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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pendulum

I don't follow the news all that closely. I hear the headlines, but news is like the weather: things will be different tonight. History's my thing. So all this noise about some Duke students accused of raping a stripper? -- more crap. Turns out they're innocent. But they're still being prosecuted. Hmm.

One of the special things about America is that we will not tolerate corruption. Of course there is corruption, but I feel about it the same way you feel about it -- the way we all feel about it. Even the corrupt scum hate it, in anyone else. America is great not because of some special magical quality of the air, not because we speak English or because of some happy alchemy of genes that predestined us to blessings. America is great because we have, in their inception, good and just institutions. Not perfect, since they are the product of human minds. But the best thing likely.

As an aside, let me share something I was thinking earlier today. The Constitution was flawed by its codification of slavery. The three-fifths compromise. So great an injustice. But that injustice was paid for by the Civil War, and no further debt is owed. From a combined military of 3.2 million men and boys, 620,000 soldiers were killed in that war -- from a population of some 10 million males between ages 15 and 64. Um, is that like 20 percent killed, of all soldiers? I think the sin of slavery was expiated, and the crime was punished, and the debt was paid in blood. In full. But the institutional racism that lasted another 100 years, well, that has its price too.

The specific point, aside from the inherent interest in such facts, is that the majority of Americans could not abide the corruption of the Peculiar Institution, and however painfully, wiped it out. We hate corruption. Again as an aside, I think -- if we are to remain what we have been -- we will pay the price that 50 million abortions demands of us, from the past 35 years.

Big ideas. But for all the wide sweeping tides of history that wash over us, we must notice the eddies. As at Duke University. Ann Coulter, then, looks at this so-small matter, and proceeds to tear a corrupt cop a new one. The gist of it is that lead investigator Sgt. Mark Gottlieb ... no, pardon me: lead "investigator" Gottlieb made his notes four months after he conducted the interviews. And these are the notes that the prosecution is using. The notes ... I mean the "notes" do not agree in any particular with any actual, real notes, made by actual witnesses and investigators and nurses and such like at the actual time of the real investigation. "Investigator" Gottlieb's "notes" are all harshly damaging to the innocent falsely accused boys, and did I mention that these "notes" are now the best evidence that the "prosecution" has against the falsely-accused victims I means students?

How odd. Why would Sgt. Mark Gottlieb do such a thing? Who knows. But he has "repeatedly jailed Duke students charged with minor infractions such as carrying an open beer or playing loud music, often throwing them in cells with violent criminals. He was not so tough on nonstudents, releasing one caught with marijuana and a concealed .45-caliber handgun." During the previous year, when Gottlieb "patrolled an area that included both a 'crime-ridden' public housing project and Duke off-campus housing, he arrested 20 Duke students and only eight nonstudents. During that same period, the three other officers in that district arrested two Duke students and 61 nonstudents." I'm sure there is some logical explanation. I generally avoid using words like "asshole", in these pages.

The definition of justice is an equal and appropriate response. If/since the Duke students are innocent, what must justice be? Exoneration is not justice -- it is only an element of justice. But the sword the goddess wields is double-edged, that it might fall swiftly on the guilty, or on the false-accuser.

I have not followed this case. It's just more hatefulness. I know already how hateful the world is. But the prosecutor, and the sgt., and the accuser, all seem to be criminally liable. Will there be justice, here, then?

No, of course not. The dire fate that was laid up for the falsely accused innocent will not befall the corrupt officials. The hoard of torch-bearers and pitchfork-carriers who cry out for blood, any blood, so long as it flow from the right sort of victim -- guilty, innocent, no matter -- they will not be chastened by correction.

There is no justice.

That's what hell is for.

This, then, and alas, is the ugly and too-high price of institutional racism. The innocent suffered then, and the innocent suffer now. Such equity diminishes all of us. OJ justice is not justice. Let the guilty be punished. Let the innocent go free. But here the pendulum swings the other way, and the white scions of privileged Southern families are the new niggers, fit only for lynching. The sword of Justice, however, is not a pendulum. It must not swing mechanically. It must be precise as a scalpel. Otherwise all we have is more abortions, chopping up the innocent.



J

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