Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Jena Six

H/T Vox and Sylvia

One of the thing that makes blogging hard for me sometimes is the fact that, sometimes there are topics that I want to talk about, but when bloggers I respect and read regularly cover the same topic much better than I ever could, I think, "Well, since so-and-so already said it..."

I read about the Jena (Louisiana) Six on Vox's blog a couple of weeks ago (she updated here). Before I go any further, here is the situation, summarized by Shawn Williams from an article by Howard Witt who writes for the Chicago Tribune (though this may be the same story here at the Baltimore Sun--doesn't require registration)

In his May 18, 2007 story, Mr. Witt tells of an incident that happened at the local high school in Jena where black students decided they wanted to sit under a tree whose shade had been reserved for white students only for years. When campus officials gave their blessing to the students request to sit under the tree, a series of events began that have apparently launched the town into a downward spiral.

According to Mr. Witt's article the following events have occurred since the initial action by the black students last September:

* The next day three nooses were hanging from the tree
* Once three white students were identified as having hung the nooses on the tree, the school superintendent suspended them for only three days. (The principal had suggested expulsion). The superintendent felt the nooses represented a "youthful stunt."
* Fights broke out at the high school between black and white students.
* Unknown arsonists set fire to the central wing of the school (November)
* A white youth beat up a black student who showed up at an all-white party
* another young white man pulled a shotgun on three black students at a convenience store
* A group of black students at the high school allegedly jumped a white student on his way out of the gym, knocked him unconscious and kicked him after he hit the floor (December)
* LaSalle Parish district attorney, Reed Walters, opted to charge six black students with attempted second-degree murder and other offenses (for their involvement in the above incident).
NOTE: The white youth who beat the black student at the party was charged only with simple battery, while the white man who pulled the shotgun at the convenience store wasn't charged with any crime at all.
Now, Jena is about one hundred miles south/southeast of my hometown. As someone interested in rural Louisiana (Jena, in the center of the state, has a population of around 3,000) personally and as a historian, I have to talk about this case.

Sylvia's post is amazing--full of updates, sources, links, and ideas to help the Jena Six, including this link to where you can donate. Yesterday, Alexandria's (a small city in central Louisiana) The Town Talk noted that 2 of the boys remain in jail in lieu of $90,000 bond. Since their trial has been continued until June 25, they face another month in jail, waiting.

I'm trying to do what I do--find people within the community and see what they're thinking and feeling. **Zan shared this in her comment:
This particular story has been going on for a long time, yes. It was going on when I was working for The Town Talk seven months ago. I was in charge of the message boards. If you wanna know how bad it really is, go read the TT's message boards. It's really clear there how racist things are. We had people defending the noose-hanging as a prank, etc. And of course the claims of 'reverse racism' when the kid got beat up.
**The Louisiana Public Defender's Association also made note of the case back in December, here.

**Sylvia has this link to the blog of a former Jena High student, Reginald M.

I attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and Arts which pulls students from all over the state, so I'm sending an e-mail to my classmates' group to see if any of them who live there or are from there want to talk. The Town Talk's archives contain stories from late last year about many of the events, including one that describes "racial tensions plaguing the Jena community" as the "biggest" story of the year in Central Louisiana. Jena has a weekly newspaper here.

Online, I've found the writings of a Pastor Eddie Thompson, a white Pentecostal preacher who lives in central Louisiana. Pastor Thompson was quoted by Witt as saying, “I’ve lived here most of my life, and the one thing I can state with absolutely no fear of contradiction is that LaSalle Parish is awash in racism—true racism.” But Pastor Thompson reminds me of the southern Senators during debates on the civil rights bills of the mid-20th century--he is incensed that, rather than letting the community heal itself, "Attorneys and leaders of national race-based organizations have hi-jacked any local efforts to overcome racial tensions." And though he acknowledges the racism in Jena, he believes, "the racism found here in America is subtle compared to what is going on around the world." Picture this American's jaw dropping to the floor. His invoking of meddling carpetbaggers and noble locals who shall overcome is not surprising.

I've also found CenLamar: Social and Political Activism in Louisiana. Here is their summary of the events. They re-posted Witt's article as well. CenLamar is a left-leaning blog so I'll be honest and say I'm hoping they'll talk more about it.

As far as my opinion--before I attended LSMSA, I attended a school that sounds remarkably like Jena's. As I told Vox, I feel this story. I'm not going to even pretend to be objective at this point--my question is not, "Did race play a factor?" but "Did the other factors even matter?"

20 comments:

Zan said...

This particular story has been going on for a long time, yes. It was going on when I was working for The Town Talk seven months ago. I was in charge of the message boards. If you wanna know how bad it really is, go read the TT's message boards. It's really clear there how racists things are. We had people defending the noose-hanging as a prank, etc. And of course the claims of 'reverse racism' when the kid got beat up. It just made me sick that those people were living right next to me. *sigh*

It also really pisses me off that, everytime Louisiana makes the national news, it's because of something like this. No wonder everyone thinks we're some third world country.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Well...I happen to live near Lafayette (actually, about 20 miles to the north of Lafayette, in the city of Opelousas) and I have been following the "Jena Six" case since it's inception. Basically, it's simply the same old case of how old school White racism has never really died; but simply cloaked itself until someone has the balls to challenge it forthright.

I tend not to be surprised that a community like Jena in Central Louisiana would destruct as it did; that region tends (along with surburban New Orleans) to be the most suspectible to the most extreme ideology of White supremacy....and the local establishment authorities generally tend to reinforce racist policies against Blacks. That was one of the regions which gave David Duke his biggest support in his tries for governor and senator back in the 90's.

Of course, the issue of the "Just-US" criminal system and the apologetics of more than a few Whites (laced with the usual projection of their fears onto the Black victims), goes far beyond the issue of small town (in)justice.

It just goes to show you how deeply intrenched the institution of White supremacy is down here...and that even an act as small as sitting near a tree can become an act of defiance and create so much turmoil.

Anti-racism is still, contrary to the views of some, a radical act of resistance...and it should be the victims of racism who should be allowed to set the terms of its demise. Anything else simply falls short.


Anthony

nick said...

Blah, blah, blah!!! I am a resident of Jena and i have been a resident here all my life. It is really unfortunate that the news only publishes stories that make these young men, the "Jena 6", seem like victims. I happen to know 3 of them and i assure you they are anything but. For instance, i personally witnessed at least three of them jump another black man at a party for no apparnt reason. They succeeded in winning this particular fight, obviously! Later on that same night they sat down the road from where this man lived bragging and taunted him some more on how they really "F*****" him up and did he want some more!! I was there, i witnessed these facts! They are known in their community for stealing out of people's cars and homes...THE BLACK COMMUNITY!!! We had to start locking our cars just to run into the convenience store and pay for gas. The "Jena 6" as they are now known are in fact a group of young hoodlums! They wanted to be known as a gang. They thrived on walking around together intimidating others, blacks and whites alike! Did anyone bother to ask "why" they had a gun pulled on them at the convenience store? First off, they were stealing and YES they were armed. Look im not defending the nooses being hung in the tree at the school, prank or no prank i believe that those 3 white boys should have been expelled. I also believe that the white boy that the "Jena 6" beat up should be expelled for later on bringing a gun to school. I and many others in Jena just want all this to be handled fairly and as peaceful as possible. The whole thing has been blown up so big its really hard to recall what started it. They "all 6" beat up another student until he lay unconscious and continued to beat him! Does it really matter what color they are or this student they beat? Its so funny how all these big city hot shots come here and try to make all this a racial thing when really its not! These same hot shots are saying "We won't leave until we see justice done, we'll keep coming back" and then they ask their supporters to pay them back for gas and lodging. HA! How ridiculous, if they really believed in their cause they would be here reguardless if they were getting paid back are not! Maybe they're just using all this for their own political gain. Whatever the reason i think its sad. The people in Jena are no fools though, there are a few of these phonies that have been told by local blacks not to come back! Good for them! I don't believe anyone wants to see young people go to prison wrongfully accused however, if you do the crime you do the time! Thats the Jena way!

elle said...

blah, blah, blah? Mmmph!!

my questions are about this case; this case. why no run down, nick, on what the young noose hangers have done in the community? why "prank or no prank"?--how is hanging nooses a prank? what does that imply, nick?

as far as "does color matter?" hell yes. don't even try that BS with me--another rural louisianan. didn't color matter when a tree was still "reserved" for whites only now in 2007? when the nooses were hung? when those boys got a slap on the hand? if your story is true (that another black man was jumped) is that case being pursued? if crimes are being committed in the black community and "everyone knows" who's committing them, is that being pursued?

as far as your "you do the crime, you do the time" slogan, let me tell you what the "Jena way" the Louisiana way, hell, the U.S. way is--you may do the crime but if you are sufficiently wealthy or white or connected, you rarely do the time.

and your demands for peaceful settlement--well, shoot, nick, i wouldn't want my status quo, old school racial hierarchy shaken up either! i feel your pain [/snark]

as far as trying to make this not be a "racial thing"--good attempt with the "i don't remember how this started." it'd be easy to say "with nooses hung from trees," but somehow, i suspect it goes beyond that, past the mistreatment of (largely African American) Jefferson Parish Prison detainees who were moved to Jena after Hurricane Katrina, past the brutalization of the young men in the old juvenile prison, past the overwhelming support of jena's white populace for a former ku klux klan leader for governor.

Keep your head buried in the sand, Nick. Jena has a race problem. And it's not young black men.

and btw, no, i am not upholding any acts of violence--some of my questions are, is the law being administered differently based on race; how does the historical mistreatment of african americans in jena's "justice system," affect this case; is a fair trial for young men that citizens like you are working so hard to paint a criminalized picture of possible in jena?

nick said...

elle, obviously your missing my point entirely! I LIVE HERE IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY In JENA! Do you? I know all about what racisim is, trust me! I Just want you to know about the people your defending so feircely! They are not innocent by no means! When this does go into court im sure that their character will be brought up. For example, If one or more of them were known for being a rapist but were never convicted in the courts, because blacks here don't involve the law most of the time, would you still defend them? Come on now, not all of them in question but at least three are not innocent! I agree with you on the fact that the boys who hung the nooses in the trees should have gotten expulsion "at least"! That was a hate crime and their should be some law that protects people from that sort of ignorance. Most everyone in town except their parents agree on that. The boys who did that are in fact a bunch of rednecks and they knew what they were about to stir up here! Im ashamed to say that all they got was a "slap on the wrist". If anyone deserved their ass whipped they most certainly did! However, thats not the case! The reason why none of the other incidents (the black guy who was beat up at the fair barn and the guy that pulled a gun on them at the conveniece store etc..) were never brought to justice is because no one ever pressed charges. The black guy beat up at the party decided to go tell a few other black guys ie "Jena 6" and they were going to handle it on their own. That is against the law to take matters in your own hands. Why didn't the parents of this black guy go press charges? He was a minor and i wish they would have! Blacks in this area RARELY involve the law. They almost always handle these things on their own. That white guy or guys should also have their ass sitting in jail right now too. Also everyone that ive talked to believes that the kid that got beat up for saying the N word deserved to have his ass whipped too, but not 6 on 1!! Thats just not right for anyone. You can't possibly defend that. His parents did go press charges and thats why its six black guys in jail instead of however many white guys that beat up that black kid. My opinion is that if this wouldn't have happened at school the charges may have never been brought. You send your kid to school expecting to be safe and i think those parents should also sue the school board. Which i heard they plan to in the future and thats a good thing maybe then they'll protect everyone from hate crimes and violence. The majority of people in this town are not racist though. I work in a place where i talk to cops daily and most of them also beleive that attempted second degree murder is really extreme. I feel that that has alot to do with the parents of this white kid that got beat up, their pissed! I don't think it will hold up and i don't think that a jury would convict any of them for that. I do agree that they shouldn't have the same lawyer because im sure one of them is sitting in that jail thinking "all i did was hit the guy once". This one should testify against the others and get off, not feel he has to protect his friends for fear of retaliation later. You asked me about the black man that 3 of the Jena six beat up just a few weeks before they went to jail. I was there and this black man called his family, not the police. He sat there in his yard with a gun in his lap talking to his family members just waiting for one of the guys that beat him up "let them lil bastards start some more shit, i got somethin for their black asses" as he said it! He could have had them arrested then and he should have. Let me just tell you 3 of the six ARE criminals and one of them needs serious therapy. I wish CNN would go take a look in that ones bedroom, it looks like he has a damn arsonal in there from all the guns hes stolen. I ask what in the hell was his mother thinking letting him have all this in there. But then again his mother is a criminal too and she rasied him in all that crap. I have to feel for sorry for him but at the same time im relieved hes in jail and i hope someone can help him. People defending these kids and making excuses for everything they do though is not helping them. They need to just come to terms with what they did was wrong and that they never meant to attempt to kill anyone, it just got out of hand. The DA is a dickhead(i aplogize but i don't know how else to put it) to whites and blacks, i don't know too many people that like him or agree with him. Im not sure what his problem is? The people in Jena just want this to be over with though and when it is we hope that our school district set clear ground rules when it comes to hate crimes, threats, intimidation and violence in the schools whoever it might be doing this. The parents just need to accept the schools dicipline. Parents need to disipline their children at home and not let them run the streets all night stealing and stirring up trouble. Unfortunately there is a race problem here in America. We are the a melting pot full of all types of races and religions. There will always probably be a race problem but people need to trust in the laws to handle them fairly, thats why we have juries so they will be. If someone commits a crime though it is our law that they will be brought to justice based on the evidence, right? How can you be so sure that they wouldn't get a fair trial here in Jena? After all this community has helped in rasing them. I have pictures of some of them when they were little kids. Some of them are superior athletes with teachers and coaches who support them and hope that they'll learn from this and hopefully go on to do great things. Im particularly dissappointed in one but i hope this is a wake up call for him. You can't go around beating up on people because you don't like something they say. To listen to him now making a millon excuses for his actions, i realize he has missed the point. He doesn't realize that people aren't defending what he did but just making excuses for why he did it! He knows deep down he did it just to fit in with his friends and nothing else! I think right now in their life, knowing the path they were headed down, this is just the wake up they need. I hope that they never want to go back to prison. Instead decide to go on to college and be a lawyer so they can help change some of our old laws and make sure that justice is served. Most importantly, i hope that they realize that the mind is much more powerful than a fist will ever be and because they've been through this their words will be heard. This is very personal to me ella and it about much more than just their case. I am not some older person, i am their peer! I thought that you would be interested and knowing alittle more about who you are defending coming from someone who knows! Lifes not fair but we do the best with what we're given. No, i don't think that they will ever be convicted of second degree murder, no one here does but i just hope they don't use what sentence they do get as an excuse. Thank you for responding to my comment. I haven't commented anywhere else but i just couldn't hold my thoughts on this whole thing in anymore. I am torn on this and its hard to believe that all this has happened because of some rednecks and some wanna be thugs. Yes thugs im sure that might offend you but i promise thats the title ive heard them refer to themselves! Although in my eyes their just a bunch of kids who've done a bad thing. They were not defending themselves though, no one ever had the guts to attack them.

nick said...

oh and btw about the tree with the nooses in it someone have outta just burn it down instead of the school hmmm mb we'll see! im personally sick of seeing it as a reminder and so is the rest of the student body!!

nick said...

Ella, let me ask u this! Lets assume this was me they jumped and i was sent to the hospital and because it happened on school grounds obviously the school would have to press charges and whatever. This would have never gone past the Jena Times because that same night "the Jena 6" would have probably been laying next to me in the ER! After my uncles and cousins got through with them that is! You see callin the police around here just doesn't get you any respect in the black community, it only causes you to be harrassed even futher. I know if you live in the black community you can understand this. Its not that they wouldn't have been charged so strictly but my family has to live here around them and their family. Its sad to know that blacks don't stick up for one another except when the law or whites get involved, then they want to unite and pull that "race card"! My question: Would you defend them if it were me they had beat up so brutally? I wonder sister! I know you know what im talking about.

elle said...

nick, i'm not ignoring you--i'm so busy. can you e-mail me at MsElleG at aol dot com.

nick said...

Elle, i understand your busy, hell you got kids and a Phd. behind your name. Btw your boys look like good kids their lucky to have a mother like you. I was lucky enough to have a two strong women in my life, my mom and my grandmother. My grandmother is the only one that knows im writing you about this though. Although alot of people would agree with me on this, many just don't want to get involved. Thats why i hesitate to give out my email. It just seems too personal for me, like i said i do have to live here. Im sure you understand but i could create a bogus email if thats what i have to do to continue talking to you. I just don't want to release my primary email.

Delta said...

WOW!!! If fairness had have been shown from the start.The boys would not have "taken the law into their own hands".The noose hangers should have also been arrested.But then it is Lasalle parish Louisiana.!!!!!!enough said!!!!!!

Clare said...

This case is simply appalling.
I have recently written a blog on the Jena 6 on Advancement Projects's website: www.justdemocracyblog.org
The events blew me away. I am also suprised by the lack of domestic media coverage on this story.
Although the BBC did a expose, where is the outcry on US media outlets? I am proud to be a blogger right now- it seems much of the media hits for Jena 6 are from people taking this into their own hands and spreading the word.
I am still trying to find the best way to get involved. I have called the ACLU and emailed The Jena 6 Defense Committee. I want to be as active as I can in this critical moment in Civil Rights and American history.
From my research I found some helpful links:
Get Involved:
An Excellent Timeline of Events for Reference:
http://friendsofjustice.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/responding_to_the_crisis_in_jena1.doc
Sign this Online Petition
http://www.petitiononline.com/aZ51CqmR/petition.html
The Jena 6 Defense Committee
PO Box 2798, Jena, LA 71342
jena6defense@gmail.com
Friends of Justice
507 North Donley Avenue
Tulia, TX 79088
www.fojtulia.org
ACLU of Louisiana
PO Box 56157
New Orleans, LA 70156
www.laaclu.org
417.350.0536.
BBC Article
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/6685441.stm
-Clare Bakota
Advancement Project

G.Cook said...

Racism in Jena Louisiana
Listen to my interview with Alan Bean, an activist who was in the courtroom during the trial
http://www.letstalkhonestly.com/raceinamerica.html
On June 28 2007 a young black defendant Mychal Bell was found guilty of aggravated assault against a young white man by an all white jury despite conflicting testimony from witnesses. Alan Bean talks about the things below:

The weekend before the assault took place nooses were hung on a tree.

The Prosecutor threatened black students about protesting the nooses

A black man was assaulted, no charges were brought up.

During the trial the public defender put up no defense after the prosecution rested it's case.

Listen to the interview and read about the case hear: http://www.letstalkhonestly.com/raceinamerica.html

dubzilla said...

This is an extremely sad case. You really wish that the justice system is blind...

web2freedom.net has a couple of good videos on there about the case.

Pray

Diana said...

I also an a Louisiana native. The Jena6 issue is not what the so-called thugs did in the past, or how they lived their lives, it's about what transpired to get it to this point.

No one should have to go through this. Hell no, I hate the noose stuff. My grandmother so often talked to me about how our ancestors were hung from trees. This sends chills through me.

I do not condone thugism, but this has no play in this particular situation. You can say what you want, but the reality of it all is that THIS IS A RACIAL SITUATION. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

I've seen it ever too often, and must call it what it is. Forget about what the boys did before, nothing that they did has any bearing on this case. Let's just look at this case, none other.

MarkNelson61 said...

I personally think these Jena6 thugs should go go jail for life. Six black kids beat one white guy unconscious then kicked him while he was out cold. They should be sent to the most brutal prison in american and have their asses beat senseless every day. If that had been 6 white guys beating up a black guy, you would see every black racist come crawling out from under their rocks. They should get exactly what they deserve; life in prison. To hell with al six of them and yes I am white.

Sheilah Thomas Davis said...

No, not all of the Jena Six are innocent. Assualt is wrong, period. I don't care if you're angry. I don't care if you feel you're jusitified. It is wrong.

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about physical violence to make a point?

I want to say that the Prosecutor should be lynched (yeah, yeah, violence is wrong but there is something sickly satisfying about that thought). He is the problem, isn't he? The prosecuter and any of his supporting cronies need to go. He is not serving the community and should lose his job.

If there are no laws against racial intimidation, there should be. Contact the lawmakers and make it so.

The pity party for the boys guilty of assault does no good. They broke the law and should be punished. Not harshly, but punished nonetheless. You don't beat people up no matter how justified you feel.

Rather than try to get these kids off the hook, maybe someone (Sharpton?) can cook up something positive for the other black kids in the community. Get together and organize a youth group, mentoring, job training, or something positive to keep kids from feeling that crime (i.e. theft, assault) is the only opportunity they have to speak out against injustice.

Just a thought.

tee said...

how is it that he was beaaten so brutally that he was not admitted to any ones hospital for further test how is it that he was able to leave as quick as 3 hours I am registered nurse and I have never saw someone considered to have been beaten brutally leave that quick and be able to attend somethimg that evening and i work in the er. Pleasse explain that. The police must commit attempted murder daily because they mase people before they beat the shit out of them and they often are sent to the hospital as well. I have saw women beat more brutally then him. If he was so unconscious it sure didn't take him long to come around. you people are funny you dont comment on the whole story just the part that interest u because forget the fact that others were jumped on off campus oh but thats off campus right. Since the noose was a prank him been brutally beaten is definitely a joke. Anytime someone expeirence a serious loss of consciousness the will never be able to go home that quick the freakin hospital can be sued if something medically happens to him.

rumors_unwanted said...

No it was not right what the jena six boys did, but neither was it right that another young black boy was beaten up by a white boy at an all white party. He was pratically jumped on just like the jena six jumped on that white boy. What is really odd to me though is that the white young man suffered no serious injuries, was released from the hospital the next day, and then he went out to have "fun". Now how does that sound like "beaten to near death"? It does not to me. When I read about how nothing happened to the white boys who hung those nooses, it didn't make me angry. It just made me realize that nothing in America has changed. Now if there were white dolls hanging from that tree and on fire, all whites in Jena would be highly upset. Even if the black kids called it a prank, whites would see it as a racist act. Yet since it's nooses which does mean something, it doesn't mean anything. It's a "funny" prank. It wasn't so funny when africans were hanging from those same trees, so why in the hell would it be funny now? Everyone down in Jena (white and black) are wrong, period. I believe that people aren't justifying the white kid being jumped on, but they are fighting an insane sentencing about to be given to these boys. 22 years to life? Are you kidding me? Yet nothing happened to the white boys who put the nooses on the tree, the white boy who jumped on the black boy at an all white party, or the white convenience store owner who pulled his shotgun on black kids entering his store.

I know racism is everywhere, but I do believe it is worser in the south particulalry the rural areas. I would never move down south, EVER. It is not a place I would want to live, nor raise a family. I wouldn't even live in a town where the majority of the people are white, and I am two of four black families living there. That is just asking for trouble. You can defend the south all you want, but I'll stay in the north. Where I live, racism has never been this bad.

Melikesem said...

um yea im not reading the long drwan out boring ass opions of ppl who dnt kno wat they r talkin about but NICK..you know what it feel like to be black how...?

FromJena said...

Just wanted to let everyone know who still reads this, you can form your OWN opinion through the eyes of the eye witnesses who filled out statements for the Jena 6 case. I've taken the liberty of scanning the eye witness statements and put them online with the efforts of a blog owner. I scanned them from the courthouse.

Google "Jena 6 documents" then click on the Evangelical Outpost link. It should be the first one.

I'm from Jena. I know some people who saw certain events, I've read the eye witness statements, I experienced what happened when the media swarmed this little town I grew up in and I will say this:

THEY GOT IT WRONG! Most of the "facts" that were initially released were disseminated by Alan Bean, who interviewed the Jena 6 and their parents and spit their story out to the press as fact. If you'll read these statements, you'll notice many things never mentioned in the media, like:

1. Robert Bailey, the "black kid that got beat up by a bunch of white kids", never said ANYTHING in his statement about a beer bottle being cracked over his head, nor was he admitted to the hospital. And if you'll read his statement, EVEN WHAT HE SAYS contradicts how the media has portrayed it.

2. Only ONE PERSON who witnessed the fight says that Justin Barker said the "n" word. That person was Mychal Bell. If you'll read his statement, you'll notice that he also states he was within arm's reach of Barker trying to help him out, yet names NO names of the attackers. Then he pleads guilty for his part in the crime.

3. There were TWO NOOSES hung in the tree, not three. So there were 3 black students who sat under the tree, but two nooses. The students who hung the nooses have never been in trouble with the law. Their punishment was alot harsher than initially reported. They underwent counseling, they were suspended, had a long bout of in-school suspension, then had several Saturday detentions. The counselor who worked with them said that she believes racism was not the motivator in their actions.

4. If you've ever lived in Jena, you'd bust out laughing if someone called this tree the "white tree". I have PICTURES back in the early 90's when I went to school there where black students hung out around that tree all the time. This was not an "off limits" spot for black students, but it was typically where white students congregated. There are also places where typically black students, "band" people, the "popular crowd", and the "losers" hung out.

5. My friend, who was in the courthouse, personally witnessed an older black woman who walked up to CNN reporters and told them that Mychal Bell had thrown a bicycle tire through her home's window. That was one of his criminal damage to property charges. Did they publicize this? Of course not.

6. Mychal Bell's overthrown conviction was of an all-white jury. Nine black potential jurors were called for jury duty but none showed up. I find this situation very difficult to be considered "racist". There are only 450 black LaSalle Parish citizens out of 13,000 total.

I apologize if my tone sounds combative towards Jena 6 supporters, but keep in mind many thousands of people marched through my tiny town of 3,000 chanting "Black Power!!!" If you are black and I marched through your neighborhood chanting "White Power!", how would you feel?

It's very simple:

The initial media reports regarding the Jena 6 case were very biased and based on very little fact. The eye witness statements clearly show this. Instead of calling for a true investigation into Reed Walters' prior prosecutions to prove that he prosecutes based on race, most Jena 6 supporters decided to get angry and call for the forceful release of 6 individuals who CLEARLY committed a gang assault on a fellow high school student.

Freeing 6 students who violently gang assaulted another is not fair. Trying to force a DA out of office without going through the proper channels is unfair. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions.

I call for an investigation on Reed Walters and hope that he is either exonerated from the accusations or proven guilty. If he has been doing this in my parish, I pray that he never steps in a courtroom in this parish again.

But this investigation will never happen....the cycle will continue...

Some of you will read this will assume I'm racist and am defending my town and way of life. This is a fallacy. I understand the world past the hometown I grew up in and have an appreciation for all types of cultures, but when I see clear disparities between fact and fiction, I will attempt to show the world. The truth will set you free. If this will be done at the expense of you assuming I'm a racist, so be it.

Please read the eye witness statements!

God Bless!

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...