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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Social Justice - Update on Jena

AP reports that a Louisiana judge has refused a request by Mychal Bell's defense attorneys to release the teenage high-school football star from jail pending his appeal. Bell is one of the Jena 6, six black classmates from the town of Jena in Louisiana who were arrested and charged with attempted murder as the result of a brawl between white and black kids.

The brawl occurred because black kids were not permitted to sit under a shade tree on the school grounds. Bell apparently requested the principal's permission to sit under the tree, and the principal agreed. However, white students did not, and the following day, several nooses were discovered fastened to a tree limb. Then a white student pulled a gun on a black student, who took the gun away from him. Some time after that incident, the boys started a round of fisticuffs as a result of which one of the white boys was knocked unconscious. However, he recovered in time to attend a party later that evening, leading me to wonder how serious his injuries were.

None of the white boys has been charged. Five of the black boys were charged with attempted murder and threatened with 20-year sentences by the D.A., who also happens to sit on the school board. (The sixth was charged in juvenile court, which proceedings are sealed, so it is not known with what he was charged.)The case was appealed to a higher court, which returned it to the lower court with instructions to retry, as they had tried the 16-year-old Bell as an adult when he was entitled to the protections of juvenile court.

It should be fairly obvious from the facts that the disparity in the treatment of basically a bunch of stupid teenagers is the result of some deep-seated racist attitudes. And that is simply unacceptable in law. All these kids are idiots. If we jailed every teenage boy who ever got into a brawl, the human race would die out tout suite. The black kids should get the exact same sentence the white kids did. Community service or probation with a warning to keep their damned ass out of trouble or they'll get something worse next time. If Mychal Bell is to be jailed pending appeal, then the white kids should be jailed also.

According to the local radio station, some 80,000 protesters showed up in Louisiana to march for the Jena 6, many from several states away. I'm glad that people are standing up to this naked racism. It is simply unacceptable. Given the thorough corruption of the Justice Department, and the gutting of its Civil Rights division, it's unavoidable, I suppose, that these sort of prosecutions will occur.

From AP via the Guardian:
``This is why we did not cancel the march,'' said the Rev. Al Sharpton, an organizer of Thursday's rally along with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the NAACP. ``When they overturned Mychal's conviction, everyone said we won.''

Jackson said in an interview Friday that federal intervention is needed to protect Bell's rights. Sharpton said he has scheduled meetings in Washington with congressional leaders to discuss the Jena Six case.
Our eyes are watching you, Jena. You will not get away with it this time.

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