Saturday, August 15, 2009

The "Jena 6". Where Are They Now?

Remember the outpouring of affection for the six guys who beat up a white kid in Jena, Louisiana in 2006? The offenders weren't bad, they were just misunderstood right? And the charges against them were obviously racially motivated. At least that's what Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have us believe. The Six young criminals became celebrities appearing as presenters at awards shows, walking the red carpet and chatting it up with their favorite rappers. You know, as a reward for kicking someone's ass. They were the subjects of a song by John Mellencamp. Their cause was hyped as being of enormous relevance to the never-ending conversation on race in America. "Free the Jena 6" replaced "Bush Lied Many Died" as the favored rallying cry of liberal activists and unwashed hippies. And they got their wish. The Jena 6 served no jail time. It was actually only a brief reprieve for most of them though. What? You thought that these upstanding youths would take the fawning media coverage and use it as an opportunity to do something positive with their lives? Where's the fun in that? No. Here's what these civil rights icons did:

-In February 2007, Jesse Ray Beard was accused, and subsequently convicted and sentenced for simple battery, simple criminal damage to property less than $500 and simple assault. He received a suspended sentence of incarceration, and was placed on house arrest.

-Bryant Purvis, aged 19, was arrested on February 7, 2008 for an assault causing bodily injury on a fellow high school student in Texas, where he now resides. Purvis was placed on probation for a year and required to do community service for the offense.

-Corwin Jones, by then aged 19, was arrested on May 10, 2008 in LaSalle Parish on a charge of misdemeanor simple battery, stemming from an incident three days earlier in which the Sheriff's Department alleges that Jones struck a man from behind as several people, including Jones, came towards the man and his friends, with Jones' companions carrying baseball bats. Jones had previously been arrested on January 24, 2008 on a trespass-related charge.

-On May 10, Mychal Bell was stopped in Olla, Louisiana for speeding and not having proper vehicle insurance while on a weekend pass from his sentence. Bell was not supposed to leave Monroe, Louisiana during the pass. On December 24, 2008, Bell was arrested and charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest, and simple assault. According to police, Bell was caught as he and another male attempted to steal $370 worth of clothing from Dillard's department store. While being arrested, he reportedly fought back against a security guard and off-duty police officer. He was released on $1,300 bond. On December 29, 2008.

So in reality, the freedom granted to the Jena 6 was little more than a pause to what is sure to be their lifelong journey through the criminal justice system. These were not good kids. Locking them up for their brutal beating of Justin Barker could have prevented their future crimes. The mistake that the Left has continuously made throughout the years is that they see racial injustice everywhere and show sympathy for criminal behavior in order to fight the perceived injustice. This mindset is completely counterproductive to not only the goal of true racial equality, but also to the goal of maintaining a criminal justice system that effectively deters people from engaging in criminal activity.

But, I understand how a young person could think: 'Hey, the first time I assaulted an innocent person I got to hang out with "Ice Cube". People marched in the streets in support of me. If I do it again maybe I'll get to meet Kanye West.'

Too be fair two members of the “Jena 6” have somehow managed to avoid being thrown in the backseat of a red and blue since 2006. That means that 33% of the “Jena 6” have not made the people who stood up for them look like fools. That’s about the same level of support that Obamacare will have by the end of the month.

Next time the Left and the race-baiters in the NAACP and other outdated civil rights organization feel like throwing a race based temper tantrum, they should try to make sure that the anger and protests are not being held in support of degenerates. America hates racism, but most Americans also hate crime. Please stop making us choose between the two.

"Jena 6" member Robert Bailey Jr. putting the money donated to the "6", by sympathetic supporters, to good use.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Health Care Debate: Where It Stands And How We Got Here

We’ve really never seen anything like this before. The anger being exhibited at the various town hall meetings around the country is absolutely fascinating and has no parallel in my lifetime. A lot of people are exceptionally angry and scared and their anger is genuine, their fears warranted. Some conservative leaders and protesters have used language to define the Obama health care plan, that is less than diplomatic and even exaggerated. I wouldn’t have chosen the term “death panels” for example. But that term has its basis in an actual part of the Obama plan. It is not “misinformation” as some on the pro-Obamacare side have deemed it.

When we look back at this, many will say that all of the screaming and anger aimed at our congressional representatives could have been avoided had Barack Obama himself simply done a better job of explaining his plan to the American people. I don’t believe so. Obama attempted to explain the plan in a way that made it sound as harmless as possible. He dressed up the plan with promises that were false, like “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” and made unbelievable promises of shrinking deficits and expanded choices. What Obama thought was, that the type of talking points which he had used so successfully during the campaign would work when it came to a piece of legislation as complex and consequential as reforming the US health care system by implementing an massive new government entitlement. He thought wrong. Obama underestimated the American publics ability to understand the ramifications of a public plan. He thought that by using words, like “competition” and “choice” as much as possible that eventually people would come to think that the Obama plan would deliver these things.

What those supporters of the plan who have decried the recent spread of “misinformation” are failing to acknowledge is that many conservatives were raising the same concerns and issuing the same warnings about the Democrat’s intentions, long before these town hall meetings began. Our concerns were not met with Democratic explanations as to why our fears were unfounded. They were met with talking-points and carefully worded rhetoric that did not match the reality of what common sense would dictate the actual long-term results of the plans implementation would be.

As a result, the Democrats are now relying almost solely on vilifying the behavior of the opposition to ensure the plan’s passage. They are no longer trying to explain away the people’s concerns, because they can’t. They know that these concerns are valid and based in the actual proposals that have been put forward by the Democrats. Polls are showing that this tactic is not working.

A lot of folks on the Left have been mocking the common protester cry of “I want my country back.” If any statement made by the protesters lacks merit, it is this one. The United States has not been radically altered. Yet. But if Obamacare passes in its current form, and results in the massive changes to our economy and overall standard of care that conservatives genuinely believe it will result in, then Americans will have a legitimate reason to “want their country” back. Unfortunately, with the Democratic plan firmly in place, it may be too late.

-Dan Joseph

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