Patterico's Pontifications

1/23/2019

Revisiting the Covington Catholic Situation [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:33 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Since the original post continues to be hotly debated, I thought I would add some more thoughts as the situation has evolved.

1. Commenter Calfed raised a very good point yesterday. Perhaps the Covington Catholic boys did not bring MAGA gear with them to the march; perhaps they just purchased the gear from street vendors at some point during the day. This makes sense, as the hats and other items did seem to be new, and it would explain why they would be wearing all of that stuff as they waited for the bus. In retrospect, I jumped the gun by blaming the fellas and, especially, their chaperones for permitting it, and I regret that I failed to consider that possibility. My point that MAGA-wear is inappropriate for a march that is designed to be non-partisan, however, stands. See my explanation here for why I believe that.

2. The more this plays out, the more I see Nathan Phillips as a bad actor in this mess. I was at one point willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he may really have been trying to defuse the situation, even if he did so in a ridiculously poor manner, but now it seems almost entirely clear that he is a professional agitator who sought confrontation and was savvy enough to immediately run to the media so that his mendacious side of the story dominated the early narrative.

3. A note on military service. Brotherico (always a pleasure to have him comment) brought some excellent perspective on whether Mr. Phillips can be considered a Vietnam Veteran in comments he made here and here. The upshot is that though Mr. Phillips never saw combat action in Vietnam — or even served “in-country” (i.e. on Vietnamese soil) — because he was in the military during the 1964-75 period of action in Vietnam, he is officially classified by the government as a Vietnam veteran. This is, of course, a separate matter from the instances when Mr. Phillips has led people to believe he was a combat veteran. For another perspective, retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley, who produces YouTube videos exposing stolen valor frauds, especially those who claim to be ex-Special Forces, acknowledges that Mr. Phillips does not seem to have claimed to be a combat veteran, though he seriously doubts that Mr. Phillips ever served as a Recon Ranger.

4. Since this story first broke, the Twitter wars have only escalated. It seems now that we are, typically, hardening into two opposing camps: one which believes that the CC boys are the victims of a coordinated smear job initiated by the obnoxious Black Hebrew group, picked up by Nathan Phillips and his Native American activist buddies, and finally endorsed by a media horde eager to exact a pound of white male Catholic MAGA flesh; and an opposition (maybe even a “Resistance” if you will) which insists that a group of teenage boys attacked both the Black Hebrew group and the Indian chanters because they were flexing their privileged white male conservative Catholic oppressor muscles. This is how we get Donald Trump; this is how we get Elizabeth Warren.

The worst people of all are still the Twitter jockeys who are calling for — or at the very least openly musing about — violence being done against these kids, especially Nicholas Sandmann. Hollywood and other entertainment types seem to be the most likely blue-checks to indulge in this vile practice, suggesting why today’s cultural offerings tend to be so putrid. Because the rationale for wishing violence on a teenager is nearly always expressed as offense at the “smug” look on young Mr. Sandmann’s face, I thought it appropriate to offer this meme floating around the Internet. And, yes, this is a real quote from the book.

Facecrime

UPDATE: Megan McArdle has one of her typically excellent takes on the whole situation. Sorry to have to point you to Twitter to read it, but I think that’s the only place she has published it.

– JVW


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