September 26, 2007

"Imagine you were walking down a city street, and someone leapt from behind a tree and hit you so hard that you fell to the sidewalk unconscious."

"Would you later describe that as a fight?"

The Jena prosecutor ably defends his choices.

40 comments:

MTHEORY said...

I'm no lawyer, but I read Althouse regularly. To my layman's eye, it seems that one of these kids broke the law, and some of these kids did something that is disgusting -but not illegal. Hate crimes need an underlying criminal act, don't they?

rcocean said...

I can only say that this country is going to hell in hand-basket when 6 Black athletes can't beat a white nerd senseless and nearly stomp him to death without some namby pamby DA with his white man's "justice" getting all uptight.

If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.

Hang a noose, they must go loose.

Seven Machos said...

Are the people who beat the guy up going to be charged with hate crimes?

Mortimer Brezny said...

beat a white nerd senseless and nearly stomp him to death

1. I haven't read he was a nerd. He later went to a ring ceremony (doesn't that mean he was an athlete, too?)

2. He wasn't stomped nearly to death. He went to a ring ceremony later that night after release from the hospital.

rcocean said...

He wasn't stomped nearly to death. He went to a ring ceremony later that night after release from the hospital.

My point exactly. Why all the fuss?

True he was " blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head" and "brutally kicked by at least six people."

And "Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death."

But he was an athlete. And he attended the ring service that night.

But hey, No harm, no foul, eh Mortimer?

Revenant said...

I haven't read he was a nerd. He later went to a ring ceremony (doesn't that mean he was an athlete, too?)

I have no idea if he was an athlete or not, but the ring ceremony has been reported as a "class ring ceremony", so it doesn't appear to have any connection to athletics.

Here's a version of the story, purportedly from a town resident, that I came across while googling just now.

rcocean said...

I'm still trying to figure out the connection between the beating and the nooses.

But I suffer from unconscious racism.

B said...

As he passed through the gymnasium door to the outside, he was blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head thrown by Mychal Bell. While lying on the ground unaware of what was happening to him, he was brutally kicked by at least six people.

If this had been caught on videotape just as Rodney King's beating had been, then the racists who rallied on behalf of the "Jena Six" would have never materialized. There would have been no racist Jesse Jackson in Jena.

Shame no one had a camera to expose the 6 thugs and show America the double standard some still call "seeking justice".

Mortimer Brezny said...

I never said the attack was okay.

But your description of it was not.

Gerald said...

Wow, revenant, that post you linked to is enlightening. Here, to me, is the most relevant section:

"Jena High School is known for themed activities surrounding football games. This particular week, JHS was playing a team whose mascot is "Cowboys." Hence, the nooses in the tree... "hang'em high!" Not for one moment did the thought of racism cross my mind or the majority of the others. It was football season. We were playing the Cowboys. The kids, both girls and boys, wore boots to school and had a western themed pep rally. Nooses = cowboys and horse thieves in my world. Maybe I've watched too much "Gunsmoke," but racism was not even a thought. Due to the reaction of ADULTS in the black community, not the kids at the school, the boys were suspended."

I first heard that little detail here in the comments in Althousania. Funny that it isn't talked about much in the MSM, eh? Also, while humans are pretty difficult to actually kill, a good kick in the throat could do it pretty easily. The fact that the young man wasn't killed by 6 athletes having a "boot party" on his head was less than a sure thing. Add in the fact that the attack wasn't stopped except for the intervention of teachers and I can see why "Attempted Murder" could be a viable option on the table even aside from speculation that it was a mere tactic to get these guys out of juvenile court and into the more consequential adult court.

The fact that the whole narrative is about the horrible racist whites in Jena (though I am not alleging they are lilly white!) and seeming suppression of the actual details about the nooses is quite frightening. For a wide variety of reasons portions of the black community have some serious dysfunction. As long as "black leaders" and the media stir up unnecessary racial tension and excuse indefensible behavior can we expect improvement? I wonder what Bill Cosby thinks about Jena and why no one is asking him? If only the media would ignore Al "white interloper" Sharpton and start talking to real black leaders who realize that the black community needs to quit fearing whitey and start fearing the loss of yet another generation to this degenerate culture so many are falling victim to. Any culture that derides education is doomed.

Revenant said...

I don't know if the blog post is accurate or not, but the "Cowboys" connection makes more sense than white kids hanging nooses in a tree to scare black kids. Lynching has been nonexistent in those kids' lifetimes and was virtually nonexistent for a generation before that.

Invisible Man said...

Gerald,

So your saying that there are some white kids unhappy that some black kids have usurped their "tree". Then the white kids hang some nooses, and they are referring to "cowboys and indians"? I'm probably a bit younger than you and can say from experience that there's a pretty good chance that those kids have never even played "Cowboys and Indians", a game that's about as outdated as Gunsmoke, a show that 95% of people under 30 have never seen. If you think that those nooses had nothing to do with pretty commonly known fact that whites used to hang blacks from "trees" with nooses, then you probably need to join Bill O'Reilly during his next lunch at Sylvia's.

Gerald Hibbs said...

Well, invisible man, I can't say for a fact that those are the facts. It is indeed a story running around and hasn't been talked about by the media to confirm or deny. Isn't it possible that it might be true? Imagine that you are young and innocent, I certainly remember being that even in high school. I can imagine that younger and stupider me thinking that a long tradition of hanging nooses in the tree as part of the "Hang 'Em High" tradition you do before a big game with the rival Cowboys seeming like good clean fun. Is that implausible? Not to me, but then I'm silly that way.

The blogger in question has been blogging for several years. Why don't you go read his actual post -- he claims to be something of an eyewitness -- and look around the blog to see if he tells rousing stories about Klan meetings or writes multi page posts explaining why the holocaust could never have happened. Or, maybe he is a racist agitator who has been lying in wait and only set up the blog several years ago so he could come in and "debunk" the narrative of the media towards the "Jena 6." That seems much more plausible?

There is an August 29th post called, "A Short History of Cleavage" that, using the proper numerology of course, could be construed as pining for the return of Adolf and wondering why blacks weren't targeting instead of the Jews, though, so maybe I see your point.

Cedarford said...

Mortimer - 2. He wasn't stomped nearly to death. He went to a ring ceremony later that night after release from the hospital.

Mortimer - I never said the attack was okay.
But your description of it was not.


Mortimer, you fall into a lapse of logic in assuming lack of murder is proof no attempted murder happened. That or you feel it is your duty to automatically defend poor black people when they are accused of stuff.

If one of the 6 black thugs had taken a knife instead foot and fist blows in the racial attack and missed the jugular, that would be a treat and release at the emergency room. Same if a thug had taken a shot but only grazed the skull of his victim and the victim got to the ring ceremony instead of the morgue.
The attempt would be there, regardless of the condition of the victim.
So lets look at the DA's evidence:

1. Unprovoked race-based assault, 6 on one.
2. Victim punched, kicked, and stomped in the head with repeated blows, slamming the victims's head into the concrete outside the gym.
3. The 6 black thugs did not stop when it was clear the white victim was unconscious, may have said stuff about killing him according to witnesses interviewed, did not stop head stomping when other students said "stop it!!!", and finally, resisting.... had to be physically dragged off the student by teachers and security.
4. The victim was initially thought dead by teachers who called ambulance with a critical situation.
5. The arriving ambulance paras found victim motionless, unresponsive to any stimulae, evidence of concussion in the eyes, and importantly, bleeding out both ears - a common sign of severe brain trauma. The paramedics then the treating physicians with experience in brain injuries initially thought that the boy Justin was in critical condition and was logged in as such and 14,000 dollars worth of advanced tests and neurology consults were called in. (which the victim's family has to pay off unless they can sue if Jesse gives the 6 scholarships)

The most serious symptom, bleeding from both ears, was from the blacks stomping his head right at his ears, or an ear drum smashing into concrete...

6. In murders, law enforcement is well aware that 15% of all murders are committed solely by repeated punches and kicks. Stomping is the most destructive, as a stomp has 7-9 times the power of a full punch - and the power is the same barefoot, in sneakers, with shoes.

7. Doctors described the attack as one that could have easily killed another person with one more blow, or with one of the two dozen blows administered delivered an inch higher. Or killed someone with the absolute same blows if a blood vessel blew or the victim experienced brain swelling. The medical opinion was he was lucky to be alive, and relatively uninjured given the power and multitude of the blows from the 6 black football players.

8. Oh, and none of the attackers or witnesses mentioned the noose incident as a motive. That was remembered a week later by a black activist church and deployed to make the Jena 6 look like victims of "injustice". (As a white, I protest that Scott Peterson was convicted of bagging 2 whites while OJ was let loose by a jury. Justice would mean poor victimized Scott should have gone free, by black racist and Lefty logic).

The DA has a finite range of charges he could make. The US Attorney doing oversight of the major problems in Jena said that attempted murder charges were well within the "bell curve" of charges and justified by the evidence , though he, the US Attorney might have gone with aggravated battery and left a hate crime charge against the 6 blacks an open issue for further investigation.
He didn't say, but informally, everyone thinks he charged attempted murder to get 4 dangerous members of the Jena 6 with repeat crimes the Juvie system failed to end - into the adult justice system that CAN deal with violent felons..

Now apparantly the Governor has decided to put her special "Blanco decision-making abilities" to work again. The Savior of Katrina said the little darling that orchestrated the attack and was the main attacker while on probation for two violent felonies must be tried as a juvenile, again. (No doubt her phone has been busy with Democrat bigshots who are Jena 6 fans)

More to follow. Obviously the town would like to learn if two of the Jena 6 suspected of burning down most the High School 4 days prior to the 6 on 1 attack will be indicted, and trigger a new round of 10,000 marchers coming to Jena...

Revenant said...

So your saying that there are some white kids unhappy that some black kids have usurped their "tree". Then the white kids hang some nooses, and they are referring to "cowboys and indians"?

Sheesh -- read the linked story before you spout off.

They weren't playing "Cowboys and Indians". They were facing a team named "the Cowboys" in football, and the nooses were just one of many western-themed expressions of school spirit leading up to that. Furthermore -- again, according to this story -- the tree wasn't a "white tree", and there wasn't anger at black kids "usurping" it.

there's a pretty good chance that those kids have never even played "Cowboys and Indians", a game that's about as outdated as Gunsmoke, a show that 95% of people under 30 have never seen.

Lynching is even more outdated than "Gunsmoke" is, first of all, so if you're going to discount things the kids don't have personal experience with you have to discount the "threat of lynching" theory too.

Secondly, little kids still pretend to be Cowboys and Indians today. Go in any toy store and they've got the toy six-shooters, cowboy hats, and bows and arrows right there. Somebody's buying them, and I don't think it is 40-year-olds looking to relive their youth.

Gerald Hibbs said...

Heavens to Betsy! I have just had an epiphany. All these years I took the "bodies" hanging from trees during the Halloween season as being about decorating your house with something ghoulish during a holiday about ghosts and goblins. But, ghosts can't hang! They are -- in fact! -- incorporeal with no bodies! In reality Halloween in nothing more than a remnant of Klan tradition -- see where the "ghosts" come from?! -- and the rest of America uses it to dress their children in modified Klan regalia as well as put up public signs that black people better know their place. How foolish I have been! How come in my weekly "Whites Only" meetings no one ever clued me in? I'm going to have a talk with Dick Cheney about this, I tell you what.

Verso said...

Cederford said: If one of the 6 black thugs had taken a knife...in the racial attack and missed the jugular, that would be a treat and release at the emergency room. Same if a thug had taken a shot but only grazed the skull of his victim ....

My, goodness! Your argument is so much more compelling when you switch up the facts to make fists into knives and guns.

Let me try:

If one of the 6 degenerate scum had slammed into our precious white boy with a bus and dragged him 50 feet through a gravel pit, but his heavy leather clothing and the tender mercies of the baby Jesus protected him from significant harm, nothing would stop him from attending Bible lessons and helping the elderly later the same day.

Did I do good?

If one of the monsters in black skin had transformed himself into Godzilla and breathed a cloud of flame onto the poor white boy, but the white boy's asbestos underwear and the blessings of liberty prevented severe burns, he could be treated by a child with a toy medical kit and play in the Big Game that same night.

Wingnuttery is fun! :D

Verso said...

But honestly, I can't believe there is a person upthread who used the "Western-themed" motif argument.

I mean, wow.

I guess you're part of the base for a reason.

I guess you still follow Bush in 2007 for a reason.

Lack. of. cognitive. function.

igbalonigbanlo said...

Interesting use of bell curve there.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mortimer, you fall into a lapse of logic in assuming lack of murder is proof no attempted murder happened.

I don't know what you're talking about. Whoever it was simply made up that one of the guys was a nerd and used the phrase "stomped nearly to death". The kid was not stomped nearly to death, as he was released from the hospital that day and went to a ceremony.

Whether the charges are okay is something else that I did not comment on. And I have no idea if any of these kids are poor.

Gerald Hibbs said...

Well, Verso, I tracked down that story about the nooses and it looks like it was originally posted in a Topix forum and then picked up by an assortment of blogs. I also picked up hints of a separate source (someone named Paul) telling the same story but it is late and I'm too tired to chased it down. It looks like the blog revenant linked to looked deeper at the post and tracked down the author so as to credit it to a named source: Stacey M. Chapman. Further I came across a MSM story that has more information that casts a different light on other events:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070922/ap_on_re_us/a_place_called_jena

"_The so-called "white tree" at Jena High, often reported to be the domain of only white students, was nothing of the sort, according to teachers and school administrators; students of all races, they say, congregated under it at one time or another.

_Two nooses — not three — were found dangling from the tree. (Gerald notes: This fact is important because the story grew that there were THREE nooses to stand for K K K.) Beyond being offensive to blacks, the nooses were cut down because black and white students "were playing with them, pulling on them, jump-swinging from them, and putting their heads through them," according to a black teacher who witnessed the scene.

_There was no connection between the September noose incident and December attack, according to Donald Washington, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department in western Louisiana, who investigated claims that these events might be race-related hate crimes.

_The three youths accused of hanging the nooses were not suspended for just three days — they were isolated at an alternative school for about a month, and then given an in-school suspension for two weeks.

_The six-member jury that convicted Bell was, indeed, all white. However, only one in 10 people in LaSalle Parish is African American, and though black residents were selected randomly by computer and summoned for jury selection, none showed up.

Mayhap I'm cherry picking the sources to note the story going around that the nooses were more school spirit than lynch threats. However I can't imagine that if they WEREN'T school spirit related that, ". . .the nooses were cut down because black and white students "were playing with them, pulling on them, jump-swinging from them, and putting their heads through them," according to a black teacher who witnessed the scene."

If were an obvious lynch threat do you think the black kids would be swinging on them and sticking their heads through them? Now THAT would be, I mean, wow.

Gerald Hibbs said...

Sorry, here is an untruncated version of the url:

http://tinyurl.com/3afu5v

Daryl said...

The kid was not stomped nearly to death, as he was released from the hospital that day

It doesn't take much to kill someone when you're stomping full-force on his head. The time the student spent in the hospital doesn't tell us how many stomps he was away from permanent brain damage or death.

Daryl said...

The Jena prosecutor ably defends his choices.

That's what prosecutors are good at: demonizing one person.

When you learn how to demonize more than one person, you are ready to become a defense attorney.

igbalonigbanlo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortimer Brezny said...

The time the student spent in the hospital doesn't tell us how many stomps he was away from permanent brain damage or death.

Actually, it does. He was released because he was just fine. He has minor bruises. No permanent brain damage or anything of the sort. By your logic, I have been "nearly stomped to death" because I am x stomps away from death, even though no one has stomped on my head. My objection is to the hyperbole.

ricpic said...

Thugs are victims? The world turned upside down. Thugs are only victims when cowardice rules. Where are the heralds of courage? Thugs are thugs and a spade is a spade!

Pogo said...

"He was released because he was just fine."

Maybe.
Traumatic brain injury from repeated blows to the head eventually results in severe cerebral injury. Muhammed Ali is an example, but he got hit over decades. My father-in-law fell down some stairs and struck his head once, knocking him out. He was in the hospital for 6 months and now lives in a nursing home. Some people released from hosptials with head injuries return hours later and die due to hemorrhage and edema. Others don't discover their disabilities in memory or language from such beatings for years, as the nerves slowly die off.

The brain has no more strength than a bowl of jello. Shake it around enough and the neural connections are severed (think 'Shaken baby syndrome').

It's a particularly vicious act. Why someone would defend the mobbing and kicking of a kid who did absolutely nothing to deserve it is beyond me.

Were they trying to kill him?
Yes, I believe so. If you think the charge was merely assault, then charge them with that. But charge them. The Scottsboro Boys they ain't.

Cedarford said...

Looks like Mortimer is being willfully stupid.

When someone tries to kill you, you and law enforcement have a pretty good idea of what is hyperbole and what is not. Witnesses provide context, medical people testimony. "They had to be physically dragged off their gang stomping. They went for his head when he was down and unconscious." "The attack could easily have killed another person, in the judgement of the ED and consulting neurologist called in."

igbalonigbanlo said...
Interesting use of bell curve there


That was the comment of the US Attorney Washington, in talking with the media about how charging attempted murder with in the range of prosecutorial discretion. Washington said he respected that, though if he had been the DA, he would have selected 1st Degree Aggravated Assault - also a major felony. Though in the juvie system, the thugs catch huge breaks.

titus22 said...

Good morning fellow conservatives and republicans.

How was everyone's night?

titus22 said...

This is Louisiana-they don't have hate crimes there.

It's the south. Hate is a requirement.

Pogo said...

Hey Beth, if you're there, did you know you're a hater?

Just ask Titus.
He knows you're racist and he ain't never met ya. Just being in the South makes you go all Dixie-NASCAR-cross-burnin' crazy.

The Mechanical Eye said...

Wow.

Just... wow.

What kind of universe must someone inhabit to think that hanging nooses on trees after a schoolboard discussion about a "whites only" tree is some kind of reference to cowboys and Indians, and consider it "good clean fun?"

What happened in Jena didn't merit a random kid getting assaulted, but there's a lot of willful nonsense floating around. Self-deception on such a profound level is not good for the soul, folks.

DU

paul a'barge said...

Thank you, Reed.

Thank you for your intelligent writings on this, but most of all thank you for doing your job in enforcing the law.

Prisons are full of bad people for good reason ... we don't want such people walking about, free to attack us. Mychal Bell is this kind of monster, and frankly I hope the State of Louisiana stacks the Mychal Bells in prison like cord wood, until they get the message.

There is no place for these punks in our society.

John Stodder said...

I think we can agree on this: The scenario presented to the American public by civil rights leaders and some of the media omitted a good deal of information that would mitigate against the impression with which they wanted to leave us, while emphasizing other information that allowed certain inferences to be drawn that are now, in light of the facts, questionable.

-- The tree. It is now pretty clear that black students sat near the "white tree" regularly. Thus, no "white tree."

-- The nooses. Their meaning is ambiguous. The dismissal by some on this thread of the "cowboys and Indians" element is a willful misreading. The point's been made a few times that the following week's football opponent was a team called "The Cowboys." One must allow that this fact might be significant in the subsequent decisions to reduce the penalties against the students.

(As an aside, I'm the person on this thread who went to high school with former Sen. George Allen, Jr., who witnessed his involvement in what, to me, was an unambiguous racist prank related to an upcoming basketball game. With that knowledge, I can say pretty confidently that Allen's subsequent affection for nooses and other Reconstruction mementos was a sign that he is racist. I'm not someone who rationalizes this kind of behavior when it happens.)

-- The connection between the nooses and the assault. A lot of the coverage has implied the 6 on 1 assault was some kind of fight that grew out of the alleged hate crime of the nooses. Implied without saying so, and leaving the implication that the assault victim was a tree-and-noose participant. He was not.

As for whether one can legitimately be called an "attempted murder victim" but only stay a few hours in the ER -- of course you can. The reference to his participation in a ring ceremony is of no meaning. In an attempted murder case, the intent and means of the attack are the key, not how successful it was. No one can argue whether you can kill someone by kicking them in the head. Clearly you can, especially if the victim cannot defend himself.

The civil rights leaders and at least one mainstream news story (LA Times) described the sucker-punch and kicking incident as "a schoolyard fight," but clearly the facts are, this was no fight. It was an unprovoked, unseen attack, a cowardly attack designed to deprive the victim of the ability to defend himself.

There are lots of other suggestive details not mentioned by the DA, including the business about the "stolen" gun and the charges following the fight at the party. From the facts we know, these appear to be potential examples of racial disparity that should be investigated.

But, as with the nooses, they are not relevant to the charges filed against the six attackers who sucker-punched the victim, rendered him unconscious and then kicked him in the head repeatedly until someone else stopped them. Regardless of race or the identity of the victim or the perpetrators, and regardless of how severe the resulting injuries, and regardless of any other contextual events involving the town or the school, I think most people would want those attackers charged with a serious offense, all the way up to attempted homicide.

Therefore, it not "wingnuttery" to say the Jena 6 should be nobody's idea of martyrs.

Mortimer Brezny said...

He was in the hospital for 6 months

Yes, not a few hours.

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortimer Brezny said...

I said to my husband, "today's kids are so ignorant of history, how could any of them, black or white, understand the negative symbolism related to it

That is perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever read. Racial insults in public schools are legion and historically apt. Not to mention this is a small Southern town. It wasn't that long ago.

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zzRon said...

Thanks all for very informative and lawyerly discussion. Mark me down for attempted murder. A six on one stomping? They all had to be pulled off him - even after the stomp-ee was out cold? And if indeed they did not want to actually kill their victum, these "kids" are too sadistic and emotionally unstable to ever be out on the streets again. And that's all I have to say about Jena.