Showing posts with label Jena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jena. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Losing at hangman

Click picture for video.

One month after Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo (R-Third Reich) proposed paying welfare mothers to have their tubes tied. . . .

One year after the upheaval and protests in Jena . . . mostly about the evil symbolized by the hangman's noose. . . .

One generation -- almost -- after Louisiana narrowly turned back a neo-Nazi's gubernatorial bid.

ONE-HALF CENTURY after the first cracks appeared in the foundation of Jim Crow . . . we cease to be surprised that profound acts of hatefulness and bigotry still happen with some frequency in the Gret Stet -- my home state. In a land that never learns, it's not difficult to see why those of its children who have learned a thing or two keep heading for the exits.

This little story from WAFB television in Baton Rouge, I think, tells an important part of a much, much bigger story. The one about how sin -- especially "America's original sin" -- makes you stupid, and stupid makes you dead. In the fullness of time.

Especially if you're Louisiana,
which already has issues with stupid.

Reports Channel 9:

Trash talk over college football has led to the first arrest ever in East Baton Rouge parish under a new state law making it a crime to intimidate using a hangman's noose.

Reggie Drummer, an employee at the engineering firm of Louis J. Capozzoli in Baton Rouge, says he and another co-worker were "trash talking" last week about the upcoming LSU vs. Georgia football game.

"Another guy was bragging for LSU, and of course I was rooting for Georgia at the time," Drummer recalled. "It was just all friendly and trash talking."

Drummer says he was told that if Georgia won the game, he would have a surprise waiting for him Monday morning.

When Drummer arrived for work Monday, he says he found a hangman's noose.

"I noticed the noose on the ground. I asked him about it, they all laughed at me like it was a joke," Drummer said. Drummer then called police.

An East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy who responded to the call wrote in his report that employees at the business "witnessed the accused making the noose earlier in the morning."
YOU'D THINK people with average consciences would be appalled. Stunned. Angry at the redneck mouth-breathers who would pull such a nasty stunt and call it a "joke."

If you would, you don't know my home state. Here's the first comment out of the combox on the Channel 9 website:

This is a joke, right? I have a friend that just had to quit her job because the new owner is African American...she was being discriminated a BAD way! I am so sick of people going overboard on the race issue...get a life...get real...who cares??? We are discriminated against just as much, we just aren't allowed to complain about it!!!
AND HERE'S another one, which also ties into that "issues with stupid" thing:

I think that on the whole, white people in Baton Rouge are tired of reverse racism. I think that the noose arrest is rediculous. If this were a state other than a southern state, I have to wonder if we would even have this discusion.
WHY DO I feel a Randy Newman song coming on?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jena: The gift that keeps on giving

The latest installment in Nooses Across America, this time from the Omaha World-Herald:
The U.S. Army Reserve is investigating allegations that an officer hung a noose in the Council Bluffs office of an African-American sergeant and Iraq war veteran, Army officials said Friday.

Sgt. Tiffany Robinson filed a complaint alleging that her commander, 1st Lt. Harold Hessig, a part-time reservist who also works as a Bellevue police detective, left a rope tied in a noose hanging from a pipe in their office in October.

Robinson, who served in Iraq with the Reserve's 784th Transportation Company, requested transfer to a new assignment, saying she felt that her civil rights had been violated.

"I felt it very offensive and psychologically damaging. I don't feel safe," she wrote in the complaint sent to Army Reserve officials.

Except to confirm that an investigation is in progress, Reserve officials declined to comment Friday.

"There is a formal investigation into these allegations that is currently under way. Until that is complete, we can't comment on the case," said Lt. Col. Kathy Klein, spokeswoman for the Reserve's 89th Regional Readiness Command in Wichita, Kan., which oversees Nebraska Reserve units.

Hessig did not return calls to the Bellevue Police Department seeking comment. A home phone listing for him had been disconnected.

Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey said that in light of the Army investigation, the department has opened an internal investigation into Hessig's actions. He remains on duty while the inquiry continues, Stacey said.

In Hessig's 7½ years with the Police Department, no complaints have been lodged against him, Stacey said. He said Hessig had compiled an "exemplary record."

Stacey said Hessig left the department in 2004 to serve with the Army Reserve in Afghanistan, returning in 2006.

"I'm a little shocked they'd consider him at the center of this," the chief said. "I think they'll probably find out they've got the wrong guy, but that's what investigations are for. We'll find out."

According to her complaint, Robinson walked into her Reserve office in October to find Hessig and another soldier fashioning a noose out of a piece of rope that Robinson had found earlier in a file cabinet.

Robinson said she felt uncomfortable and left the office but "brushed it off" after she returned and didn't see the noose anywhere.

She said she found the noose hanging from a heating pipe in the office the following Monday.

"I don't know what the intentions were behind it or if it was racial at all, but I am very offended. I don't feel safe at home or at work," Robinson wrote in her complaint. "I don't think Lt. Hessig would intentionally do anything to hurt me, but under the circumstances I can't be 100 percent sure."

Robinson said she received several apologies from Hessig but that his attempts at reconciliation began to worry her when he showed up unannounced at her home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jena's gift to the world: Lynch-mob chic

Just think, the high-school kids who started the hottest fashion accessory for White Power Nation only got a suspension after they hung those first nooses from Jena (La.) High School's "white tree."

But their sick handiwork has struck a sick chord among whack jobs and redneck idiots across the land. The latest noose sighting is just across the state from Jena, as reported by The Shreveport Times, is at the LSU Health Sciences Center:
A worker found a noose hanging at LSUHSC-Shreveport on Wednesday morning, the same day the new LSU System president made his first visit to the campus. The rope was in a break room and had a noose on both ends, hospital administrators said.

Only certain workers can enter the room, a prepared statement says. Chancellor and Dean John C. McDonald would not say who can enter.

System President John Lombardi, who took the helm in July, likened hanging the noose to a hate crime. He said the act is "reprehensible and will not be tolerated." A federal investigation is ongoing, McDonald says in a release. LSUHSC administration refused comment on any other specific questions. The Western District of the U.S. attorney's office did not return a
Times phone call for comment.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING as personal -- or private -- sin. Sin is a cancer; it metastasizes.

Sin is a big rock thrown into a tranquil pond; there are ripples.

And if the sin is ugly enough, and if a community puts up with it enough -- enables it enough -- it can have "legs." It can run amok. Just like those nooses hung from the "white tree" in a Louisiana backwater called Jena.

UPDATE: Here, from the USA TODAY editorial page Oct. 5, is one of the best things I've read on the whole Jena mess.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mr. Mellencamp is right. And people are mad.

This episode of the Revolution 21 podcast goes out to those people who, seven years into the 21st century, have firm convictions that any questioning of the "justice" occurring in Jena, La., is worth "f*** you and f*** Mychal Bell" or ungrammatical assertions that you're on the side of rampant criminality.

OF COURSE, for many of these folks, I'm sure the all-black Jena Six's so-called rampant criminality equals "boys will be boys" when the schoolyard fight is an all-white affair.

In other words, we're going to hear John Mellencamp's brand-new release, "Jena." The one that's got the town's mayor so darn mad, not to mention so much of the right-wing universe railing against "liberal rock musicians."

After all, isn't the White Right rather proving Mr. Mellencamp's point with their overreaction and venom?

Otherwise, we've got a pretty diverse show for you this week -- as usual. Not to mention a sweet "little" set of tasty tunes.

It's the Big Show, and it's designed to rock your world. One way or another.

Be there. Aloha.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jena's strange fruit spreads across the land

This is a story about how there is no such thing as private sin, or sin that stays between what we think of as "the offender" and "the offended."

This is a story about how sin is a great big rock, and how dirty, rotten sinners (and that would be all of us) take that big rock and pitch it in the pond, just for the hell of it. And then big ripples spread across the water's surface from the splashdown point.

upend little Johnny's little boat, prompting little Johnny to take out his frustration on his little sister. Which causes little Johnny's dad, upset that the commotion has disturbed his peace and quiet -- not to mention his fishing -- to beat the hell out of both of them.

Then, little Johnny's mom, upset that her old man has flown off the handle again, starts to think that maybe this is the last straw, that she ought to take the kids and leave his sorry ass.

Now consider that the nooses that hung from that schoolyard oak tree in Jena, La., constituted a damned big rock, and it made a damned big splash. And consider that the idea of responding to a black kid wanting to sit under the "white tree" with hangman's nooses -- a potent reminder of all the "strange fruit" that's hung from Southern trees throughout history -- doesn't come from nowhere.

Consider that it does take a village to raise a child, and that when it comes to hating your fellow man, you've got to be carefully taught.

The ripples from the sins of some hateful rednecks in Jena, La., suddenly start to resemble a hurricane on the open sea.

as The Associated Press reports:

In the months since nooses dangling from a schoolyard tree raised racial tensions in Jena, La., the frightening symbol of segregation-era lynchings has been turning up around the country.

Nooses were left in a black Coast Guard cadet's bag, at a Long Island police station locker room, on a Maryland college campus, and, just this week, on the office door of a black professor at Columbia University in New York.

The noose - like the burning cross - is a generations-old means of instilling racial fear. But some experts suspect the Jena furor reintroduced some bigots to the rope. They say the recent incidents might also reflect white resentment over the protests in Louisiana.

"It certainly looks like it's been a rash of these incidents, and presumably, most of them are in response to the events in Jena," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacists and other hate groups. "I would say that as a more general matter, it seems fairly clear that noose incidents have been on the rise for some years."

Thousands of demonstrators, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, converged on Jena on Sept. 20 to decry what they called a racist double standard in the justice system. They protested the way six blacks were arrested on attempted murder charges in the beating of a white student, while three whites were suspended but not prosecuted for hanging nooses in a tree in August 2006.

The noose evokes the lynchings of the Jim Crow South and "is a symbol that can be deployed with no ambiguity. People understand exactly what it means," said William Jelani Cobb, a professor of black American history at Spelman College in Atlanta.

He said the Jena incident demonstrated to some racists how offensive the sight of a noose can be: "What Jena did was reintroduce that symbol into the discussion."

Though the terror of the civil rights era is gone, the association between nooses and violence - even death - remains, Potok said.

"The noose is replacing the burning cross in the mind of much of the public as the leading symbol of the Klan," Potok said.
I DON'T WANT TO HEAR a word of complaint from Jena's mau-mauing mayor about how John Mellencamp done went and did his town wrong. What's happened there -- and spread far and wide -- doesn't come out of nowhere, and I think we all have a pretty good idea about the origin of the sparks that lit a thousand fires.