In The News: A Commentary

The Covington High Videos

Seeing is not always believing

What does the drawing above look like?

A large group of students from Covington Catholic High School had just come from the taking part in the March for Life Rally. They gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to wait on their buses as they had been told to do. This is where they encountered trouble. First in the form of a “religious” group called the Black Hebrew Israelites. And then in the form of a Native American Group. But the massive trouble really started with a video clip and a false headline and made up narrative.

You couldn’t miss the “outrage.” It’s been all over twitter, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others. What did happen at the Lincoln Memorial?

There are multiple videos circulating about. I watched a two hour clip from the Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) group. Here’s a play by play from the BHI video:

  • The Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) stood some distance from the boys and were equal opportunity slanderers to anybody that walked by. They engaged the Native Americans with anger and at other times in calm discussion.
  • The BHI call African Americans the “N” word, Caucasian Americans “crackers” and “racist.” Others they called “bigots” and told one person his organs would be harvested. (?????) They especially didn’t like the boys “Make America Great Again (MAGA)” hats they were wearing and remarked about the President of the United States with obscenities.
  • The BHI yelled at the boys that they are “incest” babies. This type of “talk” from the BHI lasts for about an hour.
  • The boys decide to do a school cheer back at the BHI. One boy throws off his shirt. The other boys think it’s cool, and yell in hilarity and then they all do the school cheer.
  • While this is going on between the BHI and the boys, the Native American with the drum and a couple of others with him walk into the crowd of boys drumming and singing.
  • The Native American drummer stops in front of one of the boys and sings and drums right in front of him. This boy just stands there smiling. The other boys are singing along with the Native American drummer. There are smiles on everyone’s face except the Native American.
  • A Native American with the drummer tells the boys they don’t belong in America and uses the “F” word to get his point across.
  • The BHI are watching this and call it “mockery” by the boys who are singing and doing tomahawk actions with their arms.
  • At one point, the BHI say to one of the boys in the crowd that he’s a product of rape. The boy responds by saying it isn’t rape if you enjoy it.

But the massive trouble started with a video clip and a false headline and made up narrative.

Really, it’s a sad day in American journalism when the average American has to wade through two hours of uncut video to find out what really happened. This is what I learned by watching the video:

  • Whoever the Black Hebrew Israelites are, they certainly are not of God as they say. They are everything that they throw out at other people. The foul language, accusations, and bigotry is certainly a mockery to the true Israelite people.
  • The initial media reports never mentioned this group (BHI) in their reports, yet they were definitely the antagonists for more than an hour.
  • The Native American Indian drummer walked into the crowd of boys, not the other way around. He was only “surrounded” because he walked into the middle of them.
  • The boys sang along with the American Native and did “tomahawk” signs with their arms just as thousands of Americans do at football and baseball games. They were smiling and being, well, teenage boys.
  • One boy just stood and smiled as the Native American drummed in front of him. Neither of them moved.
  • The one boy who made the rape comment was responding in his immaturity to an adult antagonist.

I think MSN was the first to come out with this story two days ago. They showed a short video clip of the boy and the Native American drummer standing face to face while the Native American drummed. I’m still looking for some of the original headlines. Everybody is backtracking now and a few are apologizing to the teens. I do remember parts of headlines such as “MAGA Hat Wearing Boys,” “Standoff to Native American Veteran.”

Such outrage at what? Nonthreatening smiling, singing, jumping teen boys? The media sentenced them based on the following crimes:

  • They were wearing Make America Great Again hats.
  • They were in a group
  • They belonged to a Catholic, mostly all white school.
  • They “mocked” a Native American with “tomahawk” chops.
  • One boy stood and smiled at the Native American drummer who equally stood in front of the boy beating a drum and not equally smiling.
  • They reacted immaturely.

There have been comments that the boys shouldn’t have worn the hats. So, it was the MAGA hats that caused all of this? There were comments that they surrounded the Native American drummer. Not true, when you watch the uncut video. There was criticism that the boys were “mocking” the Native American with tomahawk chops. It looked more like they were just joining in the way they knew how. Many remarked how the boy didn’t move out of the Native American’s way. But my thought is, who is the adult in this situation?

It’s terrible the way some Americans responded to these boys. We used to live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty. Or at least you tried very hard to not make a judgement until all the facts were presented. Oh how social media and “news” media has changed everything. All they need is a very small piece of the picture and a made up narrative to “prove” their point.

When I was a young child, I remember thinking about media outlets in Russia and Communist East Germany at the time. I wondered if the people believed the falsified stifled reporting that must have come from a nation that was not free to report unbiasedly. Now, I wonder how the people in America can even listen, watch or read the all too familiar reports like this one that come belching out of media stations.

The backlash these boys, their parents, the school, the chaperones and I’m sure many others have suffered because of a false witness by a made up story shouldn’t go unreprimanded. But what can we do? The first media outlet whispered in the ear of the second and everyone jumped on the bus without so much as a “let’s make sure it’s true” thought. Even the head of the school was believing the story before he had all the facts.

If you looked at any of the footage, you’ll see lots and lots of people taking video. This one had a lot of eyes from many angles. So why didn’t the first news story reveal the bigger picture. Because it wanted you to see something different. It wanted its own narrative “proved.”

I see a bigger picture in all of this. The very reason Jesus told us not to bear false testimony against one another. It hurts many, not just the one. It hurts the innocent. It has a ripple effect, and it divides.

Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against his neighbor.

Proverbs 25:18

Seems the media along with a lot of us are willing to pick up the club or sword or sharp arrow and throw it, based on the false testimony of the media. Be prayerful when you see these kinds of stories. Prayerful for all involved including the antagonists. Jesus went to the cross and died for all of humanity.

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son that who ever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Below, you will see the full drawing from the piece of the one above. Looks a lot different when you see the whole picture.

Pic by Louis Endelicher/unsplash.com

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