Monday, March 12, 2007

March 14 Manifesto

"Turn from me now, but always hear
The muted laughter in the dew
Of that one year of youth we had
The only youth we ever knew...
Turn from me now or you will see
What other years have done to me."
- Sara Teasdale
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I know a woman who once did something many of us have done: she invited her daughter's college roommate on a family vacation. While that lovely young woman, an only child, was in the care of her family, the unspeakable happened. The roommate was murdered. It was another "perfect storm" of a tragedy like the Duke Hoax; the kind you count the steps to...over and over again. Any slight variation, any step off that fateful course, and the terrible consequences that lay ahead ... might never have come to be. But in life, unlike the movies, we have no theme music to warn us of impending doom or of evil lurking ahead. So, one family was forever shattered and another forever haunted by this random, hideous event.
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At a lunch one day, I listened as this woman went through the steps and the awful progression of events once again. There were so many "if only's". "If only" we had done this or had not done that. "If ONLY," she'd say, forever trying to understand why Fate had singled them out. Small decisions, inconsequential in the daily lives of others who sail through unscathed, now, in retrospect, seemed to her looming and large. But, in truth, everything leading up to the tragedy was very ordinary. That is what really befuddles us, and seems so unfair. Others had made and still make those same little decisions every day without consequence. There is just no way to know, to protect ourselves, or warn those we love. It is the very ORDINARY underpinnings of tragedy that are so compelling, and so cruel. We hand our child the keys to the car, we wait a day to visit the doctor, we leave the back door unlocked, we invite a friend on a vacation, we plan a Spring Break party as countless others before... and after... and around us have done as well. Most times ... nothing happens. This one time ... disaster ensues.
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Ultimately, there is no way to understand where the lightning of fate strikes or why. I suppose one just learns to accept and endure. There are no other human options.
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"The moving finger writes , and having writ, moves on.
Nor all your piety and wit, can call it back to cancel half a line.
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it."
So ... as we approach the one year anniversary of the Lacrosse team party, it might be tempting to pose our own "What if's?" and "If Only's." If only the team had never had the party, or someone other than Crystal had been given the, um-m-m, "performance obligation." If only the local and national media had provided fair and accurate reporting, instead of creating a racial fairy tale. If only the hometown and Duke faculty potbangers had resisted a rush to judgment and self-congratulation, as they created the "Castrate" signs, vigilante posters, and the infamous"Listening" statement.
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If only there had been a proper investigation, proper notetaking, proper legal procedures.
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If only there had been an ethical, honest district attorney in charge.
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One year ago, most of us thought newspapers researched the facts of a story BEFORE they reported, accepting some responsibility for accuracy. We thought university faculty would never publicly trash their own students in order to trumpet their pet theories. One year ago, we thought police took notes contemporaneously, not crafting them into a novelette months later. We thought "open discovery" meant "open discovery," not a GO Fish expedition few folks can afford. We thought district attorneys were the Good Guys searching for truth, not Media Grubs who view indictments as political ploys to win voting blocs in losing campaigns.
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Now, on these counts and more, we know differently.
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Now we know Nifong.
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Now we've experienced the Hoax.
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But, one year later,... all the "What if's" in the world won't "cancel half a line" of this sorry story. So we need a new line of questioning instead. We ask now HOW LONG must we wait for justice in North Carolina? We ask HOW LONG must we wait for justice for Collin, Reade, and Dave? We ask ourselves WHEN does this become not just Nifong's Hoax but Easley's Hoax as well? How much longer do his Special Prosecutors need to sift through Crystal's fifteen versions of events, and analyze the Lacrosse Team DNA that DOES NOT exist among all the multiple male DNA that DOES! We wonder..how much longer till we can anoint the Governor, the silent Senators, the North Carolina political elite ...all "Enablers" as well? How much longer must these families and the team be asked to bear the burden of this false, political persecution? We ask not "What if?"....we ask "WHEN? WHEN? WHEN?"
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In my heart, this anniversary brings other questions as well. I wonder about Collin, Reade, Dave, and all their teammates. What have the effects of this long year of trial and travesty meant to them? Do they now find it hard to trust in institutions and individuals alike? I pray that somehow all of them, in time, will see this year in balance. For every hostile stranger who carried a "Castrate" sign, wrote a scathing, inaccurate news story, or played fast and loose with our justice system and its supposed protections, I hope they will remember other strangers who wrote a letter of support to a newspaper, or posted in their defense on a message board, or contacted their Congresspersons demanding justice. I hope they will see that although Nifong's magical media tour duped the public at the outset,..... his (and Crystal's) "Fantastic Lies "could not withstand the onslaught and scrutiny of the "little people" who rallied to their cause. A few good reporters, a few great professors, and a bunch of bleating, beat-down-the-door blog hooligans joined together to make a Holy Uproar to expose this Unholy Hoax. For every stranger who betrayed these boys and their own intellect and principles for bigger audiences, or their own bias,... for a little more power, for a shot at a civil suit, a chance for more funding, or for a gig on some morning gabfest, there were TWO strangers who stood with them, because they cared about Truth. For every stranger who piggybacked on the Hoax tragedy to promote SOMETHING for their piggy little pockets, there were two who sacrificed by setting aside the time to support these innocent victims and our system of justice. When Collin, and Reade and Dave recount the cruelty of this year, I hope they don't forget to factor in all the legions of us who truly cared! We pray that will help somehow to assuage the hurt and balance the incredible hypocrisy.
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So, as the Anniversary approaches, we recommit ourselves to the cause ahead: to Collin, Reade, Dave, their families, and their teammates. But we abandon the "What-if's?" for all time. We forego any further apologies as well. It's been a long, sickening, soul-wrenching year. Any small initial sins have long since been redeemed by the rigorous toll of this travesty imposed on the innocent. These are three REAL young men, not convenient symbols in a half-cocked meta-storyline! It is PAST time for the Hoax to end! Justice demands it end now!
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It has been written to "beware the ides of March."
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On March 14, our patience ends.
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On March 14, this becomes Easley's Hoax.
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On March 14, it becomes apparent that justice has been denied or derailed or is politically unavailable in North Carolina.
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We pledge to redouble our efforts. We will sharpen our wits and our words. We will unsheath every social and political sword available to us.
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Blog Hooligans, ....on March 14.... as Tony Soprano might say... "We take to the mattresses."
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And as Shakespeare might add..."Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!"
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Joan Foster

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

LieStoppers wrote: On March 14, this becomes Easley's Hoax.

Governor and Attorney General are two separate and independent elected offices. The Governor has no authority over the AG and no control of his actions.

This is now Roy Cooper's hoax.

bill anderson said...

Joan,

You have done it once again. You have cleared away the muck and put these things into the proper perspective. Indeed, on March 14, it will be Easley's Hoax and Roy Cooper's Hoax. Once again, we see the State of North Carolina pursuing a hoax for the sake of trying to demonstrate that power trumps truth.

To those of you who still push this hoax, remember that none of us on the Right Side are going away. Joan, Liestoppers, K.C., Stuart, and the others are not going away. Our presence on this blog is proof that we are not going away.

Anonymous said...

Joan Foster: Here, Here! Bravo! Amen, etc!

6:41: You speak as if the Governor has no authority at all. Well, he certianly has a "bully pulpit," which he shamefully has failed to use (other than to slink off to New York and practically whisper his criticism of Nifong, after the election, when it was completely safe for him to do so).

While this also may be Cooper's hoax now, it also is Easley's.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Joan. Thank you! sst

Anonymous said...

I wrote the 6:41 post. I am not impressed with either Easley or Cooper. They are both weasels, but Cooper is the weasel with the power to dismiss this case today.

In another state, I once worked for an AG. You might be surprised how little contact there is in most states between the governor and the AG. They have very different jobs and responsibilites with little overlap.

Also, anytime you have two elected officials you have a potential political rivalry -- for example, they might both have their eye on a future Senate seat.

Pressuring Easley to pressure Cooper is wishful thinking. If we want to be effective, Cooper needs to get his name in the paper in an unflattering light, and the way he is dragging out his farce investigation, he deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the elaboration, 6:41-11:31. As far as I am concerned, neither Easley nor Cooper should ever hold elective office again.

Last Spring, Easley could have gone to NCCU (his law school alma mater) and said "Folks, I know you are upset, but please calm down and let this case be properly investigated. Then, he could have driven across town and said the same thing at Duke. Then, he could have called Nifong and told him that he needed to start acting professionaly, or he (Easley) would be announcing what a mistake he made appointing Nifong.

If Easley had done those things then, he'd be looking like a post-9/11 Rudy Giuliani, now. Instead, he's looking like...Easley.

"Failures of leadership, thy names are Easley and Cooper."

joan foster said...

6:41..You make an excellent point. I amend my post.

"On March 14, this becomes Cooper's Hoax as well."

Thank you..Joan.

Anonymous said...

I say we push full foward on getting the Department of Justice involved. If the State of NC apparently can not do the job, several congressman and senators have requested the US Attorney General to step in. This case is much more than Nifong at this point, it is failure in government in both the state and federal level to stand up against corruption and stand up for the constitution. These families have been held hostage by a terrorist for almost a year. Every citizen in this country should be upset about this.

Anonymous said...

Joan,

You've fired me up yet again!

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Blog Hooligans! We storm the Castle Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Joan. We're all still here and we're not going away (and we're not going to shut up) until all the charges have been dropped. It's long past time to bring this malicious prosecution to an end.

Mr. Cooper: In the words of the much-discredited Cash Michaels: we're watching you. Do the right thing, and do it now!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joan!
I agree. Enough is enough! Come on, AG's office, do the right thing!

becket03 said...

I love Joan Foster. She is just the coolest.

Anonymous said...

How about being a man, just a man, and doing the right thing regardless. Was Gerald Ford the last man in this country? There hasn't been one "man" to stand up and stop this whole outrageous fraud. There isn't enough print in hell to tell this story as it has unfolded. All of us are affected by this hopeless fraud. It isn't just the lacrosse team or the university president or the DA. It is not just the North Carolina justice system. It is an intire group of people lacking any common sense or leadership . . . us. There is little that can be done about the lack of leadership and common sense that is so sorely lacking.

Anonymous said...

Rose Kennedy - A woman who knew a great deal about success and tragedy sid "Endure the bad days and enjoy the good ones." RIP

Guy Fox said...

I think TheNMN on YouTube had it right, that a rape DID occur that night at 610 Buchanan, and that the victim was a lady with a blindfold and a scale. If anyone knows how to get the Durham DA's office investigated for civil rights abuses in regards to this hoax, please, don't be silent. Mike Nifong and his enablers have raped the justice system of the entire United States of America. They have urinated on the flag several generations of my family have protected. They have defecated on the highest ideals of our Founding Fathers. It's time Cooper, Easley, and the entire world knew that there are those who will "not go gentle into that good night."

Anonymous said...

the only urinators lived at 610 Buchanon street. The only fairytale told was the lie the captains tried to spin, "nothing happened" and "Reade wasn't at the party at all" and "we all left in the middle of the night because we felt like it." You can write all the bs you want on this site Joan Foster but the bottomline is the duke 3 are still charged with Sexual assault, kidnapping, etc and the attorney general's office has not dismissed yet. there is a reason they have not. as to all of you wanting Gonzales to get involved, you need to read the news other than Liestoppers and you will see his job is just as imperiled as Nifong's. He has way too much to worry about than to worry about this case.

Anonymous said...

to 3:22


WOW!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As one of the indicted boy's mother,I want to say thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of our boys. We will never forget the true heroes in this nightmare- without the support and words that appear daily on your blog and KC's, I do not know if we could have gotten through the past 12 months. We all pray that this hoax will end soon. We want nothing more than to try and repair our broken hearts.

Anonymous said...

To 3:22

"The DNA in this case will immediately rule out any person who is innocent."

Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Howard said...

I have long thought that this case is probably a two on a ten scale in the overall panoply of Nifong's performance while in office. He has had to have had twenty of thirty cases in which he lynched an innocent person and thirty more that he didn't bother to prosecute because of politics. In other words, his office is dirty; the criminal justice system in Durham (and most probably in all of North Carolina) is contaminated. This case should not end anything, but should be the starting point for a clean up.

Guy Fox said...

3:22, well, I'm sorry you can't read. Legal experts from all across the political spectrum have decried this as prosecutorial misconduct of the worst sort. Those who have examined the evidence with an unbiased eye, or, frankly, those who have even just paid attention to the accuser and her constant contradictions, know that this prosecution was baseless. If she was raped without condoms, as she said in one of her many versions of the events, where's the DNA of the accused? If Reade was there during the alleged crime, why did a security camera spot him withdrawing money at the very same time? I'm sorry that you're a racist and an idiot.

Howard is right. The only thing Nifong should be thanked for is the attention he brought to a much wider problem. Well, that and his resignation, should he give it.

Anonymous said...

We thought university faculty would never publicly trash their own students in order to trumpet their pet theories.

I've never thought that.

Anonymous said...

I still pray and await the day "Justice," is rendered to my family! I vowed to never give up on solving my only brother's murder, and bring all of the guilty contenders to light!

The ENTIRE legal system in NC is tainted with the blood of innocence, and there shall be retribution!

But, we MUST have "UNITY," or divided we will fall.....

It is PARAMOUNT that society becomes aware of the corruption that abounds, and DO something!

It goes deeper than voting, but by being physical, and vocal produces change!

To sit idly by and watch is not only cowardly, but morally wrong!

To answer the proverbial question of, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

YES, I most definately am!!!!!!


Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland, Ohio