Keeping It Right

Keeping It Right is for thought provoking conversationist. It's for those who love to talk about today's issues, yesterday's history and tomorrow's future.

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Location: Moreno Valley, CA

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lets Get All The Facts, First

Let's Get All The Facts, First!!

By now we all have seen and have been encouraged to sign a petition to "Free the Jena 6" for the social injustice of bigotry. Those of us on the board have opined emotionally about perceived racism and outright injustice. I think it's irresponsible to not "research" and try to get the facts or the other side of the story. I think most people want to keep the story that keeps them openly satisfied with half truths. Now let me tell you, there's a site detailing about the incident, and I perused through it. Truthfully, it looked shady, but when the Chicago Sun Times and a local Louisiana Newspaper confirms or reports the same "other side of the story." Then I'm sorry, I can't support half truths and just take up a cause for a thug! and that's what he (Defendant Mychal Bell) is!.
This morning, on Steve Harvey Morning Show, and I hate to continue using them as a example. But they had Bell's father on Wednesday 8/29 to discuss this matter. Now, I don't know if they were just hearing about this story and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but no one asked pertinent questions to the father. And I get they are entertainers, but they do have a voice and a large audience. They should have asked a tough question, at least one! For instance, Sir, your son has a criminal record and is on probation can you tell us why? And if he chooses to get his backside off the hook and lie! then it's on him..but at least the question was asked..and who knows, he might say, well yeah, he's been in trouble with the law and that's why I had to move to Jena to reel his azz in. Install some type of discipline, like a good father would. Now who could blame him? No one! But noooo! softball questions and freedom to spew his portion of the story was all we heard and now millions of people are going to open their pocket books and give a dollar or two for the Mychal Bell Defense Fund....For what?! the same outcome in the appeals court?
So, having said all this, I urge everyone to sit back and watch the events unfold. I admit it's a hot news item with huge ratings, but we have to be more responsible in the internet age! to get all the fact and not half truths.
Here's a portion of an column by Jason Whitlock, titled: "Journey to Jena and justice is long, misleading" www.foxsports.com/other/story/7170510:
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.
Whew!
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." - End of Whitlock column portion.

Mychal Bell's Prior Conviction:
Alexandria Daily Town Talk: www.thetowntalk.com
The teenager convicted of beating a student at Jena High School in December 2006 had been convicted as a juvenile for attacking someone a year earlier, then committed three more crimes while on probation for that one, prosecutors say.
That makes Mychal Bell's aggravated second-degree battery conviction his fifth conviction for a violent crime, state District Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. said Friday.
Because of that record, the judge said, he will not reduce the $90,000 bond he set for Mychal Bell, one of six black students arrested in the attack which left a white student bleeding and unconscious.
"Past behavior is the best prediction of future behavior," Mauffray said.
The court hearing revealed no details about the earlier juvenile convictions, called adjudications. They were for battery on Christmas Day 2005 and Sept. 2, 2006, and for criminal damage to property on Sept. 3 and July 25 of 2006, said Cynthia Bradford, LaSalle Parish deputy clerk.
Bell and the other five were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy in the fight with Justin Barker.
The charges sparked outrage in the black community, drawing attention from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is now monitoring the case, and civil rights leaders who contend the youths have been treated unfairly by the justice system.
Bell, who was 16 at the time of the assault, was tried as an adult in June on reduced charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy. An all-white jury convicted him.
The other students Theo Shaw, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and an unnamed juvenile are awaiting trial on the original charges.
Bell faces up to 22 years in prison when sentenced on Sept. 20.
Pause: Here's the money shot!!!
At a motion hearing Sept. 4, Bell's attorneys plan to argue that his adult conviction should be wiped out and the case sent to juvenile court, or that he should get a new trial because his original defense attorney did a poor job.

Pause: I thought the new reason for wiping out Bell's conviction is that he had all white jury! No one, not even Bell's father mentioned the incompetancy of Bell's publ. defender!!! Wanna know why?!! because his publ. defender was BLACK!!! Is it possible that the PD saw Bell for what he really is and in fact urged him to take the plea of a lessor charge....

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