Notes from around the Human Experience…
YAWN…HERE WE GO AGAIN: We weren’t completely thrilled with our reaction to the headline proclaiming Lamar Johnson, a black man, of course, had been released from prison in Maryland after serving 13 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
This isn’t news of course. Black men are released from prison for crimes they did not commit left and right in this country. Which is the problem because when we saw the headline we merely shrugged at the length of time he served: 13, almost 14, years. Regular readers of this crap know – know! – this isn’t all that long for a black man in the United States to be incarcerated for a murder he didn’t commit.
Johnson, of course, got off easy. Some innocent people who have been released were barely getting their sea legs after 14 years.
We remember when the innocent being released started making news a few years back when men were being released after 20-25 years behind bars. Wow, we thought, that sure is a long time to be locked up for something you didn’t do. Then the time served started getting longer. Soon 30 years became the standard and earlier this year we wrote about two men – Cleve Heidelberg and Ledura Watkins – who were released after 47 and 41 years respectively behind bars for murders they didn’t commit.
Dry, Technical Matter: Johnson was found guilty of shooting a man in 2004 despite the utter lack of evidence and motive. Johnson was convicted based on testimony that said he resembled the shooter.
Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: Unfortunately this issue is not on most people’s radar. We made it one of three pillars – along with minor details like peace and low taxes – of our 2016 campaign for the United States House of Representatives, but we appeared to be the only ones that cared. It’s understandable because voters like to talk about issues that affect them and, frankly, most of us don’t have to worry about going to prison for something we didn’t do.
The Bottom Line: But convicting the innocent should be on the radar of every single one of us. Convicting the innocent has no place anywhere and especially not in a nation conceived in liberty. That it happens regularly should cause all of to go stand in the corner and hang our heads in shame.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Benedict Arnold, his plan to turn the fort at West Point, New York over to the British exposed, flees to the British a bit earlier than planned on this date in 1780.
British army Major John Andre, a compatriot of Arnold’s, had been arrested by the Americans the day before and Arnold had received news of Andre’s arrest that morning while he was, of all things, waiting for General George Washington to join him for breakfast. Arnold fled, taking a barge down the Hudson River to a British warship. Arnold would be commissioned a brigadier general in His Majesty’s army and would return to England after the war. He died in 1801.
All Rise: The Congress passes the Judiciary Act of 1789 on this date in 1789. Among other things, the Act provided for a chief justice and five associate justices of the Supreme Court and created the office of the Attorney General as, well as assorted judicial districts and circuit and district courts.
Get Out Your History Books: Babe Ruth, then of the Boston Red Sox, breaks the major league record for Most Home Runs in a Season, hitting his 28th of the season at the Polo Grounds in New York City on this date in 1919. Ruth broke the record of 27 established by Ned Williamson of the Chicago Cubs, then known as the White Stockings, in 1884.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Ruth’s home run came in the 9th inning and tied the game 1-1, though the New York Yankees would win the game 2-1 in 13 innings. Both teams were safely out of the race for the American League that would be won by the Chicago White Sox.
Oh Yeah: Ruth would break the single-season home run record two more times, the following year, 1920, when he would hit 54 and in 1927 when he hit 60.
No, I Guess We All Just Can’t Get Along: President Dwight Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas to help integrate Central High School on this date in 1957.
Nine students, whom History refers to as the Little Rock Nine, had been enrolled at Central High School but had been prevented from entering by Governor Orval Faubus, who earlier in the month had mobilized the Arkansas National Guard.
Times were not easy for the Little Rock Nine. They were beaten and spat on and one had acid thrown into her eyes. Governor Faubus was so pissed off he shut down all Little Rock high schools for the following school year.
Be All That You Can Be: There would be a military presence at Central High School until May 1958.
Quotebook: The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in the person’s determination. – Tommy Lasorda
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The English and French monarchs at the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453 were Charles VII of France and Henry VI of England.
Today’s Stumper: Who was the first Attorney General of the United States? – Answer next time!