Friday, September 14, 2007

Actual, For-Real, No Shit Good News

Looking up

Mychal Bell is no longer looking at 20+ years in Angola.

His aggravated battery charge was thrown out of court.

This is excellent news. Bell is one of the "Jena Six," a group of African-American students in tiny Jena, Louisiana, who got in a fight with some white kids after some shit that even I was surprised to hear about. Jena, by the way, is in cracker Louisiana, not Cajun Louisiana. Earlier in the school year, a few black kids sat under a tree whose shade had traditionally only been enjoyed by white kids. Sounds silly, right? Wrong. This shit is dead serious. Informal segregation over the pettiest shit is still very common all over the US, not just down South. However, the response by some of the white kids was fucking shocking. The next day, three nooses were hanging from the tree.

Fucking nooses

That is an un-fucking-mistakable message in a place where, in living memory, lynching was common.

The kids who hung the nooses were suspended for a few days.

Some days later, in what may be an unrelated incident (and if a frog had wings he wouldn't hit his ass every time he hopped), these six children were indicted--originally for attempted murder--for beating up a white child at school. Bell was tried and convicted of aggravated battery. By an all-white jury. Really. He could've gotten 22 1/2 years in prison.

This is only a thumbnail sketch. If you don't know all about what happened in Jena, read up on it. The Group News Blog, for one, has been on this story since the beginning.

Charges against two of the other six boys have also been reduced. The other three charges need to be changed, but this is a very, very good start. I thought that, when you got in a fight at school, you got a few days' suspension. They shouldn't even face juvie charges for this shit.

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