For anyone who isn't familiar with the story of the teen racial problems in the small southern town of Jena, Louisiana, there is a pretty good overview of the smarmy tale here
There is a lot to sort out amid all the conflicting stories being thrown out by the teenagers on both sides of the Jena dustup, but there is one thing I think we can all agree on, based on witness accounts from both sides: those six black kids (the "Jena Six") DID beat and stomp that white kid into unconsciousness, and that IS a violent crime. At least I hope we can all agree on that, being reasonable people.
I don't want to try the case of the Jena Six here, since I was not one of the witnesses, but my feeling is that the initial charges of attempted murder were excessive, and that the reduced charges of aggravated battery are proportional to the crime. Sounds like another initial case of an overzealous prosecutor to me, as in the media feeding frenzy commonly known as the Duke Rape Case. Prosecutors often charge the maximum and then reduce charges later, which I have never liked, but that's what they do. The son of a friend of mine was just charged with assault for an auto accident because a passenger in the car, the driver's buddy, broke his arm. No way is that assault, there wasn't even any intent, but that's what they charged him with. Makes no sense at all. That's a travesty, but at last word, neither Al Sharpton nor Jesse Jackson have staged a 'No Justice, No Peace' protest rally for him, as they have for the Jena Six.
And it's Al and Jesse I want to talk about. Is it just me, or do Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson sound more and more like the very racists they used to protest against ? When Jesse says Barack Obama isn't acting black enough on the Jena Six issue, I mean, what in the heck is that but a call to racism ? Can you imagine what would happen if the race was reversed, and a white preacher told a white politician he wasn't acting white enough because he wasn't speaking out in favor of some whites who committed a crime against blacks ? My God, he'd be shunned and out of a job quicker than you could say KKK, and rightfully so.
Jesse also made the following statement. “Across this country, there are two justice systems—one for blacks and one for whites. Black young men are not more likely to commit crimes than whites, but they are more likely to be stopped by police, more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be jailed if convicted, more likely to be charged with felonies and more likely to be tried and imprisoned as adults.” Jesse is a master of the sound byte for sure, but actually, blacks are FAR more likely to commit crimes than whites. Blacks are 12% of the population, but commit over half the murders, muggings, and other violent crimes. That's hardly a secret, even if it goes mostly unreported. If we can't start with the truth, then we can't have any kind of meaningful discussion, Mr Jackson. And btw, the police aren't sent out on assignment every day to meet their monthly quota of arresting black people across the country. The police are primarily responders. They go to where they are called. They go to where situations arise. If they are patrolling your neighborhood frequently, you should look at what is wrong with your neighborhood first, not what is wrong with the police. What the police are mostly trying to do is keep people safe.
Reverend Al chimed in regarding the Jena Six. “You cannot have justice meted out based on who you are rather than what you did...This is the most blatant example of disparity in the justice system that we’ve seen. You can’t have two standards of justice.” Now, if Al is talking about the original charges of attempted murder, he has a point, but from what I'm hearing from the protesters, they want the charges dismissed completely, which definitely WOULD be a disparity of justice, because the Jena Six DID THE CRIME. Does that matter anymore ? Apparently not to the Al and Jesse racial pot stirrers it doesn't. Mychal Bell, one of the Jena Six, who is referred to on the 'Free The Jena Six' website as 'a football star', has FOUR prior convictions for violent crimes, including two prior battery convictions, which I guess the website must have overlooked, wink, wink. The Jena Six isn't some big civil rights issue. Mychal Bell isn't Rosa Parks, and he never will be. Jena in 2007 isn't Selma in 1965, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are certainly not Martin Luther King.
When Al and Jesse's Traveling Racial Hype Show comes to town, truth is the first casualty. Ask the Duke lacrosse team. If we don't want everything in this society to be divided by race, let's start calling out the people who DO divide everything in this society by race, on both sides.
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