"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Moral Equivalence 

Remember James Byrd, Jr., the black man lynched by three Texas crackers in 1998? If you will recall, he was dragged behind a pickup truck for about three miles, and (according to autopsy results) died only when his arm and head were ripped from his already-broken body. One of the murderers - a charming specimen named John William King - later bragged about the crime, writing "Regardless of the outcome of this, we have made history. Death before dishonor. Sieg Heil!"

Anyway, the prosecution and subsequent conviction of Ken Lay was just like that (emphasis supplied):
"I am glad to have known Ken Lay and glad that he was willing to reach down and touch people like me," said the Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. "Ken was a rich and powerful man, and he could have limited his association to people who were likewise rich and powerful...."

More than 1,000 mourners gathered at First United Methodist Church, where Lay had been a member. They included friends, former Enron employees and erstwhile dignitaries, including former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and ex-Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, who collapsed just before the service began and was taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

Lawson likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching," said Lawson, who predicted that history will vindicate Lay.

His comments, met by hearty applause, referred to Lay's recent federal trial on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from Enron's unraveling in 2001 and four charges of bank fraud. Lay had planned to appeal his conviction and was awaiting sentencing when he died.

Yes, the two incidents were exactly the same, except for being completely different.

 

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