September 22, 2007

"What The Hell Happened in Jena? I haven't commented because, frankly, I am still unsure of all the details of the case..."

Writes Andrew Sullivan, expressing my thoughts exactly. I keep reading the news stories and intending to blog, but each time I end up searching in vain for the facts I need to understand it enough to begin to write about it. The reporting on this story is atrocious. It's all updates with no background. So, I'm wondering not only what happened in Jena, but why is the press reporting it this way?

Sullivan links to Megan McArdle's summary of the Wikipedia article on the subject, which she understands is "pretty authoritative." It's pathetic that we're reduced to going to Wikipedia because the mainstream news of a current event is too skimpy.


From Inwood said...

Where are all the Mandelas in Jena? Well, Mandela’s dead because Jesse & Al killed all the Mandelas. [The Gresham’s Law of Race Relations.]

EnigmatiCore said...

When I brought up Jena a day or two ago in your comments, that was one of the two things pissing me off. Enough is going on down there that there should be a lot more coverage, and I don't understand why there is not.

At least a few facts were in the paper here not too long ago. There have been fights and such going back and forth, and some people are claiming that black kids are getting stiffer penalties than white kids. But the part that really stuck in my craw is near the start of the whole thing. A black kid moved into town. There apparently is a shade tree that (white) kids hang out under. The new student asked the principal if he could sit under the tree, and the principal said he could sit wherever he wanted.

The next day, nooses were hung from the tree.

That's bad enough, and hard for me to imagine in this day and age. The students responsible were expelled.

But then the school board overruled the expulsion, stating it was an excessive punishment for a youthful prank. A youthful prank!

What kind of warped society has white kids that throw nooses over tree limbs to intimidate a black kid? Apparently, the kind of society that thinks such things are minor, youthful pranks.

hdhouse said... should live in the south. when i was between jobs i fell back on a teaching certificate in a town that didn't desegrate its schools until the middle 70s (strom thurmond's home town area) and it was at large voting for the city counsel until 1980 when the justice department showed up.

I sat a lunch one day with one of the guidance counselors, a real cracker, and talked about a couple of students (black) who had promise and i wanted them to go to a special program for kids with aptitude...he, instead, asked me to attend a klan information session. I am not kidding. I thought he was but he wasn't.

I can see absolutely how this came about...and I say this with the full appreciation that 99% of the southern whites are far more civil and accomodating and mainstreaming and generally racially blind than I find up here in the north where the attitudes seem to be in cement...on both sides...far more than i can understand...

But in the south there are pockets that are throwbacks. For that alone it would make excellent "copy".

reader_iam said...

Newsweek's backgrounder. Don't know what specific details you're seeking, but maybe this'll help.

Moose said...

These things are never as simple as we'd like them. Clearly there are racial tensions in Jena, but as with the Duke controversy, it appears there is mor than meets the eye:

While what the white students did, or allegedly did was reprehnsible, what the black students did was too. It was not a reaction to a civil rights violation. Please note that little of the relevant information noted in the Kansas Star columnists piece has made it into any of the other reports.

Sloanasaurus said...

We have a long way to go in getting along. When I first got to the UW law school, I expected it to be very integrated... I assumed law school would be a place where there was a lot of integrating of the races.

Law school turned out to be the most racially divided institution I have ever been in. African Americans had their own groups and mostly hung out with each other. They even all gathered in the TV area and cheered when the OJ Simpson verdict was announced.

As an undergrad at the UW, I never saw such a thing. I have always wondered why this is?

ritamac said...

Warning - this will be long. But you asked. . .

It's your lucky day! Here's a bona fide southerner - a Louisianian to boot - and I'm not a crazed redneck, but a legal aid attorney. One of my ACLU friends went to Jena the other day with his Unitarian Church fellowship; when he began talking about the case, I became very interested and educated myself about the whole situation (to whatever degree that one can; some facts are in dispute, to say the least).

At the beginning of last school year, in fall 2006, a black kid (not new to the school) asked, reportedly in a joking manner, if he and his friends could sit under a large oak tree that was a gathering place for white kids. The assistant principal told him that he could sit wherever he wanted. The black kids hung out under the tree. The day after the black kids gathered under the tree, someone hung two homemade nooses from the tree.

The kids who hung the nooses were suspended and recommended for expulsion by the principal. The expulsion recommendation was rejected by a school board disciplinary committee; the kids were given three day suspension out of school, and a period of in-school suspension and Saturday detentions. Black parents showed up at subsequent school board meetings to argue for greater punishment, but were basically ignored.

There were some other incidents on the school campus in September, but it seemed that things had died down; football season was in full swing. Mychal Bell, the one of the Jena 6 that is still in jail, was a star player on the team. On November 30, 2006, a massive arson fire occurred at the school, destroying a main wing of the campus. That was on a Thursday. On Friday night, December 1, some black kids - including some of the Jena Six - went to, or raided, depending on various reports - a private party. A fight broke out, and a white kid was arrested. The next day there was a confrontation between some black kids (including one of the Jena 6) and white kids. One white kid claimed that the black kids attacked him and stole a gun from him. The black kids claim that the white kid pulled a gun on them, and they took it from him in self-defense. The black kids were arrested for robbery.

The next day came the attack that led to the charges against the Jena 6. White kid Justin Barker was attacked at school and beat up. He went to the emergency room and was treated and released. He showed up at a school function later that evening. Pictures from the hospital bed show him pretty beat up, but he only spent about three hours at the emergency room.

The Jena 6 were arrested. They were originally charged with aggravated battery, but by the time of the arraignment, the DA upped the charges to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, and attempted second-degree murder (murder without specific intent). That paved the way for Mychal Bell's prosecution to be transferred out of juvenile court, and for him to be tried as an adult. Very high bonds were set - up to $130,000 for some.

Through the spring, local black residents began protesting what is felt to be excessive charges and selective prosecution.

In June 2007, Mychal Bell went to trial. Charges had been reduced from the attempted murder, but he was still tried as an adult. In Louisiana, a kid over 16 can be tried as an adult for a few enumerated offenses, rape and murder in particular. The DA argued that that since the original charge supported the prosecution as an adult, the reduction in charges was of no consequence. The judge agreed. It was a 6 person jury. No blacks were in the jury pool. Reportedly, no blacks showed up in response to jury summons. Bell had a public defender (reportedly, a black man). He was convicted of the battery and conspiracy charges.

The ACLU and NAACP had begun organizing a protest around all of the events and around Bell's prosecution earlier in the spring. After his conviction, some new attorneys, acting pro bono, signed on and filed motions to dismiss the charges. Some of the charges were dropped, but one of the battery charges was maintained, and Bell was to have been sentenced on it on September 20 - hence, the choice of September 20 as the rally date.

It has been revealed that Bell was already on juvenile probation when he was involved in the attack on the white kid. He had been earlier adjudicated a delinquent on property damage and battery charges. (I saw it alleged that he was treated preferentially because of his prowess as a football player).

On September 14, the circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Bell should not have been tried as an adult, and reversed the conviction. Bell still, however, was being held in jail, and apparently was denied post-conviction bond.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc. became involved. Various bloggers sent out the word, some black radio personality picked up on it, and the rally was planned.

The rally was extraordinarily peaceable.

My opinion? The DA wants to be tough on crime. He wanted to squelch the unrest. He overreached by charging the kids with attempted murder. He probably is honestly baffled by the outcry. Maybe he's racist, maybe not. Maybe he just is playing to the 85% white population that is his electorate. He feels he must dig in his heels and stick to his guns. He showed a lot of cluelessness when, the day before the rally, he made a public appearance flanked by the victim and about 20 all-white faces, to assert that he was standing up for the victim's rights.

The noose incident is being flagged as indicative of the selective prosecution; some are calling for the arrest of the kids that hung the noose on "hate crime" charges. The U. S. Attorney (a black man) had the matter investigated, and determined that the noose hanging and the other fights and such were not so connected as to make the noose hanging a crime in itself. I tend to agree.

However, it seems that some other white kids have not been charged with as serious crimes as they could have been. And the school board screwed up big time in dismissing the noose incident as a prank, and then refusing to entertain the complaints of the black parents.

A new bond hearing was ordered for Bell. It was held yesterday, after the defense failed in attempts to get the trial judge recused. (there is no separate juvenile court, there will be the same judge exercising juvenile jurisdiction hearing the case against Bell under the juvenile law). Now that the case is a juvenile matter, the proceedings are closed and confidential, but it has widely been reported that bond again was denied pending the new trial.

The "Free Bell" rallying cry is quite misplaced, in my opinion. The prior juvenile adjudications against him justify his remaining incarcerated - I'm not sure where they detain juveniles in Jena; he's currently in adult jail, which is probably the only facility there is. Still, I believe the kids were being made scapegoats for all the racial tension. And the folks in Jena and thereabouts truly don't believe they are racist (except for those that are); they just cannot understand how all of this got the attention it has.

The local newspaper has a very complete timeline. It's very self-serving in reports back in 2006, in that it blames "the media" and "outsiders" with making it a racial issue. Otherwise, though, it appears to be the most thorough set of facts reported anywhere. It is at

I'm Full of Soup said...


Referenced the Jason Whitlock column. I recommend it too- Whitlock, a black columnist, shares pertinent facts that I had not seen in any other "so-called news accounts". He rips the black community for letting Mychal Bell commit several assaults and the white community for overlooking Bell's sins because he was star player.

I don't think this story is all the media believes it is cracked up to be (perhaps that is why they are doing such shoddy reporting).

EnigmatiCore said...

"you should live in the south"

I do and have for most of my adult life.

I haven't had anyone invite me to any Klan meetings (I am sure that was one hell of an awkward conversation), but other than that, I'd say that my observations match yours about the way the south is, and for that matter the way the north is.

Anonymous said...

I've read that Bell was already on probation for an earlier assault before the six-man beat-down of the white kid. Is this true or just rumor??

rcocean said...


Thanks for the link. The bottom line is that noose incident occurred months before the attack, and had no direct relationship to it.

Basically, six blacks students attacked one white student (who had nothing to do with the nooses) knocked him unconscious and then stomped and kicked him. He had blurred vision for 2 weeks after the assault.

The ring leader of the Jena 6 committed the attack while on probation for previous criminal assault.

Attempted Murder seems a little too much, but the DA wanted to send a message.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of white elites giving blacks a pass for rioting or committing violence because the blacks felt they were being "Oppressed" or they're upset about some "Rodney King" like incident.

Thorley Winston said...

But then the school board overruled the expulsion, stating it was an excessive punishment for a youthful prank. A youthful prank!

Apparently, there was an issue as to whether it was actually directed at any of the black students in the school. One of the stories I’ve read said that there was a game coming up with a school whose mascots were the Cowboys and the theme was “hang ‘em high” and that the nooses were been part of the pranks that the schools were playing on each other (e.g. dressing in each other’s costumes, holding a mock funeral, etc.) as part of the rivalry. The tree which is being referred to as the “White Tree” was apparently the traditional focus of a number of pranks and pep rallies by the students at the school and this may have been part of it.

KCFleming said...

I'm uncertain why the MSM has done only modest reporting on it. (Not none; CNN is providing fairly regular updates, and Newsweek has articles on it). What has not happened is there has not been a Rodney King-OJ-Katrina approach with non-stop media sensationalizing. Why not? I thought perhaps the facts simply did not support such an event, but that hasn't mattered in the past. I am stumped.

My own interest has remained subdued for other reasons. White men are by definition now oppressors, so having any other opinion than that white people are evil is condemned. Any comment contrary to this prescription is also, by definition, racist. So why bother saying anything at all?

Like 100% of Soviets voted for Brezhnev and 100% of Cubans vote for Castro, when I am asked, I say that I vote for jailing every white person involved in this event.

But generally I do what folks in the sixties did when over-the-top leftists and demonstrators and race-baiters made endless demands: I'll stay quiet, and vote for Nixon.

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
Booker T. Washington
US educator (1856 - 1915)

Randy said...

(Psst! Ann: It's McArdle not McCardle.)

Trooper York said...

What do you mean you have my children at the police station? Why are my kids at the police station?
O. J. Simpson

Anonymous said...

WaPo headline Friday:

Thousands Protest Blacks' Treatment

Six Students Who Were Prosecuted in Louisiana Town Garner Nationwide Support

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 21, 2007; Page A01

Once the race mongers show up, the MSM will stick to the narrative. You know that narrative. It's the same one they have been pushing for decades: Blacks are victims; contrary facts are irrelevant and contrary opinions are racist. The Duke fiasco was just a temporary inconvenience for the likes of Jackson, Sharpton and their ardent admirers. A couple of key article quotes:

"But many participants said they also wanted to draw attention to what they believe is unequal treatment black people receive from the criminal justice system everywhere."

"As demonstrators poured into town in buses, in cars and on foot, they spoke of nostalgia for the huge civil rights marches of a generation ago and a hope that the response to the Jena demonstrations might rekindle the movement."

Victimhood is alive and well and temporarily hanging out in Jena, LA.

Trooper York said...

Algonquin J. CalhounThere's only two reasons a man will do something - money and glory.
George 'Kingfish' Stevens: Hmmmm... Glory.
Algonquin J. Calhoun: Yeah. Why did George Washington cross the Delaware? Glory! Why did Napoleon go to Waterloo? Glory! And why did I, when I was 12 years old, ride the rapids of the Hudson River on a log when I coulda' been killed?
George 'Kingfish' Stevens: Glory?
Algonquin J. Calhoun: Naw... just a fool kid!

(Amos ‘n Andy Show 1951)

Thorley Winston said...

"As demonstrators poured into town in buses, in cars and on foot, they spoke of nostalgia for the huge civil rights marches of a generation ago and a hope that the response to the Jena demonstrations might rekindle the movement."

I wonder if it might actually have the opposite effect. Not only are there fewer and fewer people alive who view that era with nostalgia, there seem to be more and more cases where the “civil rights’ movement is about agitating for racial preferences and setasides or coming out in support of criminal thugs because they happen to have the same skin color as the protesters. Not only will they fail to get younger blacks on board (because they won’t see the “civil rights” movement as being relevant to their lives) they lose support amongst whites and Asians who see the “civil rights” movement exposed as being merely the mirror image of the racial discrimination they once claimed to have fought against.

T.K. Tortch said...

Per hdhouse's comments:

Strom Thurmond's home town was Edgefield, S.C. in Edgefield County:

I'm not sure, but I think the County's majority White these days; the western part of the county abuts Augusta, Georgia and people have started living across the Savannah River in Edgefield and Aiken Counties, so there's been a fairly recent influx. Population is still fairly low, probably around 25,000. Town of Edgefield is something over 3000, I think.

County Council is 2/5 Black; I think the Clerk of Courts is Black, and Sheriff Dobey is Black.

In the past the Edgefield Chief of Police has been Black, now I think he's White.

Sheriff Dobey is widely popular. Smaller rural communities prize competent law enforcement officials, and Dobey has proved himself very professional and effective. Last election he faced a couple of white challengers & beat them no problem.

The County has a small permanent and migratory Hispanic population mostly due to the high level of Peach production in the County.

It's a fascinating area of the State (formerly known as "Edgefield District" and larger than the County is). Supposedly named by the very earliest settlers in the area who arrived to witness a inter-tribe Cherokee war that was decisively won on the Edge of a large cleared area -- thus "Edge Field".

Yes I grew up there, and in the first half of the 80's attended Strom Thurmond High School!! We were the Rebels, of course. School was probably 60% Black.

reader_iam said...

Regardless of what did or did not precede the attack and whether or how it was connected, I can't past this (which appears to be agreed upon): A guy is attacked from behind and knocked unconscious (apparently immediately), and THEN he's stomped on by six other guys. While the guy's lying there, unconscious.

The charges of attempted murder may very well be excessive; I'm not qualified to make that judgment from a legal standpoint.

But that's some serious scenario, and it's easy to imagine a far worse outcome for the victim than what apparently resulted.

Six against one, and the one's knocked unconscious at the start.

Yep, having a hard time getting past that one.

John Stodder said...

Anyone looking for equal outcomes from the criminal justice system is going to be disappointed. Because this is a racially divided town, race appears to be a factor in the miscalibration of all these charges and sentences.

But the fact is, all over the country, prosecutors have wide latitude and some use it less scrupulously than others. Hence, Nifong and the Duke case and hence, Jena.

The MSM is painting Jena as the case that refutes the conclusions from Duke case. To me, they are two sides of the same coin: Prosecutors serving themselves, not justice. In Nifong's case, he indisputably misused his authority to garner black votes. In this case, arguably, the prosecutor misused his authority to garner white votes.

What these cases all beg for is an end to rubber-stamp grand juries and for judges to become far more skeptical of prosecutors. This is one area where the pendulum has swung much too far to the right, if "right" is even the correct appellation to put on this kind of abuse of power.

Christy said...

The story has been prominently covered here in Baltimore by both TV and the newspaper. Two traditionally black universities held rallies Thursday.

Like others, I cannot get past the beating of one kid by 6 others. I certainly understand the impulse to hurt the kid for mouthing off, but that the 6 felt free to pile on suggests a deeper problem.

Anonymous said...

I'll agree that the mainstream media coverage has been spotty at best, but at least the AP (an outfit I'm personally acquainted with) has taken a stab at going beneath the surface:

ritamac said...

In this case, arguably, the prosecutor misused his authority to garner white votes.

Thank you, John Stodder, for making this point.

And it's not just the fact that the DA charged attempted murder. It's that he did so in order to take the case out of juvenile jurisdiction. Even after his office reduced charges, they insisted on the right to try Bell as an adult - that is the issue that has won Bell a new trial. And it is that issue that, to me, is at the heart of the DA's overreaching in his exercise of his prosecutorial discretion.

Adam Eli Clem said...


What's more pathetic than relying on Wikipedia?

brad said...

Ann, this is actually more pathetic than when you confused me with bradrocket from Sadly, No!
You were a guest columnist for the NYTimes, and you depend in thirdhand references to wikipedia to inform yourself?
I'm just..... jesus. Please don't ever call yourself informed or intelligent ever again. You aren't.

Eli Blake said...

I posted on this last June before all hell broke loose here. In the post I linked to the original essay by a pastor from Jena where he described the situation, as well as his response when he felt he had been misquoted. It actually ends on a hopeful note, obviously not the course this has taken since then.

Dang, I wrote a better article on this than Wikipedia, and probably before they wrote theirs, too.

Ann Althouse said...

Clem: That blogger is an idiot. You can see from the original post that I've been reading mainstream reporting and finding it insufficient.

Brad: You, for the reason above stated, are an idiot. Don't come around here and insult me when, in fact, you have not competently read what I wrote. Now, either apologize -- abjectly! -- or go away and never come back as it will be a confession of bad faith.

Joe said...

I think the DA overcharged, but after reading several in depth accounts, it appears that violence between students was escalating and it was only a matter of time before someone was killed.

BTW, Whitlock's article is a must read. Sorry, don't have a link.

The bottom line for me is the Jena 6 were acting like thugs and deserve to be disciplined--excusing their behavior will do no favors to them. I'm equally sure several white students deserve some punishement as well.

I'm Full of Soup said...

have to defend Ann. I was on a busines trip from Monday thru Thursday (in Las Vegas no lie)and so did not have time to consume much news. The Jena case came to my attention on Friday and I had the darndest time trying to assemble the timeline, etc to the case because Ann is right- the reporting sucked. To her critics, that is all Ann said by posting this- so your beef is with the MSM sheep who editorialize intheir news articles. This story too will end with a whimper like the Duke case.

Also it is so funny when Anne erupts and banishes someone from her own little vortex on the internets.

Revenant said...

The news reports about this are really doing a good job of burying the fact that at least one of the black athletes who attacked the white kid had multiple prior convictions for assault.

"Free the Jena 6"? What for? They SHOULD be in prison. "Reduce the charges against the Jena 6", on the other hand, seems like it would be a worthwhile slogan to get behind.

davidc. said...

A few points:

Racism in the South is nothing like in the north. Most of the people down here could care less about the color of one's skin. They readily accept most everyone except those from the north.

I recently conducted a very un'scientific survey of several black friends. If they were age 50 they had a one time experienced racial tension. If they were 30, they had never had a problem with race. On the other hand, many whites have had experiences with reverse discrimination at places like Circuit City were blacks were given preference.

I live close to Jena. The country there is very peaceful and race is not an issue. There is much inter-racial dating and mixing.

As to the nooses, I have found that they were hung for a game and painted in the school colors. The school immediately saw a problem and they were down by 7:15 that morning and virtually no students were aware of them. As to their significance, most whites that are teens in this area are unaware of the lynching in the 1930's. I have lived in the South all my life and would not associate a noose with the 30's lynchings. Of course I view the Confederate Flag as a banner of lost freedom and have convienced my black friends of the same, particularly with the loss we have experienced over the last years.

It seems a black church picked up the noose thing and decided to make an issue of it. This was likely for local political reasons. This of course stirred up several black thugs who started trouble in the area resulting in the severe beating of the white student by six blacks 3 months after the noose incident.

This points up several things in our society. Blacks seem to not be able to progress and desire to relish in past sins. Their leadership seems to desire to use this as an excuse for poor behavior despite a lack of racism in our modern society. Regardless of what the white students may have done, nothing can excuse that beating. I might add that several of the thugs had criminal records. Maybe if Jackson and group would use their power to curb black violence at all levels and place emphasis on improving preformance in school and abstence from drugs, the people they are concerned with would be able to progress and lead productive lives.

Swifty Quick said...

I agree that there has been precious little in the way of facts presented anywhere. I read the wiki yesterday as a matter of fact, trying to learn about it.

And I for one am not satisfied that the whole thing began when a black kid innocuously wanted to sit under a particular tree, and of course got formal permission to do so when he asked school officials if it was okay.

First of all, anyone with two or more brain cells to rub together would know that you don't need to get formal school permission to sit under a tree. That's just pro forma stuff. It's almost as if it was some sort of ruse.

Everybody agrees that the black kids had their own places to hang out, and the white kids had their own places to hang out, and one of the places the white kids hung out was under that particular tree. Get to the bottom of why the black kid was angling and setting the stage to sit under the tree where the white kids hung out and you'll be closer to the source of the problem. It may even go back more steps than that, because he may have been responding to some other incident. In any event it has to be traced back further to get an real understanding of it.

I'm not taking sides. I'm just saying it's a little deeper than the self-serving pap available.

I'm Full of Soup said...

I think I should have made my post clearer that I find it hilarious when Ann in effect decress:

"I, Ann Althouse, banish you to the cold, barren, vortex-free quadrants of the internets unless you abjectly apologize for being an idiot".

Ann Althouse said...

One of the main things I want to read is an accurate description of the beating. 6 guys attack one man and continue kicking him in the head after he's unconscious? I want the details fairly presented.

Unknown said...

Well, we know it wasn't Mandela.

He's dead.

brad said...

It's nice to know I can still wind you up, Ann.
First off, Clem was linking to his own post.
Second, you're the one who wrote a post implying all your exposure to what I actually agree is spotty MSM coverage of the case didn't lead you to investigate it further until Sully linked to Megan Should Be Fired McArdle's restatement of a contentious wiki entry's content. You're the one who implied that said summary taught you something about the case, though you also now call for more info. It's called google, Ann. It's also called getting in touch with, I dunno, people you know in the media who might know more about it. Or you could go to Orcinus or the SLPC, but that'd require you to know what they are.
So that's a no to the apology demand.

brad said...

Oof. SPLC, obviously. My bad.

Adam Eli Clem said...

Ann, as a gesture of good faith, I'd like to offer you my idea for your next vlog challenge.

Megan demands an abject apology for your misspelling of her surname.

M. Simon said...

Jason Whitlock has an interesting view along with facts.

A little lite black humor:

The right of black men to beat white men unconscious when aggrieved is an inalienable right.

It needs to be protected.

The courts and Congress will do nothing. It is up to the people to force their hand.

Unknown said...

Maybe we should just leave Jena's problems to Jena. Or does Andrew know just fricking everything?

The Grey Man said...

The MSM has left out many details. See more here:

Robert Holmgren said...

Nooses had nothing to do with the Jena Six. The black US Attorney investigated and found no linkage. CNN likes the noose story because it confuses the easily fooled.

Cedarford said...

Davidc - I find it interesting that you mention the nooses were painted in school colors and were apparantly intended on "supporting" a football theme of "Hang the Cowboys" - a rival town's team coming in for a visiting game.
And apparantly no protests until early September when two black on white racial fights led a black religious-community activist group to claim it was "those nooses". Which led to a full police and FBI "hate crime" investigation which found there was none.
Althouse is right. The reporting, like in the Duke case, has been very poor.

And expanding, it is the media again trying to force a story into it's patented "racial suffering of blacks and their justified outrage" metanarrative . Again willfully ignoring the facts of the case available to any reporter they dared send with an open mind to interview people. Which none of them did, as with the Duke case.

The media and black leaders tried to argue its still the 1920s in the Deep South, whites are terrorizing "innocent blacks", and lynchings haunt the landscape.

In fact, in most American's lifetimes, it is not blacks who are the hunted. They are the hunters. In the "Color of Crime", a statistical study - A white is 12 times more likely to be murdered by a black than the reverse. A black victimized by an armed non-black robber is 38 times less likely than a white, hispanic, or Asian being held up at gunpoint by a black thug. A white woman who is raped now has a 50-50 chance her attacker was black. Black women have a one in 130 chance their rapist will be a non-black.

But media, the old black leadership, and guilty white liberals prefer instead to pretend that the present reality is one where innocent blacks cower in fear of school lynchings and KKK riding and guns, not the people misusing them, are the problem.

School officials are notorious about not publicizing their criminal stats, student on teacher threats or violence, classroom disruptions - but sociologists and educators in conferences and in papers admit that "agressive young black males" are the most daunting problem they face in "diverse schools".

But with the Jena 6, we have the press, black activists, and guilty whites desperately trying to tie the nooses and "life sentences the noose makers should have gotten" to a racial attack 3 months later that judge, jury, FBI, US Attorney, police investigators determined was not in the thoughts of the 6 black athlete attackers at all.

Another curious bit is a few white Lefties and females in the media who have never been in a fight or know how to fight claiming the stomping was of little consequence because the "attackers were wearing soft white tennis shoes" and "it's not like the victim was really hurt".

The facts are that military combat instructors say that the "stomp" has 6-7 times more power than a full punch. In hand to hand training or reality, the killing or disabling blows focus in knocking a person down and delivering the final blow to the head, face, or throat. Preferable with a weapon, if none, then a foot, then an elbow, then a knee, and only if the other methods cant be used - a fist or open hand.

And those blows make little difference in the power applied if delivered barefoot, with "soft shoes", or with hobnailed storm trooper boots.

The 6 black athletes had at least 4 members with criminal records for violent crimes. One was convicted of a past arson. One, whose records are sealed, is purportedly convicted of sexual assault on a 12-year old girl when he was younger. But because they were "great athletes" that made for a winning football team, black and white boosters, the local courts, coaches - all tried to ensure they remained in school.

Remember it wasn't just about the "lack of justice " for the "innocent 6", as black and white activists call them, the investigation as to who burned down half the high school continues...and two of the "Jena 6" are suspects. And investigations as to who was making death threats at the school and phoning the kid and the "3 noose hangers" with similar threats continue. And threats blacks made to other whites at school that if they showed up, they would die (reportedly invoving 2 of the 6 black athletes that a local minister said were allowed to conduct "a reign of terror" against schoolmates...
And one of the Jena 6 not in jail is suspect in 2 other violent assaults, and has convictions for 4 other significant crimes as a juvie.

Finally, the actions of the local DA make a lot more sense if it is true, as implied, that the only way to get a juvie on a violent rampage in the adult system better able to handle him was by overcharging the crime, then dropping charges in his racial attacks down to more sensible charges of aggravated battery, conspiracy to commit battery. The ringleader he wanted, Mychal Bell, was free at the time and school not notified by the juvenile system despite charges of two other violent assaults. And ability to more freely interrogate and prosecute the other 5 thugs in the adult system did offer the potential of ending the racial attacks and arson through intimidation. This was also only one week after one white kid could have been killed in a race-related stomping, an incident involving a struggle for a gun betwen a white kid and 2 of the Jena 6, and with half the high school burned and smoking......

I think once the details are fairly presented, the black leaders and local black activists will look like the bigoted assholes they were in the Lacrosse case. The media will again be exposed for pursuing their agenda and approved liberal narrative, not reporting on the facts. The town will be faulted for both enabling the black thugs to keep playing football as well as nailing them more harshly than whites because they had past extensive criminal history. The arson of the HS will continue to be investigated. Guilty white liberals and academics will again have their vapid "white oppressor" denunciations reposted and ridiculed - as with the Lacrosse case and dozens of others - when facts are better known.

Whiskey said...

Enigmatic --

The School Board overruled the Principal because the boys involved were the kids of prominent/connected people who donate money to School Board campaigns. Simple as that. If they had been nobodies they would have been expelled. Sadly they were not.

A local Jena Minister has a statement of facts, which run contrary to what the media has reported, here:

Excerpts from link above:

"Jena does have racial problems. Jena does have bigotry and prejudice, just like every other town in America, perhaps even worse than some. If there were no racial problems, there would have been no nooses hung from a tree. There would not be one white student beaten and six black students charged with attempted second-degree murder. The local ministers would not have hurriedly called a meeting to deal with the issue. The cameras of the world would not have focused their lenses on Jena.

The national news media has not mentioned a single time that there was an FBI investigation into the hanging of the nooses and the conduct of Reed Walters that concluded there was no criminal activity or “hate crime” involved. The report is available to the media, along with court records and sworn testimony, none of which has been reported.

There was no “fight” on December 4, 2006 at Jena High School, as the national media continues to characterize the event in question. Six students attacked a single student who was immediately knocked unconscious. According to sworn testimony, they stomped him, as he lay “lifeless” upon the ground.

Justin Barker, the white student attacked, was not the first white student targeted by these black students. Others had been informed they were going to be beaten, but stayed away from school and out of sight until they felt safe.

CNN reported that there were “obviously no witnesses to the fight.” In fact, over thirty eyewitnesses, students and teachers, were questioned immediately following the attack, all of who implicated one or more of the black students arrested in the case. In fact, some of the accused black students did not stop stomping Barker until they were pulled away from him by some of the teachers, according to testimony given in the trial of Mychal Bell.

The media continues to make the point that Justin Barker “attended a party” later that evening, insinuating that his injuries were not very severe. The Barkers, by no means a wealthy family, face medical bills already over $12,000 from the emergency room visit. Imagine what an overnight visit would have cost. Justin Barker was advised to remain hospitalized but decided he would not let the event keep him from participating in the once-in-a-lifetime, traditional Ring Ceremony at First Baptist Church in Jena, where class rings are presented to the upcoming senior class.

The “Jena Six” have repeatedly been held up as heroes by much of the race-based community and called “innocent students” by the national media. Some of these students have reputations in Jena for intimidating and sometimes beating other students. They have vandalized and destroyed both school property and community property. Some of the Jena Six have been involved in crimes not only in LaSalle Parish but also in surrounding parishes. For the most part, coaches and other adults have prevented them from being held accountable for the reign of terror they have presided over in Jena. Despite intervention by adults wanting to give them chances due their athletic potential, most of the Jena Six have extensive juvenile records. Yet their parents keep insisting that their children have never been in trouble before. These boys did not receive prejudicial treatment but received preferential treatment until things got out of hand."
Once again folks, just like Duke non-Rape case, "the narrative was correct but the facts were wrong." But hey, "Free OJ" and all that. Again. And hey, Obama is "acting White" and "not Black enough." Thanks Jessie Jackson. And Al Sharpton.

I'm Full of Soup said...


The news industry is an unregulated industry, has few barriers to entry and few consistent standards for those they hire as news readers and news / opinion reporters.

Therefore, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends consumers be skeptical of the news they choose to consume and to independently fact-check the news they consume to determine if it is fair, complete, accurate and true.

Or never consume your news without a grain of salt.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

Brad should be fired.
But then he'd have to have something to be fired from.

Professor, you have some of the most sociopathic, sick commenters to be found in ordinary blogs. It's almost worth it to come in here and see just how miserably people can behave.

Have you been the victim of "Nutpicking" that Captain Ed talks about here?  Given your commenters, it seems inevitable.

Well, it looks like the water's nice and hot, and I've got a fresh bar of soap.  After spending some time here, I think I need a shower.

Auf wiederlesen!

reader_iam said...

Althouse: You referred specifically to "kicking in the head," after the initial "knock-out" (my term, not yours). I wasn't under the impression (doesn't mean the impression's right, doesn't mean it's wrong: I mean precisely what I said) that this was part of the specific accusation. I admit I've not Googled this case as extensively as I might normally (engaged elsewhere and otherwise, and "X" number of hours in the day, & etc., and all of that). Where did you find that?


Also, we were out this evening, and then busy after returning. But I caught a fragment or two, in passing, of a cable news report on the story later this evening, in passing, while doing other things. Anyone here, Althouse or otherwise, know anything substantive and detailed about the confrontation at a "quick mart" (generically used), in which one of the participants went home, got a shotgun returned?

reader_iam said...

General appeal: Please don't confuse any interest I might have in details of various incidents as signifying a particular judgment in any particular one, much less a desire to conflate any particular set of events, etc., one way or another.

Yeah, I know I can't stop people from jumping to conclusions, but I'd prefer they not, based on mere questions.

M. Simon said...

Dearest Ann,

Here is some link love.


M. Simon said...


The kid thought he was going to be robbed. He went to his truck for his gun. It was wrestled away from him.

Bystanders thought the guy was going to be robbed.

Gerald Hibbs said...

I have to wonder how this would have worked out were it not for the racial grievance industry and preferential treatment for blacks. It is beginning to look to me that a number of young black peoples' lives are going to be significantly damaged because excuses were made for their behavior until it escalated, an entire town's life has been disrupted because of fact free agitators and a number of young white people have been victimized-blamed-beaten apparently for being white. This fire storm of chaos can be put directly at the feet of people like Al Sharpton and the liberal guilt that enables them.

I have nothing to go on but the info in these many informative comments because the MSM coverage has been so pathetic but this whole case seems to be emblematic of the racial tensions in America. Just not in the way the media and black agitators like Sharpton would like us to believe.

Thorley Winston said...

Althouse or otherwise, know anything substantive and detailed about the confrontation at a "quick mart" (generically used), in which one of the participants went home, got a shotgun returned?

From what I’ve read the guy was confronted by three guys from the party who were chasing after him and he went to his pickup and got an unloaded shotgun. There are conflicting accounts from the participants but the eyewitness consensus seemed to be that he was trying to ward them off and the three of them struggled with him until one of them took the unloaded shotgun away from him. He asked for it back and one of the three took the shotgun home with him until the police showed up on his door and charged him with the theft of a firearm and IIRC assault as well based on the eyewitness testimony.

Ray said...

"Attempted Murder seems a little too much, but the DA wanted to send a message.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of white elites giving blacks a pass for rioting or committing violence because the blacks felt they were being "Oppressed" or they're upset about some "Rodney King" like incident."
Frankly, I'm getting tired of this country allowing DA's to "send messages" with the lives of young brown men.

I'm fairly disgusted by the conservative/libertarian reaction to this, as indicated by blog posts and comments. Systematically, any lack of data or any ambiguity thereof is being used to give the benefit of the doubt to and excuse the actions of whites while simultaneously accusing and condemning blacks for allegedly, the same behavior. I predicted earlier in the week that someone would eventually reduce it down to the black's fault for asking to sit under the "white's only" tree, when instead they should've just planted their own (and presumably enjoyed the shade sometime in 2020). As of Friday, I'd seen a couple of posts/comments to that effect. I've seen the blatently disambiguous argument race around the Internet that "blacks must think it's okay to for 6 guys to beat up one defenseless white boy". In a non-binary world, there are more choices than 'they should be let off scot-free' and 'they should be charged with attempted murder' for a schoolyard beating. Yet that's the functional basis for the current meme that not only should the conservative blogsphere not be held accountable for reporting/commenting on this, but now that they are, the real story is that (suprises!) whites are the actual blameless victims here. It's 2007, there's a fucking "white's only" tree on public property, all the conservative arguments about how there's no real government sanctioned racism in America anymore (except towards whites) fall apart in the face of that. I mean someone is in such fear for their life, that they go back to their truck, for a shotgun, and voluntarily return to the situation instead of driving off, and again, the growing spin online is, "well that's just the RKBA being excercised". No, that's deliberate escalation, introducing a weapon into a situation when other alternatives existed. You'll be charged with brandishing for that, at minimum, most places. In Jena apparently, the guy you were prepared to threaten and/or shoot with the gun is supposed to politely return it during the incident. The apparent differential administrative punishments, the percieved different standards of justice, even if Mr. Bell is thug of the year, is Jena, home a whites only areas and almost total mutual segregation such a utopia that America, as a whole, should not be taking a look at this and asking what's going on in Jena? But instead, the overwhelming reaction is a quick glance, followed by a cursory dismissal, "...just the black's being touchy again.Just part of the racial grievance industry. Looking for some of that preferential treatment for blacks that the South is so well known for."

M. Simon said...

I believe they were charged with attempted murder so they could be tried as adults. The prosecutor didn't think the charges would stick.

Second most of the Jena 6 posse had priors for violence.

They were given a pass due to athletic privilege. Not uncommon. It is not just pro sports.

M. Simon said...


You are misinformed. There was no "whites only" tree.

It was a joke by a black kid. In fact later the joker was trying to defend the white guy when he was knocked down.

People are taking a lot of separate incidents with no meaning and fitting them to The Narrative.

As one white pastor said - He thought race harmony was Jena's biggest problem. Now he thinks it is misreporting by the Big Media Liars.

Janis Gore said...

I don't buy the narrative that Mr. Thompson presents either, M. Simon.

But Rashaunda Bailey, Robert Bailey's older sister, does seem to confirm that the tree was not always reserved for whites in this story.

So Zed might be on to something. Why did the question come up in the first place?

K T Cat said...

It's not a legal issue, it's a religious one.

Dewave said...

The press seems to studiously avoid revealing key pieces of information.

For example, I was surprised to learn that Mychell Bell had an extensive record of criminal violence.

I was surprised to learn that the 'white draws gun on blacks, blacks charged' was caused by the blacks attempting to rob the white.

I was surprised to learn that the white victim was struck from behind, knocked down the ground, rendered unconscious, and then kicked in the head and torso by six assailants. Most press releases refrain from mentioning how bad an attack it was.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprsied at the completely dishonest and one sided reporting after the Duke fiasco, but it's disheartening to see the MSM is still determined to cram everything into it's tired old "whites exploit blacks" storyline, inconvenient facts be damned!

bearbee said...

Media myths about the Jena 6

A local journalist tells the story you haven't heard.