I got an e-mail earlier suggesting that perhaps this post contradicted this earlier post -- the one where I called Justin Barker's attackers cowardly thugs. To some degree my thoughts have been modified as I've read more about the case. Specifically, I read this account, which suggested that the evidence against Mychal Bell was weak, and that there were improprieties during the trial. If proven, I think that these allegations would justify a new trial. That said, I don't know whether these allegations of improprieties are true -- I found them in what is obviously an advocacy pieces, and they may not be borne out. I now think that there's some question as to whether these six guys are the ones who attacked Barker.
Nonetheless, I still stand by the two points I made earlier. It's despicable for the Jena 6 advocates to run around saying that Barker wasn't hurt very much, to try to minimize his injuries or the brutality of the attack. And, I have to add, it's a pretty lousy rhetorical strategy -- if they aren't the guys who did it, why are their partisans attacking the victim. Granted, it's not logically inconsistent to say a) the attack wasn't that serious, and b) our guys didn't do it. But "our guys didn't do it" is such an obviously-superior argument, I have to wonder why it hasn't been given more prominence.
And I continue to believe that the people who did the attack -- whoever they might be -- are cowardly thugs. I admit to some possible doubt as to whether it is these guys, but whoever it is, they're cowardly thugs.