Monday, May 10, 2004

"Is it ever too late to do the right thing?"

The quote above was from Bobby DeLaughter's closing arguments in the 30-years-after-the-fact trial of the killing of Medgar Evers, which resulted in the conviction of longtime Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.

I'm happy to report it is NOT too late to re-open the investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, a black Chigaco teen killed in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white man's wife. According to this AP story:
Carolyn Bryant's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted by a jury that deliberated 67 minutes. The Justice Department never investigated the case despite appeals from Till's mother and others.

In 1956, Look magazine published an account of the slaying in which Milam admitted he and Bryant were guilty. They could not be tried again for murder because the Constitution bars prosecutors from trying someone a second time for the same crime.
The original trial was a Federal case, so the state can still press its own charges. It's good to see that there really is no statute of limitations on murder. No one should be able to get away with that, no matter how much time has passed.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

9/11 Tape "Destroyed" and Unavailable to Investigators

Would you believe that some of the most important conversations in recent history, that of the air traffic controllers regarding the hijacked planes on 9/11, were destroyed by members of the Federal Aviation Administration, even after express admonitions not to destroy any tapes from that day (and is if they should even have needed a reminder!) Truly one of the more outrageous stories I've read in a while. From today's Washington Post story:
Hours after the hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, an FAA manager at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center gathered six controllers who communicated or tracked two of the hijacked planes and recorded in a one-hour interview their personal accounts of what occurred, the report stated.

The manager, who is not named in the report, said that his intentions were to provide quick information to federal officials investigating the attack before the air traffic controllers involved took sick leave for the stress of their experiences, as is common practice.

According to the report, a second manager at the New York center promised a union official representing the controllers that he would "get rid of" the tape after controllers used it to provide written statements to federal officials about the events of the day.

Instead, the second manager said he destroyed the tape between December 2001 and January 2002 by crushing the tape with his hand, cutting it into small pieces and depositing the pieces into trash cans around the building, the report said.
And then the press blames people for conspiracy theories. If people didn't act in conspiratorial ways, crushing tapes and destroying evidence in one of the biggest crimes of our lives, we wouldn't see the sprouting of conspiracy theories as to why that was done.