Friday, September 21, 2007

Get Over It

Against my better judgment, I decided to scan some news headlines this morning. Two students were shot in Delaware. The UN & the AU (African Union. No, I didn't make that up) can't agree on the composition of the peace keeping force. China is scheduling a day to talk to North Korea about nukes, and Israel is being urged to turn over Arab areas. In rapid fire succession, here are my thoughts (you know at least one of them has a rant attached to it).

-Delaware students: As my own dad taught me, nothing good happens late at night. Though I don't believe that nothing good happens, I do agree that the probability of "bad things" exponentially increases when it is late. Lesson learned: Don't be walking around at 1AM, especially when NASCAR people are in town.

-UN/AU: Suck it up, AU. You need all the help you can get. It doesn't really matter if the support comes from Norway. Maybe you should ask them to bring some ice & snow too. I don't believe you are really in a position to pick & chose where you're help comes from.

-China & N. Korea: The dialogue:
China: So, what's a good day for us to meet and talk about your nuclear program, Kim Jong?
KJong: Well, I'm throwing a party for the next week.
China: A party?
KJong: Yeah, man. We gonna party down in P'yang for an entire week straight!
China: But you have starving people in your country. And your people barely have any electricity. Who's paying for this "party"?
KJong: North Korea's paying, baby! I don't care about those people. I'm looking out for number one. Speaking of which, can you guys send some more Crown Royale? I think my country is out.

-Israel & "Them": Israel, being their usual, Army Strong selves, got fed up with the rocket attacks from Gaza (which is controlled by Hamas, at this time). As a result, Israel is cutting back their fuel, electricity and other non-essential goods (not specified). Various Gypsy organizations that exist in Israel (yeah, they're not just here in the US&A) stated the following:

In a joint announcement released Thursday, seven different Israeli rights groups said any such move would be "a grave breach of the foremost principle of international humanitarian law: the obligation to distinguish between combatants and civilians."

The statement also said the step constituted "collective punishment" and would worsen Gaza's "existing humanitarian crisis." Since the Hamas takeover, Israel has closed Gaza's border crossings to nearly everything but humanitarian aid, adding to the economic hardship in the already impoverished territory.

What these knuckleheads can't figure out is that the CIVILIANS in the Gaza area MUST become fed up with the lifestyle that they are living AS A RESULT of the actions of Hamas (read: terrorists). Once the PEOPLE step up & demand that Hamas take a hike, Israel will be safe (from that threat) and the quality of life in the Gaza area will improve. Israeli government spokesman David Baker had this to say:
"Any situation in which Palestinian terrorists fire upon Israeli cities and towns is an untenable situation, one we won't tolerate, and we will use the means necessary in order to enable our citizens to live in peace and quiet once again."
I agree with Mr. Baker's comments 120%. To the Gypsy's out there: Shove Off!

Jordan is Palestine. Yahweh Akbar!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Setting It Straight

Thanks to a particularly annoying feature now found in Facebook, a few days ago I noticed a friend of mine had joined a group entitled, "THE JENA SIX PETITION PLEASE READ AND LET EVERYONE KNOW". Well, curiosity got the best of me. The groups photo, or icon, is of a black female wearing a shirt which reads, "FREE THE JENA "6"". Now, I'm getting interested. As I read over the description of the group, which is in all CAPS, and peruse the main page as well as the comments posted by members, my BS Meter is starting to squeal... very, very loudly. The supporters of the Jena 6 produced a video that can be seen on YouTube (of all places). If you can't tell after watching that "documentary" that it is extremely one-sided, you should be stripped of your right to vote.

Thank God a thinking person had run across the group before I did. Chase Gibson of South Carolina smelled a fish and did some research of his own. He came across, and posted, the article entitled, "Journey to Jena, justice is long, misleading" by Jason Whitlock. Here it is:
Forgive me. This column is going to ramble and stumble a bit before I get to my main point. Real Talk is like that sometimes. Good conversations don't always fit in a tight package. They wander from time to time, and the wandering provides context to the point.

My dad once explained to me that absolutely everything you accept from another human being comes with a responsibility whether stated or not. He was a bit tipsy and the conversation took place around 2 a.m. He drifted, bad-mouthed some of his best friends, bad-mouthed a couple of my friends. I was 17. I've never forgotten his message, and repeat it at least two or three times a year.

I'm already meandering. Stick with this column; you'll enjoy the journey to Jena.

We're in this age of whining and bitching about the lack of accountability among professional athletes and wannabe pro jocks when it comes to bad behavior. The message sells. I've sold it.

But America's accountability crisis extends well beyond the sports world and bad behavior. You know that. Wednesday afternoon, I surfed the 'Net and came across the video of Miss Teen South Carolina absolutely butchering a relatively easy question about why one out of five Americans can't find the USA on a map.

Lauren Caitlin Upton's response was unintentionally hysterical, a piece of comedic gold that must be viewed to be appreciated. Her fourth-place finish in the Miss Teen USA pageant and the subsequent Today Show pity party thrown in her honor say all you need to know about how we treat our "beautiful people."

They can do little wrong, little we can't excuse, and we hold them to the lowest of all standards in nearly every regard.

The 40-plus contestants who finished behind Miss Teen South Carolina should all file lawsuits. The clip is literally making millions laugh, but her rambling, incoherent soliloquy didn't really hurt her in the pageant standings. Short of calling a group of women's college basketball players "nappy-headed hos," I'm not sure how the 18-year-old could've answered the question any worse.

I clicked from the Miss Teen video to stories about Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs' one-Lamborghini, hit-abandon-n-run accident early Monday morning.

Briggs, a Pro Bowler, met with reporters Tuesday and fed them a line of (spit) that they pretty much refused to swallow. He claimed he "panicked" and ditched his $350,000 vehicle because he didn't want to create a "big scene."

Good move. By running, Briggs avoided a sobriety test, and left the police with no choice but to hit him with a few misdemeanor traffic citations. More important, Briggs handcuffed commissioner Roger Goodell, the discipline dean of the NFL. An arrest for driving under the influence could've potentially landed Briggs in the league's substance-abuse program and in Goodell's suspension crosshairs.

Instead, Bears coach Lovie Smith quickly announced that the club planned to take no action against Briggs, and Lovie grew angry when reporters asked if Briggs had been drinking.

Well, this is the organization that lost Tank Johnson to guns, pit bulls and a driving-while-sober traffic stop. I'm sure Lovie feels like his roster is owed a get-out-of-Goodell's-office free card.

Again, it's not just pro jocks who feel like they're owed something. It's not just pro jocks who have their failures rationalized and excused. It's a societal problem, brought on by the fact that our pursuit of a bigger house, a fancier car and a splashier vacation has short-circuited our commitment to parenting. At the end of the day, only your parents can truly hold you responsible for your misdeeds. Coaches can't. The media can't. A judge can't. Teachers don't stand a chance.

This belief crystallized for me over the past couple of months as I tracked and researched the case involving the "Jena Six," a group of Louisiana black boys who have been charged with a very serious crime after jumping, beating and stomping a white boy on school grounds.

The "Jena Six" are becoming a cause célébre for Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the media. At least two or three times a week for the past three months, I have received an e-mail from someone asking me to support the "Jena Six."

On the surface, the story sounds like a horrifying tale of Emmett Till-style justice. At a predominantly white high school in a segregated town (Jena), a black student sat under a shade tree that was traditionally used by white students. The next day three white students hung nooses from the tree, sparking racial tension and a sit-in (under the tree) by black students. The principal attempted to expel the three white students, but the school board overruled the principal and the students were given a suspension, which sparked more racial tension.

Police patrolled the school's hallways. The town's district attorney visited the school for an impromptu assembly, allegedly looked at the black students and said he could end their lives with one stroke of his pen. A little more than three months after the noose incident — and just days after two off-campus fights/heated exchanges involving a black student and white former students — the "Jena Six" punched, beat and stomped a white kid who made fun of a black kid for getting whipped in a Friday-night fight.

The white kid was knocked unconscious. After a three-hour hospital visit, he was released. The town prosecutor initially charged the "Jena Six" with attempted murder. Mychal Bell, the first of the six to stand trial and a Division-I football prospect, was convicted of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy by an all-white, six-person jury, a white judge and a white prosecutor. His public defender did not call a single witness in his defense. Bell could be sentenced to 22 years.


Before I go any further, let me state this: The prosecutor should've never charged these boys with attempted murder. The entire school board should be replaced for stopping the noose-hanging kids from being expelled.

OK, having said that, much of the mainstream reporting on this story has been misleading, irresponsible and inflammatory.

No one mentions that Mychal Bell's clueless public defender was black. No one mentions that there were no black jurors because of the 50 people who responded to the more than 100 summons, none were black. No one mentions that Bell was already on probation for battery relating to a Christmas day incident in 2005. No one mentions that Bell was adjudicated (convicted) of two other violent crimes in 2006 and one charge of criminal damage to property. No one mentions that Bell's father acknowledged he moved back to Louisiana in February (after seven years in Dallas) to supervise his son because of the "Jena Six" mess. No one mentions that Bell starred on the Jena High football team while constantly jeopardizing/violating his seemingly flimsy probation.

This was all talked about in open court during a bond hearing for Bell, and a newspaper in Alexandria, La., wrote about it. Just about everybody else has pretty much ignored the "other side" of the story. Including the fact that not one witness — black or white, and there were 40 statements taken — connected the jumping/beatdown of the white student (Dec. 4) to the noose incident (Sept. 1).

No one mentions that a black U.S. Attorney, Donald Washington, investigated the "Jena Six" case and held a town-hall meeting explaining that there was no evidence connecting the jumping/beatdown to the noose incident.

Only after the prosecutor overreacted (or tired of letting Bell and others skate once the successful football season was over; Bell wasn't the only football star charged) did the "Jena Six" blame the attack on the nooses and the white shade tree.

Rather than report the truth, flames have been fanned by lazy or cowardly or agenda-driven members of the media. Because the white kid regained consciousness and survived the attack with only a swollen eye, defenders of the "Jena Six" have called it a typical "schoolyard fight." Would anyone call it that if six white football and basketball players jumped one black kid?

I've mulled this topic for months, and I keep coming back to one question: Where in the hell were the parents — all of the parents, white and black?

Shame on the parents of the kids who hung the nooses for hiding behind a seemingly racist and insensitive school board when their kids were inexcusably wrong. Shame on the parents of the "Jena Six" for blaming white racism for the cowardice of a six-on-one attack.

And shame on the prosecutor, the media and Al Sharpton for not rising above the ignorance and distortions, and seeking a truth that will set everyone in Jena free, including the "Jena Six."

Hmmm... Get a different picture of the story now?

Unfortunately, for every thinking person there are approximately 100 non-thinkers. Mac "blackghost" Bundick of Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA had this to say concerning the prosecutor having reduced the charges:
I just read about the reduced charges this morning and when I heard about it while reading I got happy at first and then it slowly truned right back down to anger. Mychal Bell is still going to be charged as an adult with the Battery charge but is going to be charged with comspricy to commit batter in juvy. Does anyone see a problem. I do. Really who hasn't got into a high school fight.
Now I have a question for EVERYONE IN THIS GROUP.
Where is Lil Wayne, Manny Fresh, Byrd Man, Master P, Juvnile, Reggie Bush, Warick Dunn, and ect?
Where are the rappers and R n B singers, the role models; where are they at?
The same people who fight for black people's rights, Al sharpton, Jessie and ect. are are involved. We, the new generation need to speak up, get involved with our local television station and give our concern, join the NAACP chapter in your area, This is our generation and WE need to step up, if it means no more than writting letters and signing peittions to let our voice be heard. Make you tube video's send mass emails something to let your voice be heard, underground rap artist and poets(as myself) let us step up to the plate and start writing with a purpose and a message. I will have to practice what I preach but I will make sure that my voice is heard, some one no matter if its the kid down the street, a rap session at church, a poetry night at a jazz club, on local tv/radio or national tv/radio, I'm going to make my voice heard and I suggest that ya'll do the same. Just because your not getting national attention doesn't mean your not getting the attention.

Lets contunie to fight for these six young men and don't let the fight just stop here. Let the see that we will continue to fight for JUSTICE and this is a fight that WE will win.
Yes, let's all get the rappers, R&B singers & Al Sharpton involved. That will do the trick. Or maybe we could prosecute the offenders? Novel, I know. I'm not going to waste the time in dissecting his comments. He's an idiot. And no, I didn't change any of the spelling, either. I'll not bring up the point that maybe he's fighting against justice too.

I should note that the first thread from Chase Gibson was deleted by the group's administrator. So if you go to do research and find it gone, the very people that are fighting for people's rights (supposedly) is also the group that is stopping the free (& informed) speech of other people.

With that said, let justice be served. Down with the Jena 6.

Death From Above.

UPDATE: 21SEPT2007 @ 18:56:
For law enforcement officers it is considered an application of deadly force should they strike someone in the head with an impact weapon (baton, asp, flashlight). The Jena 6 should be charged with attempted murder since they kicked and continued to kick the victim in the head, especially once unconscious. For this reason, if the Jena 6 are "justified" then the officers involved in the Rodney King incident were even more justified in their application of force.

Also, see Vox's post "Of Brussels and Jena" for further thoughts & facts regarding this case.