Well, somebody had to do it. That fool has caused more trouble…but I like the guy so, here we go.
First, for the definition issue.
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines lynching as: “to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority.”
I have read the Court’s decision. Three people are not a “mob.” A mob is defined as a “large crowd.” So there was no “mob action” because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted “under color of law.” Which means they had legal authority.
So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster’s, not true. No mob. Therefore no “mob action.” And the three had “legal authority.” So my new friend Radley “Boo” Balko over at Reason pounced…and got it wrong instantly.
Second. The larger point. My colleagues seem not to understand the connection between what they are seeing in the headlines everyday — and history. There is, I’m sorry to say, a direct connection between Southern racists of yore and, say, the Obama Administration policy in Arizona.. The Black Panther case. And what Ms. Sherrod was doing in her speech when she ever so casually linked criticism of health care to racism, which is to say not supporting a (her words) “black President.”
This is all of a piece. Intimately connected by philosophy, party, time, heritage and party culture.
So when Ms. Sherrod uses the highly inflammatory word “lynching” — when it is quite specifically not so because of the above reasons — what is she doing? Why is she doing it? She was factually wrong. She was legally wrong. She did it anyway.
There’s more. Later.
Phil, I was thinking about…what..7,000 words? Eight? Maybe throw in a couple more thousand and bill to Quin and John’s word count?
Seriously though, part of the privilege of dishing is taking. I dished. You dished back. Not to get squishy on us, but that is generally considered dialogue.
Oh, And Boo Radley over there Reasoning away. When can I have a retraction for…how does one say…being “shameless” and “ignorant”?
Anytime. Next time, Boo…read the dictionary AND the case.
Your pal, Atticus Lord.
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