Post Memorial Day Weekend Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2022

May 31st is one of the really bad dates in U.S. history.

On this date in1921, thousands of white citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked the city’s predominantly black Greenwood District, burning homes and businesses to the ground and killing hundreds of people. It was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the nation’s history. Ethics Alarms noted the event last year, and the New York Times did an excellent retrospective here.

 Teaching such important race-related events in public schools isn’t “Critical Race Theory,” and the fact that the Tulsa race massacre—which is an accurate description whereas “Tulsa race riot,” the traditional name, is not—has been largely ignored (or covered up?) in school history curricula  is indefensible. The significant distinction is whether the event is placed in proper context with U.S. progress in race relations and equal opportunity.

Relegating it to the shadows of history, however, is not an option.

1. This time, Republicans really did “pounce.” EA has noted the observed phenomenon of the mainstream media deflecting from actual Democratic Party scandals by focusing on Republican/conservative reaction to the scandals. Indeed it is a marker of the mainstream media’s bias. However, this Newsweek headline is fair and appropriate: “MAGA Republicans POUNCE on Nancy Pelosi’s husband’s DUI.”

Why is a DUI offense by the Speaker of the House’s spouse worthy of so much commentary by the conservative media? It isn’t, that’s all. It is just a cheap way to try to embarrass Pelosi. Her husband wasn’t elected. He has no substantive importance to the nation at all. I don’t care about his DUI, his recent root canal, or the fact that he told a dirty joke to the plumber. None of that is news, or even interesting.

Every relative of a politician isn’t like Hunter Biden.

2. On the other hand, I’ll “pounce” on this one. NYC mayor Eric Adams attended a Memorial Day Ceremony at the USS Intrepid Museum, which a re-purposed WWII carrier. Then he tweeted,

Uhhh, NO. The Intrepid wasn’t at Pearl Harbor: no carriers were. That lucky break was significant in allowing the U.S. Navy to bounce back from the Japanese sneak attack as quickly as it did. Nor could Intrepid be in Honolulu in December of 1941, because it wasn’t commissioned until 1943.

I don’t think it’s too much to expect our elected leaders to have strong foundation of historical knowledge about the nation they serve. At the minimum, they shouldn’t make our dangerously ignorant public even less informed about our history than they already are. Is it really that hard to check facts before you tweet out garbage?

3. Didn’t you just know that school shooting huckster and Parkland survivor David Hogg would resurface after Uvalde? Over the weekend, Hogg tweeted,”I understand there are many disagreements about what we should do but the important thing is we all agree we need to do something…”

What does it say about the level of policy debate in this country that such a fatuous, useless, flabby and dangerous comment is considered anything but ridiculous?

4. While the hysterics are calling for new gun regulations that almost certainly would not have prevented the Uvalde shooter from shooting up a school, the fact that the Uvalde police following well-established active-shooter protocols almost certainly would have saved lives is being underplayed by the media as much as it can get away with.

“In active shooter situations where ongoing deadly force is reasonably likely to be employed by a suspect and delay in taking law enforcement action could result in injury or death, immediate action by officers at the scene is necessary when such actions are deemed reasonable to prevent further injuries or loss of life” begins the introduction to a white paper on law enforcement best practices. [Pointer: More Bill] It needs to be made clear: there was no excuse for the refusal of the Uvalde police to immediately enter the school and take out Ramos, and the explanation must be tagged as incompetence and cowardice. Nothing less.

5. Pandering woke trigger warning of the year (but then all trigger warnings are woke pandering”… Netflix’s much-anticipated fourth season of “Stranger Things” now has a warning card at the beginning:

We filmed this season of ‘Stranger Things’ a year ago. But given the recent tragic shooting at a school in Texas, viewers may find the opening scene of episode 1 distressing. We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable violence, and our hearts go out to every family mourning a loved one.

When commenter JutGory mentioned this on the Ethics Alarms tip-line, I couldn’t remember what it was referring to, and I had just seen the episode in question. Much of it takes place at a high school, and there is no shooting, no massacre. So I checked: the scene Netflix mentions  1) had already been shown in Season One of the show; 2) it didn’t involve a shooting, or guns, and 3) the site of the carnage wasn’t a school, but a government research facility where captive children were being trained as weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, isn’t any scene showing dead and bloody children and adults supposed to be distressing? Viewers will only find it distressing if there has just been a school shooting? “Stranger Things” has always been violent, and concentrates on children being menaced by horrible people, places and “things”: what are the odds that a mourning Uvalde family would tune in to that show to take their minds off of the tragedy? Moreover, the whole season (I’m half-way through) is far more violent than the first three installments. Why no trigger warning about, say, the three scenes where a teen, a young man and a young mother have their limbs broken grotesquely and their eyes seemingly gouged out from the inside while they hang suspended in the air? Talk about unspeakable violence…

The warning, you see, is insincere. It’s just cynical virtue signalling.


6. Yes, “groomer” is being used irresponsibly by conservative pundits. It would have been helpful to point this out with an objective opinion piece, but the New York Times hardly ever publishes such things. the host of the A.C.L.U. podcast, At Liberty, authored an op-ed criticizing the current practice on the right of accusing opponents of measures designed to keep discussions of LGTBQ sexual activities out of the lower grades in public schools of being “groomers” and ‘child abusers.” “To use these words in this way voids them of their real meaning and desensitizes civil society to bodily harms, especially those carried out under a shroud of secrecy,” she writes, “To weaponize this claim casually in a political debate is to degrade the lifeline of vulnerable children.”

Fair enough. However, she also writes, because bias not only makes one stupid but untrustworthy as well,

“Calling political opponents “groomers” is clearly the latest in an unoriginal conservative strategy to name-call and character assassinate the opposition”

Name-calling and character assassination is a conservative strategy? You mean all those people who the author and her pals call fascists, religious fanatics, racists, liars, murderers and advocates of a dystopian “Handmaid’s Tale” future do that too???

She also somehow neglects to mention that the opposition to the admittedly falsely nick-named “Anti-grooming law” used an equally dishonest and misleading name of their own: “Don’t  Say Gay,” which the Times and the other media outlets allied with the LGTBQ activists used as if it was a fair characterization of the Florida bill.

It was no more fair than “Anti-Grooming,” but the Times didn’t run any op-ed pieces explaining that.

28 thoughts on “Post Memorial Day Weekend Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2022

  1. 5. They did the same thing to the new Disney Plus series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” which begins with a flashback to the Clone Troopers attacking the Jedi Temple and shooting after a Jedi teacher and a group of children. The kids run off safely after their teacher is killed.

    A bit more appropriate in context. But, yes, this is one of those scenarios in which the showrunners could not possibly have been aware of the timing of their release coinciding with another tragedy.

  2. I am not discounting the cowardice of the Uvalde police, or making any comment about gun control. I simply want to know why the school door was propped open, allowing the shooter to enter? Who did this and why? Someone needs to be held accountable for this small part of the tragedy!

      • I saw one report -I forget where- that a teacher had propped the door open in order to retrieve something from her car, but there was no explanation of why she didn’t re-secure the door upon going back into the school. There is a common human tendency to deny that evil will ever touch us, that the bad man will not come, and to extrapolate “it has never happened here” into “it will never happen here.” It’s the same reason many people who should know better and are eligible to do so don’t train with and carry firearms. News flash: Until the first time it happened anywhere, it had never happened there before. Security procedures will eventually be ignored and policies become meaningless without constant monitoring and accountability. School for this year has just ended in my county, and I would bet my pension that our school security procedures will be thoroughly reviewed and updated over the summer months. I have been retired for nearly eight years, but I know that our policies required the SRO or another deputy to be physically present for the duration of any normally-locked door being unlocked. I also noted with satisfaction that the referenced 2016 version of the IACP Model Policy has been updated to encourage the solo-officer response when appropriate.

      • There are so many possibilities. Organizations like businesses, schools and churches that try to have some semblance of security are constantly foiled by propped open doors being used for deliveries, fresh air, cooler air in absence of air conditioning and employees trying to avoid having to scan themselves in.

      • According to our local news, the teacher propped the door with a rock and headed to the parking lot. She actually saw the shooter, ran back to the door, kicked the rock away and either closed the door or lket the hydraulics close it. Either way, the lock didn’t engage, leaving the way open for Ramos.

  3. On 5:

    Tertiary Drama on Stranger Things Season Four:

    This was followed by:

    “first off this slur is directed ONLY at northernmost canadian and alaskan natives…

    there’s many different said meanings, one of them being “raw meat eater” which is seemed to show inuit people as barbarians for eating raw meat. the true or most reasonable meaning is that it stems from the latin word “excommunicati” which means excommunicated. this was because —

    the inuit people were not christian, unsurprisingly because they had never been exposed to it before colonization.

    the colonizers hated us inuit and other canadian natives not being christian so much that they built residential schools to convert children from an early age —

    to christianity. different schools taught different denominations like roman catholic (the one my mother and grandfather went to), baptist, methodist, etc.

    aside from teaching their religion to these kids, they also beat them, cut their hair, didn’t let them speak their —

    native language, changed their names, and sexually abused them.

    there’s also a myth that it comes from “eskimo dog tags” but that’s untrue, as the e on most of those come from which part of canada the person is living in so the e on a tag would mean “east.”

    i don’t care if it was a place that was mentioned in the show and if one (1) character said it, it was still said and shouldn’t have been. it is still a slur. don’t ask if it carries the same weight as another slur, it’s a slur. of course it’s just as bad as the others.

    anyways FUCK netflix and recast sokka in the atla live action”

    The Problem with that? It’s mostly bullshit.

    Eskimo’s etymology, as Google will tell you, was from the French “Esquimaux”, which was from the Spanish “Esquimao”, which was from Montagnais “Ayas’kimew” which literally translates to “person who laces a snowshoe”. And just so we’re all aware, The Montagnais were Innu people from northern Quebec. It was one of their own words for themselves. Why would a modern Innu have thought that Eskimo is a slur? Because some people think Eskimo was a pejorative term used by the Cree towards people from the northern tribes. And while it is true that the Cree word “askâwa” does mean “raw meat or eggs”, it would have been a really weird slur seeing as the Cree also ate a lot of raw meat.

    And unless someone has been watching too much John Wick, the spelling of the term for someone rejected by the church is “Excommunicated” and frontiersmen weren’t exactly known for their command of Latin. Even that is a stretch though, because you can’t be excommunicated from the church unless you were in communion with it to begin with.

    Really… Eskimo is probably akin to Redskin in that no offense was meant, some offense was taken, and it’s probably better to err on the side of politeness. But she used a non-existent word to describe a process that didn’t apply to a term that was not originally meant as offensive because she was too lazy to Google the actual etymology. She misinformed her audience, and started a slew of people jabbering on about how racist people using the term are. It annoys me.

    • Not to mention that the character using the term is a stoner idiot, AND the show is set on the 1980s before political correctness became a disease. That’s a perfect Great Stupid entry!

    • Fun Fact: “Sokka” is a Character from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the person cast to play in the live action (Ian Ousley) is accused of lying about having a Cherokee background to get the part.

      Which is…. Maybe the word isn’t ironic, but it sure is something, because that’s even the same tribe that Liz “Lieawatha” Warren claimed, to much aplomb, and no consequence.

      • What’s particularly ironic is the much-derided Last Airbender movie basically ignored the east Asian and Inuit styled ethnicities of the characters in the cartoon, casting whites and Indians (not the American kind) instead.

    • I didn’t even notice it in the screed, but this is also incorrect:

      “the colonizers hated us inuit and other canadian natives not being christian so much that they built residential schools to convert children from an early age —”

      They did no such thing. The “Colonizers” had no interest in native education for more than 200 years. Colonizers arrived in Canada in the early 1600’s, and while the first Residential School was opened in 1840, they only really picked up steam following Canada’s first treaty in 1871 when the plains tribes explicitly demanded they be part of the treaties as a concession from the crown.

      “Beginning in the 1870s, both the federal government and Plains Nations wanted to include schooling provisions in treaties, though for different reasons. Indigenous leaders hoped Euro-Canadian schooling would help their young to learn the skills of the newcomer society and help them make a successful transition to a world dominated by the strangers. With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867, and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society.

      The federal government supported schooling as a way to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Their underlying objective was to decrease Indigenous dependence on public funds. The government therefore collaborated with Christian missionaries to encourage religious conversion and Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This led to the development of an educational policy after 1880 that relied heavily on custodial schools. These were not the kind of schools Indigenous leaders had hoped to create.”

      Now, I’m certainly not going to defend how the Residential School system turned out, but I’m also not going to pretend it was a priority.

  4. Regarding the Tulsa race massacre: I’m surprised to hear that the teaching of this history has been suppressed (at least after the 60’s). This is exactly the kind of history that is ordinarily emphasized.

  5. 6. The more examples I read of “grooming” books and discussions had in schools, the more I persuaded that what these teachers are doing is literally grooming them. I read the other day of a school providing a book glorifying prostitution provided to middle schoolers. How is that not grooming? Teaching 5 year olds to masturbate cannot really be considered anything but grooming. Drag Queen strip teases in preschool is grooming. Forcing teen girls to read pornography aloud in class is grooming. The stated purpose of most of this is the destruction of innocence. How is that anything but grooming? Actively attempting to oversexualize minors IS grooming. Every instance of this behavior might not individually count as grooming, but added together, it is disgusting and I think the groomer label applies. It is gross and needs to stop.

    • I agree and disagree. I disagree that the destruction of innocence is enough to earn the label “groomer.” It’s awful, don’t get me wrong, but a different kind of awful from setting kids up to be victims of sexual abuse.

      But much of what you described, and other things schools are supporting, is grooming even if unintentional. Normalizing adults with authority over young kids talking to them about sexual attraction or anatomy (even if in a context that’s intended to focus on gender rather than biological sex) makes it easier for an actual pedophile to initiate those conversations. And the schools that invite or encourage keeping kids sexual orientation or gender identification secret from parents are making it easier for pedophiles to encourage them to keep inappropriate relationships secret, along with giving any adult who knows about it an opening for blackmail.

      Through much of the past 30 years, advocates for child sexual abuse victims have waged a campaign to teach kids that certain information and behaviors are private and any adult who asks about them should be reported to their parents right away, and any adult who asks them to keep something secret from their parents should be ignored and reported to their parents. This is sound advice for preventing abuse. In their eagerness to build up a generation that never questions radical gender theory, some number of teachers and school officials are eagerly undoing this work and making it easier for pedophiles to access children. That’s where the “groomer” rhetoric is accurate, in my opinion.

      • “An analysis conducted by Fox News Digital looked at local news stories week by week featuring arrests of teachers and teachers’ aides on child sex-related crimes in school districts across the country. Arrests that weren’t publicized were not counted in the analysis, meaning the true number may well be higher.

        The analysis found that at least 135 teachers and teachers’ aides have been arrested in 41 states between January 1 and May 13, which works out to about an arrest a day on average.”

        The school systems do have a problem with school personnel molesting children and teenagers. The efforts to sexualize children seem to be resulting in actual sexual abuse. These are just the arrests that were actually covered in news outlets. How many went unreported on by the media? Many of the offenders the article mentions molested many students before their arrests. How many of these teachers pushing overtly sexual material are also pedophiles? How would we know? The media covers this sort of thing up!

        Whether they are grooming the children for themselves or for someone else is irrelevant. Grooming is grooming. Intentional or not, telling children to think of themselves as sex objects is grooming.

        There is a difference between talking about homosexuality and transgenderism in broad strokes, and talking about highly sexual topics. I agree that that line is being blurred by people who use the groomer label. Much of the transgender activism in schools sounds much closer to conversion therapy than grooming, in my opinion. I wouldn’t discount the grooming label entirely, however, because in many instances grooming is an accurate label.

  6. Re # 1: I did note that Pelosi was quick to throw her husband under the bus. “I wasn’t e4ven there. I was on the East coast.”

  7. OB & JM,

    According to something I read earlier this evening, Chief Aredondo (Chief of the School District’s School Resource Officers, number unknown) was the Incident Commander and responsible for making the decision that it WASN’T an “Active Shooter” but, rather, a “Barricaded Subject,” which doesn’t require immediate entry & use of deadly force to eliminate the threat. In the recent Uvalde Election, Chief Aredondo (among several others) ran for a few City Council vacancies and was elected. (In all likelihood, none of the candidates had opposition from the other party though it could well have been a non-partisan municipal election, so he and the others were voted in.) I read today, 5/31, that the Chief and others were sworn in as members of the City Council. Subsequently, the Council decided that they would NOT cooperate with the investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers that was ordered by Governor Abbot.

    This is Texas small-town politics at its finest. I expect blood on the streets once the DoJ Office of Civil Rights/Division of Community Policing, arrives on scene and does what DC denizens do naturally.


    P.S. For the sake of clarity, I’d be open to changing my screen name to Mr Bill, if that would eliminate some confusion & add to the light-hearted nature of many of our ironical comments/discussions.

    • God, I hated that Mr. Bill shtick on SNL. And I never found it particularly funny. Maybe I never really cared for Gumby in the first place. Claymation was never my cup of tea. Of course, Mrs. OB, being a Betsy, had to withstand Betsy Wetsy. Her mother even bought her one, whereupon Mrs. OB promptly skewered Ms. Wetsy with a knitting needle through her chest.

  8. “Groomer” may have gotten a bit of a boost by some latching on to using the phrase “OK, Groomer”, as a reversal of the derisively dismissive ” OK, Boomer”.

  9. Given the way that the New York Times has abused such terms as “racist”, “fascist”, and “misogynist”, perhaps one might be forgiven for the opinion that they are ethically estopped from complaining about others’ imprecise vocabulary.

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