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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

25 Years of Mumia

The first time I heard about Mumia Abu Jamal was when I was living in Oakland in 1998. I used to hang out in Berkeley in my free time and people there would talk about this big injustice involving a man on death row for being black. It was tempting to believe and the posters of a dredlocked Mumia had the same appeal as those ubiquitous Che Guevara t-shirts that people wear. Who has time to be a student of history when the merchandise looks so cool?

Well, I've been following Mumia's case for a few years, and there are a lot of things the activists don't tell you. My favorite morning man, Michael Smirconish, is releasing a book co-written with Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the Philadelphia police officer allegedly killed by Mumia. Their website contains information about the book and a ton of info about the case.

I haven't studied enough to take a stance either way on this case, but I've read enough to know that the activists are generally full of crap. This doesn't mean Mumia is a murderer, it just means that if you want reliable information you have to be careful. It seems that people are too hungry for stories of injustice and conspiracy. Since I own a house a hundred yards away from a sign that reads "Daniel Faulkner Memorial Highway" I figure I ought to sort out the wheat from the chaff. For the record, I am against the death penalty but not for any sympathy towards Mumia. I just don't think it's our job to kill people, guilty or innocent.

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