Jena Six: Thoughts?

Anyone who hooks up to black media outlets has heard of this story.

Even ignoring the more controversial things, it’s clear that this community is not a poster child for “We Are the World”. I also think it’s obvious that some bad choices were made by lots of people, both by the youth and their elders. For one thing, a noose has never been a prank. Surely there were harsher alternatives than three days of in-school suspension for a terroristic threat like that. And of course, violence is never the answer, even to racist obnoxiousness.

The area of debate is whether or not the harsh sentences facing these youth are 1) fair and 2) if unfair, are they racially motivated. My feeling is “hellz no” to the first, and yes to the second. I feel that there’s enough circumstantial evidence to support this accusation, but I’m willing to hear counter arguments.

But regardless of racist motive, I don’t see how anyone can justify a virtual life sentence for a schoolyard brawl. They should be punished definitely, but not outrageously. Should these boys get convicted, couldn’t this set a very bad precedent? If a tennis shoe can be called a deadly weapon, surely any object can.

I don’t think this has been discussed on the board yet. I’d like to hear what people have to say.

I imagine that if it had been done by students who had looked different it would have been shrugged off as a prank, not that it deserved to be so.

Where DO you draw the line, then, as a deadly weapon? A group of guys I didn’t know shot at me with an air pistol and were charged with ADW (but only got probation rather than 22 years!) Do we stop at baseball bats, air pistols, or tennis shoes? I don’t know myself, but I do think 22 yrs is a bit harsh, while the suspension for the noose incident seems fair. I know that people who attacked me in school using actual violence got a lot less than 3 days of in school suspension.

Given a different context, one that’s not racially charged, you’re probably right.

But do you feel that the three nooses hanging from the “white” tree, the day after a black student decided to break from tradition, was just a harmless joke that had no connotations of violence and terror?

Is it because is not as clear a symbol as, say, a swatiska or a “KILL NIGGER” sign? Or do you think it’s no big deal because it’s just an expression of speech?

It sounds like a school of idiots, with an added bonus of non-students getting into the game as well (the non-student whites involved in the violence).

However, when several kids jump one kid, give him a concussion and he gets sent to the hospital - that is a criminal act. Kicking him when down combined with the numerical advantage makes them a bunch of criminal bullies.

22 years? No - but time in the County lock-up and a record doesn’t bother me.

However (again), the fact that the defense counsel sounds incompetent REALLY bothers me. That is the stuff that makes our justice system a joke (the power of prosecution over the poor). I wish they would have had real defense work - it would make this a little clearer. Perhaps more facts about their assault would have come out to mitigate the circumstances.

Test your response - if 5 white students had surrounded one black braggart, beat the hell out of him, and sent him to the hospital - what would you want to happen to them?

No, thus the suspensions. If the perpetrators had a large record of various types of misdeeds then I could see a larger sentence, up to and including expulsion, but not as a first time offense.

Nooses are not a harmless prank. The school should have reacted more forcefully.

As far as Tennis shoes go, the shoe is not going to do substantially more damage than a bare foot. Given an ideal hit, I could kill someone with my heal in one shot. If anything the shoe will absorb some of the impact due to the air pocket and rubber soles.

I guess you missed me saying that I think these guys should be punished.

And I think you overstate the damage done to the victim. A person who spends the night in the hospital can be said to have had the hell beaten out of him. Not a person who has a black eye and a concussion and then returns to school later in the day.

There are no innocents here, but surely people can agree that a virtual life sentence is not just a “bit” unfair, but is totally unfair. One of the defendents is 15, and he’s been charged as an adult. We live in a fucked up society when a guy who pulls out a lethal weapon (a shotgun) gets off scot free, but a guy who decides not to take off his shoes before fighting gets put in jail for several decades.

Sorry - wasn’t just responding to you.

I don’t KNOW the damage done to the victim. I coach sports. We are taught that if a player goes unconscious for ONE second - call 911. We are also taught to not allow that kid back on the field with a note from a doctor. I consider that to be serious injury - though I am only responding to the article you posted.

I consider several kids of one race kicking an unconscious kid of another race to be violent criminals. Again - this is based on the article posted. Now, a life sentence does not sound justified to me at all, and I also don’t know how much actual time the kids will serve. I would also be fine with trying these kids as juveniles and giving them over to that court, based on what we know.

As for the shotgun, again it is interesting that Bailey was the one charged based on eyewitness testimony. Why did the one person grab the shotgun? Was he able to convince the cops that he was in fear for himself or others? Was the student 18 at the time (allowing him to own a shotgun)? That one is damned weird to me.

We have Mr. Bailey trying to get into a party where he was not invited. We have Mr. Bailey involved in a fight at a convenience store. We have Mr. Bailey attacking a student. Three instances where Mr. Bailey seemed to be involved in some poorly thought out actions.

That’s an interesting way of putting it. The race of the involved parties doesn’t matter, right? I mean, if all the kids were the same race the kickers would still be violent criminals.

They would still be violent criminals, but the US has seen fit to create our thought crimes and add special modifiers for so-called “hate crimes.”

I was trying to take the SPECIFIC race out of the discussion, but I also agree with you that the real issue is several on one in that particular case.

They are violent criminals who’d tried to murder someone. Their behavior was much worse legally and morally than any of the white’s actions. They deserve hard prison time.

The whole thing makes me absolutely sick, and I’m disgusted that it happened in this country. I think it’s as clear a case of racial prejudice as I can imagine, and I’m surprised to see any one defending it at all. Well, no, actually I’m not. I’m sad to see anyone defending it at all.

These kids were bullied and pushed around, not just by the white kids at school, but by an entire school administration, and the police. They had no recourse for the threats and violence against them, and when they finally had enough and responded, down comes the hammer. I guess its only wrong when black kids do it.

Yes, I would hope people could respond to injustice without resorting to violence, but these are teenagers and I’m not surprised it went the way it did, especially remembering some of the huge fights and drama that broke out in high school over far more trivial things. The kids should be punished, I guess, but I think every adult who allowed this situation to escalate to the point it did, and encouraged the white kids to continue to harass the black kids should be fired, and possibly spend time in jail. I don’t know what the charge would be, and frankly it doesn’t matter, as I’m sure justice won’t be done in this case anyway. Far from it, in fact.

And knowing the media hasn’t even made an issue of this at all is disgusting too. Yeah, racism is over guys. Sure it is. It’s my white liberal guilt that’s to blame, I suppose.

The way that article is written you would think that the black kids had no responsibility at all. They were angels throughout the whole thing fighting off the racist whites until they had to take matters into their own hands to set things right. :rolleyes:

I’m waiting to hear from the NAACP on this. I’m sure they’ll chime in when this gets some national exposure.

Given the undisputed facts of the case, do you think it’s fair to charge these guys with attempted murder? Pretend they’re white boys, if it helps you to form a picture. Do you think they’re violent criminals or do you think they could possibly be just frustrated, hot-tempered teenage boys who got caught in the moment?

I’d love for you to criticize the article by citing something you find objectionable, because I don’t see any kind of bias. In fact, it’s so pain-stakingly neutral it’s kind of hard to read.

Why? So you can then complain that they are over-reactionary? Be honest. You don’t care what the NAACP really has to say. You just want to hear them say something.

Seems like, if they had wanted to kill someone they would have done a better job at it. Like, they would have used a gun and maybe done more than given him a concussion and a black eye.

And if the prosecutor’s serious about this charge, is he willing to do the same thing for other people involved in fights–including bar room brawls and domestic violence? If not, then what makes this situation special? If so, why shouldn’t everyone be concerned? I’ve never been in a fight, but I’m concerned. It’s just scary that the law could be interpreted so broadly and then not having any recourse.

You have to be ridiculously naive to think that race isn’t an issue in rural Louisiana.

multiple people kicking a singular person is the same as busting a cap in their ass, especially when it is done after the victim is unconsciousness. since the victim lived, the violent criminals are only charged with attempted murder.

Please keep in mind: every time you read a news story that says someone can be sentenced to “up to” a certain prison sentence, remember that this doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about what the sentence is likely to be. Every state has a different sentencing scheme, but i’m pretty sure that there are places where you could get “up to” 22 years and also as little as probation.

What sentence would actually be appropriate? I don’t know enough about the facts of the case and the criminal history of the defendant to say.

Dolukhanova What would probably be appropriate is for the white kid who brought out the Shotgun to be charged, and then these guys being charged with attempted murder. What’s really tragic about this scenario is that all along the way you can see where authorities stepping in with a sense of justice when the crime was less. A harsh reaction to the ‘prank’ where they threatened to lynch people would have defused it a lot. Charging the guy who brought out the shotgun would have defused things. In general it seems like the onus to act responsibility has been placed solely at the door of these young black men. Yes, they were responsible for their actions, but they shouldn’t be put in the position where the only recourse they can see is vigilante justice for themselves.

Were the cops there when he brought out the shotgun? If they weren’t then it’s he-said-he-said. Why would I believe the angelic black kids story of the incident over the redneckkkkwhitepowerz white kids?

They probably weren’t charged because no one at the party could agree on what happened and that sounds about right for a high school party full of drama.

So why were the black kids charged in the same incident?