Defining Lynching Down, Ctd.

Jeffery Lord is desperate to keep embarrassing both himself and The American Spectator:

Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines lynching as: "to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority."

I have read the Court's decision. Three people are not a "mob." A mob is defined as a "large crowd." So there was no "mob action" because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted "under color of law." Which means they had legal authority.

So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster's, not true. No mob. Therefore no "mob action." And the three had "legal authority." So my new friend Radley "Boo" Balko over at Reason pounced ... and got it wrong instantly.

The 1922 Dyer anti-lynching bill explicitly defines mob as "an assemblage composed of three or more persons," so the three police officers who beat Robert Hall to death while he was handcuffed would apply. Aside from that, Lord is now defending the legality of three police officers beating a handcuffed suspect to death, even though that's not what "under color of law" means. But while Lord seems to be having some difficulty figuring out whether or not three people beating another to death because he's black is a lynching, the publication he writes for doesn't seem to have much trouble applying the term to Republicans who sustain harsh liberal criticism.

If you want to understand how a system of state-sanctioned racial apartheid that tacitly approved of extrajudicial violence against black people could be sustained for so long, you need only look at Lord, who when caught in an obvious mistake, descended to defending a lynching out of his own personal pride and pique. No need to blame supernatural malice for what can be explained by simple human vanity.

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