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There are people who do not believe there is a crisis at the southern border of the United States, despite repeated statistics such as these:

I would call everyone’s attention to the third statistic.

On February 5, 2019, an article appeared in CNS News about a group of Guatemalans posing as ‘families’, when, in reality, they were human traffickers with trafficked humans (emphases mine below):

Associate Chief of U.S. Border Patrol Intel Carl McClafferty said Friday that human traffickers are using children to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border as a family unit and recycling the children back across the border to be used again.

This phenomenon began in the latter months of Bush II’s presidency:

October 2008 was the first time the Border Patrol ever had more family units than single adults apprehended, McClafferty said during a White House meeting on combating human smuggling on the southern border.

What follows is how Border Patrol linked up with HSI — Homeland Security Investigations — to apprehend a Guatemalan ring of human traffickers and their victims:

In Yuma, Arizona, we were catching groups of Guatemalans — family units — turning themselves into Border Patrol, crossing around where the fence ends. And I just started looking into it and found that some of the sponsors, after they were released, were the same person, with the same address and same phone number,” he said.

So they reached out to HSI, to Charleston, South Carolina, where these people were going. HSI looked into it. There’s something going on here. ‘Why don’t you come out, and we’ll do this case together?’ We went up to Charleston, followed a group that actually got released. They were picked up by the sponsor,” McClafferty said.

“Immediately after that, the smuggler pulled over and put a bag of trash in a dumpster. Agents recovered that. Inside was their ankle bracelet, their illegal documents, already discarded by these sponsors who tend to be in the smuggling organization. They investigated this case. We were able to tie this back to a larger group that was smuggling Guatemalans into South Carolina and other places,” he said.

The investigation resulted in eight indictments, a warrant being served and 24 illegal aliens taken into custody.

This is what was happening to the child victims involved. A woman was being paid to ‘recycle’ them, as it were:

“And one of the indictments was a woman who was being paid $1,500 a child to take the children back to Guatemala who are not part of the actual family unit. So, she claimed to be doing this 13 times, and so we found out they were recycling these children. They would bring them up, smuggling them as part of a family group, recycle them back to Guatemala, put them in another family group, and come back up. So this was, you know, obviously an exploitation of these children,” he said.

Churchgoers, in particular, need to be very careful about accepting the ‘family’ label so quickly and so universally.

Sometimes, all is not as it seems on the surface.

Who knows what was happening to these children? That is the bigger question.

Here is what is happening to some of these children. On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, freshman Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) discussed ‘family’ migration with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Crenshaw said that one little girl ended up in New York, where she was raped repeatedly every day for five years. On a visit with Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas, he also saw groups of illegals presenting themselves as family units. Upon investigation, they turned out to be human traffickers. Nielsen told him that much more border personnel are needed in order to combat the epidemic of human trafficking along the southern border:

I would urge everyone to pray for human trafficking to end and to pray especially for the children involved.

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Warning: this post contains references to suicide as per reports listed below.

An American mother, Dr Free N. Hess (aka PediMom), has a warning for parents whose children watch YouTube Kids videos. Some of them have to do with suicide and contain other content inappropriate for younger viewers.

On February 23, CBS News reported:

Video promoting self-harm tips — spliced between clips of a popular video game — has surfaced at least twice on YouTube and YouTube Kids since July, according to a pediatrician and mom who discovered the video.

The suicide instructions are sandwiched between clips from the popular Nintendo game Splatoon and delivered by a man speaking in front of what appears to be a green screen — an apparent effort to have him blend in with the rest of the animated video …

The man featured is YouTuber Filthy Frank, who has over 6.2 million subscribers and calls himself “the embodiment of everything a person should not be,” although there is no evidence that Frank, whose real name is George Miller, was involved in creating the doctored video. He did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment. 

When Free Hess found the video on YouTube last week, she posted it on her blog — warning other parents to take control over what their kids may be watching. 

“Looking at the comments, it had been up for a while, and people had even reported it eight months prior,” Hess told CBS News on Friday.

Shortly after she published her blog post, YouTube took the video down, saying it violated the site’s community guidelines, according to Hess.

This is not Dr Hess’s first foray into YouTube videos for children. She and a group of parents were able to successfully campaign for another video’s removal in July 2018.

CBS reports that Hess became concerned about what children were viewing based on her own experiences as a paediatrician (emphases mine):

Hess said after seeing higher rates of suicide in children in her own emergency room over the last few years, she made it her mission to bring awareness to disturbing and violent content being consumed by children on social media. She said she’s reported hundreds of unsettling videos to YouTube, with some success. On Friday, she found and reported seven more disturbing videos on YouTube Kids, and said they were just the tip of the iceberg.

“I had to stop, but I could have kept going,” Hess said. “Once you start looking into it, things get darker and weirder. I don’t understand how it’s not getting caught.”

YouTube Kids is not for pre-teens. In fact, quite the opposite. The videos are intended for children under the age of eight.

Hess described what she saw:

She said she logs onto the app posing as a child, rather than an adult, so that she can see exactly what kids around the world are seeing. The videos Hess has found contain mentions or visuals of self-harm, suicide, sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse and gun violence, including a simulated school shooting. She said many of the kids she treats in the ER list videos on YouTube as a method used to learn destructive behaviors and self-harm techniques.

Good grief.

It’s interesting that YouTube has no problem removing content from and accounts of conservative video posters, yet they allow this depravity aimed at small children, which was first reported in 2017.

CBS provides the apologies from YouTube, but:

This week, new cases of inappropriate content prompted high-profile responses, including from Disney and Nestle, which pulled advertising from YouTube after a blogger described “a wormhole into a soft-core pedophilia ring” on the site.

To be fair, YouTube has taken action, but compared to what they do to conservatives — actively seeking out accounts to ban — theirs is a reactive stance when it comes to perverse videos, especially where children are concerned:

Hess has more information about these videos on her website, including this:

Exposure to videos, photos, and other self-harm and suicidal promoting content is a huge problem that our children are facing today. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the numbers of children exhibiting some form of self-harm is growing rapidly. In a nationwide survey of high school students in the US 16% of students stated they had seriously considered suicide, 13% admitted to creating a plan, and 8% admitted to attempting suicide at some point in the 12 months prior to the survey. Every year 157,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 present to Emergency Departments for self-inflicted injuries and/or suicide attempts.

Many experts believe that access to self-harm and suicide promoting content is making the situation worse. There have been several recent reports of teens committing suicide after viewing self-harm and suicide material online and on social media platforms. More and more researchers are starting to look into how access to this type of material is linked to self-harm and suicide in adolescents. One such study has just been commissioned and will hopefully give us some good insight into this issue.

But we have to start doing something NOW and we should start by educating ourselves, educating our children, and speaking up when we see something that is dangerous for our children. We also need to fight to have the developers of social media platforms held responsible when they do not assure that age restrictions are followed and when they do not remove inappropriate and/or dangerous material when reported. 

We need to all work together to #ProtectOurKids and let them know that #ParentsDemandAction!

Who knew children’s videos were so injurious to kids’ mental health?

I also think that there could be peer pressure associated with these videos. Some children think these videos are ‘cool’ and that, if their peers do not watch them, they are wimps. Parents will have to know how to combat that, too.

In the Western world, we increasingly hear that we should be consuming less meat.

Interestingly enough, our forebears would have enjoyed the luxury of eating meat at nearly every evening meal. That option was not open for many of them.

Meat — especially red meat — has dietary importance for humans at every stage in their lives.

Children and adolescents

A 2007 study showed that meat is vital for children and adolescents. The following study, summarised below, is from the September 1, 2007 issue of The Journal of the Dieticians Association of Australia and appears at The Free Library.

These are the key points (emphases mine):

* Optimal nutrition during the first years of life is crucial for optimal growth and development and, possibly, the prevention of chronic disease of adulthood.

* Iron-deficiency anaemia in childhood and adolescence is associated with serious adverse outcomes that may not be reversible, making detection and early treatment an imperative.

* Zinc plays a major role in cellular growth.

* Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the eyes and the immune system.

* Vitamin A is necessary for membrane stability, and zinc is essential for mobilisation of the beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiency contributes to anaemia by immobilising iron in the reticuloendothelial system, reducing haemopoiesis and increasing susceptibility to infections.

* Like iron, iodine appears to be involved in myelin production and, hence, nerve conduction.

* Meat is a core food in the diet for children and adolescents because it provides significant amounts of these micronutrients.

Meat is essential in ensuring that nerve and motor development evolve for overall health, particularly for the myelin sheath, which a number of us will remember studying in our high school biology classes:

Development of functional activity may be associated with myelination. Many nerve fibres are covered with a whitish, fatty, segmented sheath called the myelin sheath. Myelin protects and electrically insulates fibres from one another and increases the speed of transmission of the nerve impulses. Myelinated fibres conduct nerve impulses rapidly, whereas unmyelinated fibres tend to conduct quite slowly. This acceleration of nerve conduction is essential for the function of the body and survival. In humans, the myelin sheath begins to appear around the fourth month of foetal development and first appears in the spinal cord before spreading to the higher centres of the brain. It is assumed that this myelination precedes functional activity. This paper considers micronutrient deficiency in the context of myelination and other developmental features to highlight the need for micronutrients which can be delivered in the diet through red meat.

Note: red meat.

Meat provides the following essential building blocks to good developmental health.

Iron

A young brain needs iron:

Iron is essential for brain development. Brain iron is stored preferentially in the extra pyramidal tracts and is laid down in the first 12 months of life. Once the blood-brain barrier closes, very little iron can be deposited in the brain and, hence, an adequate dietary intake of iron is essential during this critical period … Several studies have now shown that iron-deficient anaemic 6- to 24-month-old infants can score lower on tests of mental development compared with non-iron-deficient controls (13,19,20) and are at risk for poorer cognitive, motor, social-emotional and neurophysiological development at least in the short term. Furthermore, at least one study has shown that these deficits appear to be permanent. (19) These infants appeared to have reproducible deficits in body balance and coordination and in language skills, which could be interpreted as implying problems with nerve conduction and hence myelination

Required iron levels vary with the onset of adolescence. Boys need less. Girls need more:

With the slowing of growth, at the end of puberty, iron requirements decline. Although girls develop less extra muscle tissue than boys, menarche increases the need for iron, and this increased need continues throughout reproductive life. (37) The adolescent girl is therefore at risk for developing ID due to the combined effects of continuing growth, menstrual iron losses and a low intake of dietary iron.

Zinc

Zinc deficiencies can affect mental and physical health:

Zinc is also an essential nutrient for human health. Zinc plays a major role in cellular growth, where it is crucial in the enzyme systems necessary for the production of RNA and DNA. In the brain, zinc binds with proteins and is involved with both structure and function. Severe zinc deficiency in animals has been associated with significant malformations such as anencephaly and microcephaly, and with functional deficits such as short-term memory deficits and behavioural problems. (23) In humans, cerebella dysfunction, behavioural and emotional disturbances have all been described. (23) In spite of the proven benefits of adequate zinc nutrition, approximately 2 billion people still remain at risk of zinc deficiency. (6) When zinc is provided as a supplement to children in lower-income countries, it reduces the frequency and severity of diarrhoea, pneumonia, and possibly malaria. Moreover, studies have shown that children who receive zinc supplements have lower death rates. (6)

Vitamin A

Many children in the developing world lack adequate Vitamin A. Vitamin A needs zinc:

Vitamin A is necessary for membrane stability, and zinc is essential for mobilisation of the beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiency contributes to anaemia by immobilising iron in the reticuloendothelial system, reducing haemopoiesis and increasing susceptibility to infections. Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the eyes as well as the immune system.

Vitamin A deficiency is associated with impaired humoral and cellular immune function, keratinisation of the respiratory epithelium and decreased mucus secretion, which weaken barriers to infection.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency is a worldwide problem:

Iodine deficiency is estimated to have lowered the intellectual capacity of almost all of the nations reviewed by as much as 10-15%. (6) In developed nations there has been a recent and disturbing increase in iodine deficiency, with as many as 25% of children and women of child-bearing age being deficient. (6) This increase has coincided with the declining dietary intake of iodized salt and also the elimination of iodophor-based cleaning compounds in commercial dairies. (25) Impaired physical and mental development is common. (26) Foetal iodine deficiency in the first and early second trimester of pregnancy results in retardation and deaf mutism, whereas in the early postnatal period, the main abnormalities are growth stunting and somatic abnormalities. (27) The hearing loss can be variable, depending on the age of onset, and can also be associated with dysarthria and other disorders of speechThe critical stage of foetal development for iodine appears to be around the 14th week of foetal lifeLike iron, iodine appears to be involved in myelin production and, hence, nerve conduction. This appears to be supported in animal model research where rats fed upon an iodine-deficient diet were found to have alterations in myelin basic protein immunoreactivity and hence function. (29) 

The paper’s summary makes salient points about meat and the types of necessary meat protein:

Meat plays a central role in the diet, providing a significant contribution to the intakes of 10 key nutrients: energy, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. In young children, an over-dependence on milk may put young children at increased risk of poor iron status, owing to its displacement of iron-rich or iron-enhancing foods from the diet. This risk becomes nonsignificant when moderate to high amounts of iron-rich or iron-enhancing foods (e.g. meat and fruit, respectively) are also consumed. A study performed on infants in the UK has shown that the addition of meat powder to a weaning food has a marked enhancing effect on the absorption of iron, (38) which reinforces the fact that lean red meat is not only an appropriate weaning food but should be considered an essential food during the critical stages of brain development. Dietary diversification involves promotion of a diet with a wider variety of naturally iron-containing foods, especially red meat, poultry and fish. These foods have a high content of highly bioavailable haem iron, and thus are most appropriate for infants and children on weaning. Despite their widespread availability, foods from this group are not always used or may be diluted before use (e.g. meat is rich in iron but meat broth is not). Given the information above, however, it is reasonable to argue that meat is a core food in the diet for children and adolescents because it provides significant amounts of essential micronutrients.

Adult depression — and some physical ailments — linked to L-carnitine deficiency

We in the West seem to be undergoing a depression epidemic.

I know many people offine who are taking anti-depressants. We had fewer of these issues 40 years ago.

A Stanford Medicine study published on July 30, 2018 links depression to a lack of L-carnitine, an amino acid that the body produces naturally. Natalie Rasgon’s study showed that patients responded positively within days to acetyl-L-carnitine supplements to ease their depression. By contrast, anti-depressants can take a few weeks to be effective.

She says that, although L-carnitine supplements are available at health food shops, more research needs to be done to find out exactly what L-cartinine supplements will help.

WebMD explains that low L-carnitine levels can be genetic or related to medicines. Ultimately:

The body can convert L-carnitine to other amino acids called acetyl-L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine. But, no one knows whether the benefits of carnitines are interchangeable. Until more is known, don’t substitute one form of carnitine for another.

WebMD also lists physical ailments that can arise from low L-cartinine levels:

L-carnitine is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including heart-related chest pain, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart complications of a disease called diphtheria, heart attack, leg pain caused by circulation problems (intermittent claudication), and high cholesterol.

Some people use L-carnitine for muscle disorders associated with certain AIDS medications, difficulty fathering a child (male infertility), a brain development disorder called Rett syndrome, anorexia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, overactive thyroid, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leg ulcers, Lyme disease, and to improve athletic performance and endurance.

However, eating meat might be the simplest way to help increase natural L-cartinine levels.

According to a 2004 abstract from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, ‘Species and muscle differences in L-carnitine levels in skeletal muscles based on a new simple assay’, red meat — especially deer, horse and goat — has the highest levels of this essential amino acid:

We have adapted the enzymatic method [Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 176 (3) (1991) 1617] for the safe and rapid assay of L-carnitine (L-CA) in skeletal muscle using a microplate reader. The concentration of L-CA in fresh semitendinosus muscle from broiler chicken, pig, beef cattle, deer, horse and goat muscle were 0.69, 1.09, 1.86-3.57, 4.57, 4.95 and 11.36 μmol/g wet weight, respectively. The animals which had higher concentration of L-CA, also had the highest amounts of myoglobin as an index to the redness of the muscle. Furthermore, we investigated this relationship between white muscle, M. pectoralis profundus, and red muscle, M. soleus, in laying hens. The L-CA and myoglobin concentration in red muscle were significantly higher than those in white muscle (p<0.01). These findings suggest that L-CA concentration in muscle is related to oxygen metabolism and to myofiber types.

Conclusion

It’s time to stop obsessing over eating meat, especially red meat, which has been a no-no for decades.

Red meat helps to ensure good health — at any stage of life.

Enjoy it.

A few days ago, I watched an abortion survivor give her testimony against Planned Parenthood before the US House Judiciary Committee on September 9, 2015.

Melissa Ohden is, happily, not the only abortion survivor, but further proof that there are many living miracles. The good Lord’s design was to have them survive the worst procedures, give those babies care through concerned hospital staff and provide them with loving adoptive families to nurture and raise them.

This is powerful testimony — and it’s just over six minutes long. I encourage everyone, especially logical, rational, pro-choice readers to listen to what this lady says and to especially note what she survived at 31 weeks old — saline solution over a five-day period — designed to burn her to death (see the medical report at 1:06 minutes in):

It turns out that Melissa’s biological parents wanted her to be born and wanted to get married. However, Melissa’s maternal grandmother — a pillar of the community — said they were much too young (aged 19) and that would impact the family’s social standing negatively. So, Melissa’s grandmother forced the abortion procedure against the 19-year-old’s will (see first 14 minutes in this 2013 video of hers):

Returning to the first video, Melissa says that she was fortunate in that the abortion procedure was performed in a hospital rather at a Planned Parenthood clinic. She says that Planned Parenthood are experts at ensuring that abortion survivors — live babies — die.

Melissa survived abortion in 1977. That was only five years after Roe v Wade was passed. Those of us who were alive at the time were told that abortion was a simple ‘medical procedure’ performed at an early stage on a ‘lump of cells’. I had no idea until now that abortions then were also performed at an advanced stage of pregnancy.

When she was a newborn, doctors told Melissa’s adoptive parents that she would be chronically ill throughout her life. Certainly, she had seizures and other illnesses that no baby should suffer. Yet, despite all the odds, thanks to God’s mercy and a loving family, Melissa grew up to become a healthy child — and a healthy adult.

Melissa holds a Masters degree in social work and worked in that field dealing with clients who had problems with substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Melissa researched the failed abortion herself, which took dogged attempts over the years. Finally, she was able to obtain her medical records of the failed saline procedure at St Luke’s Hospital — oh, the irony — in Sioux City, Iowa.

Melissa’s journey was, at times, understandably painful emotionally. She came to terms with the circumstances of her birth and her biological family by becoming a Christian. She is a practising Roman Catholic.

Visit Melissa’s website for more information.

Below are two views of abortion.

The first is Bill ‘Science Guy’ Nye presenting his opinion, strongly objecting to the pro-life movement and stupid men of ‘European’ extraction who legislate against it. Nye, an atheist, disapproves of the Bible, which he mentions here as ‘a book around 5,000’ years old, and, clearly, outmoded. He does not present one salient fact about abortion. Essentially, if you don’t like abortion — tough. You’re probably too dumb:

The second is from a former abortionist, Dr Anthony Levatino, who still works as an obstetrician and gynaecologist. He testified in 2015 before the House Judiciary Committee hearing about Planned Parenthood’s medical procedures. The YouTube description adds:

Planned Parenthood has been under fire after videos were released showing how the mega abortion provider sold fetal tissue to researchers.

Regardless of where you stand on the subject, I strongly recommend watching — not just listening to — Dr Levatino’s description of what happens during a second-trimester abortion. This video is especially important for those who call foetuses/developing babies ‘whatchamacallits’:

During his career as an abortionist, he performed over 1,200 D&Esdilations and evacuations — as abortions done between 13 and 24 weeks are known in the medical profession.

The instrument he is holding in his hand is a Sopher clamp. That is used to remove all the body parts. Watch him describe how the abortionist has to use it ‘blindly’ in search of a leg, then an arm, then the head.

The Sopher clamp purposely has rows of sharp metal teeth on it so that the doctor can grasp all of the body parts as efficiently as possible.

He says that all the body parts must be set aside on a table and be accounted for. Anything left in the former mother can cause infection, haemorrhaging and, possibly, death.

He then related his own family experience. He met his wife while at medical school in Albany. Interestingly enough, they wanted to start a family, but they had an infertility problem. They adopted a baby, Heather, in 1978. Incredibly, his wife became pregnant a month later.

Just before Heather turned six, she was fatally injured in an automobile accident. Levatino thought he could get through the mourning period and go back to work.

He did, for a time.

Then, one day when he was beginning another abortion, he pulled out a limb and got sick. He composed himself and finished the abortion, but when he looked at all the assembled body parts:

All I could see was somebody’s son or daughter.

That was the last D&E he ever performed.

Several months later, he stopped doing abortions altogether.

————————————————————————————

In November 1987, Levatino spoke at the first ever Meet the Abortion Providers conference.

Pro-Life Action has an edited transcript of what he said. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

He said that the private clinic where he worked in Albany was about the only one performing D&Es:

My partner and I, however, were relatively important in the Albany area for one infamous fact, which to this day I regret. Our group was just about the only group that was performing late abortions, D & E procedures, Dilatation and Evacuation. And we received referrals from all over the area in our part of the state, even from neighboring counties 70 to 80 miles away. We had a lot of patients.

He explained why OB-GYNs perform abortions:

It’s profitable, there’s a lot of money in it! But there’s philosophical things that come first. As I’m fond of telling people, if you are pro-choice and you happen to be a gynecologist, then it’s up to you to take the instruments in hand and actively perform an abortion. It’s the most natural association in the world.

Along the way you find out you make a lot of money doing abortions. In my practice we were averaging between $250 and $500 for an abortion, and it was cash.

The pro-choice movement helped a lot, too:

There are other reasons; they’re perhaps no less important. I’ve heard many times from other obstetricians: Well, I’m not really pro-abortion, I’m pro-woman. How many times have you heard that one? The women’s groups in this country, they’re not alone, but they’ve done a very good job selling that bill of goods to the population. That somehow destroying a life is pro-woman. But a lot of obstetricians use that justification to themselves, and I can tell you, a lot of them believe it. I used to. It’s not hard to be convinced of it.

There is a gynaecological procedure known as a D&Cdilation and curretage — which is performed when a woman has a uterine ailment. However, it is also used for early-term abortions. Levatino described his residency period, which required that he perform several D&C suction abortions twice a week. Despite the fact that they are first-trimester abortions, they can also present risks to a woman. And, in case anyone is still unconvinced, there is more than ‘a mass of cells’ afterwards:

When the abortionist finishes a suction D & C he has to literally reassemble the child.

When the abortionist finishes a suction D & C, he has to open a little suction bag and he has to literally reassemble the child. He has to do that because he wants to make sure he didn’t leave anything behind.

I had complications, just like everybody else. I have perforated uteruses. I have had all kinds of problems — bleeding, infectionLord knows how many of those women are sterile now.

I remember getting called down to my chairman’s office because a young lady that I had done an abortion on showed up, and the abortion had been incomplete. I had not done my job right, and she passed an arm or a leg and she freaked out because she didn’t realize what had happened.

He also performed saline procedures. This was during the time he and his wife were going through their period of infertility. Saline is painless, right? Saline is harmless, right? After all, ‘it’s just a mass of cells’, right? Levatino describes what he experienced during his residency:

My discomfort came at that point because there was a tremendous conflict going on inside me. Here I was doing my D & Cs, five and six a week, and I was doing salines on a nightly basis whenever I was on call.

I wish one of these people would just let me have their child. But it doesn’t work that way.

The resident on call got the job of doing the salines and there would usually be two or three of those. They were horrible because you saw one intact, whole baby being born, and sometimes they were alive. That was very, very frightening. It was a very stomach-turning kind of existence.

Yet, I was doing that at the same time that my wife and I were trying to have a child, and we were having difficulty with that. We had been married a couple of years at that point — and no baby. Suddenly, we realized we had an infertility problem.

I kept doing abortions, I didn’t stop. But it was tough. We started desperately looking for a baby to adopt, and I was throwing them in the garbage at the rate of nine and ten a week. It even occurred to me then: I wish one of these people would just let me have their child. But it doesn’t work that way. So the conflict was there.

Remember that Levatino also helped pregnant women have their babies. I cannot fathom how one can rejoice with an expectant mother one moment, then perform an abortion the next. Yet, these men and women do it. Levatino said:

As a doctor, you know that these are children; you know that these are human beings with arms and legs and heads and they move around and they are very active. But you get reminded — every time you put that scanner down on somebody’s uterus — you are reminded. Because you see the children in there — hearts beating, arms flinging.

We have a ball with it. It is a lot of fun. We have people coming in who have bleeding and who are afraid they may have a miscarriage — now this is someone who wants to have their child. There is no better news for me than to put that scanner on them at seven and eight weeks and show them a heartbeat and say: Your baby is okay. You do that as an obstetrician all the time.

And then, an hour later, you change your clothes, walk into an operating room and do an abortion. If you have any heart at all, it affects you.

Having graduated and being the proud adoptive father of baby Heather, he joined a gynaecologist in the Albany area who did D&Es. Levatino learned how to perform them. By then, his wife was expecting their first child:

Again, I didn’t particularly like doing abortions, but my partner did abortions and I didn’t object to it morally, so we worked together. I was on salary at the time, as a new partner, so it made not a whit of difference on my income. I did it to be agreeable. It’s a lousy reason in retrospect, but that was my reason. That was our business for years to come.

In 1984, his daughter Heather was hit by a car in front of their home and died:

Everything changes. All of a sudden, the idea of a person’s life becomes very real. It is not an embryology course anymore. It’s not just a couple of hundred dollars. It’s the real thing. It’s your child you buried.

His relationships at home and in the office became strained:

Every time I was asked to schedule an abortion, I got very angry. I began feeling that people were doing something to me. That was ridiculous — I was doing it to myself.

After a few months of that I started to realize — this is somebody’s child. I lost my child, someone who was very precious to us. And now I am taking somebody’s child and I am tearing him right out of their womb. I am killing somebody’s child.

Eventually, he turned his revulsion on himself:

My own sense of self-esteem went down the tubes. I began to feel like a paid assassin. That’s exactly what I was. It got to the point where it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. It was costing me too much personally. All the money in the world wouldn’t have made a difference.

So, Levatino stopped performing abortions:

I slept a lot better at night after that.

I really like hearing male doctors present the case against abortion, and I particularly liked Levatino’s staccato, matter-of-fact delivery in the video above. He presents his case objectively. Any men who are fence-sitting on abortion would do well to watch his video.

I hope that someday that Dr Levatino meets Bill Nye and teaches him a thing or two about abortion.

Recent investigative reporting by the Houston Chronicle has revealed long-standing abuses of women belonging to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches.

The Chronicle says that, in 2007, victims of sexual abuse at the hands of SBC church leaders requested that a database be created with names of any current or former church leaders who had been convicted of this type of crime or had been credibly accused of same.

The database was never created. In 2018, advocates for the victims made an appeal for such a registry. Houston Chronicle reporters began their own investigation, combing news archives, websites and databases (emphases mine):

We found complaints made against hundreds of pastors, church officials and volunteers at Southern Baptist churches nationwide.

We focused our search on the 10 years preceding the victims’ first call for a registry and on the 10-plus years since. And we concentrated on individuals who had a documented connection to a church listed in an SBC directory published by a state or national association.

We verified details in hundreds of accounts of abuse by examining federal and state court databases, prison records and official documents from more than 20 states and by searching sex offender registries nationwide. In Texas, we visited more than a dozen county courthouses. We interviewed district attorneys and police in more than 40 Texas counties. We filed dozens of public records requests in Texas and nationwide.

Ultimately, we compiled information on 380 credibly accused officials in Southern Baptist churches, including pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and volunteers.

We verified that about 220 had been convicted of sex crimes or received deferred prosecutions in plea deals and sent letters to all of them soliciting their responses to summaries we compiled. We received written responses from more than 30 and interviewed three in Texas prisons. Of the 220, more than 90 remain in prison and another 100 are still registered sex offenders.

Find our records that relate to those convicted or forced to register as sex offenders at HoustonChronicle.com/AbuseofFaith.

Some of the registered sex offenders are still allowed to preach:

Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.

Most of the abused were teenagers at the time. However, adults seeking pastoral guidance were also victims.

The Chronicle‘s expose is in three parts:

Part 1: Abuse of Faith

Part 2: Southern Baptist churches hired ministers accused of past sex offenses

Part 3: All too often, Southern Baptist youth pastors take advantage of children

A few excerpts follow from the first instalment.

The sections about children were particularly revolting, considering that Southern Baptists in positions of authority portray themselves as being very holy:

Many of the victims were adolescents who were molested, sent explicit photos or texts, exposed to pornography, photographed nude, or repeatedly raped by youth pastors. Some victims as young as 3 were molested or raped inside pastors’ studies and Sunday school classrooms.

Here is one girl’s story:

Heather Schneider was 14 when she was molested in a choir room at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, according to criminal and civil court records. Her mother, Gwen Casados, said church leaders waited months to fire the attacker, who later pleaded no contest. In response to her lawsuit, church leaders also denied responsibility.

Schneider slit her wrists the day after that attack in 1994, Casados said. She survived, but she died 14 years later from a drug overdose that her mother blames on the trauma.

“I never got her back,” Casados said.

Here is one man’s story of his molestation as a boy:

David Pittman was 12, he says, when a youth minister from his Georgia church first molested him in 1981. Two other former members of the man’s churches said in interviews that they also were abused by him. But by the time Pittman spoke out in 2006, it was too late to press criminal charges.

The minister still works at an SBC church.

Pittman won’t soon forgive those who have offered prayers but taken no action. He only recently stopped hating God.

“That is the greatest tragedy of all,” he said. “So many people’s faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators.”

The Chronicle says that the reason for rampant sexual abuse is the fact that SBC churches are largely autonomous:

At the core of Southern Baptist doctrine is local church autonomy, the idea that each church is independent and self-governing. It’s one of the main reasons that [August “Augie”] Boto [interim president of the SBC’s Executive Committee] said most of the proposals a decade ago were viewed as flawed by the executive committee because the committee doesn’t have the authority to force churches to report sexual abuse to a central registry …

SBC churches and organizations share resources and materials, and together they fund missionary trips and seminaries. Most pastors are ordained locally after they’ve convinced a small group of church elders that they’ve been called to service by God. There is no central database that tracks ordinations, or sexual abuse convictions or allegations.

I’m not a Southern Baptist, but if the SBC allows sharing of funding, resources, trips and seminaries, surely, it can allow central records to be kept.

A Catholic priest, the Revd Thomas Doyle, thinks so, too.

Doyle was one of the earliest whistleblowers on similar abuse in the Catholic Church, a hierarchical church. He is also a retired lawyer. He contacted SBC leaders in 2007, urging them to act:

“I saw the same type of behavior going on with the Southern Baptists,” he said.

The responses were predictable, Doyle said. In one, Frank Page, then the SBC president, wrote that they were “taking this issue seriously” but that local church autonomy presented “serious limitations.” In March, Page resigned as president and CEO of the SBC’s Executive Committee for “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past,” according to the executive committee.

Details have not been disclosed, but SBC officials said they had “no reason to suspect any legal impropriety.” Page declined to be interviewed.

Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma’s Southern Baptist convention, requested in 2007 and again in 2018, that the SBC take action on this issue, but to no avail:

Leaders pushed back both times, he said. Some cited local church autonomy; others feared lawsuits if the reforms didn’t prevent abuse.

Burleson couldn’t help but wonder if there have been “ulterior motives” at play.

“There’s a known problem, but it’s too messy to deal with,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s not that we can’t do it as much as we don’t want to do it. … To me, that’s a problem. You must want to do it, to do it.”

Doyle, the Catholic priest, agrees:

“I understand the fear, because it’s going to make the leadership look bad,” he said. “Well, they are bad, and they should look bad. Because they have ignored this issue. They have demonized the victims.”

Similar abuses have also taken place in Evangelical churches and institutions, which are also independent.

I saw this tweet the other day:

Linda Kay Klein grew up in Evangelical churches and wrote the book Pure, about the toxicity surrounding women’s purity culture.

In an article she wrote for NBC News, ‘Southern Baptist Convention report on sex abuse shines a light on evangelical culture’, she says:

As an adult, I went on to spend more than a decade researching sexuality and the evangelical church and heard story after story of minimized and unreported abuse. To be sure, sexual violence extends well beyond the church, yet I have found that religious authoritarianism and purity culture — hallmarks of both Catholicism and evangelicalism, among other groups — can enable it.

Purity culture teaches that there are two types of people: those who are sexually “pure,” and those who are “impure.” Some teach one can lose their purity by having sexual thoughts or feelings or making sexual choices outside of a heterosexual marriage. Some even teach you can lose it by inspiring sexual expression in others.

Include purity in an authoritarian local church structure and a fear of secular reaction to scandal and it makes for one unholy trinity of toxicity:

Many parishioners see their pastor as the conduit to a higher power and will go to great lengths to protect them even if it means ignoring, blaming and ultimately hurting survivors.

In America, a contributing factor is a strong culture of collective victimhood in the evangelical community. My interviewees and I were taught growing up that evangelicals were the real victims — that the world hated us so much they’d do anything to make us look bad. So, it was our job to represent our community in the best light possible for more people to join us and enter into heaven. The underlying message was clear: a good Christian keeps their mouth shut.

She describes how this works in practice:

Women and girls, in particular, can be silenced in hierarchic churches that teach “complementarianism” — the belief that God ordains male authority especially in the church and the home. Having been conditioned not to question men, some women struggle to stand up to male misconduct when they see it, and when they do are often dismissed. For example, when my youth pastor was applying for the position, he was given a kind of audition: lead a youth retreat. Our head pastor asked us to report back on his performance. I did. As did at least one other girl. Each of us told the head pastor that the man applying for the position made us uncomfortable. Soon afterward, it was announced that he was our new youth pastor.

Meanwhile, when women and girls come forward as survivors, purity culture — which focuses largely on them — can be used against them. Many of my interviewees and I were taught that men are weak when faced with the temptation of the female flesh and it was therefore our responsibility to protect men from the threat that our bodies posed to them. We had to walk, talk and dress just right to ensure the alleged purity of our entire community, safeguarding against all sexual expression outside of marriage — the implication being that anything that did happen, even sexual violence, was our fault.

Klein’s opinion piece has a video recently broadcast on NBC’s Today show about women who were sexually abused as children in an Evangelical organisation, New Tribes Mission (now Ethnos360).

There is also another Today show article which summarises the video of the New Tribes Mission survivors: ‘Ungodly abuse: The lasting torment of the New Tribes missionary kids’.

The girls’ parents were missionaries at the time, and each mission had a boarding school for the children of New Tribes employees. These missions were in foreign countries, in the back of the beyond. Each dormitory had a ‘dorm dad’ and a ‘dorm mom’. It was not unknown for dorm dads to molest little girls.

In 2009, Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian — one of Billy Graham’s grandsons, who is a law professor and a former prosecutor on sexual abuse cases — began investigating sexual abuse cases at the behest of New Tribes Mission (as was). He told NBC News:

“I feel that in so many ways justice has failed,” said Boz Tchividjian, a former sex crimes prosecutor who leads Grace (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), the organization that investigated the New Tribes school in Senegal and that focuses on rooting out abuse in Christian organizations.

“You have individuals who physically and sexually abused children who have gone on to live quote-unquote ‘normal lives.’ You have an organization that had to deal with some press and people talking about it but in large part has moved on and continues to do their work around the world.”

“And then,” added Tchividjian, who is a grandson of the evangelist Billy Graham, “you’ve got the scores and scores of missionary kids. So many of them are struggling to get by in life, struggling to comprehend, why is this man who sexually abused me not in jail, not in prison? Why is this man serving in church, living what appears to be a normal life?

The article recaps the experiences of the victims who appeared on Today. This is one woman’s story. Her dorm dad was David Brooks, the most prolific perpetrator, and an occasional preacher in the Georgia town where he currently lives:

Bonnie Cheshire was just 2 when she arrived in Senegal with her parents, both New Tribes missionaries, in 1981. She grew up in a river village surrounded by forest and miles away from a major city.

“It was an amazing life. It was absolute freedom,” Cheshire said. “Outside all day, in trees all day.”

By age 6, she was living with other children of New Tribes missionaries at the Fanda school where boys and girls were split into separate rooms. There was a “big girls” room and a “little girls” room, each one accommodating about six to eight girls.

Like all of the New Tribe boarding schools, American missionaries who were not sent out in the field were assigned to take care of the children and lead them in Bible study and prayer.

Brooks and his wife held the role of Fanda dorm parents in the mid-1980s, according to the Grace report.

Cheshire said Brooks would sometimes play the “seashell game” when he was alone with the children outside, hiding a shell in his bathing suit and urging the girls to find it.

Soon he was also showing up in her room late at night, Cheshire said. “You need to find a way to relax to go to sleep,” she recalls him telling her.

Brooks would then start touching her, Cheshire said, noting that she was 7 when the abuse started. It seemed innocent at first, she said, but became anything but.

“I knew that it was not right,” Cheshire said.

One woman was abused by her own father when she was a little girl — in the girls’ dorm! He also abused her roommates at the Aritao school in the Philippines:

Escaping the abuse was nearly impossible for Kelly Emory. Les Emory is her father.

Kelly says her dad raped and molested her for three years starting at age 6. She says she was also forced to endure the horror of being in the same room as her father sexually abused her roommates inside the Aritao dorm.

“I had to pretend I was sleeping,” Kelly said. “It was a hell I still live with.”

Kelly said nothing about her father’s attacks until she was 15. In March 1993, with Kelly struggling in school and wrestling with thoughts of suicide, she says she told her dorm mother.

The woman reported the allegations, Kelly said, and days later three New Tribes field leaders showed up at the school to question her.

“They asked me to describe what had happened, and I told them,” Kelly said. “And they told me to not say anything. It was my duty to protect my family, to protect my dad, and if I did say anything, if I did tell anybody anything, my dad would be thrown in a Filipino jail.”

Within a week, Kelly said, her family was shipped out of the Philippines and flown to Missouri to attend therapy sessions with a mission counselor.

“After two weeks we were pronounced healed and whole,” Kelly said. “Those were their words.”

Emory was ordered to leave the mission, Kelly said, but the real reason for the family’s sudden relocation was kept secret from all but a few in the organization.

“You try to do the right thing,” Kelly said. “We got shushed and rushed out of the country. They made us all stay quiet. They silenced us.

In 2009, Bonnie Cheshire and Kari Mikitson, another New Tribes abuse survivor launched a website, New Tribes Mission Abuse. (They have an active forum and an inactive blog.)

Before long, the site attracted a lot of views and New Tribes Mission invited Mikitson to speak with them at their Florida headquarters. It was after that when the mission asked “Boz” Tchividjian’s GRACE organisation to launch an investigation.

GRACE’s investigation took a year, and uncovered widespread sexual abuse of youngsters in the missions. New Tribes Mission then hired another independent organisation, IHART, to continue the work. IHART appears to have done very little.

Today tracked down David Brooks, who refused to speak to camera, and Les Emory who gave a telephone interview.

Emory admitted to what he did and said that he should have been ‘decapitated’.

New Tribes changed its name to Ethnos 360 in May 2017.

In closing, imagine that what actually makes the news in terms of church-related sexual abuse is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

I hope that more will be revealed, for the victims’ sakes as well as for the future health of the Church as a whole.

Finally, all churches — Catholic and Protestant — must take resolute action to ensure these abuses are stopped once and for all.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the much-maligned students at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky:

A school chaperone’s role is an onerous one (January 18, March for Life, Covington Catholic High School)

Covington Catholic: responsible media backtracked (January 20, March for Life, Covington Catholic High School)

Covington Catholic: doxxing followed by support on a fateful weekend (January 20-21, Covington Catholic High School)

I meant to write about them last week, but that worked out just fine, because the story gradually progressed to a happy ending. On Wednesday, February 13, the Diocese of Covington has cleared the boys of any wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, the story needs telling in full.

To pick up where I left off, Monday, January 21, 2019, was Martin Luther King Day, so there was no school. No doubt, the boys who were harassed at the Lincoln Memorial after the March for Life the previous Friday were delighted during that long, horrible weekend to hear from someone their own age, CJ Pearson, who rallied to their cause:

Pearson posted a video of two of the boys that Monday:

The Gateway Pundit was able to interview two students and two mothers under conditions of anonymity (names were changed). One of the mothers said the boys, who were performing their school chants — with permission — thought the Native American who approached them (emphasis in the original):

was on their side and drumming along to their cheer.

Clearly, this was traumatising for the families involved, especially when politicians and even their own diocese criticised the students:

The families also wanted to make it clear that there were no chants of “build the wall,” or anything else that could be seen as offensive. Mrs. Smith recited one of the Covington chants, saying that it could have been what Phillips heard.

Another mother whose son was present during the incident, who we refer to as Mrs. Adams, said that “it’s just terrible that they are being criticized the way they are.”

Mrs. Adams said that she is worried about the safety of the students on Tuesday when they return to school. The American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky has called for a protest at the high school.

“I’m worried about their safety on Tuesday — people were threatening to shoot up the school,” Mrs. Adams said. “I’m worried about sending my child back.”

Mrs. Smith added that she “demands an apology and a retraction from the Diocese.”

The mothers had much more to say (purple highlights mine):

Mrs. Adams added that the worst for her has been the Bishop of Covington throwing them under the bus. “That is the worst thing to me,” she said, her voice shaking.

“I personally think they were targeted because they had the MAGA hats on,” Mrs. Smith said. “I think it’s a shame that people are saying that we shouldn’t have let them wear them. It’s a shame that you can’t support your president in Washington, DC.”

Trump “is the first and only president to come out to support the March for Life,” Mrs. Smith added. “To get blamed for this because they were wearing a hat instead of blaming the aggressors — it’s blaming the victims.”

“Like I said, the Bishop here is literally victimizing the victims twice. They’ve already been victimized by the media, now they are being victimized again,” she added. “There is blood in the water and they are making it worse. They’re feeding the piranha frenzy from the liberal media. I just want people to understand that they need to wake up and stop believing the fake news and defend the kids.”

The Gateway Pundit asked the families if there is anything they would like to say to the Democrat mob of adult journalists and celebrities that are coming after their children.

“I don’t think you could publish it,” Mrs. Smith said, taking a break from the righteous outrage for some laughter.

These students aren’t adults, these are kids — innocent children — and the adults should pause before they react when it’s children’s lives that could be ruined,” Mrs. Smith said. “And kids are so susceptible to bullying. I honestly thought, this kid could kill himself over this. What are they thinking? They could destroy this boy’s life, depress him, and he could end up committing suicide — and he did nothing wrong! These people, who are supposed to be adults, are jumping in and accusing him of terrible things — shame on them! Shame isn’t even enough of a word,” Mrs. Smith demanded.

Adam Smith noted that many of the children on the collage of photos that is being passed around the internet, looking for their names, are as young as 14-years-old. Many of them are freshmen.

“They’re really young,” he said. “They’re really going after kids. Half of us were just standing in the background and they’re looking for our information.”

Online scrutiny then turned to the Native American, allegedly a left-wing activist who appeared in a 2012 anti-police video, and thought to have been involved in a 2015 incident targeting a group of university fraternity members. In that incident, he also claimed he was abused, when it appears he instigated it.

Questions were raised about the timing of and his rank during his military service. Even the Washington Post had to correct one of their stories, retracting a mention of his service in the Vietnam War. Someone else unearthed his family history and past interviews with the media, which raised more questions about him.

Another Native American protester with him acknowledged that the two of them decided to join in solidarity with the group harassing the students.

That day, President Trump had a message of encouragement for the students:

One Trump supporter, whose Twitter account was later deleted, tweeted about the main target of the Left’s ire, student Nick Sandmann (emphases mine):

Imagine being Nick. One day you are on a field trip – next day the President of the United States got your back. That’s life in the Maga lane. The President understands loyalty better than many Bishops & ‘Catholic’ Teachers. Think about that. He fights for us. This is proof.

Things began looking up. Digital company INE Entertainment fired one of their employees who had tweeted a death wish towards the boys — and their parents. The Wrap reported:

Digital company INE Entertainment has fired a journalist who publicly wished for the death of several Covington Catholic High School students and their parents in a pair of tweets over the weekend. Aside from his job as a post-production supervisor at INE, Erik Abriss is a contributor to New York Media’s pop culture site Vulture.

“We were surprised and upset to see the inflammatory and offensive rhetoric used on Erik Abriss’ Twitter account this weekend. He worked with the company in our post-production department and never as a writer,” the company said in a statement to TheWrap on Monday.

“While we appreciated his work, it is clear that he is no longer aligned with our company’s core values of respect and tolerance. Therefore, as of January 21, 2019, we have severed ties with Abriss.”

The Wrap included the text of the offending tweet.

Tucker Carlson had a great segment on the journalists who ‘rushed to judgement’ about the Lincoln Memorial incident (also see YouTube). Note, there are neo-conservatives on his list, too:

A man helping the Covington families tweeted:

More messages of support rolled in from Patricia Heaton of Everyone Loves Raymond fame (also see her tweet), TurningPoint USA’s Charlie Kirk about his phone call with Nick Sandmann and Kyle Kashuv of Parkland, Florida, where the mass high school shooting took place a year ago on Valentine’s Day. He said:

The Media has bent over backwards to defend my Parkland Highschool liberal peers, no matter what outrageous things they have said. But now they have tried to ruin a highschool kid’s life, over fake news. What changed? The student was a Trump Supporter.

That day, the school’s principal sent an email to all parents. Gateway Pundit has the details. The message announced the beginning of an investigation into what had happened on Friday. One of the mothers was indignant (emphasis in the original):

“No apology. No explanation. No news on protests planned for tomorrow. No cancelling of school. Nothing,” she said.

The far-left radical activist group the “American Indian Movement” and Antifa have called a protest for Tuesday when the students are supposed to return to school.

The local Antifa group is urging “co-conspirators” to join them …

Two mothers that have spoke to The Gateway Pundit have both said they will not be sending their children to school tomorrow out of fear for their safety.

On Tuesday, January 22, Covington Catholic High School was closed. Gateway Pundit reported that parents received early morning phone calls with a recorded message from the principal (emphases mine):

A mother who received the call tells the Gateway Pundit that it was a recorded message from the principal saying that they decided to close the school after discussions with local authorities. They said that there were security concerns and no parents or children are permitted on campus throughout the day or for any evening activities.

The recording also asked that parents continue to pray for the school.

“It sounded serious, like they had some serious threats to call it off like that after they planned for it to be open,” the parent told TGP.

The parent also expressed frustration at the fact that they hadn’t cancelled sooner — as the threats were everywhere.

A local Antifa group and a far-left Native American group have called for protests at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the school — though the Natives have reportedly moved their protest to a church.

That afternoon, the Cincinnati Enquirer published Nick Sandmann’s full statement on the incident and the aftermath. I cited most of it in an earlier post, but there is more. He received many threats — and so did his family:

My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue …

Also:

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

The newspaper added:

This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be answering individual media inquiries.

That day, President Trump tweeted again about the incident:

As there are a number of other aspects to this story, I will continue next week.

The weekend of January 20-21, 2019 saw many social media participants retract their criticism of the Covington Catholic students who awaited their bus at the Lincoln Memorial the Friday before and were confronted by protesters.

Of course, it did not look that way in the beginning, as only short film clips appeared which made the protesters look like victims. Those clips provoked intensely angry social media reactions.

Then, much longer videos appeared, showing the boys did the best they could. See my posts on the lack of chaperone supervision here and here.

Here is a short clip from one of the longer videos:

Many who had jumped to premature conclusions retracted them. There were plenty. Three follow.

This one is from a former Junior League chapter president. Junior League is a highly exclusive volunteer organisation of women. It’s very difficult getting nominated let alone approved for membership:

And here is Dilbert’s creator, Californian Scott Adams:

Finally, we have Benny Johnson from The Daily Caller:

MSN issued their retraction on Monday, January 21. Thankfully, their account was well written and detailed. You can read a play-by-play account at the link, but here is a top-level summary:

A new video that surfaced Sunday shows what happened before and after the encounter Friday in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

In the new video, another group taunts the students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky with disparaging and vulgar language. The group of black men, who identify as members of the Hebrew Israelites, also shout racist slurs at participants of the Indigenous Peoples Rally and other passersby.

This man had a tongue-in-cheek view of the media narrative to come:

Over the weekend, militant leftists doxxed some of the students and their families. ‘Doxxed’ means that personal information was revealed online.

Even worse, they maliciously targeted one boy who wasn’t even in DC that day. They also went after his family — on the weekend one of the sons was getting married.

The Gateway Pundit got the full story from his older brother, excerpted below (emphasis in the original):

“People then proceeded to spam my family with harassments and threats of physical violence. We then find out our parents[‘] address was posted online. If that wasn’t enough, our family operated business has been slandered and attacked,” he continued.

The radicals then found out where this boy — who wasn’t even there — had applied for college:

The cyberbullies began posting details about his dream of becoming a chef and found the college that he is hoping to attend. The mob then began urging the school to rescind his acceptance, calling him a racist.

Back now to the Covington students. CJ Pearson is a Trump supporting teenager. Judging by his tweets, he will go far in life. He has been closely following what’s been going on with the Covington boys:

Not surprisingly, those who supported the boys blamed the media for having fanned the flames that later prompted the doxxing. Breitbart has a good account of media pot-stirrers.

Someone tweeted:

As an encore to their utter lack of journalistic standards, the establishment media used a fake news story to smear children. God help these sick people.

The Hill‘s Buck Sexton realised some of his cohorts had gone too far:

And, fortunately, someone did get fired:

The tide had turned. Concerned Americans began tweeting their support:

OANN journalist (and fellow Catholic) Jack Posobiec had been in touch with Covington families that fateful weekend:

Attorney Robert Barnes volunteered to take on the boys’ case pro bono:

The Kenton County prosecutor warned that violent threats are felonies and would be taken seriously. He lives in Covington, Kentucky:

His statement won praise from a Hollywood actor, who is also a Trump supporter:

In closing, it is difficult to imagine just how frightening that weekend must have been for the boys, their siblings and their parents along with other family members.

Imagine the number of social commitments that they cancelled, how much harassment they had to endure and the psychological trauma that must have accompanied the whole wretched experience.

Again, this could have all been easily avoided on the day of the March for Life.

We see how one moment of lack of adult intervention can snowball into far-reaching and potentially dangerous consequences.

Where were the chaperones?

More to come next week.

Last Friday, I wrote about the importance of responsible chaperoning, which included basic rules to ensure safety on school trips.

The article used what happened to students from Covington Catholic High School after the 2019 March for Life on Friday, January 18, 2019.

I quoted sensible advice from this young journalist who writes for the Libertarian publication Reason:

Soave’s message to faculty — and, indirectly, chaperones — is this (emphases mine below):

Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallieswhere everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.

My post also quoted student Nick Sandmann’s detailed statement and discussed the media furore which took place on Saturday, January 19.

The following day, some media pundits apologised for criticising the students based on the short video clips they had seen. They had voiced an opinion before the longer video clips began surfacing. The Washington Examiner has a good report which includes these two tweets:

Some Twitter account holders tweeted some highly unpleasant things that they would like to do to the boys. Twitter did not find that objectionable, as The Daily Caller reported on Monday, January 21:

Twitter said Monday that former CNN contributor Reza Aslan did not violate the platform’s policies when he posted a tweet Saturday suggesting one of the boys involved in a dust-up during the March for Life rally had a “punchable face.”

“We have investigated the reported content and could not identify any violations of the Twitter Rules or applicable law,” Twitter wrote in a letter Aslan included in a tweet. “Accordingly,” the letter adds, “we have not taken any action at this time.”

The article explained that Aslan lost his job at CNN in 2017 for referring to President Trump in a derogatory manner (see quote in the article, language alert).

The article also included retractions — not necessarily apologies — from two other nationally-known journalists, the New York Times‘s Maggie Haberman and National Review‘s Rich Lowry.

Fortunately, not everyone was verbally beating up the students.

The Federalist‘s Cheryl Magness put blame where it belonged — on the adults. Her boss tweeted her article:

In ‘All The Adults Involved Failed The Covington Catholic School Boys, And Should Be Ashamed’, she provides a summary of what happened, then points out the students’ bemusement:

A few of the boys can be heard asking, “What’s going on?” It seems they were a bit confused by it all. Wouldn’t you be? Maybe, without a playbook or previous experience dealing with a situation like this, you wouldn’t respond in the most elegant way either.

She adds:

I have not been more ashamed to be a grown-up in a long, long time. What I have observed in the last three days is not how grown-ups are supposed to act. The Covington Catholic boys may not have behaved with perfect decorum. But they’re teenagers. I’m not sure I would have known what to do had I found myself in the situation they did.

Actually, I do know what I would have done. I would have walked away. Unfortunately, these boys couldn’t do that. They were following instructions to wait for their bus in a designated location. They didn’t have the option of walking away. So they engaged in school cheers and general teenaged goofiness while they passed the time, never anticipating that they were going to be called on to provide the world a model of what to do when you find yourselves verbally attacked by protestors on a Washington D.C. street corner.

She rightly takes issue with the protestors — the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) and Nathan Phillips:

Free speech does not consist of hurling obscenities and insults at the perceived opponent, nor does it consist of wordlessly inserting oneself into an already charged situation, as Phillips did, then lying about it afterward.

What adult picks on a minor, anyway? That’s cowardice.

That said, Magness levelled the most pointed — and justified — criticism at the adults from Covington Catholic and the Catholic Diocese of Covington, Kentucky:

No sooner had the boys gotten on their bus than they were thrown under it by their school and the Covington diocese, who issued a joint statement condemning the students’ actions and saying the matter was under investigation that appropriate action would be taken. Um, if the matter is under investigation, doesn’t that suggest it might be good to wait before condemning the behavior? Could it be that there’s more to the story than a short, viral video?

The school and the diocese owed these boys a full hearing before coming to any conclusion. They now owe them an apology.

That apology took nearly another week to come in writing. I’ll have more on that in another post.

Magness was quite generous about the adults accompanying the boys:

Speaking of adults, some are starting to ask where the Covington boys’ chaperones were. My guess is that they were there, doing their best, along with the boys, in a challenging situation. I’ve been a chaperone on a youth trip. It’s hard. There are more kids than adults. You manage them as best you can. You try to keep them corralled while giving them a little space.

I am not sure what I would have done had I found myself in charge of a group under the circumstances that played out Friday. My guess is that the Covington Catholic chaperones, like the boys, perhaps didn’t manage the situation perfectly, but did the best they could.

I went to the article at the link in the preceding quote, because Magness was much more gracious in her assessment than I have been. The Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Scott Wartman asked ‘Where were the chaperones? The question lingers amid outrage at Covington Catholic Students’. Excerpts follow:

The Enquirer has also tried to find and connect with chaperones.

The Diocese of Covington, the organizers of the trip and officials with Covington Catholic have not returned messages from The Enquirer asking that question …

Many noticed a lack of adults with the students.

“Cov Cath chaperones, where were you?” tweeted Amy Baskin.

Even an official with the Vatican is asking that question.

“Second, where were the chaperones?” wrote Father James Martin, consultant to the Vatican’s secretariat of communications. “The idea that a group of Catholic high school students were placed, either wittingly or unwittingly, in such an incendiary situation, seems to indicate a lack of oversight.”

I could not agree more with Father Martin.

However, the diocese did not view the matter in quite the same way:

The fallout from the controversy remains to be seen. The diocese in a statement said they were investigating and that they “will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”

For those who have not followed it, this story was far from over.

More tomorrow.

Nearly 50 years ago, my mother was a school chaperone on a few local trips with my classmates and me.

When newspaper stories appeared in the early 1970s about chaperoned trips that went wrong, she decided to stop supervising school outings. She said there were too many unknowns and that parents might sue her and the other chaperones if something went wrong.

My mother told me that chaperoning children was an onerous responsibility, even if it had its enjoyable moments. School chaperones have to consider their charges as their own offspring.

What was true 50 years ago is even truer today.

The following are what I would consider to be 21st chaperone guidelines:

1/ Schools should choose a Mr Buzzkill and a Ms Boring.

2/ One of them should be reasonably well acquainted with local and state laws.

3/ One of them should be proficient in self-defence, either physically or verbally.

4/ One of them needs to be streetwise and anticipate adverse situations.

5/ Occupations of potentially good 21st century chaperones, in addition to a street-smart teacher, include: retired lawyer, military veteran, retired law enforcement officer, PE teacher.

6/ Teachers should begin laying down the law to students going on a trip a few days beforehand. Main messages (from my own schooldays):

a/ No calling attention to — ‘making a spectacle of’ — oneself.

b/ Assume that what is acceptable behaviour at school or at home is unacceptable in other places.

c/ No arguments with anyone, especially strangers.

d/ No fights with anyone, especially strangers.

e/ If your chaperone tells you to do something, do it. It’s for your own safety.

7/ On the day, at the start of the trip, chaperones should repeat the points in item 6 to their charges.

8/ Chaperones should remember that they can never be too careful, especially these days.

9/ Have solid, well rehearsed plans in place for various adverse scenarios — including rapid reaction in order to protect students.

Last Friday, January 18, 2018, an unfortunate incident happened, involving a group of students from Kentucky who took part in the March for Life in Washington, DC.

The incident should serve as a warning to current and potential chaperones.

The best — and earliest — account of what happened to Covington Catholic High School students appeared in Reason on Sunday, March 20: ‘The Media Wildly Mischaracterized That Video of Covington Catholic Students Confronting a Native American Veteran – Hit and Run’ by Robby Soave.

Lesson for faculty and chaperones

Soave’s message to faculty — and, indirectly, chaperones — is this (emphases mine below):

Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallieswhere everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.

Absolutely.

What sentient adult American today is unaware of the political tension, including violence, taking place not only in the nation’s capital, but also in other cities, e.g. Portland?

It is the responsibility of faculty and chaperones to explain to students that going outside their comfort zones, especially to a big city, is fraught with unknown variables, even violence. Therefore: keep a low profile at all times.

What happened

Soave’s article reproduces Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann’s testimony in full. Excerpts follow:

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

Big mistake! The chaperone never should have given a group of teenagers permission to start acting as if they were at a school sporting event!

Then, a Native American activist, identified as Nathan Phillips, approached:

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

Yes, which is why the faculty and chaperone(s) should have explained the atmosphere in Washington DC in school before the trip and on the day of the trip, as soon as everyone boarded the bus.

Granting permission to recite school chants unleashed the law of unintended consequences — the media and others on the Left as well as the Right drew their own conclusions the following day.

The students in the videos — as well as their families — have been living a nightmare since then that not even a scriptwriter for the old series The Twilight Zone could have imagined:

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make …

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

Saturday’s nightmare

On Saturday, March 19, social media went wild over videos of the incident.

Clicking on this tweet will show an entire thread of various alarming reactions interspersed with messages of support. That day, the Gateway Pundit reported that Covington Catholic was doxxed (the tweet is still in my previous link in this paragraph), as was the student. Out of common decency, the article did not mention him by name.

Would you believe that a tweet that doxxed Nick Sandmann is still on Twitter? Here is an indirect link to it.

At least one Democrat legislator tweeted their outrage that day. Another chimed in on Sunday, referring to the group of Covington Catholic students in MAGA hats:

The AP reported that the Diocese of Covington quickly issued an apology to the Native American, Nathan Phillips, and launched an investigation into the students’ behaviour.

More Covington Catholic students — and their families — were harassed that day. Here is one student’s testimony.

The Gateway Pundit reported that one online news outlet doxxed the school and another outlet reported that the students would be expelled.

Another student felt compelled to give a detailed account of what happened at the Lincoln Memorial. His testimony mentioned more lengthy videos of the students during the incident.

Independent journalist Tim Pool watched a two-hour video:

The Gateway Pundit reported on the longer videos, which showed that the supposed narrative of the students harassing the veteran was clearly wrong.

Actor and comedian Terrence K. Williams rightly pointed out the toxic hypocrisy of those attacking Covington students online:

I will have more on this topic next week.

Conclusion

One week on, and Covington Catholic students and their families are experiencing the unimaginable which could have potential far-reaching effects for some of them personally, not only now, but also in the years to come.

Chaperones — wherever you are and whoever you are in the world — please take every precaution when taking minors on a school trip.

And please do not allow them to recite school chants or engage in any similar behaviour that could attract trouble or national, if not worldwide, attention.

The world is a dangerous place.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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