Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jena not quite as it seemed

Martin Luther King TalksWe must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools... Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sober fact checking after the circus left town found that the whole Jena incident was, in the words of one black citizen, no downright, racial affair, despite remaining questions. The AP report- read it, it's good work- includes these facts:

The “white” tree at Jena High wasn't. All races congregated under it at one time or another.

Two nooses were found in the tree and cut down because black and white students “were playing with them... swinging... and putting their heads through them,” according to a black teacher.

There was no connection between the September noose incident and the December attack, according a U.S. Justice Department attorney who investigated claims that the events might be race-related hate crimes.

Youths accused of hanging the nooses were not just suspended for three days; they were isolated at an alternative school for about a month, and then given in-school suspension for two weeks.

The six-member jury that convicted Bell was, indeed, all white. However, only one in 10 people in LaSalle Parish is African American, and though black residents were selected randomly by computer and summoned for jury selection, none showed up.

Agreement can be found among black and white townsfolk that young troublemakers of both races got out of hand. Authorities didn't respond as wisely as they might have but are muddling through. Hanging the nooses was wrong, the beating was dangerously wrong, and those responsible for any outrage like these should be punished severely regardless of race. Jena is no Eden, but people there are communicating a little more frankly than they were before this all happened and are on the way toward solving their problems.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other race-baiting carpetbaggers seeking to profit from the tribulations of others should leave the good folks of Jena alone to continue learning to live together, as we all are. Let them seek elsewhere for sensationalism to jumpstart their dead careers.

What's the count, gents? The Tawana Brawley affair was strike one. It's a swing and a miss in Jena. The folks in the bleachers are keeping score.