Monday, June 27, 2011
Black teenage gang charged under lynching law after savage attack on 18-year-old white student
Four members of a teenage gang have been charged under a state's lynching law after allegedly beating an 18-year-old student so badly he required facial reconstruction surgery.
South Carolina prosecutors have charged the boys with second-degree assault and battery by mob, a crime which until last year was known as lynching.
The eight members of the gang, the youngest of whom is just 13, allegedly set upon Carter Strange in a parking lot as he jogged back to his home in Columbia.
They allegedly turned themselves in after surveillance footage of the gang roaming the streets in the area was released on local television.
The savage attack left Carter so badly injured his mother, Vicki, almost didn't recognise him when she saw him lying on his hospital bed. She said: 'I literally bent over him; I recognised his hand and his hair, and I said "that's my son".' He was left with a broken nose and a broken eye socket, and doctors had to operate to remove a blood clot.
Mrs Strange arrived in court on Friday with her husband, John, to watch as the eldest of the gang, 19-year-old Thyeem Henrey, was charged with second-degree assault and battery by mob, common law robbery, and criminal conspiracy.
A 14-year-old, 15-year-old, and 16-year-old appeared in juvenile court to be charged with strong arm robbery, second-degree assault and battery by a mob, and criminal conspiracy. A 13-year-old and three other 16-year-olds were charged with criminal conspiracy. They are all too young to be named.
The brutal beating happened last Sunday, when Carter, described as a 'sweet and quiet' boy, was jogging back home from a friend's house. Mrs Strange said she called him just after midnight, his curfew time. She told Channel 10: 'At 12:07 he wasn't home, I called him and said "Carter where are you?" 'He said "Momma, I'm almost home. I'll be there in just a minute." At 12:15 I called, but the phone was dead.'
The gang had allegedly been roaming around the area for most of the evening, and police said they had already tried - and failed - to rob four other people.
When they saw Carter, they allegedly ran towards him, savagely assaulted him and stole his cell phone.
Police Chief Randy Scott said: 'This teenager was minding his own business, trying to make his curfew when he was brutally attacked and robbed.'
Henrey broke down in court as Carter's parents vented their anger. Mrs Strange said: 'Since Carter didn't fight against them eight Sunday, I'm going to fight for him now. I'm going to fight for him until my last breath.'
Her husband said: 'I pray that you get your life right. Find God. If you pray for forgiveness, he will forgive you. I don't have that in my heart right now. Maybe one day, but not today.'
Mrs Strange told Channel 10: 'We got lucky he didn't die. Next person won't be lucky. If they did this now, what's to stop them from doing it again?'
Henrey remains in custody. His bond was set at $750,000.
British binmen tell old lady they won't empty her wheelie bin because her rubbish is the wrong shape
Margaret Tasker, from Coventry, West Midlands, was told refuse collectors couldn't empty her recycling bin because an ice-cream tub she'd put in it was the wrong shape.
The 66-year-old phoned Coventry City Council after her blue wheelie bin was the only one on her street not to be emptied. But she was stunned when a council worker told her that her empty ice-cream tub meant that binmen would refuse to take away any of her recycling.
Mrs Tasker, a retired accountant, said: 'I was absolutely flabbergasted. I'm always very careful with my recycling, and only ever put items in that say they can be recycled. 'I was a bit surprised when I came home and realised my bin was the only one on the street not to have been emptied.
'I had washed out the tub and put it in with my other plastic bottles. When I phoned the council, they said if it had been bottle shaped, it would have been taken.
'I only get one bin collection every two weeks as it is, and now I don't have room to recycle any of my other rubbish. 'I've always put ice cream tubs in my recycling, and no-one's ever complained before. 'I don't see why they couldn't have taken the tub out and put it in my other bin if there was a huge problem with it. 'The whole situation is a huge farce.'
But after the grandmother-of-two complained, the council backtracked - and claimed that they had made a mistake and square ice-cream tubs were now accepted for recycling. The council told Mrs Tasker they would retrain all of their staff to teach them which objects can be recycled.
She added: 'I couldn't believe my ears when they said they were going to retrain all of their staff. 'Surely all that's required is a bit of common sense?'
A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: 'We are in the process of expanding the range of things people can put in their blue-lidded bins for recycling.
'Previously, a plastic ice cream tub would not have been suitable for recycling, however, it is now, and the bin should have been emptied. 'We apologise to Mrs Tasker for the mistake and we will empty her bin at the earliest opportunity.
Genderless Swedish preschool bans 'him' and 'her'
AT the Egalia preschool, staff avoid using words like "him" or "her" and address the 33 kids as "friends" rather than girls and boys. From the colour and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes.
"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."
The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged one to six is among the most radical examples of Sweden's efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.
Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.
To even things out, many preschools have hired "gender pedagogues" to help staff identify language and behaviour that risk reinforcing stereotypes.
Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten.
"Different gender roles aren't problematic as long as they are equally valued," says Tanja Bergkvist, a 37-year-old blogger and a leading voice against what she calls "gender madness" in Sweden.
Those bent on shattering gender roles "say there's a hierarchy where everything that boys do is given higher value, but I wonder who decides that it has higher value," she says. "Why is there higher value in playing with cars?"
At Egalia - the title connotes "equality" - boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.
Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.
Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless - until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.
Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no Snow White, Cinderella or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.
Rajalin, 52, says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play. "A concrete example could be when they're playing 'house' and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble," she says. "Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on."
Egalia's methods are controversial; some say they amount to mind control. Rajalin says the staff have received threats from racists apparently upset about the preschool's use of black dolls. But she says that there's a long waiting list for admission to Egalia, and that only one couple has pulled a child out of the school.
Jukka Korpi, 44, says he and his wife chose Egalia "to give our children all the possibilities based on who they are and not on their gender."
Sweden has promoted women's rights for decades, and more recently was a pioneer among European countries in allowing gay and lesbian couples to legalise their partnerships and adopt children.
Gender studies permeate academic life in Sweden. Bergkvist noted on her blog that the state-funded Swedish Science Council had granted $US80,000 for a postdoctoral fellowship aimed at analysing "the trumpet as a symbol of gender."
Jay Belsky, a child psychologist at the University of California, Davis, said he's not aware of any other school like Egalia, and he questioned whether it was the right way to go. "The kind of things that boys like to do - run around and turn sticks into swords - will soon be disapproved of," he said. "So gender neutrality at its worst is emasculating maleness."
Egalia is unusual even for Sweden. Staff try to shed masculine and feminine references from their speech, including the pronouns him or her - "han" or "hon" in Swedish. Instead, they've have adopted the genderless "hen," a word that doesn't exist in Swedish but is used in some feminist and gay circles.
"We use the word "hen" for example when a doctor, police, electrician or plumber or such is coming to the kindergarten," Rajalin says. "We don't know if it's a he or a she so we just say 'Hen is coming around 2pm' Then the children can imagine both a man or a woman. This widens their view."
Egalia doesn't deny the biological differences between boys and girls - the dolls the children play with are anatomically correct.
What matters is that children understand that their biological differences "don't mean boys and girls have different interests and abilities," Rajalin says. "This is about democracy. About human equality."
Another day, another ban
By Alexander Philipatos, writing from Australia
Banning is supposed to be an extreme policy, used in severe circumstances with great caution. Today, however, it seems to be the first tool politicians reach for amid public protest. Our representatives are banning everything – from live cattle exports to cigarette advertising, from mortgage exit fees to swearing in public. In the time of focus group politics and governance by poll, the ‘ban’ is the new ‘in thing.’
While some may think this is harmless, the real economic and social ramifications of knee-jerk policies are repeatedly underestimated.
The recent ban on Spanish cucumbers thought to be contaminated with E. coli cost Spanish farmers $306 million per week. The suspension of live cattle export to Indonesia has already cost $10 million to the Australian Agriculture Company and threatens to shut down many smaller Aussie farmers. Melbourne’s 2am lockout trial in 2008 cost many bars and clubs thousands in lost revenue with no reduction in violence.
Of significant concern is the estimated $3 billion in lost revenue to be borne by pokies if Independent MP Andrew Wilkie gets to put limits on gambling, not counting the flow-on effects.
Apart from the retrospective economic costs of wrongheaded restrictions, there are social costs to individual liberty. Discussions of whether Ban A will reduce smoking or whether Ban B will reduce gambling ignore the fundamental issue of individual rights.
The real question is whether Australia is committed to a free society or whether we are prepared to have the government decide for us what we can advertise, how we may do business, how we manage risk and health, what mistakes we may make, and how we speak to each other.
The more the public offloads individual decisions and responsibilities to the state, the less say we have in governing ourselves.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 24 June. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.