Nov 072007

OK, I’ve been meaning to post on this topic for a while. I realize it’s a touchy subject, especially given that my position (as is often the case) is not the most politically correct decision.

So here’s a quick review of what little I know about this situation:

  • A group of six black high school students beat a white student to point that he was hospitalized for a short time.
  • The fight appeared to be the result of heightened racial tensions that stem from nooses being hung in a tree near the school.
  • This tree appears to be a place where a largely white group tends to congregate, but some black students gathered at a tree at some point sparking consternation. (The tree has since been cut down.)
  • The six black students were charged with serious crimes of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy.
  • I do not believe any white students were charged for putting up the nooses.

There is some more to the story, as is so often the case. As racial tensions were escalating after the “noose” incident, I’m given to understand that the local District Attorney (also the school system attorney) addressed the student body, and warned them that he held their future in his hands if they continued escalating the situation at the school.

Now, I am of the opinion that the DA probably over-reacted somewhat, and I think the original charges might have been excessive. I can’t look into the man’s heart and know what he was really thinking, but it appears he gave the students at the school a very stern warning. They should should have taken that warning to heart. This may not be racially motivated, and could just be that the DA felt he had given the students fair warning, they elected to ignore that warning, and he wanted to set an example so as to get a lid on the growing racial tension. He might have brought such serious charges hoping to have room to negotiate plea agreements to lesser charges. Certainly that’s a common tactic in criminal cases.

I’ve done some Googling, and it appears that plenty of black leaders have shown up, and are calling for all charges to be dropped, and for the black students to get off scott free. Let me just get it right out there…I do not agree. Maybe there should be some reduction in the charges, but they don’t get to walk from this with no punishment. Why aren’t these very same black leaders calling for marches in front of Fox News headquarters after Bill O’Reilley’s recent racially insensitive comments? (I’ll tell you why, they want to get to keep coming on TV.)

Let’s not forget that a single student was beaten to the point of requiring hospitalization by a group / gang of six other students. It really doesn’t matter anyone’s ethnicity here, what matters is that an individual got beaten by a gang. This does require serious charges, and certainly demands a firm punishment. 

This is not to excuse the students who hung the nooses from the tree. That was a backward, redneck thing to do. I am old enough to remember when the school system I attended was integrated. I know the tensions that came from that, and I am old enough to know that a noose could be seen as a symbol for black lynchings. But that does not rise to the same level as beating someone, nor does it excuse the behavior of these six teenagers. Apparently, there really is no law against putting up those nooses. Maybe there should be, but there’s not. Also, it doesn’t appear anyone has been able to determine who put them up, even if charges could be filed.

I’m not excusing the person/s who put up the nooses, but the six teenagers who beat someone do not get to walk away from this without being seriously punished.

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