What few people that come here and read my blog probably understand by now that I was born and raised in Louisiana. I was born in Bastrop, Louisiana, near the border with Arkansas, and I consider Monroe, about a 45 minute drive south of the Arkansas border in northeast Louisiana to be my home town. Photo Credit:(matthew hinton/afp/getty images)
Sainted Mother, Big Sis and her family, and Younger Brother all live in Monroe to this day.
But both of my parents, as well as all four of my grandparents were born and raised in LaSalle Parish in central Louisiana.
The parish seat of LaSalle Parish is Jena.
Yes, THAT Jena.
Both of my parents graduated from Jena High School in the early 1950s.
Yes, the same exact building that was marched upon last week; it was opened in 1948.
I spent a couple of weeks in Jena every summer as a kid at my maternal grandparent's home. They both lived there until their deaths in the 1980s.
While this by no means makes me an expert on all things about Jena, Louisiana. I have at least been there unpteen squillion times in my life as a kid and as an adult.
I'm going to talk about it now that I'm cooled off enough to do so.
I haven't said anything on here before now about the "Jena Six" simply because I think they are criminals who got caught at it, and then played the race card to try to avoid jail time for their crimes.
Had it been six white kids catching a black kid off-guard, knocked him out and kicked him repeatedly as he lay on the ground, I would have been just as outraged.
I think that had six white kids done that to a black kid, that they should have been arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
I hate destructive criminals who can ruin a person's life, regardless of their race, color, or creed.
The truth is, the victim in all of this, Justin Barker, had nothing to do with the hanging of nooses in a tree on the school's campus.
The noose incident had happened months before Justin Barker was beaten and kicked senseless.
The truth is that the beating these six teens gave another teen HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH NOOSES HANGING IN A SCHOOL TREE. NOTHING.
The truth of the matter is that six kids, who happened to be black, waited for a white kid to come along alone, and Justin was unfortunately that person.
If there is racism in this whole situation with regards to the Jena Six, it's black on white racism.
What?! Did you say what I thought you just said?
Yep. And I'll retype that, if there is racism in this whole situation with regards to the Jena Six, it's black on white racism.
Not the other way around like the Poverty Pimps, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have made it out to be.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are liars. Liars. They represent no one else beside themselves.
Yesterday, September 26, there was the most awesome editorial in the New York Times, by Reed Walters, the District Attorney of LaSalle Parish, Lousiana; the man most unjustly vilified and wrongfully hated for bringing these six CRIMINALS to trial.
I will print his editorial here in it's entirety. (The New York Times can sue me if they want to. I don't really care.)
The New York Times, nytimes.com
September 26, 2007
Justice in Jena
By REED WALTERS
THE case of the so-called Jena Six has fired the imaginations of thousands, notably young African-Americans who, according to many of their comments, believe they will be in the vanguard of a new civil rights movement. Whether America needs a new civil rights movement I leave to social activists, politicians and the people who must give life to such a cause.
I am a small-town lawyer and prosecutor. For 16 years, it has been my job as the district attorney to review each criminal case brought to me by the police department or the sheriff, match the facts to any applicable laws and seek justice for those who have been harmed. The work is often rewarding, but not always.
I do not question the sincerity or motivation of the 10,000 or more protesters who descended on Jena last week, after riding hundreds of miles on buses. But long before reaching our town of 3,000 people, they had decided that a miscarriage of justice was taking place here. Their anger at me was summed up by a woman who said, “If you can figure out how to make a schoolyard fight into an attempted murder charge, I’m sure you can figure out how to make stringing nooses into a hate crime.”
That could be a compelling statement to someone trying to motivate listeners on a radio show, but as I am a lawyer obligated to enforce the laws of my state, it does not work for me.
I cannot overemphasize how abhorrent and stupid I find the placing of the nooses on the schoolyard tree in late August 2006. If those who committed that act considered it a prank, their sense of humor is seriously distorted. It was mean-spirited and deserves the condemnation of all decent people.
But it broke no law. I searched the Louisiana criminal code for a crime that I could prosecute. There is none.
Similarly, the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, who is African-American, found no federal law against what was done.
A district attorney cannot take people to trial for acts not covered in the statutes. Imagine the trampling of individual rights that would occur if prosecutors were allowed to pursue every person whose behavior they disapproved of.
The “hate crime” the protesters wish me to prosecute does not exist as a stand-alone offense in Louisiana law. It’s not that our Legislature has turned a blind eye to crimes motivated by race or other personal characteristics, but it has addressed the problem in a way that does not cover what happened in Jena. The hate crime statute is used to enhance the sentences of defendants found guilty of specific crimes, like murder or rape, who chose their victims based on race, religion, sexual orientation or other factors.
Last week, a reporter asked me whether, if I had it to do over, I would do anything differently. I didn’t think of it at the time, but the answer is yes. I would have done a better job of explaining that the offenses of Dec. 4, 2006, did not stem from a “schoolyard fight” as it has been commonly described in the news media and by critics.
Conjure the image of schoolboys fighting: they exchange words, clench fists, throw punches, wrestle in the dirt until classmates or teachers pull them apart. Of course that would not be aggravated second-degree battery, which is what the attackers are now charged with. (Five of the defendants were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder.)
But that’s not what happened at Jena High School.
The victim in this crime, who has been all but forgotten amid the focus on the defendants, was a young man named Justin Barker, who was not involved in the nooses incident three months earlier. According to all the credible evidence I am aware of, after lunch, he walked to his next class. 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.
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?
Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death. There was serious bodily harm inflicted with a dangerous weapon — the definition of aggravated second-degree battery. Mr. Bell’s conviction on that charge as an adult has been overturned, but I considered adult status appropriate because of his role as the instigator of the attack, the seriousness of the charge and his prior criminal record.
I can understand the emotions generated by the juxtaposition of the noose incident with the attack on Mr. Barker and the outcomes for the perpetrators of each. In the final analysis, though, I am bound to enforce the laws of Louisiana as they exist today, not as they might in someone’s vision of a perfect world.
That is what I have done. And that is what I must continue to do.
Reed Walters is the district attorney of LaSalle Parish.
My Younger Brother was beaten badly by two drunk men about two months ago, just like Justing Barker, FOR NO REASON AT ALL.
I feel such contempt for the protesters of these criminal young men in Jena that it is absolutely impossible for me to put it into words.
I'll just say this, I feel about the contemptible protesters in Jena last week, as if 10,000 people showed up to protest FOR the drunkards that beat up my brother. These drunkards were evil and wrong to beat up my brother who had been asleep two minutes prior to his beating, just as these scumbag JENA SIX were evil and wrong to beat up a single unaware student as he walked out of his school gym's doors.
He never saw it coming, and the only reason they beat him was because they were black, and wanted to beat a white kid.
If that isn't racism, I have no concept of that word.
America is going to hell in a hand basket, and 10,000 morons traveling from all over the country to participated in protesting in favor of black on white racism proves this much better than this blogger can hope to by typing some words.
There truly is still racism in America. No doubt about it.
No doubt at all.
And it ain't all white on black racism either.
My incredulous thanks to The New York Times for having the courage to print Mr. Walters' editorial in full. Maybe some of the liberals who were in favor of the protest march in favor of the criminal Jena Six will read, understand what really happened, and Wake The Hell up!
I can only reason that there are so many people in America that lament the fact that they were too young to protest in the sixties, are hippies at heart, and too stupid to find out the facts of the case, and came on down to Jena to feel like they did something to help their fellow man.
These misguided souls only succeeded in showing themselves to be ignorant fools who may have helped the Jena Six criminals escape the justice they deserve.