07/17/07 — Still asking: Black doesn’t seem to grasp that he did anything wrong

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Still asking: Black doesn’t seem to grasp that he did anything wrong

Perhaps Jim Black simply does not get the message. Or, maybe, we are learning a little bit more about how to handle disciplining politicians in the future.

The point seems to be that this man doesn’t seem to understand that what he did when he was wearing the mantle of the speaker of the House was less than honorable — and worthy of punishment.

It seems Black is now asking a judge to delay the enforcement of his prison term until September.

The reason? It really doesn’t matter. What should concern North Carolina residents is that a man whom this state and his constituents trusted for many years does not seem to understand the gravity of his conviction on corruption charges.

Just what is going on up there in Raleigh?

This is not Black’s first rodeo. He knows what is right and wrong when it comes to operating in the statehouse. So, the fact that he is surprised that he cannot give a fellow legislator a bribe, loan, gift or whatever to change his party affiliation is as astonishing as his continued requests for what can only be considered special treatment.

Perhaps he has been watching a few too many television shows detailing the incredibly taxing prison stay of Paris Hilton and is getting big ideas of his own.

Hopefully, those who are supposed to know better will make sure that Black serves his sentence without heiress-like privileges to prove a point — and to send a message to others who might be thinking about bending or breaking a few rules of their own.

It is obviously a message more of this state’s leaders — and perhaps a few in Washington, too — need to hear.

What some of these people do not seem to get is that they are criminals — just like the guy who is picked up off the street after being caught selling drugs or stealing. And they deserve the same considerations as other criminals who come before a judge.

Their crimes might not be as heinous in most cases, but the truth is that their arrest is a disgrace because they should have known better. They knew they weren’t following the rules — the smokescreens of feigned ignorance they put up in court are nothing more than attempts to get away with their transgressions.

Jim Black’s saga and the fallout thereafter will be around for a while longer. Who knows what he will ask for next.

Let’s hope that the message that crime does not pay sticks with a few people as well.

Published in Editorials on July 17, 2007 11:43 AM