excessive, or at least, not nearly as excessive as what we're seeing now. Some may argue that they put themselves in this position by beating up someone, and that all that has happened since is their fault. Some might even argue that, since they put themselves in this position, they have no right to any financial recourse, such as lawsuits. Some might argue further that, since they elected those in power there, that this is the worst punishment the town of Jena should face, and this is harsh punishment indeed. However, this is not justice. This is a perversion of justice and an abuse of the civil rights of Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Theo Shaw, Robert Bailey Jr., Bryant Purvis, and Jesse Ray Beard. I have coworkers who have at least considered taking the three or four hour bus trip to Jena to join the protesters. While I won't be able to attend, my thoughts will be with them, as will my wishes for the freedom and successful lawsuits of the six accused.

With that in mind, enjoy the music by one of my favorite artists of all time, Tracy Chapman.


Candace said...

Very well said!

It's "Gina." You can watch a video about it on David Caspian's blog - do you know him? He just recently made a comment on mah blog, so when I went to his, I found a great post on this incident. It's his full name plus blogspot dot com. There's also a link at the end of the video that will take you to the petition that will got to the Justice Department for a full investigation.

LET'S TALK said...

Thanks candace, I didn't know about all of this.

I agree this is a perversion of justice and an abuse of the civil rights of all the young men accused.

Snave said...

I'm with the protesters in spirit as well. My opinion, as is often the case, is based on much less (my gut feelings and minimal research) than what your opinion is based on, MC... you tend to research things pretty thoroughly, and that is certainly to your credit. Let's just say, I am even more in support of the six now than I was before reading your post. Thanks!

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I believe the Jena Six deserve to be punished. I have even upped my estimates on what the charges should be, but I still do not believe this was a felony-level assault. Six people, and the sum of the damage they caused was an eye swollen shut and a concussion mild enough to require a total of three hours in the hospital, an unknown part of that time probably having been spent in a waiting room awaiting treatment. Jesus. I got worse than that in school, and no charges were ever filed. I didn't even think of it, and kids fighting, even bad kids... If they were trying to cause serious bodily harm, they truly suck at it. Jesus.

1138 said...

It's a Republican Justice Department at the Federal level, they aren't going to touch it = and the louder we yell for them to, the more they'll enjoy not doing it.

I couldn't go, but I kicked in 20 bucks to help someone else go.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

It wouldn't bother me as much if it were from the moderate wing of the 1950s-1970s Republican Party, or from the libertarian wing of the modern Republican Party, but the current bunch of neocons, I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

A few points missing from your "knowledge" of events can be seen at:

It includes the "oh-so-trivial" fact that someone burned down half the school on November 30, 2006.

Having their school burned down by hoodlums no doubt "upset" the school officials. Perhaps wilding a student less than a week afterwards was a "poor decision". But even poorer was being caught trying to steal guns:
December 2, 2006: On Saturday night, December 2, another altercation occurred at the Gotta-Go Grocery, a convenience store near the Jena Airport, that resulted in three Jena High School students arrested on several charges and the victim having to be treated at the hospital for injuries. The victim, Matt Windham, alleges that three black males attacked and robbed him while the three accused are claiming self-defense. Both the victim and those arrested offered different statements to police, however, two eye witnesses to the event unrelated to the victim or those arrested, gave a report of the incident that corresponded with the victim. Those arrested include: Robert Bailey, Jr., 17, of Jena; Ryan Simmons, 17, of Jena, and Theodore Shaw, 17, of Jena. All three are students at Jena High School and each were charged with second-degree robbery, theft of a firearm, and conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery.

The school officials probably should have waited till the ever-more-violent Bailey shot and killed a white boy. Then he could have gone to jail, and the medai, and you, would have said nothing.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Yes, but did this incident rise to the level of felony assault? My point was that charging these kids with attempted murder in this case was beyond excessive, but I guess you believe that shoes are lethal weapons. Oh, and thanks for posting anonymously, bitch.