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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

THE GREATEST COUNTRY

We're the greatest country. Yup. American exceptionalism. Can't run for president unless you believe with all your heart and christian lord fearing soul that we are different and better than mere mortals and the countries they inhabit with their ordinary bodies and souls. 

Here's an article that caught our attention. Exceptional. Gregory Orr remembers fifty years ago on June 14, 1965, when he marched in a protest in Jackson, Mississippi, one of fifty exceptional states. 

IT was 50 years ago tomorrow, on June 14, 1965, that I was arrested in Jackson, Miss., for parading without a permit. I’d driven south alone, at 18, from my home in upstate New York, as a volunteer in the civil rights movement on break from college.
I was part of a group of some 500 men, women and children, ranging in age from 6 or 7 to 80. Those arrested were mostly black Mississippians, but also white movement volunteers like me. ..
We walked two abreast on the sidewalk, a long line headed toward the Capitol. When each pair was told to disperse by a uniformed city police officer, we either did so or were arrested and then ushered onto closed trucks — all under the eyes of reporters, all calm and as civilized as such things can be. The 30 or so of us packed into our designated truck whizzed through town with a motorcycle escort, ignoring all stoplights, heading (we assumed) to the city jail.
We were wrong. When the doors opened, we faced a gathering of Mississippi highway patrolmen, each gripping a billy club. They wore blue motorcycle cop helmets, mirrored sunglasses, badges whose identifying numbers (I’d soon see) were covered with black tape. They were grinning. We were dragged from the truck and beaten — shoved and clubbed, and kicked when we fell. After about 20 minutes, the beating stopped.

If you were a woman or a child, once your paperwork was done, you were directed to the far end of this building, but each male was pointed to a small side door and told to exit. Out again, into the glare and a new discovery: I was facing a double line of about 30 troopers, and told to walk slowly between them, hat in hands. They clubbed me from both sides. The humiliation felt worse than the actual pain of wooden club against defenseless body.

Then we entered another barn. For two hours, we were clumped in a bunch, surrounded by guards who’d periodically run toward us and swing randomly with their clubs.

Hours later, we sat on the floor in the sweltering heat, waiting for mattresses, deep into the night. Sitting in rows five feet apart, bolt upright. The officers patrolled the rows. Any slouch or effort to stretch met with a swift blow or two. 

Then it happened. A patrolman stopped and loomed over a black kid next to me, who couldn’t have been older than 12. The kid was wearing a movement pin — a small, round tin thing, with one of our mottoes on it: either “Freedom Now” or “One Man One Vote,” I can’t remember.

“Swallow the thing,” he ordered again. A silent minute passed. Was the kid resisting, or was his throat so dry and clenched with terror he couldn’t swallow even if he tried? I’ll never know. By then, other officers had noticed the commotion and come over. They calmed down their comrade, who by now was shouting. They persuaded him away from his lethal insistence.

Maybe we are an exceptional country. But we are exceptional because of men like Gregory Orr and the men and women and children he marched with.  It's not the exceptionalism that republican presidential candidates are preaching to  Billy-Bob and Mary-Sue in the South Carolina primary. But nonetheless, we have some exceptional citizens. 

See You In Court. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

So let's get this straight. Typically a stickler for the conventions of grammar, you casually decide not to capitalize "Christian" in your polemic.

And you glibly engage in mocking stereotypes about white southerners' naming conventions: Billy Bob, Mary Sue, etc.

This is a great country, you argue, DESPITE these terribly stupid white rural lower-case-c christian southerners.

I eagerly await your next post about the damage that "Tyrones" and "Shaniquas" do inner-city America with the hugely disproportionate crime rate amongst African Americans.

Or your post about how Hymie, Moses and Ira -- you know, immoral lower case jews -- have overseen the degradation of the entertainment industry.

Oh wait -- you won't post that will you? Because to do so would be to generalize in the worst way, to imagine that the worst characteristics of any group represent that group as a whole. And to use mock-names and sarcastic references to religion might betray that your argument lacks any good will.

But Billy-Bob, boy is he a dumb racist christian cracker. No way he's as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as someone from, say, Pittsburgh.

South Florida Lawyers said...

So true. As always, it's important to understand courageous action in context -- were those freedom riders "communist NY Jews" interfering with states' rights and violating local rules, mores and ordinances, or were they sticking their necks out (literally) to propel the nation forward?

Which side (would you have been) on?

Rumpole said...

I don't know about you but when I wrote billy-Bob I had a picture of james earl jones in overalls in my head. Sorry you see things so black and white.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


Congrats to PD Carlos Martinez on his recent honor:

PD Carlos Martinez Named Liaison to Bar Board of Governors

Read more: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202729490787/PD-Carlos-Martinez-Named-Liaison-to-Bar-Board-of-Governors#ixzz3dFpFB1Xt

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Can we just call the shumie as to race already ?

Rumpole said...

Just curious. Why does the board of governors need a liaison? Poor people skills?

Anonymous said...

7:49, I agree with everything you wrote except the last line if you were referring to Phil R. Phil is not a hater. He is as solid a human being as there is.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Hector Guy and why does everyone keep talking about him? Why doesn't any one talk about the Mediator who is still suspended by The Florida Bar or the Court reporter's aide who got his judge removed from the bench and cost his wife an election to the FAWL board cause he is so detested? By the way the last 2 are peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I am the reference to Pittsburgh, having been born and raised in Brooklyn. My Dad's family is from Pittsburgh and I am a pirate and steeler fan- and the Pirates have tossed 4 shutouts in 5 games and have the best ERA in the major leagues and pitching does win championships…but anyway, I didn't take offense from the comment.

Anonymous said...

I have seen and heard so much bitching about the Clerk website and the security codes having to be entered.

If you create an account with the clerk and log in, it does NOT require those pesky security codes.

You don't have to spend money to do this.