The events and topics which don't get discussed!

MONDAY, MAY 1, 2023

The person who died in jail: Colin Kaepernick did the right thing about ten days ago.

You've almost surely heard nothing about what Kaepernick did. Or about the person who died in jail.

We can find no sign that the astounding event in question was ever reported in the New York Times. We can find no sign that it has ever been mentioned on MSNBC.

(We can find no sign that it was ever mentioned on CNN. CNN did publish news reports about the event. For links, see below.)

We became aware of this event because of a little-noticed news report by Daniel Wu in the nearly endless online version of the Washington Post. The report appeared on April 21. Headline included, it started as shown below.

Warning! One statement here strikes us as inaccurate. More on that below:

Colin Kaepernick to pay for autopsy in Georgia jail death, attorney says

Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist, will pay for an independent autopsy to reexamine the death of Lashawn Thompson, who died last year in a Fulton County jail cell infested with insects, attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference Thursday.

Thompson’s death in September sparked outrage last week when his family released documents and graphic photos describing the squalid conditions of the Atlanta jail where he was kept. A report by the Fulton County medical examiner said that Thompson had an “extremely severe” infestation of small insects across his body but that his cause of death was undetermined. 

Please note! According to the medical examiner, Thompson did indeed have an "extremely severe" infestation of insects at the time of his death.

This isn't simply a claim by the family of the deceased! As his report continues, Wu quotes the sheriff of Fulton County saying such things as this:

In a statement following the news conference, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat called Thompson’s death “inexcusable” and said the Fulton County Jail has been in “crisis mode” for decades. He described the jail as dilapidated and overcrowded and called for the construction of a new facility.

“The type of infestations that contributed to Mr. Thompson’s death are going to be a recurring problem in a jail where hundreds of detainees do not have cells and have to sleep on the floor,” Labat said.

According to Sheriff Labat, the Fulton County jail has been in "crisis mode" for decades. These infestations are going to continue, the sheriff remarkably said.

In that report, Wu was principally reporting on Kaepernick's donation of the funds for a private autopsy. He linked to his original report about Thompson's death, which had appeared on April 14.

Headline included, these excerpts are drawn from that initial report

Man died after being ‘eaten alive’ by bugs in filthy jail cell, family says

Lashawn Thompson was slumped over in a cell at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta when a detention officer came to check on him in September. The cell was so dirty that a worker who entered it wore a safety suit designed to protect from hazardous materials, according to jail records. 


Thompson was “eaten alive” by insects and bed bugs, Michael Harper, an attorney for Thompson’s family, said in a news release Wednesday. The release, accompanied by jail records and graphic photos of Thompson and his cell, called for a criminal investigation into the 35-year-old man’s death and for the Fulton County Jail to be shuttered and replaced.


That cell was covered in filth and lice when officers found him unresponsive in September, according to the jail’s incident report. Another report from the Fulton County medical examiner called the insects bed bugs. The officer who first found him “freaked out” and did not immediately administer CPR, a Fulton County Jail supervisor said in the jail’s incident report.

Apparently, it was just another day in the Fulton County Jail. Again, we call attention to the number of statements which are dawn from official reports by public officials.

Above, we said that one statement in Wu's April 21 report struck us as being inaccurate. That was Wu's claim that new reporting about Thompson's death had "sparked outrage" in the previous week.

To the extent that that's true at all, it only seems to be true in a limited way on the local level. On the national level, the remarkable facts of Lashawn Thompson's death have sparked no interest at all.

As we've often noted, it easier to notice the things our journalists say than to notice the topics they skip. Here within our own blue tribe, our corporate tribunes talk about Donald J. Trump all day and all night, but they pay little attention to a range of other topics.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribunes don't like to disturb us. They like to picture Trump in jail, bit that's where the interest ends. They prefer to serve us endless bowls of pleasing tribal porridge.

Tedious topics like this go undiscussed. In this case, it was apparently just some guy in the Fulton County Jail!

Our tribunes didn't bother with this. More on such high-end disappearing acts to follow.

CNN's reports: To its credit, CNN has published at least four reports on this matter, starting with this report back on April 14. If you google "LaShawn Thompson CNN," the others should quickly appear. 

On our usual rounds, we've seen and heard nothing about this matter, except for the time we stumbled across that April 21 report in the nearly endless online Washington Post.


  1. "Fulton County is one of the most reliably Democratic counties in the entire nation. It has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1876 except those of 1928 and in 1972..." wikipedia

    1. I hope Trump gets incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail.

    2. Our historically low tax rates are making it too difficult to fund the government adequately.

    3. This should help.

  2. “Here within our own blue tribe, our corporate tribunes talk about Donald J Trump all day and all night, but they pay little attention to a range of other topics.”
    That statement jumps out at us as being perhaps inaccurate. In fact, it jumps out at us as pure unadulterated bullshit as only The Daily Howler can deliver. Indeed, if they talked about Trump ALL day and night, they would have NO time for other topics. But, of course, the premise itself is nonsense. Can we talk? Obviously Bob Somerby would have NO interest in the death of this person, if he didn’t see it as a way to get on the pity pot for poor Donald J Trump, the one human being on the planet he thinks is worthy of compassion!!
    There are many subjects the media has little or no interest in which don’t get any interest. But trust me. Bob isn’t interested in them either.

  3. Look at this guy that died in jail. Makes me think of Trump…

    It’s likely that Somerby only mentions this due to it taking place in Fulton County, where its DA Fani Willis is contemplating charges against Trump.

    Has he ever cared about Kaepernick’s Autopsy Initiative before, or his Know Your Rights Camp?

    “Our mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.”


    Somerby has ridiculed such ideas in the past, so it’s doubtful he is terribly sympathetic.

  4. I have seen reports of this prison death on most of the liberal websites and blogs that I read.

    The only political party engaged in prison reform efforts is the Democratic party. Conservatives tend to support prison privatization with a goal of saving money, not addressing prison overcrowding or inadequate funding or inhumane treatment of prisoners.

    The DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Office of the Inspector General all oversee prisons to ensure safe conditions and adherence to prisoner rights. There are other rights organizations that help, including the ACLU and the NAACP. These are generally regarded as liberal organizations -- Somerby may have heard of them.

    The District Attorney does not oversee prisoners in the Fulton County Jail. That is the job of the Sheriff.

    1. Most of the terrible prisons are run by Democrats.

    2. That’s a lie.

    3. The 1994 Democrat Party Crime Bill has unfairly imprisoned tens of thousands of blacks.

      Thank$ Democrats!

    4. David in Cal,
      It's been a while, so I wanted to thank you again for pointing out how police departments run protection rackets against the citizens.

    5. 6:14,
      Defund the Supreme Court.

  5. Kaepernick's autopsy is important to determine why Thompson died. However, it is not unusual for inmates to die in prison. Thompson's age (35) is unusual. In addition to prison conditions, access to health care is a prisoner right that is abused. But among those dying in prison are those who have serious illnesses, those who commit suicide, those who die of old age (serving a life sentence), those murdered or attacked by other inmates. Not every prison death is the result of mistreatment.

    Lice and bedbugs are endemic in other places besides prisons. Public and private schools have periodic lice infestations. Even the fanciest hotels (e.g., Hilton) can have bedbug infestations. The South is known for having more insects than other areas of the country.

    "In the United States, an estimated 6 to 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 11 get lice each year. According to a 2022 review of studies , global estimates suggest about 19% of school-aged children have head lice. Head lice are found in every country and across cultures and socioeconomic classes."

    Somerby should know this, since he taught elementary school. It is difficult getting rid of lice infestations in places like prisons.

    Atlanta is #10 on the list of bed bug infested cities. Bed bugs are also difficult to get rid of and prevalent in hotels (one estimate is that 8 of 10 hotels deal with them).

    Given that lice and bed bugs live by eating their hosts, just as mosquitos do, a person is not being literally eaten alive, as a bear might do. Bug bites are annoying but not life-threatening.

    Given that Thompson was found dead, it seems possible that the insects involved were flies who hatched after his death. Insects are part of the decomposition process after a person's death, not necessarily part of his living conditions while alive. The article isn't specific.

    Often reports of inhumane prison conditions include rats and mice. No mention of that here.

  6. I googled prison reform and Rachel Maddow and found several references to tweets and her show.

    I also found statements by Cory Booker (a known liberal) who has championed prison reform and reform of the justice system, Ari Melber who reported on disparities under Trump, the prison system and poverty. Rachel Maddow praised Obama's approach to prison reform when he was in office.

    Here is Maddow's Wikipedia bio. Note the continuing interest in addressing AIDS as part of prison health care reform in Britain and the US:

    "Maddow grew up in the San Francisco Bay area with her attorney father and school-administrator mother. She attended Stanford University, where she earned a B.A. in public policy (1994). As a graduating senior, she won the John Gardner Fellowship award for public service, which provided a stipend, mentorship, and placement for a 10-month period in a public service organization. Maddow worked with the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco and became a prison AIDS advocate. While in college, she decided to come out as a lesbian by posting copies of an open letter to the community throughout her dormitory. In 1995 she attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. She received a doctorate (D.Phil.) in politics in 2001; her dissertation was titled “HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons.”

    Somerby dislikes Maddow, but claiming that she (and liberals in general) have not cared about or addressed prison reform is just plain bonkers.

  7. "On our usual rounds, we've seen and heard nothing about this matter, except for the time we stumbled across that April 21 report in the nearly endless online Washington Post."

    As we've seen repeatedly in the past, Somerby has a convenient memory when it comes to what the mainstream media has been discussing.

    Somerby should be embarrassed to have only recently discovered this particular liberal issue. Claiming that because it wasn't on his radar, it wasn't on anyone else's either, is just ridiculous. It is akin to Trump saying that he discovered something (that everyone else already knows) just because he hadn't heard it before.

  8. The second amendment is evil.

  9. When Whites, including cops, kill “uppity” Blacks, Somerby says “shhhhh…just shut your mouth”.

    But when it’s possible to externalize the blame to non Whites, Somerby says “we could be heroes”!

  10. Here comes Bob Somerby!

    To save the day with his “kinder, gentler” version of The Turner Diaries.

  11. ‘I heard some footsteps by the front porch door/ So I grabbed my shotgun from the floor/ I snuck around the house with a huff and a hiss, saying hands up, you communist!/ It was the mailman’

    Dylan would find Somerby repulsive.

  12. Republicans should support statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

  13. Defund the Supreme Court.