Monday, September 18, 2006

Let the Great Axe Fall

"No more tears now," said Mary Queen of Scots, "I will think about Revenge."

Every place I read about the Duke Lacrosse Hoax these days...I find the anger to be palpable. Anger at Brodhead's behavior, anger at local editorial silence, anger at feckless politicians and talking heads like Nancy Grace and Wendy Murphy. Lots of anger toward the Durham Police Department. But above all, anger at DA Nifong, the high priest of the Hoax. Livid blog posts and letters to the Editor, scathing condemnations fill the commentary at websites everywhere. In truth, I've written a few of them myself. But, today, I've been thinking about the bluster and the bite... and what should come next.

Time to get practical, folks.

These young men are now in the clutches of Durham's legal system, troubling as that seems to us. Brodhead still has the key to the Duke University's Presidents office, and Ashley still has Editor in Chief after his name. Easley and allies swear they are powerless. The News and Observer editorial page remains mired in selective silence. We cannot verbally blast any of them from the blogs into action. Nancy Grace is in a spot of trouble, but she and Wendy still twist and whine for the masses daily. Yet, above all, the most egregious and offensive example of the status quo is this: Michael Nifong remains the District Attorney for Durham County. That is the utmost outrage...and yet, the one most in our humble power to change.

Let us remember some important statistics. When Nifong decided to ride the Hoax to campaign victory, he was behind Freda Black in the primary race. His Magical Media Tour was highlighted by his grim assurances of “evidence” of a racially motivated rape. The details, when first “revealed,” outraged all of us. Accordingly, his numbers climbed. After the Newsweek story contrasted his spin with sworn court documents, and the thinness of his "case" was revealed, the outrage shifted to Nifong himself. The change began. Ruth Sheehan succinctly said, as the scales fell from her eyes, "Well, you would have thought he had something." Cash Michaels has weighed in brilliantly of late...rightly demanding for the African-American community an accounting, assurances that Nifong has not "played" them in the most callous and cruel way possible...exploiting their compassion and deceiving them for votes. Yes, the important political facts to remember are these: Nifong won the primary election by a narrow margin. Since then, more Durham residents signed petitions to support Lewis Cheek than voted for Nifong in the primary election. Nifong is vulnerable. He can be defeated. And, if we want it enough to work for it, victory is ours for the taking.

But first, a short quiz about our real commitment here. First in line should be Joan…to answer truthfully herself. Answer yes to any of the following questions and there's no need for you to continue.
  • Is this rage I feel just relevant when I'm posting online?
  • Is justice for these boys and Durham really just a pastime for me?
  • Do I speak "to see my breath upon the air?"

If you are here just to vent, no need to read any further.Okay, those of you still with me...we advance to Stage 2.

It's time to put words into action. Push fury into purpose, shape outrage into a plan. "Revenge is a much more punctual paymaster than gratitude," said C.C.Colton.... and the time for payback is now. The election is just a month and a half away. Mr. Nifong, payment for the pain you caused is due. For the families you devastated, for the boys you charged before the investigation was complete. For the diverse community you sought to inflame and divide. For the citizens you hoodwinked, and the collective hearts you broke. For the real victims you dishonored, and the friends you stained defending you. For the shame you brought to Durham, and the distrust you thrust upon our justice system...For the faulty line-ups and flagrant misstatements of the facts. For all these reasons, it's time for you to go. We will channel our anger and make it happen.

Mike Nifong, it's time for you to go.

How will we do this? Start like this: Donate to Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek whatever you can, if you can. Go to the RN-VC website NOW and offer your help. Make no mistake, your money is needed to make this campaign succeed. We know how the local newspaper is covering this campaign. The RN-VC campaign must be visible to win (signs, mailings, etc.).

But there are important gifts BEYOND money. If you are a Durham resident, register to vote and encourage your friends to do so as well. Take your neighbors to register, bring them the forms from the public library, the DMV or Northgate Mall Customer Service Center, or print this form and fill it out. Return your forms to the Board of Elections by October 13th.

Speak up against Nifong at your church and your workplace, at your favorite coffee shop. Speak up against him every place you can. Write letters to the local papers to the local papers, and comment online. Remember, silence will enshrine Nifong in that office for four more years. Apathy will elect him. If you're angry, the time to speak is NOW. Find your voice.

Students at Duke, do the same. You stand to live under Nifong's special rules and Nifong's regime until you graduate. If it displeases you, register to vote. Encourage your roommate, your classmate, your teammate, your sorority sister and fraternity brother. Don't just demand change...create it. You can make this happen. Get it done.

On election day itself, Durham must be vigilant. Offer to drive others to the polls. Call and remind others of the importance of their vote. Later, you can say you were part of a historic army of regular people, who demanded a system of justice that requires evidence before indictment, investigation before charges, and truth in public pronouncements. You were part of the groundswell that demanded Governor Easley give Durham a district attorney that united, not divided the community. Somebody that all Durham could trust, a new start. We CAN make this happen.

Shakespeare wrote, "Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war." We've been crying havoc for months, time to unleash the Big Dogs. Register, recruit and reach into your pocket for Recall Nifong -Vote Cheek.

"Where the offense is, let the great axe fall," he said as well. The axe is in our collective hands. Enough with the war whoops on the blog. Get organized. Give. Let the damn axe fall.


Anonymous said...

Nifong must go!

kbp said...

I believe it is a good idea to press forward on eliminating Nifong. There are many within your group[s] that communicate ideas privately on this case. And there are many others that would probably help, such as out-of-towners like myself, that are uncertain how to help, how to communicate or receive ideas that may or may not be helpful or where a link to direct others to that might also help.

Now that I have made a small donation, I'm not clear on what the next best step would be. If there was a means for ALL interested to communicate with each other in a central location where ALL involved could be on the same page of an organized effort, I believe it would be very helpful.

There are a multitude of forums discussing this case, and you have some within your group, so if I knew one which your entire group would frequent to recieve and offer support, I'd happily jump right in to help more and persuade others to do the same.

LieStoppers said...


Thank you for the thoughtful comment. The best suggestion for people like yourself, whether in town or out of town, who have interest in helping the RN-VC effort beyond donations, might be to contact the campaign directly by sending an email to Beth Brewer at or by calling: 919.310.1147. Addressing your suggestion regarding communication and direction with RN-VC would also be well advised. In the meantime, if you're looking for something helpful to do today, the following letter appeared in the Herald Sun by a gentleman claiming to be a long time acquaintance of Mr. Nifong:

This is in response to Debrah Correll's letter of September 7.

If no rape occurred at the Duke lacrosse party, as she claims, perhaps she can tell us why 40 lacrosse players refused to cooperate with the police investigation on this case and why not one of them has come forward to support the alibis of the defendants.

If these 40 players are granted immunity and called to testify at the trial they will have no other choice than to tell us what they know. I believe a declaration of innocence for the defendants is premature.

None of the defendants have proven they were not at the scene of the crime when it occurred. They have only proven they left in a hurry because they knew they needed an alibi.

I have known District Attorney Mike Nifong for over 15 years. I have found him to be a trustworthy, honest and reliable person. He is doing what a good district attorney is supposed to do. He will get the job done.

September 16, 2006

I imagine that if this letter were a post on a messageboard, you and others would take the author to task for the mistatements and distortions presented. Doing the same with the Herald Sun thru a letter to the editor might help to correct the misinformation presented by Nifong's 15 year friend. The online submission form for the H/S can be found here:

It might also be helpful to share the letter and the link to the H/S letter form with others so they may do the same.

Anonymous said...

I am a rape victim/survivor who does not believe CGM. I have sent a letter to the DOJ about Mr. Nifong. I don't live in N.C. I can see the CGM is playing the system she has done this twice before and now may be thinking the third times the charm. Nifong must go. He can take all the dirty little Durham cops with him.

joan foster said...

To the last poster.... Bless you for your support. Nifong's hoax dishonors all the women of courage like yourself. Thank you for posting, Joan

Anonymous said...

I have been feeling "called" to organize a march shortly before the election. This would be an inclusive march for all colors and creeds who feel they have been victimized by corrupt police and elected politicians.

joan foster said...

Please contact Beth Brewer with your idea! Links to contact her are in the post. Thank you so very much! Joan

NDLax84 said...

re: 2:26 PM:

Hey, I do what I can.

TombZ said...

The secondary issue is that Brodhead must also go. He has clearly sold out Duke students to keep his faculty and the Durham public fat, dumb & happy at the expense of 3 railroaded lacrosse players.

As a Duke parent I wonder how quickly he would sell out my child if another difficult situation occurred - I guess pretty damn quickly, based on his actions at Duke and Yale. That is an awful feeling.

Letters or emails to the Board of Trustees are in order. As soon as you are abel, please send yours.

madder than a hornet said...

to Joan Foster

help me find Beth Brewer easily! I have scanned for her information and not found it.

I am ready to march on Durham

joan foster said...

Madder than a Hornet, I salute you! You can click on the link in my post Recall nifong-Elect Cheek and it will take you to Beth's website. Welcome to Team Liestopper!

Anonymous said...

The one in the Axe article works with just a click!

Anonymous said...


madder than a hornet said...

Thank you for helping me make a strike!

Anonymous said...

keep on dreaming. no one in durham is feeling those spoiled yankee brats who mistreated some local girls and are trying to get away with it. people in durham are voting for nifong. you can count on it.