I have been watching this story with a close eye since april, and while I feel the punishement doesn’t fit the crime I do believe the boys should be punished. Marching on Jena Louisana and shouting “Free the Jena 6″ is the wrong message to send. The message should be equal justice for equal acts. It a harsh reality that racism still exists in the 21st century, but saying these boys should be exonerated for something wrong is also wrong. The parents, school, justice system, and communtity failed these boys, but at some point we need to be responsible for our actions. God gave us the ability to chose between right and wrong, and what they did was wrong. I think they should probably do some time in a boot camp, have some counseling and perform some community service. They should not be sent to jail for 22+ years. My question is this, of all the protesters who really took the time to figure out for themselves what actually went down. How many are acting purely off of emotions and word of mouth?
I feel that the hanging of nooses is a hate crime and should be treated as such.
The kid who pulled the shot gun is a hard call for me. I think he should be punished but I don’t know how much. I have read several different version of the accounts of the gas station incident and I’m really sure what to believe. Some sources say he just pulled the gun on the boys others say it was self defense. With all the racial tension going on in the city it could have been self defense or it could have been an act of hate. Regardless, you don’t pull a gun on somebody unless you tend to use it.
The DA is awful. The level of punishment he was asking for was just wrong, it looks like he taking a page out of Mike Nifong’s book, or the book of the DA in the Genarlow Wilson case. This pretty much is on his head for bringing the trump up charges.
Everyone should be held accountable and extreme pressure should be applied from all angles to make sure this case does not simply fade away just because the march is over and the media coverage has subsided.
I’m of the John Henrik Clarke belief that marches have lost their total effectiveness. In this case, I hope the march will shine a national spotlight pointed squarely on City Hall in Jena until a just and fair decision is made for all involved.
The point should be made now that racial injustices regarding our nation’s judicial system will not be tolerated.
I was thinking the same thing… “Free the Jena 6″ I’m not too sure about that. “Equal Justice For All!” that’s what I would’ve been cheering. Just because you are Black and in jail doesn’t mean you should be free (“Free Yayo!”) In this particular case, the school board, the police and the parents are more to blame than the kids. I remember how I was @ 16 and 17, you threaten my manhood, you get stomped (black or white) but it’s was my parents and yes some teachers that reeled me in. Unfortunately no on e in Jena did that for any of these kids, instead the fanned the flames.
The sin of this is that the “Tree of Knowledge” had to be cut down.
I’m in full support of the demonstrations, but the march won’t have any positive affect on race relations. If anything positive comes out of it, it will force the powers that be to render a punishment that is appropriate for everyone. Same thing happened in the 60s; the demonstrations were effective regarding justice, but that’s because Whites were pressured to do the right thing not because of altruistic reasons – many of them still beleive African Americans are 3/5 humans. I remember hearing Dr. Clarke regarding the marches, but I don’t think these type demonstrations have lost all relevance. It’s just that there are other methods to be employed as well. I doubt seriously that Black people would take time off work and travel off pure emotion and word of mouth. The fact is, this is an injustice that resembles 1967 more than 2007. We know that. Regardless of the details of this case, Whites involved will probably get off and the six boys were treated unjustly – that we know.
The outcome of the case should be appropriate justice for everyone, taking into consideration that Jena is a backward and racist town and that the boys would have never beat up that White kid had this stuff not happened. There are actually bigger issues in this case than those boys beating up that kid. The make-up of Jena’s leadership should be overhauled and restructured to include an equal number of Blacks to make sure this type s#*@ doesn’t happen again.
And the media coverage was insufficient. Vick’s dog-fighting controversy got way more response from the media. But this is not just on the media. Now that the case is out there, the general public’s response doesn’t match that of Vick’s case. Everyone should be outraged.
The Jena DA is a flat out liar. He told the media, which failed to follow up on this, that he would have charged the white kids with the nooses if he could, but no law applied. Here is a law he could have applied in Louisiana:
A. Terrorizing is the intentional communication of information that the commission of a crime of violence is imminent or in progress or that a circumstance dangerous to human life exists or is about to exist, with the intent of causing members of the general public to be in sustained fear for their safety; or causing evacuation of a building, a public structure, or a facility of transportation; or causing other serious disruption to the general public.
B. Whoever commits the offense of terrorizing shall be fined not more than fifteen thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than fifteen years, or both.
In addition, this law can also be augmented by hate crime stipulations to make the penalties stiffer. Of course, nobody on TV bothered to check and see if his comment was accurate, so it just went out to the public as fact.
The boys should have punished with in-school suspension or out of school suspension for the beating of the student, particularly if he provoked the action.
This whole jena 6 controversy should not be happening at this point in time. We should be completely over this whole dscrimination issue. If we start this over again then all the freedom fighters like MLK Jr or Malcom X, all their work and progress they made throughout the civil rights movement was in vain… Hanging the noose on the tree that all the black kids as a group chilled under was a complete hate crime and they should be suspended from school. Me being in highschool my self can imagine the embarrassment and pain that those kids went through when they saw it.
If them kids who hung the nooses up were expelled maybe the Jena 6 would have never did what they did. I still think that the boys should not be tried as adults. Think about it::: If A BUNCH students would call you racial things, shove a damn gun down your throat, hang nooses up! What THE hell would you do!?
SO YES FREE THE JENA 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m live outside the U.S. and thusly the only U.S. television I watch is the NFL Network. I peruse the “real’ news websites very little, so I actually learned about the Jena 6 from this here site. So, thank you for that.
I can’t comment on the media coverage, except to say that I read one AP article and it never mentioned anything the white kids did except the nooses.
One local white guy was unhappy because he said he is not a racist and the town is being painted as such. You almost feel bad for him until you realize that if he isn’t racist he should have the self-confidence for it not to be a problem.
The whole thing yesterday brought a smile to my face. It’s great to see people getting together in the name of those not as priveledged. Makes you wonder if that feeling of togetherness can sustain for a while. Not being in the States, it also hard to comment on the liklehood of that.
Also, that AP article had a quote from Bush that was pretty interesting. He seemed to have an actual level of sympathy for the marchers more so than the DA. I did not expect that, even if it is a PR thing. But truth be told, he’s a 2nd term President who wouldn’t need to, so it makes me think this is one of those few times during his administration where the Bush that ran in 2000 might have popped his head out of the hole.
As far as race relations are concerned, I think the big problem is that those white’s who really aren’t racist, hate the idea of racism still being prevalent so much that they believe it really isn’t. They believe it sits only in the deep south where they can feel insulated from it. Sadly this won’t change that much for them.
I believe this would not have ‘blown up’ to the epic proprotions had there been adults in power who should have punished both sides with 6 months JV detenetion with some strict prohbation for all involved (two years max). Instead what we got was another Tulia and the legal system run amuck in it’s racial animus towards it’s black citizens in small towns.The D.A. should be disbarred and all legal charges to time served for the six kids and cut down the damn tree which started all this mess.
He has spent those nine months in jail because he couldn’t afford bond. However, if the judge decides to give him credit for time served then fine. However, he still going to need to perform some type of community service and/or counseling. We have to learn that we can’t solve everything with our fist.
Queen everybody has a right to defend themselves. But 6 on one is not defending yourself, it lynching.
Mizzo – I have no idea what is going on. Denying bail in this scenario is odd to say the least.
Overall, I think everyone makes great points. Even with the priors, there is simply no excuse for charging any of these kids with attempted murder and trying them as adults. No matter how the DA twists words, the injuries to the victim did not warrant those charges. It is really that simple. So this whole thing has a shaky foundation from the start.
Then, you start peeling back the layers. A white tree. Nooses hung in the white tree after black kids ask to sit under it results in no charges. Fires started at the school. DA goes to the school and makes comments that many felt were threatening. A black kid is beaten or threatened with a gun or both results in a battery charge. Black kids fight with white kid and end up with attempted murder charges. It’s wrong, there’s no way around that.
Normally, I fall on the side of marches do nothing. I often think that marches really only serve to make the participants feel good and most forget about the cause at some point shortly after they head home. But this time it was needed. It brought national attention and heat on something that no doubt was about to get swept under the rug. Being from LA (grew up about 75 miles from Jena), you learn at a young age that shady things go down all the time and that you live in one of the most corrupt states in the country. National spotlight was about the only hope these boys had.
Sure, they should be punished. If they had been suspended, maybe even expelled there would not have been a march. If they had been tried in a juvenile court and sentenced to community service there would not have been a march. Hell, if Michael Bell had been sentenced to juvenile hall until he is 18 there would not have been a march. But he was sentenced to 22 years by an all white jury. That is insane.
So yes, Free the Jena 6 by all means. I see the point that people make that we may be encouraging the wrong thing by not insisting on punishing the kids, but the DA had his chance and blew it. He could done this thing fairly. Hell, he could’ve even went after the maximum under juvenile law. Instead, he went to destroy the kids forever. Now is the time for an OJ like aquittal.
Why, because, and sorry for this but this has to be noticed by everyone, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO TAKE DOWN THE ROGUE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND COURT SYSTEM THAN IT IS TO PUNISH THESE BOYS!
The reason is simple, the rogue DA and court system can do so much more damage than the boys ever could. And there’s a thought in the legal system that is meant for rogue cops but also applies here – “We’ll get the crook eventually, but we’ve got to get the bad cop first because they can do so much more harm.” People like this DA set back society so much more than those boys ever could. Look at what his tactics have already brought down. If you got arrested for anything, would you want to see this guy sitting at the other table in the courtroom? of course not. The law is not a tool to be used for a vendetta, it is to be applied according to the situation to bring about a fair resolution to a problem. There is nothing fair about this. And who can argue that serving 9 months in an adult prison in Louisiana isn’t enough punishment for a school fight? And trust me, LA jails are bad, period! These are not country clubs.
Spotlight had to be shined down on this case. How much good it will do in the long run is something we will all have to wait and see. But the march was a good thing in my mind. No doubt about it.
Thank you for pointing out this simple fact. That no one in the MSM is asking that question is simply further evidence of just how far gone is white America in it’s pathologic need to achieve the illusion of racial innocence.
“Marching on Jena Louisana and shouting “Free the Jena 6″ is the wrong message to send. ”
Unfortunately J, we live in a nation of anti-intellectual farmers who have never seemed to be able or willing to parse out the elements of any argument. The message you suggest be sent is far too subtle to be effective in this intellectual backwater.
Fact is that the young men being PERSECUTED by the Jena DA deserve to be supported fully because they are victims of institutional racism and of a rogue DA who has trumpeed up charges that are way otu pf proportion to any crime that might have been committed.
I wont go into the details of the case, they are well documented, I’ll just point out that the young men’s actions were clearly driven by a fear and a knowledge that they would never get a fair deal from the town establishment. Given the malevolence of the local government, the racism of the white community and the school board and the threat of violence that was prevalent, I don’t see how the 6 could be held accountable for any of the actions for which they are charged. Personally, I view their actions as self defense, no more, no less.
Thanks for the link Mizzo. I’m hoping to give it some attention this weekend.
I will say that Professor Bell has written extensively on the concept of protest. I don’t know if you’ve ever read his book “Confronting Authority:reflections of an ardent protestor.” If not, it would be well worth your time.
In short, Professor Bell argues that while protest is as likely to advance as it is to harm the protestors’ agenda, there is great value in protest for it’s sake as it helps those who are oppressed to affirm their humanity. Professor Bell is an extemely wise man.
I just don’t want people to get mixed up here. This case has grown into something bigger than the fight that started it. The school officials had plenty of ways to fairly punish these boys. Then, the DA had entire criminal statutes to work from and could have fairly charged the Jena 6 and no one would have had room to argue anything. He could have even went for a maximum penalty for an adequate charge and though people would have been upset, their hands would have been tied (see Genarlow Wilson).
Instead, he went completely off the deep end. Kevdog is right when he uses the word persecuted. This DA wanted to send a message to the entire black community of Jena that if you step out of line I am going to come after you with everything I can, whether it is justified or not. If you are black in that community are you going to raise your voice when white people do something to you after all of this? Probably not. At the very least you would be hesitant. These people are poor and unfortunately, many are not highly educated. This DA was well aware of this and made a power move to instill fear in their hearts. The all white jury reinforced the message – We can hang nooses and threaten you with guns, but if one of you raises your hands up at us we are going to slap your ass in jail and ruin any chance you ever had in life. Hell, the DA practically told the students that at an assembly (but I know, he was talking to ALL the students, wink wink).
So yeah, march away. Jesse, Al, whoever (can’t believe I feel that way, but it is what it is. Desperate times….). The black politicians in LA are as corrupt as their counterparts so the only way this was gonna get any attention and have any hope for justice was for the outside world to step in.
No disrespect! But Shon has just performed the “drop squad.” It wasn’t intended for you specifically, but I hope that you, and anyone who thinks these boys need more “punishment,” reads his words VERY carefully. Very well done, Shon.
Since nothing else need be said in that regard, I’ll chime in on “media coverage” of the march, as well as the march itself. Actually, I’m not qualified to discuss coverage by the mainstream media because I boycott national and local media like one of the regular commenters here (can’t recall which one at the moment) boycotts NFL football (I mean, why watch programs or read papers I KNOW will darken my day?), but I DO know that the Jena 6 story – and maybe a little of its spirit – is alive on my block in the hood. I, for one, am part of the reason because I’ve told er’body, er’body’s mama, and er’body’s mama’s pit bull. But then I go to other ghetto neighborhoods and I hear the kids talking about, “my cousin was like ‘did you hear about the Jena 6?’ and I’m like ‘No,’ and he says ‘yo you gotta wear black today because…”
And so it goes.
It may not be good news, but it sho nuff is hood news.
The way its spread through the ghetto also speaks to the relevance of the march itself. As Kevdog has already observed, against Dr. Clarke, marches and demonstrations serve as great reminders of our humanity, whether or not we ever get around to fulfilling their more sublime purposes. Rather just being a participant is something you never forget.
I’m so proud of the demonstrators, I’m proud of my people for taking a stand. And I shed genuine tears for those boys – young teens IN REAL PRISON with REAL CRIMINALS for a goddamn high school beatdown of which many of us older heads have also been a part, once upon a time – every time I get to thinkin too much about them…
Hope everyone is well….have missed my fix of Truth from TSF the last week or so but I’m out there hustlin’. Anyway. It’s interesting to read what everyone has to say about the Jena case. The thing that discourages me as a white person is that so few white people were at the rally in LA. There’s a few hippies, socialists, some overly-earnest college students, yadda yadda…..but it’s amazing to me and of course most informative of the mindset of AmeriKKKa that the crowd is so devoid of whites. I reckon I could count the number of white people on two hands there in LA among maybe 350-400 total. I dunno. I’ve gone to anti-war rallies, rallies for KPFK, all kinds of rallies, because they re-enforce to me that there are some good people out there….and I’m not really surprised there aren’t white people there, but it’s always sad to have that fact re-enforced again. I can understand the cynicism and eye-rolling of readers going ….and? Is that all you got TC? White people don’t care? No kidding. Anyway, well, I this dovetails with what Cornelius said above about how aghast and totally stunned some white people are that this happens. I am too. Well, not too stunned. But regardless….in the US, it does happen. And if people here are really so anti-racist and appalled by this clusterfuck of injustice in Jena, they should all be out there. I get the same anger and absolute revulsion that this sort of crime could be perpetrated on the distinguished citizenry of this country after all black folks have done for this country (built it). I think also as someone who was not born in the US but came here as a teenager, I inculcated all the BS that the media feeds you about the land of the free, the home of the brave, cheeseburgers the size of mountains, bla bla bla……and even though you get the sense that things aren’t right, to have it confirmed over and over is very disillusioning. Anyway.
I agree with Jamaal on the crime should fit the punishment, and by attempting to prosecute these boys with murder, in essence the DA overreached by an sane persons judgement. Thus what did the DA really try to do? He tried to ruin these boys lifes, which is why he and every other fool who played a part in this disgraceful mess should rot in a jail cell for the rest of their lives.
Putting a 16 year old boy in jail for 9 months because of the color of his skin is not a joke, it’s not a laughing matter, and it’s not excusable. No need to march around yelling “free the Jena 6″ they should be yelling “put the real criminals behind bars forever.”
Further if you look at how many fights occur in schools and what percentage of kids are put in jail you will find thats a very small number. Even more so these kids should be excused for their crime, because they lived in a town where they obviously could turn to nobody else for justice, the DA or the police, or any other official in N.O. Let’s not forget the slimeball governor could have pardoned this boy months ago, and so could that worthless piece of waste we call a president. What kind of people are they, I know this was brought to their attention, but I guess it wasn’t politically viable. Disgraceful, I don’t know how these people consider themselves human!
About Marching: This march was necessary on multiple levels. The “humanity” level has been mentioned which also has a great developmental effect for youth (this is the youth educator in me talking). The march also was clearly a catalyst for sorely-needed national mainstream attention, even if that attention was poorly communicated. As far as the tangible level, I have the same doubts that TC expressed about “white participation’ at the march. The paucity of it was disheartening, and I believe there is historic significance as most social movements take off after enough people from the majority group with power plan to get involved. I attended the rally and expounded on this point and other reflections in http://www.cosellout.com/?p=124
Also on marches, aside from the humanity point there are many intangibles that can come out of it that are not easily quantifiable — like community involvement. It is worth noting that the year after the Million Man March the voting patterns of every single demographic declined in the 1996 election. The lone exception: black males (even black females declined) Social scientist had no plausible explanation besides the Million Man March. Also, after MMM, membership in many black organizations saw a surge. I’m sure there were many other positive intangibles.
Having taken a 24 hour bus trip back home, everyone was talking about action and organization. Now of course, a great percentage of this will fall by the wayside as life reasserts itself for any over-ambitios soul who has to go to work in the morning, take care of the kids in the evening, and maintain their sanity in between their attempts to change the world. But a certain percentage will not fall by the wayside. If I’m wrong, ask me a couple of months from now and you’ll get a better answer…
About media coverage: there is a very empowering story to be told about the role of bloggers along with a couple of local writers to literally FORCE this story out there into national mainstream coverage. Throw a flag on me for excessive plugging but I try to capture this in “Jim Crows Children: Jena 6, Shaquanda Cotton, & BLOG POWER!” http://www.cosellout.com/?p=121
I have been guilty of foolish optimism in the past, but The jena 6 must be coupled with a number of other ridiculous recent publicized injustices to demonstrate systemic institutional racism in criminal justice. The Shaquanda Cotton case has opened the door to review thousands of juvenile cases in Texas. The Jena 6 must do the same for Lousiana. The Genarlow Wilson for georgia, etc. Reforming the entire country’s criminal system must be the end strategic goal in all of this and rightly positioned as the 21st century version of Jim crow that it is. Justice for the Jena 6 most only be step one. Complete pipe dream? Perhaps. But with internet blogging bringing new issues to light; racist cases that are easily understood; and an election year, the time is as good as it will ever be to touch the political third rail of wholesale prison reform…
Maybe, I’m to Ghandi for this crowd, by no means am I saying that ruining these boys life with 22+ years in prison is right. But at the same time I do believe that If that was my daughter getting stomped by 6 white girls I would want some action taken. I don’t care if she called them cracker, white trash, or whatever deragotory term. Those girls would need anger managment and counseling and my daughter would need some sensitivity training(because I failed her as a father). There are a lot of injustices in this case and a lot of people were wrong. I still won’t change my opinion that “free the jena 6″ is the wrong message, But I do believe that the judge should take into account time served. I also believe that marching was the right thing to do. I just hope that everyone their understood why they marched.
I’m very upset with myself that I didn’t get down to Jena. We all should be. I have really no excuse. Anyone that was there, thanks.
It’s hard to believe the MMM was twelve years ago. I had a soul feeling that I’ll never forget. Driving down from Delaware and listening to all the negative radio shows exacerbated my supreme dislike for the media.
It was amazing to conversate, laugh and smile with brothas who were total strangers. Damn, it was such a glorious day of atonement as well as enpowerment. Similar to what you were stating Modi, there was euphoric talk of organization. Some people stepped up and some didn’t.
I was very disappointed because the spirit of the MMM did not fit the more subdued action after the event. The great memory of the MMM remains, but what did it really accomplish?
The Jena 6 march was vastly different. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression about my opinion of marches as they relate to the Jena 6 protest. I’m sorry if I gave everyone the notion that I’m a pessimist. I’m one of the more hopeful people you’ll ever come across…trust. I referenced John Henrik Clarke’s words simply to state that I hope this march does what past protests have failed to do–GET SHIT DONE!
It seemed like there was a ridiculous amount of marches after 1995.
I too, was disappointed that at least progressive white college students didn’t respond favorably en masse, but it is what it is.
ESPN reported on Outside the Lines Sunday, that one of Bell’s assault charges was punching a girl in the face. Does anyone know this to be accurate? It’s the first I’ve heard of this.
“I too, was disappointed that at least progressive white college students didn’t respond favorably en masse, but it is what it is.”
I was too, but in no way am I surprised any more. We know who tend to be the true progressives in this country. And this is a big part of the reason their anti-war efforts are more like running on a treadmill. How you ignore one of the main groups that was against the imperial adventures from the get-go is beyond me??!?!?
OH GOSH, The Last Poet is back. Hey bro, can you keep the anger to a minimum. I thought you got burned enough by everyone here but you come back. Please make comments w/o cursing and degrading people this time. Thanks “captain”.
Mizzo, you may be right about the march thing in a lot of cases, but I suppose it is better to go for it than not. I’ll check out the Clarke thing. I think that there are contrived marches and organic marches. Jena was the latter that was built on genuine outrage as opposed to many that end up on the Washington mall
As for “Free the Jena 6″ slogan, I tend to agree that “Equal Justice” is more powerful, not only because of the point you make, but because it transcends Jena. By making “Free the Jena 6″ the rallying cry, it suggests that the battle is won with the freedom of the 6 kids. “Equal Justice” could keep on moving to the next battle without breaking stride.
I hope you don’t believe that my leaving had anything to do with a doofus like bill (or boney, friedman, etc).
Rather I was dismayed that your brother D-Wil would call ME out, asking me to “slow down” and refrain from “personal attacks” (while ignoring the actual argument I was making), but refusing to hold to the same standard the neanderthals like bill who drag their knuckles through this site contributing nothing to the dialogue besides ignorance and insults.
That’s why I took a hiatus.
So where you at, D-Wil? A commenter has posted a comment that has nothing to do with Friday Fire, the Jena 6, anything remotely related to the Jena 6, or anything intelligible at all. Rather his greatest intellectual effort, one for which I’m sure his brain farted numerous times before finally letting it go, was a feeble attempt to draw a comparison between me and…(wait for it)… (waaait)… Um… Homer Simpson…? (Brilliant!)
So, D, could you tell him to slow down, please, or you’ll send him to the spam box?
And to the rest of the neanderthals trolling in the murky regions of the interwebs listen up… “BOO!” gotcha ya shook mofos!
Am I not mistaken or were you threatened to be sent to the spam box Poet. And didn’t you cry to a corner and say you would not be back and noone cared. You embarrassed yourself and showed your true angry colors. One guy even asked Dwil to correct this and you were spanked then. Go back crybaby.