September 25, 2007

punishment misfitting the crime

"In June, on the morning of his trial, the charges against Bell were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy. The black community again protested, taking issue with the battery charge, which requires the use of a "deadly weapon" — in this case the gym shoe that Bell was wearing when he kicked Barker. District Attorney Reed Walters argued the shoe was indeed a deadly weapon."

As far as I'm concerned, a shoe can be a deadly weapon, the same as you can drown in an inch of water, same as a hand can be a deadly weapon, same as a noose can be. It all depends HOW it's used. In this case, a bunch of kids kicked another kid in the head. That's not good IF that's what happened.

What IS clear to me, is that the proof is in the pudding. If there is little enough injury to be out of the ER in 2 hours and attend a party the same night, then it's a fight. Suspend everyone (and i mean everyone) involved and call it a day. Maybe get some Smart People involved at the school to work out the racial bullshit that precipitated the fight. Not mandatory. Probably smart.

But that's not what happened in Jena. And it's not ALL that happened. And that is the problem.

Shelley points out some other interesting facts on the racial tension leading up to the Big Event:

A black student was beaten at a social function, and no one was charged. The DA goes into a hastily-called assembly and, looking directly at the African-American students, warns them that he can end their life with the stroke of his pen.

A white graduate pulls a gun on three black students who take the gun away and no charges are brought against the white grad, but the students were charged with theft when they didn't give the gun back.

A white student taunts a black student beaten at a party and is jumped and beaten by six African-American students. Fox News points out that Justin Barker went to the hospital and was released the same day, attending a ring ceremony and social function that same day.

The DA charges those guilty of the attack with aggravated assault, and, when certain teachers and locals object, he ups the charges to attempted second-degree murder.

It's not that Bell isn't innocent. He's NOT innocent, in my opinion. It's that the punishment doesn't fit the crime, and THAT's what justice typically means for Black men in America. The unattainable bail ($138K in this case), the sub-par representation, the overblown charges, the all white juries. It is a standard matter of course, and the only thing that surprises me is how many people are surprised.

And I say IN AMERICA. Not in THE SOUTH. Because you north easterners and you californians and you bread basketians all know that this isn't a North/South thing. Just visit your local "inner cities" as many of you like to call them. Or your prisons. Same diff. You bet.

SEE ALSO: Frank and Shelley.