Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Answer is "NO," Cash.

In his column for the week of August 24-30, 2006, Cash Michaels wondered, SHOULD BLACKS TRUST D.A. MIKE NIFONG?

The answer is "NO," Cash, my friend, and you know it. We know it. The whole nation now knows it. And it's high time you shouted it to your core constituency, including the African American voters of Durham County.

Some African American commentators have known it for a lot longer.

James Coleman shouted, in June, that

Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement. This is the only way to restore some degree of public confidence in the handling of the case. Up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case...

Someone with professional detachment and unquestioned integrity must review the case and determine whether the evidence against the three students warrants further prosecution. That would serve the best interest of the alleged victim, the three defendants and public.


Either he knew what the facts were and misstated them, or he was making them up. Whether he acted knowing they were false, or if he was reckless, it doesn't matter in the long run. This is the kind of stuff that causes the public to lose confidence in the justice system.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson knew then, too:

This case has exposed the sad and pathetic condition of the black community. Most blacks are so race conscious that they’ve already convicted these white players. This is a sad commentary about the state of blacks and their outlook on race. Until blacks acknowledge their own racism toward whites, they’ll continue to side with evil—just as they did in the Tawana Brawley fiasco and the O.J. Simpson case.

The DA in this case misled the public about the evidence and exploited the anger and racist sentiments of some of Durham’s black population for political gain. It’s a shame that black people have once again allowed themselves to be used by a liberal Democrat. This DA has no case and should withdraw the charges immediately.

Thomas Sowell knew it even earlier:

The worst thing said in the case involving rape charges against Duke University students was not said by either the prosecutor or the defense attorneys, or even by any of the accusers or the accused. It was said by a student at North Carolina Central University, a black institution attended by the stripper who made rape charges against Duke lacrosse players.

According to Newsweek, the young man at NCCU said that he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted, "whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past."

This is the ugly attitude that is casting a cloud over this whole case. More important, this collective guilt and collective revenge attitude has for years been poisoning race relations in this country...

Today, this young man at NCCU represents the culmination of a new racist trend promoted by current black "leaders" to make group entitlements paramount, including seeking group revenge rather than individual justice in courts of law...

Tragically, the way the Duke case is being handled, it looks as if District Attorney Michael Nifong is pandering to these ugly feelings. Legal experts seem baffled as to why he is proceeding in the way that he is because it is hard to explain legally.

It is not hard to explain politically, however. The District Attorney may well owe his recent election victory to having tapped into the kinds of racial resentments expressed by the young man at North Carolina Central University.

Now Mr. Nifong is riding a tiger and cannot safely get off. His bet best may be to let this case drag on until it fizzles out, long after the media have lost interest. His extraordinary postponement of the trial for a year suggests he understands that.

In the meantime, the taxi driver who provided the first airtight alibi for one of the accused Duke lacrosse players has been picked up by the police on a flimsy, three-year-old charge, supposedly about shoplifting. He was held for five hours for questioning -- reportedly not about shoplifting, but about the Duke rape charges.

Does this smell to high heaven or what?

Jason Whitlock knew it in May, as well:

If the Duke lacrosse players were black and the accuser were white, everyone would easily see the similarities between this case and the alleged crimes that often left black men hanging from trees in the early 1900s.

That is not written to exonerate the lacrosse players of the rape allegations they face. I don’t know what happened inside that house.

But I do know that the investigation, the posturing by black activists and the political gains by the district attorney — Mike Nifong won his democratic re-election bid on Tuesday — make me uncomfortable.

Seriously, this case seems like an updated re-enactment of "To Kill a Mockingbird."


If this were 1940, an angry white lynch mob would then gather at the scene of the alleged crime and promise to dole out justice to anyone they suspected of playing a role in the crime. In 2006, mixed-race prayer vigils and protests were held, and black community activists pressured the district attorney to dole out justice to anyone they suspected played a role in the alleged crime.

If this were 1940, a well-meaning white group would take sympathy on the alleged victim, a mother of two, and promise her a job. The KKK would promise to protect her from those black animals. In 2006, Jesse Jackson promised the accuser an academic scholarship, and a group purporting to be the Black Panther Party promised to protect her from those white animals.

Again, I don’t know what happened inside that house.

But I do know that Martin Luther King Jr. and many, many others of all races did not die so that the poor, black and oppressed could surrender the moral high ground and attempt to inflict injustice on the privileged.

If that is indeed the game, someone needs to warn Jesse and the good people of Durham, N.C., that it’s a game that the poor, black and oppressed cannot win.

When it comes to American justice, it is foolish for black people to choose sides based on race. We’re far better served being on the side of justice at all times and complaining when it doesn’t arrive at our doorstep rather than rooting for injustice to befall the privileged.

It takes real courage to maintain the moral high ground, to avoid resorting to self-destructive violence or revenge, to hold on to your dignity, ethics and principles.

Do we understand that? Do we, black people, understand the brilliance and necessity of Martin’s dream any better than the people who despised him when he was alive and claim to love him now?

If we do, then we need to be pressuring the authorities to pursue justice in the Duke lacrosse case regardless of where that pursuit leads.

La Shawn Barber just knew it earlier still:

Many conservative, including me, said this from the very beginning. Bored white liberals and camera-hogging black “leaders” found something to keep them busy. Even before reading details about the rape allegation, however, I instinctively knew that three white boys at a party did not rape a black stripper. I just knew it. By now we know why Nifong pressed on with this dumb case although he had no evidence linking the players and the stripper. The hunt for the Great White Defendant was mostly media generated, but many were willing to join the hunt, too.

On the heels of 60 Minutes' unimpeachable castigation of the ongoing Nifonging of Durham County, many are speaking again. Professor Coleman, of course, was the on-air dagger through Nifong's political heart.

Whitlock has again weighed in:

The charges against the Duke lacrosse players should be dropped immediately, and the people demanding the dismissal the loudest and most forcefully should be the very people who have made a living allegedly fighting against racial injustice.

I've said this before, but it's worth saying again: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should be in Durham, N.C., today, promising civil disobedience until the charges are dropped and prosecutor Mike Nifong resigns...

It is in the best interest of all black people, especially poor black people, that black people with a voice and a platform call for an end to the persecution of the Duke lacrosse players and program.

Speaking out in support of the wealthy Duke players enhances our credibility when we claim that someone poor and black is being treated unfairly. Poor people need that credibility because they can't afford to make bail, let alone a team of high-priced attorneys.

By remaining silent about this obvious miscarriage of justice, black leadership looks as racist and cowardly as it paints white people who ignore obvious mistreatment of blacks.

La Shawn has had enough:

All the stripper-accuser had to do was point to three white faces.

And ruin three lives.

As Nifong’s case collapsed, he came up with alternative theories about condom use. The stripper-accuser said no one used a condom during the alleged gang-rape and that somebody ejaculated inside her. Yet, to account for the embarrassing DNA results, Nifong continued to contradict his own witness!

What an utter doofus...

Best of all, “60 Minutes” acknowledged that Nifong played up the race angle and pandered to blacks. I gagged once or twice as Bradley kept referring to the strippers as “dancers,” but I got it under control eventually.

Wherever the false accuser is, I hope her conscience is eating her alive. Until she rectifies this mess, which means coming forward and confessing she made up the whole thing, and apologizing to Evans, Seligmann, and Finnerty, I hope she never has a moment’s peace. I hope her lies are taking a toll on her health. I hope the damage she’s doing to innocent lives causes tenfold damage to her own.

If anyone out there still believes David Evans, Reade Seligmann, or Collin Finnerty raped a black stripper on March 13, 2006, you’re willfully deaf and blind.

And stupid.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson puts it in perspective:

The battle lines quickly formed, with black and women's groups on one side, and a slew of coaches, sports jocks, and a doubting public on the other. When DNA tests failed to link the alleged assailants to the crime that should have raised red flags.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and NAACP President Bruce Gordon should've cautioned blacks against a rush to judgment to condemn the accused without all the facts. They didn't. Their great fear is that if they rebuke blacks that abuse race to grab headlines that would be tantamount to race treason. That's a false fear. If anything, a swift and firm denunciation of the race card in rape cases would enhance the credibility of black leaders. It would show that they are willing to make the tough call and criticize other blacks when they justly deserve criticism...

There are no winners in the Duke case. The dubious allegations of rape cost the Lacrosse head coach his job. It wrecked the season for the team. It sullied the reputation of the players who appear to have been falsely accused. It inflamed racial tensions in Durham, North Carolina. It pitted black and white students against each other on the campus. It gave legions of talking head commentator's fresh ammunition to blast blacks as eternal whiners about race, and ever ready to circle the wagons and lambaste whites for real or imagined racial misconduct. It reinforced the ancient stereotype that black women are sexually loose, and if they are the victim of sexual attack, that they bring it on themselves by their profligate behavior.

In your August 24-30 column, Cash, you noted that

While many in the African-American community still very much believe that, if not a sexual assault, "something very wrong happened to the woman hired by Duke lacrosse team captains to exotically dance at their wild off-campus team party last March, there is also growing concern not only that the D.A. may have crippled his own case with public pronouncements he couldn’t back up, but may have actually known for some time he didn’t have the strong evidence he needed to successfully prove his case in a court of law.

You know, now, that nothing of a sexually assaultive nature, perpetrated by anyone, happened to Crystal Gail Mangum that early morning. You also know that, in fact, D.A. Nifong not only didn't have strong evidence to prove his case; he had none, at all.

In the same August piece, you highlighted that

The NC NAACP, which early in case made it known that it would be monitoring the investigation to make sure that it was fair to all sides, weighed in.

"The NAACP’s aim is to follow the evidence as it unfolds, reporting it accurately and fairly, always seeking justice and rebuilding community," attorney Al McSurely, chair of the NC NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, said in a statement in mid-April.

That same week, stories were flying that the alleged victim may have been slipped a "date rape" drug before she was allegedly assaulted.

You know, now, of course, that there was no "date rape" drug, as you know there was no rape. That was utter hogwash, just more race-baiting lying from Nifong. And you know it.

In fact, you knew it even then:

Nifong got that report, discovery evidence shows, in early April, so he had to know before he spoke to Newsweek that he couldn’t prove the alleged victim was drugged, except by the compromised testimony of the second dancer, Kim Roberts Pittman.

No DNA evidence connection, no tox report…D.A. Nifong’s case was being crippled more and more, and yet he continued to put on the best public face.

After all, he was in a three-way election to keep his job.

What I and, I'm sure, all of my readers would like to know is this: Why wasn't that enough, Cash? Why wasn't that enough for you to then take the brave stand previously articulated by Coleman and Whitlock and Barber and Peterson and Sowell?

We'd also like to know where NAACP attorney McSurley is now. When is he next going to "accurately and fairly" report to his membership in the interest of "justice and rebuilding community?"

You also recount the following in your August 23-30 column:

The day before the May primary, the New Black Panther Party, the militant group led by attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, held a march and rally in Durham to express outrage over the case.

Shabazz also called a concerned D.A. Nifong personally, who asked the Black leader not to make trouble during his group’s controversial visit.

During a standing-room-only rally at St. Joseph’s A.M.E. Church on the eve of the primary election, Shabazz told the audience that he was convinced the Black alleged victim was beaten and raped by members of the predominately white Duke lacrosse team, and that Nifong had the evidence to prove it.

"Duke University is too powerful. If Seligmann and Finnerty were innocent of these crimes, the prosecutor here never would have had them indicted," Shabazz told the audience. "You don’t mess with young men like that, unless you’ve got a case."

"That grand jury heard some serious, serious evidence."

But even with that analysis, the New Black Panther Party leader was skeptical about the real possibility of justice for the alleged victim.

"He better get it right," Shabazz, referring to Nifong, warned, vowing that the Panthers will follow the Duke case "gavel to gavel.

"This community will not be used by anyone."

You, and Shabazz, now well know that his impassioned rhetoric to the NCCU sheep one day before the May primary was nothing but lies. You know that the grand jury heard nothing but lies. You know that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans were indicted, and their lives irreparably altered forever, on account of those lies.

Most importantly, you, and Shabazz, both know that the African American community very well was used, very well, by a soul-less political drunk.

You asked, back in August,

Did Nifong indeed leverage Durham’s Black community outrage over the alleged racial crime to win what he thought last May would be the only election this year to the post he was originally appointed to?

You know. We know you know.

You continued:

Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law, and NC NAACP legal monitor of the case, says depending on how successful the defense motions challenging the state’s evidence are, will determine how much of it actually gets to trial.

If Judge Smith agrees with the defense and virtually guts D.A. Nifong’s evidence before trial begins, he could just drop the case at that point, Joyner says.

If the case does make it to trial, once the state finishes presenting its evidence and sworn testimony, defense attorneys can then make motions to dismiss, claiming the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof.

Again, if Judge Smith agrees, the case is over, Prof. Joyner says, and the three defendants walk.

So whatever cards Nifong hasn’t shown so far will have to become evident soon, and be strong enough to convince the presiding judge that a jury of Durham County citizens should consider the merits.

Given what’s known about the evidence so far, that would be a big "if."

You know. We know you know.

You know how you know that Nifong never had the ace-in-sleeve, the big bombshell evidence that so many, for so long, so dearly hoped would prove his horror tales of the Evil White Dukies all true?

Because Nifong didn't call a press conference on Friday the Thirteenth, knowing full well that he was 48 hours from being drawn-and-quartered on national television, to announce it. You didn't pick up the Herald-Sun on Friday the Thirteenth, or Saturday the Fourteenth, or Sunday the Fifteenth and read about the "blockbuster evidence" Nifong surely must have.

No. What you got...c'mere man, peer in on THIS for a while...what you GOT was a Nifong press conference on Monday the Sixteenth to herald...Tah DAAAAAAH...the immaculate indictment! Yes, indeedy, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of one color, less than 24 hours after being filleted before the eyes of the world, Mikey the Magnificent solves the nearly year-old-cold Alpine Road murders of four young black men.

Cash? Cash? Stop staring at the article confirming that Durham's violent crime rate has reached its highset level in four years under Nifong's 20 month stewardship. He wants you looking over here, with me, on this other page.

You are not a stupid man, Cash. You know. We know you know. Don't stand mute and, by sin of inaction, do your part to further the travesty of The Duke Three.


The answer is "NO," Cash, my friend, and you know it. We know it. The whole nation now knows it. And it's high time you shouted it to your core constituency, including the African American voters of Durham County.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Things My Father Taught Me

"Don't ever lie to me," my father would say.

Ever see Robert Duvall in The Great Santini? My father, ladies and gentlemen. Without the alcoholism. The oldest of five children raised under the rigidly expectant, impossibly strict, Bronx, pre-Vatican II Irish Catholic, middle-class, Marine Corps, there-is-right-there-is-wrong-there-is-black-there-is-white- there-is-no-gray world view of the Great Santini, I found myself able to lip-synch the continuing script as it was repeated every two years or so for the next temporarily insane up-and-coming sibling.

"There are two types of people in this world that I absolutely cannot stand and will not have in my presence," he'd hiss. "Liars. And thieves. And in my experience," I'd silently mouth along with him, "if you are one, you are the other. And no child of mine will be a liar. Or a thief.

As you get older, now, you will find yourself facing peer-pressure, and societal pressures, and plenty of opportunities to disappoint your father with poor choices made. You will not always make the correct choice. You will not always make the choice that you would have made if you had stopped and asked yourself, first, 'What would dad think of this?' I understand that. That is called 'growing up.' You're going to screw up. You're going to do things that disappoint me.

But," he'd emphasize with an intimidating lean in and squinted eye, "Don't you ever lie to me. Remember, I know everything. If you have done something wrong, something you know will disappoint me, or even make me angry, operate on the belief that I already know about it. We parents have a direct line to one another. We have eyes in the backs of our heads and the hearing of bats. If you think you might blame 'Dave,' or 'Jimmy,' or 'Mary,' you'd better think twice and operate on the belief that I have already spoken to their parents.

You might be afraid to tell me the truth. You may think I will get mad, or that you will be punished. You're right. I will. And you will. But," he'd lower his voice to a near-whisper at this part, "whatever anger or punishment you might have experienced had you looked me in the eye and told me the truth will be NOTHING compared to to the WRATH OF GOD you will experience the very first time you ever look me in the eye and LIE to me!

And remember this," he'd say, in an almost sympathetic tone, "More important than the eyes in the back of my head and my bat-like hearing is the fact that liars are always their own undoing. Liars always, in the end, give themselves away. Because, if you tell one lie, you always have to tell a second lie when questioned about the first, and then a third, to make the first two seem more like the truth. Finally, all of the lies come tumbling down like a house of cards. Knowing everything, as I do, I will see through your lies. I will question you about them. I will force you to concoct more lies. And then I will hang you with them. And you will wish you had never been born.

Your chances of fooling me with lies may be one in a thousand. And you may think youself pretty slick, at first, should you fool me. But, that real slick feeling will soon give way to a real sick feeling. Because every single time you look at yourself in the mirror after having lied to fool me, your father who loves you, you will see not only a liar, but a liar and a thief. A thief of trust. And that's not what I'm raising."

In my mid-forties now and dad to six myself, I realize that my father was absolutely right.