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Ex-Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry sentenced to life in prison
May 23, 2002 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Ex-Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry sentenced to life in prison for the Sept. 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Few things bring a smile to my face like a hateful old racist terrorist getting sent off to spend the rest of his days as a prison wife.
posted by Ty Webb (32 comments total)

 
(I don't ordinarily condone such talk, but I hope he becomes some big black dude's bitch.)
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:40 PM on May 23, 2002


Yes, I also am delighted by the idea of prison rape. The harder the better, if you ask me.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:41 PM on May 23, 2002


Hmmmmm.... That was meant to be sarcastic, but coming after donkey's comment, which I didn't see in preview, that's not so clear. So just to clear things up: rape=bad, torture of prisoners=unconstitutional.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:43 PM on May 23, 2002


I was being semi-sarcastic too ... but just semi.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:45 PM on May 23, 2002


I'm just glad he's being punished after getting away with it for 30 years. Assuming, of course, that he did it. It took way to damn long.

And, upon preview, to finish mr roboto's equation...
rape=bad, torture of prisoners=unconstitutional, old racist bastard finally being thrown into slammer after killing four little girls = damn good.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:45 PM on May 23, 2002


I'm going to go out on a limb and say what really helped the success of this case was Spike Lee's 4 little girls documentary. It raised public awareness and probably helped shift the average southerner's attitude about the case.
posted by mathowie at 1:51 PM on May 23, 2002


Yes, it's definitely worthwhile to foster an atmosphere of tolerance through violent prison rape imagery.
posted by websavvy at 1:51 PM on May 23, 2002


Now maybe I haven't been following this issue as closely as I could, but surely there was some sort of outpouring of grassroots support for this guy? Maybe a fundraiser to defray his legal costs? I mean, doesn't time heal all wounds?

Seriously, it's good to see people like these brought to justice. (Tangent: a google search for Byron De La Beckwith produces some scary results.)
posted by subgenius at 1:59 PM on May 23, 2002


if you ask me, I'd rather have a guy being convicted, like, fast, or something even remotely similar to fast, or even a little slow and not being raped.
A conviction 40 years late is better than walking free forever, ok. But prison rape, even if it looks like good revenge for a monster like this, remains a savage option.

I'm not very religious unfortunately, so I can't possibly say a prayer in those four little girls' memory. I'm just going home and silently watch this movie
May they rest in peace now
posted by matteo at 2:00 PM on May 23, 2002


To those who ponder favorable on cruel and unsual punishment:

"The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses, border on the unimaginable. Prison rape not only threatens the lives of those who fall prey to their aggressors, but it is potentially devastating to the human spirit. Shame, depression, and a shattering loss of self-esteem accompany the perpetual terror the victim thereafter must endure."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Farmer v. Brennan
posted by raaka at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2002


Ah, I find it amusing to see the liberals flip-flop and wish such brutal treatment down upon this man, where usually they are all sweetness and light to murderers.

I remain consistent. This man should be executed, and removed from the world, for he is a blight upon it.
posted by dissent at 2:25 PM on May 23, 2002


Prison rape is not delightful. Someday there will be no such thing. God willing!

I hope he's guilty - he says he isn't: "I don't know why I'm going to jail for nothing." -How guilty people get interrogated (much less put on trial) and don't break under the pressure & confess is beyond me.

It was such a long time ago...

But the way he puts it ("I don't know why I'm going to jail for nothing") reminds me of what the Marquis de Sade said before he went to prison: "All this, for beating a whore."

mathowie: the attitudes of "the average Southerner" aren't influenced by Spike Lee movies.

By the way, I've been to the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham several times: the jail cell where Dr King wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" has been moved there. The front section of the bus the Freedom Riders were on that was fire-bombed in Anniston is there. The final 'exhibit' is a big glassed-in corner of a room that gives a very fine view of the 16th St. Baptist Church, across the street.

Going through the Civil Rights Institute is a very moving experience indeed.
posted by Junker George at 2:41 PM on May 23, 2002


Ah, I find it amusing to see the liberals flip-flop and wish such brutal treatment down upon this man

At least you didn't use the term "Democrites." Boy, did that sting...

I remain consistent. This man should be executed, and removed from the world, for he is a blight upon it.

You're confusing consistency with uncreativity.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:54 PM on May 23, 2002


dissent: Ah, I find it amusing to see the liberals flip-flop and wish such brutal treatment down upon this man, where usually they are all sweetness and light to murderers.

You're finding straw men amusing. Actual liberals, and not the fictional demonic liberals you've created in the darkened confines of your fevered brain, don't wish brutal treatment on the man, nor do they wish "sweetness and light to murderers". We generally just hope that he be caught, fairly tried with due process of the law, and if convicted serve out his sentence- we wish primarily that no one can outrun true justice or a moral reckoning. Me personally, I was with Ty Webb until the last 4 words of his frontpage post (I've ranted at length in the past about the ease with which people accept the idea of prison rape). But I'm probably asking too much for you, dissent, to have empathy or clear understand of another person's viewpoints.

Ty Webb: You're confusing consistency with uncreativity.

Well, what was it Emerson said, that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds? dissent certainly is consistent in his notion of solutions == persecution or execution.
posted by hincandenza at 3:03 PM on May 23, 2002


This man should be executed, and removed from the world, for he is a blight upon it.

Hmmm...one imagines your garden-variety racist saying exactly the same thing about black people back in them ol' tree hangin' days.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:06 PM on May 23, 2002


For the record: I am against rape. It's horrible that it is a fact of prison life.

However, in special cases, such as that of, say, putrid old child-murdering Klansmen, I reserve the right to smile about it, if only briefly.

I think that's an idea we can all get behind...(ducks to avoid flying garbage)
posted by Ty Webb at 3:26 PM on May 23, 2002


You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.
posted by niceness at 3:46 PM on May 23, 2002


This guy...that woman from Tennessee...that 80+ year old Nazi in the news this week...what a Pyrrhic victory to imprison people for crimes 30-40 years after the fact....
posted by rushmc at 3:56 PM on May 23, 2002


This man should be executed, and removed from the world, for he is a blight upon it.

He was sentenced under 1963 law, during that period when the death penalty wasn't used. He does have the possibility of parole, but he is 71, so they expect he will die in prison.

If anything brought attention to the case recently, it was that FX movie they showed back in January.

The case was closed many times between 1963 and now, by both the Feds and the state--it was closed in the 70s by the FBI because they felt they didn't have enough evidence to convict the 4 (like the article said, Cherry has been a suspect almost from the get-go). His trial has been delayed for 2 years because of questions of his mental capacity, and he is in apparently very poor health, physically and mentally. I don't doubt he thinks he's innocent--I don't doubt he still thinks he did no wrong.
posted by somethingotherthan at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2002


Byron De La Beckwith is dead, in a few years or so Bobby Frank Cherry will be. Hopefully the last vestiges of their time will die with them and be put in the dustbin of history where they belong.
I have no delusions that racism will die with these two men, but as more and more perpetrators of atrocities from that era are convicted or die off, the philosophy they represent moves further out into the margins and further away from the mainstream of American life, which is definitely a good thing. Hopefully, these developements will help the south exorcise it's uglier demons and move forward as well.
posted by jonmc at 4:31 PM on May 23, 2002


Pyrrhic victory to imprison people for crimes 30-40 years after the fact...

It should be added to the penal code that one must serve, in addition to the sentence, one day for each day that passed between commission of the crime and conviction.
posted by plaino at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2002


hincandeza, that's, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Not to be nitpticky, but it does change the meaning of the quote quite a bit.
posted by amarynth at 4:56 PM on May 23, 2002


It should be added to the penal code that one must serve, in addition to the sentence, one day for each day that passed between commission of the crime and conviction.

Um...I fail to see how this would be anything but silly when applied to an 80-yr-old who's already looking at 20+ years in prison. Rather like the logical absurdity of sentencing someone to several "life sentences."
posted by rushmc at 5:11 PM on May 23, 2002


It should be added to the penal code that one must serve, in addition to the sentence, one day for each day that passed between commission of the crime and conviction.

And if someone commits a drug crime worth 3-6 months, and isn't convicted for 10 years? They should spend 10 years in jail?

I gotta say, in the general case I wholly disagree with you.
posted by cortex at 6:13 PM on May 23, 2002


The obvious truth of what awaits Bobby Frank Cherry seems to have escaped everyone's mind: Prisons are ran by Gangs such as The Black Guerrella Army, The Aryan Brotherhood, The Mexican Mafia, etc. Bobby Frank is an icon for the White gangs and will be protected by them and treated like royality. Prison rape is reserved for those of any race who are unable to hook up with gangs and are unable or unwilling to defend themselves, since to do so usually means you have to be willing to stab your attacker. Child molesters are never accepted and are the #1 target.
posted by Mack Twain at 6:51 PM on May 23, 2002


The obvious truth of what awaits Bobby Frank Cherry seems to have escaped everyone's mind

Why bother to explain the circumstances of the future for this one? Despite the fantasies of several here, Cherry will no longer be a part of our society. Those who get a stiffy at the thought of his fate disregard the fate of the rest of us. He's gone from our midst, and that's good enough.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:00 PM on May 23, 2002


The fact that he got to live an entire lifetime in freedom is enough to prove that there is no possibility of justice being served in this case. The fact that some people console themselves with the idea that he will be raped or murdered in prison is enough to prove that we are apt to confuse revenge with justice. This is a tragedy that never had any possibility of ending well.
posted by Hildago at 8:38 PM on May 23, 2002


What exactly is "an average Southern's" (which I suppose, I am) view of the case? [Readies stereotype swarting comments.]
posted by jca at 12:49 AM on May 24, 2002


The obvious truth of what awaits Bobby Frank Cherry seems to have escaped everyone's mind

Indeed, given his age, his precarious health and the nature of his crime, Cherry will almost certainly be in protective solitary or in a hospital ward. He wouldn't last long in a general population, gang protection or no.
posted by Dreama at 12:53 AM on May 24, 2002


I believe it is correct that justice delayed is NOT justice served. However, for blacks in the South it's often still the best they can hope for. Unfortunately. The most recent example is the atrocity committed against blacks in Florida by Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush with the voter purge. When will justice be served there, if ever? Naturally such "entitled" persons never admit they have done anything wrong when serving their perceived best interests.
posted by nofundy at 5:08 AM on May 24, 2002


Better late than never. What more can you say? Maybe the cops didn't try hard enough at first, but there's not a lot they can do about that now except promise to try harder next time.

I wouldn't wish rape on anyone, but I hope his term isn't easy to serve.
posted by robcorr at 8:05 AM on May 24, 2002


Better late than never.

Is it always? I have my doubts.
posted by rushmc at 11:11 AM on May 24, 2002


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