One of my sources for my first post on the Jena Six was Kevin at Life Has Taught Us. Kevin has posted again and I think that his post plus our interchange of comments is worthy of a separate post.
Kevin @ Life Has Taught Us
"..............My second concern with the increasing number of voices rallying in support of the Jena 6 is that there has been an increasing call to "Free the Jena 6" rather than for "Justice in Jena." These six teenagers stand accused of a violent crime. They are accused not convicted. They are innocent until proven guilty. However, if indeed they did commit this crime, there must also be justice for their victim. For no matter how vile the alleged racist taunts of their victim may have been, we as a society cannot accept violence as a cure for hatred. Violence only creates more violence. Once again, in the words of Dr. King, "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
What we should strive for in Jena is justice. Yes, there should be justice for the white teenager who was beaten in this case. If the Jena 6 committed this crime, it would be an extreme injustice to allow them to go free. But, there also needs to be justice for the accused. They must be treated equally under the law. The charges against them must fit the crime and must not be biased by race or any other discriminating factor. If found guilty, their punishment must also fit their crime.
Up to this point, there has been little justice in Jena. The teenagers who started this recent outbreak of violence by hanging nooses in their schoolyard never received a punishment that fit their crime. The subsequent incidents of violence perpetrated by both white and black teenagers have been treated unequally by the justice system. And, now, six teenagers stand accused of crimes that appear disproportionate in light of the actual incident and in light of these previous incidents.
But, there is hope. And, we can make and we have made a difference."
"I understand your disappointment at the call to "Free the Jena Six". I too believe they should face and receive justice for their actions but I can also understand why so many are calling for their freedom.
There are , as you describe, two aspects to justice: firstly the "six" must receive justice in terms of the charges faced, the case itself and the sentencing and secondly others who have committed similar crimes must be treated similarly.
Therefore, even if the "six" receive justice in terms of their own actions, if others are treated more leniently for similar actions then overall the "six" have not been treated justly.
I imagine that this is the perception among many: that the white youths involved have been treated more leniently. Under these circumstances where justice is seen not to have been done; where some have either not been charged or been charged for minor crimes demanding that the "six" be freed is not unreasonable.
Both aspects of justice must be seen to be done. Without that, I imagine, the calls for "freedom of the Jena Six" will continue and with some justification."
"I do understand where you are coming from, but I can't accept that we repay one injustice with another.
I think that it would be an injustice if in fact the youths did commit an assault and they would not be punished for it. It would be unjust to the victim in spite of how vile his words may have been.
We need to push for equality under the law and that is what we have to uphold or else we are going to start an unending spiral of correcting injustices with other injustices.
I strongly support justice for the Jena 6. That is, in the charges against them, in their having fair trials, and in a fair punishment if they are guilty or in freedom if they are innocent."
"I find this issue difficult. I believe the "six" should receive justice for their actions. It would be unjust if they were guilty but were freed.
BUT - a big "but" - it is unjust if the "six" receive the deserved punishment and others get off virtually scot-free for similar actions. I imagine that it is this injustice which will drive the protest and it is understandable if this were the case.
The protestors would have a stronger moral case if they were to ask for justice for all but, if I were in their position, I would want justice for all now. The option of justice for me now but with a long wait until all received justice would be unacceptable.
Justice for me but not for all is injustice for me and is worthy of protest."