‘Catholic students bullying Native American’ stories are false

The media stories about Catholic students bullying a Native American drummer at the Lincoln Memorial last week are false, unjust, and irresponsible. Longer video evidence shows that the bigotry on the day came from a group of Children of Israel street preachers. In this article, I analyse that video evidence.

These street preachers spent an hour and a half shouting outrageous sectarian, racist, sexist, and homophobic insults at Native Americans, the Catholic students, and another prayer group, and they incited the Native Americans to hate the students.

Some media reports have inaccurately described the street preachers as Muslims. They are not. The Children of Israel are Americans with a mix of Jewish and Christian beliefs, who believe that they are descendants of the ancient Biblical Israelites.

I was the perfect target for the initial news stories about Catholic students, after a March for Life, surrounding and bullying a Native American drummer, while wearing Make America Great Again caps and chanting about building the wall. The stories dovetailed with all of my instinctive prejudices.

I campaign against the Catholic Church. It has caused untold misery and injustice. I campaign against Catholic education. It indoctrinates children into a faith-based distortion of reality and morality. I campaign for a woman’s right to choose abortion, and for the human rights of minorities who are discriminated against.

Though I am not American, I have supported Democratic candidates against Republicans in every election I can remember. I think Donald Trump has corrupted American and global politics. I don’t like the slogan Make America Great Again, or the absurd border wall policy.

I believe the students were promoting injustice by opposing abortion. I believe their Catholic school in Covington was manipulative to send students to the March for Life, which is a religiously inspired political rally, and irresponsible to allow them to wear MAGA caps while representing the school.

The original video certainly seemed to show the Catholic students surrounding and bullying a Native American drummer. As is now all too familiar, online mobs quickly began to publicly identify, misidentify, and shame the students, adding prejudiced assumptions and hyperbolic comparisons to Klan members.

The Emergence of Other Videos

Like many people, I expected the new and longer videos to broadly confirm what I had seen in the shorter video, while adding some context. But, having watched them, the overall evidence simply does not match the allegations that the students either bullied the Native American drummer or chanted about building the wall.

I believe the students reacted wrongly if understandably, under provocation, after the street preachers repeatedly insulted them. Regardless of the situation, any large group of people would have made passersby uncomfortable by boisterously jumping and chanting in a public place.

But the students were not being aggressive, and the allegation that they surrounded the Native American drummer to bully him is simply false. Instead, a group of Native Americans, including two drummers, chose to walk into the middle of the group of chanting students while filming themselves.

Based on the new videos, I believe both groups were acting in good faith. The Native Americans thought they were standing up to a group of aggressive MAGA supporters. The students had been repeatedly insulted by one group of people, then they found another group of people invading their space. Despite the tension on both sides, the stand-off did not escalate.

The main drummer later said that he was trying to put himself between the students and the street preachers. This was a praiseworthy aim, but the execution was misguided. The preachers, not the students, were the aggressors, and the preachers were also insulting Native Americans using outrageous sectarian, racist, sexist, and homophobic language.

They should have tried to face down the preachers, not the students. The students were not violent, unlike the street preachers who threatened to assault a student. Also, some of the students defended black people and gay people, in the face of racist and homophobic insults by the street preachers.

Assuming that at least some of the students also have some unjust beliefs, will we change their beliefs by accusing them, in a high profile way, of bullying that is not supported by the evidence, or by hyperbolically comparing them to Klan members assaulting racial minorities?

Also, regardless of how we influence their beliefs, should we not value the pursuit of truth through evidence for its own sake? Whatever about the online mobs, the mainstream media now has numerous videos of the incident. A responsible media would report objectively about that video evidence.

What the later videos show

Based on the numerous videos now online, some of which I have embedded below, the incident involved three groups of people and lasted over an hour and a half. Some Native Americans were there for an Indigenous People’s March. Some Catholic students were waiting for their buses after attending a March for Life. And some Children of Israel street preachers were shouting outrageous sectarian, racist, sexist, and homophobic insults at both the Native Americans and the students, as well as at another prayer group.

The geography of the event will help you to understand what happened. The Children of Israel street preachers were in front of the Lincoln Memorial steps, facing the Native Americans who were dancing and chanting. The Catholic students were gradually arriving and gathering on the steps behind the preachers, to wait for their buses. Some Catholic students and a Catholic priest came over to listen to the Children of Israel street preachers.

The Children of Israel preachers spent an hour being loudly insulting, mostly to the Native Americans and occasionally to the Catholic students and the priest. The preachers then spent twenty minutes insulting the students, during which time some Native Americans, including two drummers, walked into the middle of the group of students. When the students left, the street preachers spent another twenty minutes insulting another prayer group, before everyone left.

Video A

In the summary below, the video times are from this video of the incident, which was recorded by one of the street preachers.


The First Hour of the Incident

During the first hour, the Children of Israel preachers told the Native Americans that Indian means savage (see 2:30 video A), that they still worship totem poles, eagles, buffaloes, water, and fire, and that is why their land was stolen and the white man has his foot in their ass (32:00 video A). When Native Americans disagreed with them, they called them Uncle Tomahawks with their head up the white man’s ass (36:20 video A).

When a Native American woman challenged them, one preacher said the problem is women always coming up with their loud mouths, thinking they can distract things because they’re not used to dealing with real men (8:40 video A). When another Native American woman said there is one world, one love, one people, a preacher replied that he was done with her, and that she was dismissed (40:00 video A).

The preachers told the Native Americans that they had come to warn the wicked, whoever is breaking the commandments of God, whoever is a faggot or a lesbian, like R Kelly and the Playboy mansion prostitutes and (pointing to a nearby priest) like this child molesting faggot priest right there (45:30 video A).

When some students came over to listen, the preachers challenged them to bring their cracker asses up to the lion’s den and make a statement. When the students walked away, the preachers shouted after them that their little dirty ass crackers’ day is coming (11:30 video A). When other students walked away, they shouted look at their scared ass, Israel, look at this mob of dirty animals, they’re gone (48:00 video A).

The preachers repeatedly tried to rile up the Native Americans against the students, calling them little Billies with their MAGA hats and little Kanye n****rs next to them (29:00 video A). When one Native American challenged the preachers, they replied that he had all those dirty ass crackers behind him with their MAGA hats and his coon ass wanted to fight his brothers (48:00 video A). One preacher pointed to a Catholic priest and said, that’s MAGA, a bunch of child molesting faggots (45:30 video A).

Another preacher repeatedly threatened to beat up a person, who seemed to be a student, who was circling the preachers on a skateboard. He said that if he came any closer he was going to tear his ass up and fuck him up (53:00, 1:05:00 video A).

Video B

In the summary below, the video times are from the first video, Video A, and from the following video, Video B, which was recorded by one of the students.


The Part that the First Stories Focused On

The dynamic changed after about an hour, as the Native Americans dispersed. For the first time, the preachers turned around towards the main group of Catholic students on the steps behind them, who were waiting for their buses and who were not interacting with the preachers in any way.

The preachers told the students that they were a bunch of babies made out of incest, and a bunch of hyenas who can’t get rid of the damn lice on their backs. Some of the students started to mock applaud the preachers. The preachers said you can’t touch us because we have angels around us, and you worship blasphemy (1:07:00 video A).

The students then turned their backs on the preachers and started to engage in college chant routines (1:10:00 video A). They later said that their teachers had given them permission to do this, in order to keep their spirts up and focus attention away from the insults. The students were loud and boisterous, but they were not being aggressive.

At this stage another small group of Native Americans entered the scene. They were chanting, banging two drums, and filming themselves (1:12:20 video A). The main drummer later said that he was trying to put himself between the students and the street preachers. This was a praiseworthy aim, but the execution was misguided.

Instead of facing down the preachers, who were the aggressors, and who had just spent an hour insulting their fellow Native Americans, they walked directly up to the chanting students and into the middle of the group. The students were in a circle facing inwards, so they did not even know that the Native American group was there until they reached them.

What happened next is the short clip that most people have seen. Some students adapted their chants to match the rhythm of the Native American drums. Some made tomahawk gestures. Others looked bemused. The main drummer ended up standing in front of one student, while chanting and playing his drum which is almost resting on the student’s shoulder.

In the second video I have embedded, we see most of the students chanting away from the drummer, and in the direction of the street preachers who have been insulting them. We hear voices asking if anyone knows what the Native American is doing (1:05 video B), if anyone knows what is going on (1:20 video B) and what is happening (4:10 video B).

One of the Native American group had a discussion with a student about how long Native Americans have been in America and whether they came from Asia. The student who was being drummed at gestured to the other student to stay quiet (2:14 video B) then walked away. The drummer turned back to the rest of his group and continued drumming.

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the group, the Children of Israel preachers continued to insult the students. They told them to go shoot up another school, and said all of them had school shooter hair cuts and eyes (1:15:00 video A). Two teachers moved the students back from the preachers (1:17:30 video A).

One preacher told the students that they were all crackers, and they had only two n****rs in their crowd. The preacher told one black student that when he gets old enough, his fellow students would steal his organs. The preachers then shouted, oh come on shorty, get out n****r. One student said why are you being mean? The preacher continued to shout get out n****r (1:18:00 video A).

One preacher pointed to a picture of Jesus and says this is a faggot child molester. He said this ain’t Jesus the Christ. Christ was a person of colour. Christ is coming back to kick your white cracker asses. He said the Greeks were a bunch of homosexuals, just like the Romans (1:20:00 video A, 4:40 video B).

The preacher told the students to go on Youtube and look up Donald Trump in drag kissing Rudy Giuliani dressed in drag (1:22:00 video A). One student replied who cares? (5:30 video B) The preacher said their President is a homosexual. More students replied who cares?

The preacher said that you have to swear on the Bible in court, and on the back of your dollar bill you have in god we trust, but you give faggots rights (1:23:00 video A). Several students reacted in shock by saying whoah. The preachers said that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and one student replied that they are still humans (7:20 video B).

About ten minutes after the Native American group walked into the student group, the school buses arrived. The students dispersed towards the buses, chanting ‘let’s go home, let’s go home’ One of the preachers shouted after them, ‘understand that America will burn. Thus saith the Lord’ (1:26:30 video A).

After the Students Had Left

After the students had left, the Children of Israel street preachers turned their attention to a group of people doing a prayer circle, who they identified as being the child molesting Catholic Church. One preacher said Kumbaya, there won’t be peace until blood is spread (1:27:00 video A).

The preacher told the members of the prayer circle that if you’re a bunch of child molesters, if you’re a bunch of faggots, if you’re a bunch of dykes, your prayer ain’t being heard. He said that’s why the Republicans left, because the Democrats had started praying.

A woman from the prayer group approached the preachers and said we love you, we love all of you. The preacher said if you love us, give us our land back. She says I can’t do that, I don’t have your land. The preacher said then you don’t love us (1:31:00 video A).

Another member of the prayer group said this was getting a bit heated. The preacher said we don’t speak like child molesters in the Catholic Church. We speak with authority. He said that when children mocked the prophet Elijah, he had prayed to god and got two she-bears to destroy the children from limb to limb (1:33:30 video A).

A youth from the prayer group said he was not a child molester. The preacher said he would probably be a victim if he was an usher boy. The youth said he is an usher boy. The preacher said the Catholic Church uses graven images, so even without the child molestation, it is breaking the Commandments (1:35:00).

After about twenty minutes, the preachers said that they had come there for the Native Americans, then the Republicans had arrived. They say they had been outnumbered, and they would probably have got their ass kicked, but they would have gone down with a fight. They then left to go to the Eastern Market outside the Starbucks (1:46:00 video A).

Conclusion

The media stories about Catholic students bullying a Native American drummer at the Lincoln Memorial last Friday are false, unjust, and irresponsible. Video evidence shows that the bigotry on the day was stoked by a group of Children of Israel street preachers.

These street preachers spent an hour and a half shouting outrageous sectarian, racist, sexist, and homophobic insults at Native Americans, the Catholic students, and another prayer group, and they incited the Native Americans to hate the students.

I believe the students were promoting injustice by opposing abortion. I believe their Catholic school in Covington was manipulative to send students to the March for Life, which is a religiously inspired political rally, and irresponsible to allow them to wear MAGA caps while representing the school.

But the evidence simply does not match the allegations that the students either bullied the Native American drummer or chanted about building the wall. Instead, a group of Native Americans, including two drummers, walked into the middle of the students.

The native Americans said they did this to put themselves between the students and the street preachers. This was a praiseworthy aim, but the execution was misguided. The preachers, not the students, were the aggressors, and the preachers were also insulting Native Americans.

Based on the videos, I believe that both the Native Americans and the Catholic students were acting in good faith. The Native Americans thought they were standing up to a group of aggressive MAGA supporters. The students had been repeatedly insulted by one group of people, then they found another group of people invading their space. Despite the tension on both sides, the stand-off did not escalate.

This incident is another warning about the dangers of online mobs. Assuming that at least some of the students also have some unjust beliefs, will we change their beliefs by accusing them, in a high profile way, of bullying that is not supported by the evidence, or by hyperbolically comparing them to Klan members assaulting racial minorities?

Also, regardless of how we influence their beliefs, should we not value the pursuit of truth through evidence for its own sake? It is no surprise that online mobs escalated the injustice by publicly identifying, misidentifying, and shaming the students. But the mainstream media now has numerous videos of the incident. A responsible mainstream media would report objectively about that video evidence.

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