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Black Flag tribute to Benefit West Memphis 3

By Miniluv in News
Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:06:36 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Modern day Renaissance man Henry Rollins has masterminded a benefit record for the West Memphis Three.

The West Memphis Three are Damien, Jessie and Jason, convicted of the murder of Michael Moore, Stevie Branch and Christopher Byers. Two HBO specials were made documenting the case, and a subsequent appeal attempt, as well as the grassroots effort to support these boys who were, in the eyes of many, wrongly convicted due to their status as social outcasts.

To briefly summarize the case, three boys were murdered in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Shortly thereafter three teenage boys were arrested by sheriffs police, claiming that the killings were part of a Satanic ritual. Police questioned Damien, whom they believed to be the ringleader of the Satanic cult responsible, however the real meat came from an interview with mentally handicapped youth Jessie Misskelley, who confessed after a long, unrecorded questioning session and implicated not just Damien but their mutual friend Jason Baldwin. Convictions swiftly followed, despite testimony calling much of the evidence into question.

Henry Rollins is the former frontman for Black Flag, a prolific punk band from the early and mid 1980s, and now actor, song writer, comedian, spoken word artist, activist and more.

The album is the rerecording of 24 classic Black Flag songs with music by Jim, Jason and Marcus, of Rollins Band. Vocals are contributed by a number of punk and other music luminaries, such as Henry Rollins, Ice T, Tom Araya of Slayer, Dean Ween of Ween, Tim and Lars from Rancid, along with a host of others.

The album will benefit the legal defense fund of the West Memphis 3, in the hope that they can be freed and attention can return to the investigation of the murder with the hope of catching and convicting the real killers.

The album is due out October 8th, however there is currently no pre-order available.


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Interested in buying
o Yes 29%
o No 42%
o Depends on the music quality 28%

Votes: 75
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Henry
o Rollins
o West Memphis Three
o documentin g the case
o subsequent appeal attempt
o summarize
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Black Flag tribute to Benefit West Memphis 3 | 88 comments (61 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
The Rollins Band kicked ass. (3.85 / 7) (#1)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:33:01 PM EST

I didn't know that Henry Rollins was in Black Flag. No wonder my kid brother likes that band.

I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.

uhm (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by thekubrix on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:46:24 PM EST

Dude! I'd say he's probably more famous because of Black Flag as opposed to his new band. Black Flag stomped a new mudhole in many a rebel back in the 80's, they're classic in the realm of punnk

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily Dude! I'd say he's probably more (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by leviramsey on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:55:15 PM EST

I've never heard Black Flag (I've heard of them) but I have heard the Rollins Band many a time (especially on the radio).

It's kinda like how many people have no clue that Ozzy Osbourne was in Black Sabbath, or that Dave Mustaine (of Megadeth fame) was in Metallica for some time.

[ Parent ]
I guess it all depends upon how old you are... (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:45:05 PM EST

...or maybe how you were when you began listening to 'alternative' type music. Myself, I got into the scene a number of years after Kieth Morris had left Black Flag and founded the Circle Jerks. Henry Rollins took over as singer when Morris left.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
according to Get In the Van... (4.40 / 5) (#15)
by joshsisk on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:53:24 PM EST

Dez was singer at the point they asked Henry Rollins to join the band, but he really wanted to play guitar. Rollins was known to the band because of his earlier bands SOA. He auditioned, they asked him to take over vocals. There were something like 4-5 different singers, though, in the period before Rollins joined Black Flag.
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
I'll have to take your word for it (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:35:02 PM EST

By the time I got into the 'alterna-punk' scene ('83 - '84), Rollins was the frontman for Black Flag and the Circle Jerks were the hottest punk band around. I guess the shortened version of the history I came into only took account of Morris because of his fame with the Circle Jerks.

Thanks for the correction. By the way, what is this "Get in the Van" you mention?.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Get in the Van (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by PhillipW on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:21:02 PM EST

Book by Henry Rollins.

[ Parent ]
Get In The Van (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by felixrayman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:36:51 AM EST

is Henry Rollin's diary from the time he was singer for Black Flag. The writing is usually insipid, occasionally insightful, always honest, but what makes the thing worth looking at, especially since you say that is what you were into around 1983-84, is the photography, especially the Glen Friedman stuff.

The story as Rollins puts it:

There are several entries in the journals that say "Shed". The Shed was a small tool shed that I lived in for a couple of years. I did a lot of writing in there.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
I hated the Circle Jerks (none / 0) (#57)
by xtremex on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 03:39:04 PM EST

I was more into NYHC (New York Hard Core) and the Circle Jerks were too "bubble gum" for me...I did think Karma Stew was pretty cool :)

[ Parent ]
In praise of bubblegum (none / 0) (#59)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:25:51 PM EST

Come on. A lot that bubblegum punk was pretty damn rockin' stuff: Circle Jerks, Seven Seconds, The Vandals, Bad Religion, and my favorite The Descendents. Of course, the early California scene gave birth to quite a bit of non-bubblegum punk as well. Bands like The Dead Kennedy's, Suicidal Tendencies, Fear, and so on. California also gave us D. Boon and The Minutemen, perhaps the most incredible band of the whole era.

As for New York, I think the highwater mark for NYHC was around mid to late eighties with Agnostic Front, The Cro Mags, Gorrila Biscuits and Sick of It All (Blood Sweat and No Tears is, IMHO, the single finest hardcore album of all time).

The other movement that I really think deserves mention would be the Austin scene of the mid-eighties. Scratch Acid, The Butthole Surfers, and ranting angry genius of Big Black and Steve Albini were all time favorites of mine.

Oh, I also really liked Bad Brains and Minor Threat from D.C.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Bubblegum? (none / 0) (#62)
by broken77 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:19:18 PM EST

What bubblegum are you guys chewing? The Circle Jerks were bubblegum like a stinger missile is a bottle rocket. Same with the Vandals and Bad Religion. Now, the later Bad Religion was definitely more melodic and less hard edged than their earlier stuff, but still not bubblegum. You're right about the Descendants though (and later, "All"). Now THAT is the textbook definition of bubblegum. Actually Green Day fits the category even better (or Blink182, or any of the scores of other clones on the radio nowadays)... But not the other guys. Remember, when you speak of subgenres of a musical style, and you say "bubblegum", most of what you're talking about is the feel-goodness of the music, and the lyrical content. Circle Jerks were angry and political. Same for Bad Religion.

'Nuff said. :-) Can you tell I'm a punk music lover? 28 years old, and I still love it.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

It's all relative... (none / 0) (#65)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:24:43 PM EST

...compared to the Cro Mags or Sick Of It All, the Circle Jerks and Bad Religion were positively Mary Poppins. I think the the Reagan years did a lot to escalate the level of youthful angst.

Ya know, the first time I heard Green Day I thought All had put another album (I was pretty out of touch by the time Green Day came around). I don't think they were anywhere near as good as the Descendents, but they did have a feel for that infectious feel good punky vibe thing (The Descendent's Silly Girl being the very finest of the genre).

These days, I get a kick out of listening to some of the old stuff for nostalgic purposes, but as I've gotten older (30) I find that I'm no longer young and angry so much as older and confused. In my current condition, punk just doesn't make sense like it used to.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
HardCore... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by xtremex on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:57:09 PM EST

I used to like D.I. and a GREAT Canadina band called the Day-Glo Abortions. My favs were Agnostic Front, Youth of Today(Break down the Walls), Sick of it All, Token Entry and BioHazard (hey, they're from my neighborhood!) But I truly preferred the neck breaking intensity of Slayer, Deicide, Obituary, et al. (I'm 33!). I'm a closet headbanger..I still prefer pre-black Metallica. Oh, and bands like Carnivore (pre-Type O Negative), Kreator and Candlemass. If you wanna hear some of the best punk ever, get Undisputed Attitude by Slayer. The seminal punk cover album. They do Minor Threat and TSOL like I've never heard before. Slayer's rendition of DRI's violent Pacification is classic!

[ Parent ]
Metal Up Your Ass... (none / 0) (#72)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:29:06 PM EST

...aka, Ride the Lightning, was a absolutely great, but the little bit of post And Justice For All Metallica I've heard was enough to convince me that I don't want to hear any more. Thanks for the suggestion on the Slayer covers of old punk classics, I'll have see if can find a few MP3's of that. Sounds interesting.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Actually, I've always heard that.... (none / 0) (#84)
by joshsisk on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 09:40:52 PM EST

_Metal Up Your Ass_, was later retitled _Kill 'Em All_, as in "kill all the record company execs who made us change the name".
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
I stand corrected (none / 0) (#85)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 10:38:13 PM EST

Cribbed from here:

Our first album. That was our introduction to the world of record companies and record making and the business part of it all. It was a little discouraging right off the bat. We did want to have a toilet with a fist and a sword coming up out of it, Metal Up Your Ass. That was our idea. I'm not saying it was a brilliant idea. But that was what we wanted, and that was it, man. That was us at 19 years old. And we wanted it that way or screw you. So the Kill 'Em All cover came out of that. We discovered that no one was really going to put it in their record store. So we just basically said, Aw, screw them all, but kill 'em all. So that became the title of the record. That was pretty much directed toward the distributor and toward the business already -- so we were introduced to that right away.

Got myself confused there ;-. Ride the Lightening is the album I intended, but it wasn't ever known as Metal Up Your Ass

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
When you get old... (none / 0) (#69)
by broken77 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:58:39 PM EST

"your heart dies". ;-)

But, being a conservative, you might think that "if you're not anti-establishment by the time you're 18, you've got no heart, but if you're not part of the establishment by the time you're 30, you've got no brain". I'm under the impression that if you're truly punk, it's in your soul. It's never something you grow out of, and not "just a phase" as so many people will tell you it is when you're younger. "BAH! I stopped wearing Doc Marten's and listening to punk when I was 23" is used to explain that this way of thinking and feeling about the world is only for kids who haven't matured or "grown up". When in reality... They were never punk to begin with. They merely listened to the music, for the same reason most metalheads listen to Metallica (or drunks drink alcohol).

Hmm... Sorry for the rant. I wasn't expecting to do that.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

I fear... (none / 0) (#71)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:16:48 PM EST

...that I may have been misunderstood. I didn't mean to come off in a condescending manner, as if I were saying, "I used to be into that, but now I've grown up." Just an honest account of my current response to punk music. It does make me feel old, something about the unrestrained energy and anger just doesn't sit right with me any longer. But hey, different strokes for different folks, eh? These days I mostly listen to jazz and bluegrass, so what does that say?

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
I like that music too (none / 0) (#73)
by broken77 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:29:18 AM EST

I wasn't really ranting at you, just the general "old codger" attitude some people have about the counter-culture when they reach a certain age.

I also wanted to make one more (rather pedantic) point about relativity and bubblegum punk. I agree that relativity is important. But only when comparing the hardcored-ness or the pop-ness or the jazzi-ness, or etc. etc... At some point you have to group things in the same category, and make a distinction on boundary lines for a completely separate category. If all music was rated in the same scale, you could reasonably compare Mozart to Brittney Spears. Or Megadeth to John Denver. That wouldn't be a reasonable comparison, though. You wouldn't say "John Denver is so mellow compared to Megadeth". Well, you could, but it wouldn't have much meaning. You _could_, however, say "John Denver is so slow and boring compared to Tracy Chapman". The two have similar musical elements and lyrical styles (and content) in common. Bubblegum punk is such a departure from the attitudes, musical style and lyrical content of The Circle Jerks (and earlier Vandals for that matter) that it's in a completely different category. In my mind, you can't possibly say that CJ is bubblegum punk, when compared to Agnostic Front. It's like saying a hand grenade is an apple, when compared to a smart bomb. But of course you can't do that... What you could do, however, is say that Circle Jerks is really slow and friendly compared to Agnostic Front. Or some other such valid comparison. You see my point?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Several singers but (4.00 / 3) (#23)
by Verminator on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:42:33 PM EST

None of them could compare to Chavo! Back when I was younger my fake ID said Ron Reyes on it. And it worked.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to misery, misery links to Satanosphere.
[ Parent ]

Another little known... (4.50 / 4) (#22)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:27:29 PM EST

...transband star: Flea, of The Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, got his start with the early punk band Fear.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Fear (none / 0) (#48)
by Rand Race on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:45:49 AM EST

I always watch the movie Clue! when it comes on just to see Lee Ving.

Get this: Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Gos fame once played drums for The Germs!

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Lee Ving (none / 0) (#53)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:48:16 PM EST

Did you know Lee Ving was in Flashdance? Also, if you can find the Movie Dudes (directed by Penelope Spheeris of The Decline of Western Civilization fame), definitely watch it. Both Lee Ving and Flea have minor roles.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Flea's First Rock Band (none / 0) (#74)
by Shadow On The Sun on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:41:45 AM EST

Flea's first band was "What Is This?" (originally called "Anthym"). You can read about that in this interview with Alain Johannes, who taught him to play bass. Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons were also members of "What Is This?".

[ Parent ]
I've read a lot about this - Not Spam (4.22 / 9) (#10)
by dmt on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:47:34 PM EST

It's awful, really awful.  In a nutshell these guys were into heavy metal, with gothic appearances.  The films make a very cogent point.  I'm pretty much a skeptic - quite a rude one too - but seeing these films and reading up on this case turned my me around.  

I really hope that people read from the links the author has provided and read up on this themselves.  It could have happened to about 25% of Kuro5hin users who dress 'funny'. There is plenty of info available via Google and others - even if you vote this down please take a look.

Unbelieveable! (4.00 / 5) (#12)
by rayab on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:34:21 PM EST

Wow +1FP.
I followed the summarize link to read about what happened and I cannot believe it. Isnt there someone who can intervene? Some sort of a third party that would look at the evidence, everything that happened and declare that injustice was done to the three that were jailed?
This makes me so angry, there's nothing worse than police officers who done a poor job and judges that are too ignorant to accept an opinion that doesnt match their own.
I really hope some day the truth comes out.

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
This case is appalling (3.50 / 8) (#18)
by Perianwyr on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:07:51 PM EST

Any and all exposure that this case can get is warranted- it's a rather frightening look into just how screwed up local justice can be. Do you really trust your local cops? Your county courts? How far away are you from the East or West coasts? Things are *different* in the Bible Belt, and this case shows just how disturbingly so.

hey, its arkansas (2.00 / 4) (#20)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:30:47 PM EST

arkansas has the largest corporation ont he planet (wal-mart) with a net worth of several dozen billion dollars, btu they havent figured out that whole 'basic human decency' thing yet.

[ Parent ]
It's a shame that so many Christians are stupid (none / 0) (#86)
by sowellfan on Fri Oct 04, 2002 at 01:57:22 AM EST

I read the story on this case, though I haven't seen the movies, and it pisses me off to no end. What is worst for me is that I *am* an evangelical Christian, and I look around at others in church with me and I know that they would be stupid enough to equate Pink Floyd/Metallica lyrics with devil worshippers sacrificing babies in the woods (I'm sort of a Floyd/Metallica fan myself, along with many other types of music, which puts me at odds with lots of evangelicals). It doesn't help that this guy had the Anton Levey book, but from what I know of his ethics, though I don't agree with him, he didn't advocate random killings.

It's a shame that my fellow Christians don't think more. There is nothing in Christianity (evangelical or otherwise) that should preclude intelligent discourse, but so many people are willing to charge forward based on emotion and preconceived notions.

For those of you who are interested in the whole Satanism scare thing, you might be interested to look into the case of Mike Warnke. He was a Christian comedian who had supposedly been a Satanic high priest and then turned to God, long story short. This guy consulted with police departments as a Satanic ritual expert, even. The good thing about him is that he was exposed by the Christian community. The article that exposed him is here.


My wifes grandparents live in West Memphis, and it is a fairly retarded town. And the Wal Mart is the biggest thing there, from what I remember (it's a *Super* Wal Mart).

I'm typically a law & order type guy, and I tend to give cops the benefit of a doubt. These celebrity cases (like Mumia Abu Jamal & Leonard Pelletier) tend to piss me off, because those people, after taking a reasoned look at the issues, are guilty. In this case, however, I just see idiot cops & judges (much like the Brenton Butler case in my home of Jacksonville). It sounds like this thing is heading towards more intelligent minds on appeal, so hopefully things will work themselves out and these folks can get a large settlement from Arkansas (I wonder if that judge was a Clinton appointee...sorry, couldn't resist).

I am still an advocate of the death penalty, but I'd like there to be an additional caveat during prosecutions. I would like for the penalties for wrongful arrests, falsification of evidence, etc., against cops to be much stronger, so that cops/prosecutors would never do this type of stuff. For example, if a cop falsifies evidence or coerces a confession in a murder trial, I'd like to see that cop go away for an amount of time equivalent to a murder conviction (or if it's a death penalty case, maybe send them to death row even). We have absolutely got to get rid of dirty cops and prosecutors (even though this is an adversarial system, prosecutors should try to make sure that they send the right person away) (my wife is an ex-DA, BTW). I think a strong penalty like this would make people in the prosecutorial system make sure that they've behaved responsibly (and if they can't handle a major murder case, admit that they are in over their heads and call the FBI). Having stories like this makes the whole system look bad, and the people responsible for it should pay dearly.

[ Parent ]

This sounds like a terrible idea musically (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by Delirium on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:32:17 AM EST

I'll wager the quality of the Black Flag reunion music will be on par with that of the Sex Pistols reunion and the Dead Kennedys reunion.

rollins runined black flag (2.66 / 6) (#33)
by sushism on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:12:06 AM EST

he did
steven | as if silent
[ Parent ]
Nah (none / 0) (#36)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:03:49 AM EST

Rollins kicks ass.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
I dunno (4.00 / 2) (#46)
by Delirium on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:31:15 AM EST

Black Flag kicks ass, but the Rollins Band is absolutely terrible.

[ Parent ]
I said (none / 0) (#47)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:35:00 AM EST

"Rollins kicks ass."

I didn't say anything about his band.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Guess again (none / 0) (#50)
by Miniluv on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:48:51 PM EST

This isn't a Black Flag reunion. This is a tribute album, with the music being done by the musicians who, minus Mr. Rollins, comprise Rollins Band. The vocals are provided by a number of artists.

This is all in the article you know.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

Paradise Lost (4.81 / 16) (#30)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:17:39 AM EST

By all means, watch Paradise Lost I & II if you ever get the chance. After seeing the first of these films, I've never looked at the American justice system in the same way. These films document what can only be described as an absolute worst case scenario.

To begin with, none of three defendants could afford a good attorney and the state provided public defenders were beyond incompetent, expert witnesses that could have made all the difference were outside their budget, and add to this the fact that West Memphis is backward southern ignorant in a fashion straight out of Deliverance and you have the makings of a true travesty of justice.

To make a long story short, three young boys were found dead in a stream, tortured and mutilated. The first assumption of the police is, of course, Satanic ritual! And who is the towns resident satanist? Why that funny looking kid with the long black hair (his name is Damien after all) and his two retarded friends. Well, only one is technically mentally disabled, but the other is pretty damn close.

So what do the cops do? Interrogate the really retarded one for a long time until he confesses. Of course, none of the confession is recorded except the part where he confesses, but the damn retard can't even get that part straight. He completely messes up the times and the sequence of events and has to be 'corrected' repeatedly by the officers (yes, that is on the tapes). What about physical evidence? Well, the knife used to cut off the scrotum and skin of the boy who was sexually mutilated had a serrated edge and, by golly, guess what they found at the bottom of pond in the very same trailer park in which one of the suspects lived? Thats right, a hunting knife with a serrated edge (never mind that it had no fingerprints and they had no idea how long it been in that pond). Making matters worse, the damned County Medical Examiner had to go and admit under cross examination that he personally, a doctor who performs autopsies for a living, couldn't have possibly cut off that boy's testicles with a scalpel, while he was submerged in a river in the dead of night, as clean and precisely as had been done. You see, according the 'confession' given by the retarded boy, they had killed the little boys in the river (explaining the complete lack of blood found at the supposed crime scene) and it was at night (the only way the timeline made sense). And just ignore the fact that no mosquito bites were found on the bodies of the boys even though they were supposedly still alive and naked beside a river at dusk.

But all was not lost, the real clincher was the state's expert witness on matters of Satanism and ritual murder. [key up the Lon Cheney organ music] This fine and respected scholar on all matters occult was well credentialed after all. He had received an actual factual real honest to god Masters Degree from a mail order religious university (I shit you not!). Of course, the only evidence that these kids were Satanists were the assorted heavy metal band logos and lyrics scrawled on a textbook cover and one of them had an Aleister Crowley book. But you know, they did listen to heavy metal music. And they did have long hair (well except for the retard). And they were, well, you know? Funny lookin' and different.

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

Fame to Exploit (3.12 / 8) (#34)
by greenshift on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 04:45:04 AM EST

I wish all celebrities would quit trying to shove their stupid beliefs down our throats.  Kathy Ireland saying abortion is murder, Rosie against guns, numerous bullshit congressional hearings where expert witnesses are replaced with celebrities on a chosen crusade.  Enough.  I don't care that Alec Baldwin said he'd leave the country if Bush was elected.

Even Henry Rollins, a man I basically idolize, is not exempt from this.  Luckily Rollins does not clearly identify himself with a specific party (to my knowledge, though his leanings are decided Democratic) or else he might be trying to crusade for his party's causes.  Also luckily, he is a (very) minor celebrity.

While I sympathize with the West Memphis 3, it is essentially no different than the media's focus on things like Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping -- it does little to raise awareness for the underlying issues involved in the subject and focuses on the people involved and their plight.

I would like to see an effective Jury Education and Awareness Council formed that aims to improve the quality of juries.  That could ultimately prevent more wrongful convictions and affect many more people than just the Three.

As for Rollins, at least he's doing what he does best and releasing a CD rather than trying to book himself on all the big talk shows.  But if he shows up on Larry King or Bill O'Reilly, I'll shit myself.

Blame the messenger (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by Sloppy on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:34:22 AM EST

As for Rollins, at least he's doing what he does best and releasing a CD rather than trying to book himself on all the big talk shows. But if he shows up on Larry King or Bill O'Reilly, I'll shit myself.
Look at it from the celebrities' point of view: they are just people who care about something, so they speak their minds, just like you and I would. Should they shut up? Of course not. You and I wouldn't shut up either. The only difference is that they will end up getting "airtime" while we are just spouting off on some weblog.

You probably will see Henry Rollins on Larry King (or something like that) some day. When it happens, blame Larry, not Henry.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

Umm this is Rollins (4.50 / 2) (#52)
by a humble lich on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:38:56 PM EST

A large part of his fame is due to his political beliefs. Criticizing him for using his fame to push politics is like criticizing Ralf Nader or Jello Biafra. "Hey Mr. Limbaugh, I really like your radio program, except for all the politics. Could you make it less political?"

[ Parent ]
Rollins? Political? (none / 0) (#66)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:48:47 PM EST

I suppose he's come quite a long way since penning such political ditties as 'Slip it in.'

[ Parent ]
What is "it"? (none / 0) (#82)
by /dev/niall on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 04:13:39 PM EST

Surely "it" refers to a ballot; which one should slip in a ballot box. Rock the vote!

Or something.
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

I doubt that "it" is a ballot (none / 0) (#83)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 09:51:12 PM EST

You say you don't want it.
You say you don't want it.
But then . . .





This would be a rather curious way to speak about a ballot. Like I've mentioned, Mr. Rollins has come a long way. . .

[ Parent ]

Yeah! (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by revscat on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:54:35 PM EST

Absolutely! Nothing more irritating that people using their position to advance a political cause! I'll take you one further, though: I wish everybody on the Internet would quit posting stupid messages trying to shove their stupid beliefs down our throats. I further wish that talk radio hosts, newspaper columnists, cartoonists, magicians, preachers, veteranarians, Sub-Genii, gardening experts, nuclear physicists, blackjack players, porn stars, webmasters, the Illuminati, ravers, Oscar Wilde fans, Java programmers, people with gaping wounds, baseball players, Radiohead fans, winemakers, wedding photographers, meter maids, and Unitarians would ALSO quit shoving their opinions down my throat! LORDY I can't stand this whole marketplace of ideas thing, especially when some folks have more attention paid to em than others!

Reallocate fame! The famous have more than their fair share! Everbody's voice should carry the exact same weight, dammit!

My GOD if there is one thing I can't stand it's people who express their opinion in order to further a social good! I mean REALLY. Just shut UP. People are going to die because of some backwoods third-world jury decided to go after all dem dar SANTANISTS? And that ol' jury of yer peers went and convicted the WRONG FOLKS? And they'z sentenced to DIE? Well, fuck that! If'n yore famous, youz just needs to sit down and keep yer mouth SHUT. It don't MATTER if'n your voice is louder'n 100 udder peoples put together. The right PROPER thing t'do d'be to jest sit down, make some money, and shut yer piehole!

DAMN straight.

- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
The US - UK comparison again. (4.80 / 5) (#35)
by NoNeeeed on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 07:41:30 AM EST

This story in some ways links back to a comment I made on an earlier story about the treatment of athiests.

It talked about the strange difference between the US and the UK. The US has (or had until the introducation of the Human Rights act into British law) far greater constitutional guarentees about freedom and democracy and all that good stuff. Yet from what I understand of much of the US, we in the UK are much more free in a real sense, because the prevailing attitude of the population at large and the authorities in particular.

The example here, that in the US interviews do not have to be recorded. Here in the UK ALL interviews MUST be recorded, and many are videoed. As I understand it, most public defenders are at least competant to sit in an interview and protect your rights.

This comes out of an attitude, both from the public, the authorities, and the police, that trials should be seen to be fair.

I cannot understand how a country that proclaims to be about the freedom of the individual can have so few protections for those that go through its legal system.

This is, I think, why so many in this country are opposed to the death penalty, nt just because it is barbaric, but because there have been too many miscarages of justice, that to risk taking an innocent persons life is just not acceptable.

The police in the UK used to have a very bad reputation for stitching people up (I'm thinking of the pre 1980's), but a lot of lessons have been learnt, and now they tend to go out of their way to ensure fairness. That is not to say that things are perfect, but in comparison to what is going on in this story, it's pretty good.

This story really sickens me, that a country that proclaims to be the land of the free, can do things like this.

End waffle, Paul

"Interview" (UK) = "Interrogation&q (2.00 / 3) (#42)
by railruler on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:33:17 AM EST

[ Parent ]
I feel compelled... (none / 0) (#58)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:23:01 PM EST

...to defend the US. This case is not in any way representative of the system as a whole, rather it is exceptional and is in many ways a worst case scenario. Speaking as someone who has been victimized by the American justice system, there is an awful lot that is in need of fixing, but I suspect that, on balance, America's rate of false convictions (an impossible statistic to compile) is among the lowest if not the lowest in the world.

The US justice system generally affords quite extraordinary and unmatched protections for the accused. The problems that do exist are primarily caused by an underfunded public defender system (not that any other country's is better), and as a result many accused persons are not benefited by those generous protections.

Now, the question of sentencing is another matter. American's as whole bought into the "tough on crime" nonsense, and as a result we've now got a ridiculous number of non-violent criminals sitting in jail. But that issue needs to be dealt with separately.

As for taping interrogations, more and more states are requiring this (it is a state issue at the moment), but I believe it should be universally required -- this will require a Supreme Court decision on the matter.

The basic political problem with reforming the justice system so as to ensure fewer false convictions is that, absent Minority Report like technology, the means of doing so have as an immediate consequence fewer convictions of truly guilty people. That is a price I am willing to pay in spades, but convincing the general populace of this is no mean feat.

[biting my tongue trying not to remind my British friend of his country's recent move to suspend jury trials]

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Not that convincing (none / 0) (#61)
by broken77 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:08:44 PM EST

I suspect that, on balance, America's rate of false convictions (an impossible statistic to compile) is among the lowest if not the lowest in the world
And I believe that, on balance, America's rate of false convictions is among the highest in the world. Why? Because I think our culture has an indoctrinated belief system that runs on vengeance, large parts of our country are culturally ignorant or intolerant, and not to mention, there are scores and scores and scores of wrongful conviction cases if you choose to find out about them. Also, you mention all the "protections" that we have in the U.S., but you ignore the fact that many times (maybe even most of the time), these protections are ignored. I can tell you examples just from my own life showing this. It's worse for the minorities too. I don't see such a public outcry in other countries as I see here. Maybe that's just because I live here... But the point is, just because you believe we do it better doesn't make it so. Show me the numbers...

Having said that... I'm glad you're willing to make a step towards change.

I'm undecided on the subject of trial-by-jury. It has major problems in itself... I could go on about it, but don't have the time. I was listening to a radio program the other day about this. In many death-penalty cases, the jurors decided on the wrong sentence merely because they didn't completely understand the laws. Several people have been put to death because the jury didn't understand everything involving "life is prison". Just one example... There are hundreds more.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

You may not be convinced... (none / 0) (#63)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:05:45 PM EST

...but I assure you America has the strictest exclusionary rules of any country in the world, and the guarantee of a jury trial is absolutely essential in a legal system in which intent is almost always a necessary element of a crime. Judges are, understandably, a very cynical bunch whom are conditioned to assume the worst, whereas a jury trial requires 12 (or 9) random normal citizens to agree on an inference of intent. That is no small hurdle.

As I originally suggested, and you seem to agree, the problems with the US justice system are a consequence of the guarantees that exist not being made practically available to all of the accused. That is a very real problem, but it is a problem in every country and my defense of the relative merits of the US system should not be taken as support for the status quo.

We've talked here at K5 before and you probably remember me a being a pretty conservative leaning type, but on this issue most liberals think I am positively a radical pinko! I favor some pretty extreme changes in the justice system. For instance, in order to fix the problem of inadequate representation by public defenders, I propose that the state be made liable for legal expenses for absolutely every case in which it fails to secure a guilty verdict (including hung juries). This would accomplish two things:

  • Prosecutors would have to balance the cost of losing and reimbursing legal defense costs when deciding whether or not to prosecute. A prosecutor needs to be absolutely certain that they have sufficient evidence to convict facing a competent attorney. Being pretty sure that they accused really did commit the crime of which they are accused should not be sufficient cause to bring charges.
  • Being a criminal defense attorney would become a profitable practice area for more than the tiny minority of high profile defense attorneys. As things work now, many of the best and brightest from law schools go to work for the district attorney's office because it provides a lot of litigation experience (important to those looking to become corporate litigators) and it is an important springboard for those looking to enter public service jobs (politics and government contracting work). The public defender's office, on the other hand, confers little in the way of advantages (95% of cases are plea bargained and it has no real political connections). State reimbursement of legal fees could be capped at rates consistent with prevailing rates for attorneys in other practice areas making contingency defense a possibility.
I am pretty aware of the information out there about false convictions and in the past I've been a contributor to the Innocence Project (DNA tests for death row inmates). As I said in an earlier post, I have been the victim of the justice system (namely an over zealous prosecutor interpreting a statute in an extremely broad sense). This is a very personal issue for me.

I am not so sure about American's being more vengeful than most. Again, that is not to say that we don't have serious problems with mistaking vengeance for justice, but you'll find that in most countries (eg., the Brits are apparently out for blood in cases of child abuse and murder these days).

Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera

[ Parent ]
Interesting thoughts - Thanks (n/t) (none / 0) (#70)
by broken77 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:05:03 PM EST

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Not system, but culture (none / 0) (#75)
by NoNeeeed on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 05:40:08 AM EST

I love these sorts of dicussions on K5, it's why I come here, lots of bright people willing to discuss, rather than rant.

Anyway.  Some of the stuff you mentioned, about the system having protection for the accused is interesting.  I think you would have to find a legal scholar to compare the relative merits of the two systems, so I won't claim to know which is better.

However, the problem goes back to what I talked about in the thread on atheism, that sometimes the system might be right, the legal structure spot on, but if the prevailing culture of the people, and those in authority is not in line, then things can turn out very differently.

It is my perception that in the UK then general culture among the police, and judiciary is that the spirit of the law is important when considering a defendants rights.  Perhaps this is a result of all the wrongfull convictions in the 60's and 70's (Birmingham 6 etc), but there seems to be an attitude that the police should go out of their way to avoid any posibility of a wrong conviction.

We have something called the Criminal Cases Review Commission, that is working through many cases from the last few decades and investigating allegations of wrongful conviction.  Recently there was a case of a guy who has spent the last 25 years in jail for a murder that he didn't comit, who is now out after having his case reviewed.  That is a long time to wait, but better late than never.

My point is that the culture is (at least in my perception) to be very different.  Here, the move to introduce videoing of interviews is being lead by the police, not outside political or rights campaigners.  That I think appears to be the fundamental difference.  The police are trying very hard, because they want to restore the public trust, and keep it.  That requires that they are seen to be fair.

As to the trial-by-jury issue, there are several points to note.  First, the plan was only to restrict the right in some minor offenses.  Many minor cases are tried by magistrates (sitting in a panel of 3) anyway, this just extended it.  However, that hasn't happened, because the general political and social climate here was against it.  It may get through in the end but it is likely to be significantly watered down.  Also, judges in this country are generally well respected.  There are some dotty old ones, but they are a minority.  In many cases I would rather be tried by a judge than a jury.  Jurys are not always the best.  Whatever, it didn't happen because the culture didn't approve of it.


[ Parent ]

The "real" killers (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by K5 Demon on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:29:17 AM EST

"...in the hope that they can be freed and attention can return to the investigation of the murder with the hope of catching and convicting the real killers."

The "real" killers have already been found. The courts found them guilty, so therefore they are. Why is this even an argument? The final decision was already made.

The courts find you to be a green chicken. (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by AmberEyes on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:38:28 AM EST


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
"Final" decision? Nonsense. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Frank Wustner on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:28:06 PM EST

Your statement presumes that the courts are infalible. If that were true, there would be no appeals process.

The author of the article claims that there are gaping holes in the prosecution's case. If that is the case, then by law they should have been found "not guilty".

[ Parent ]
To paraphrase The Onion (5.00 / 3) (#45)
by Rogerborg on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:40:23 AM EST

"Our compassion and understanding is defined by how we treat our 'tards."

It occurs to me that we really haven't come a very long way since Alfredian Law, when lawfullness flowed from Godliness, and where evidence was irrelevant compared to testimony.

A thousand years ago, convictions were secured purely from statements like "I am Roger de Borg, a thegn of five hides, and an honourable man of long fyrd service.  I testify on my good name that the accused committed the crime."  And that was it.  No presentation of evidence, no argument, no cross examination, no defence, no presumption of innocence.  If your accuser had a higher social status, and you had no friends in high places, you were going down.

I sometimes wonder if we've come so very far since then.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

I hight... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by CodeWright on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 03:10:55 PM EST

Jean de Bard, a loyal huscarl of the King and thou art a whoreson calumny dog! Thy words are lies and thou art false. I demand trial by combat!

"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Ooh, I would (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by Rogerborg on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 09:05:31 AM EST

But I've just joined the priesthood, so secular law doesn't apply to me any more.  ;-)

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Zao (none / 0) (#64)
by unknownlamer on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:12:54 PM EST

On their last album, Parade of Chaos, Zao has a song named "Free The Three" about the West Memphis Three. I think it's the best song on the album (either that or "Pirate's Prayer"). I know, I know, off topic...

<vladl> I am reading the making of the atomic bong - modern science
best song... (none / 0) (#79)
by xbradx on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 02:55:37 PM EST

Not that the newest Zao CD is that great (everything has been crap since "Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest"), but Pirate's Prayer is definitely the best song on there.

Yeah this OT, but it's good to see another Zao fan on K5 :).

[ Parent ]
I think both songs are great (none / 0) (#80)
by unknownlamer on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 03:55:55 PM EST

Free the Three and A Pirate's Prayer are both great. I just got splinter shards through liberate in the mail so now I'll listen to them...(I think Liberate is the best Zao album, but I haven't heard the three before that). Anyone want to sell me a copy of All Else Failed :)

<vladl> I am reading the making of the atomic bong - modern science
[ Parent ]
Buncha inbreds (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by cyberdruid on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 09:37:09 AM EST

This is a pretty famous case. That HBO documentary has even been on TV here in Sweden. Reading up on the summary, there were a few things that were new to me:

1) How could the judge not have heard of forensic odontology? Is he trying to out-retard the other people involved in this case? Furthermore - how can a local judge give the death sentence? Should not this be up to some sort of state court?

2) Since when is listening to Pink Floyd evidence of a violent nature? Pink Floyd must be one of the most pacifist-fuzzy-puppy-with-sunglasses-mirroring-two-cute-kissing-butterflies-with -large-Disney-eyes rock bands ever to release an album. It is sort of like saying, "Your honor - when we apprehended the suspect he was listening to James Taylor. We hold that this proves conclusively that the suspect is a satanist."

Perhaps the US military would be better of invading the bible belt and have sort of a spring cleaning, than picking on Iraq?

Careful with that axe, Eugene (none / 0) (#81)
by KnightStalker on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 04:00:48 PM EST

It sort of depends on which Floyd song was playing... :-)

[ Parent ]
Black Flag tribute to Benefit West Memphis 3 | 88 comments (61 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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