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Activity in the Church of Gaia continues.

The other day we saw that students at New York’s Union Seminary confess to plants.

Another recent development is the anointment with chrism of Washington DC’s Catholic school students in a pledge to the environment.

Last Friday, September 20, 2019 — Greta Thunberg’s first school strike day of the autumn — some students in the Archdiocese of Washington assembled in churches for Catholic Charities’ Season of Creation Prayer Service:

This included showing Greta’s climate address to the UN — and anointing students’ hands with blessed chrism (sacramental oil):

Chrism is used in Catholic sacramental rites of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick and Dying.

Therefore, use of sacramental oil is suspect when used in another context, such as this one.

Furthermore, anointing of the head — not the hands — is the general practice for Baptism and Confirmation. The brain rules what our hands do.

Devout Catholics had this to say about the service which elevates the environment above God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:

There was more reaction here:

I’ll end with this tweet:

The practice you are depicting is blasphemy and idolatry. Pray for the conversion of all who participate in this sinfulness.

Indeed.

This ceremony is blasphemous and idolatrous. It also opens the door to heresy, elevating God’s creation above God Himself.

These are dangerous days for young Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant. Pray that the Holy Spirit works in them, turning them away from error and heresy towards the eternal truth as expressed in Holy Scripture and the Sacraments.

As we know, Greta Thunberg has resumed worldwide calls for children to bunk off school on Fridays in order to call attention to climate change.

Alan Jones, an Australian commentator on Sky News, had a pointed message for ‘little turds’ who should ‘get the facts’ before protesting. A partial transcript follows:

I couldn’t agree more.

Here is the partial transcript:

Also — wouldn’t it show more dedication to protesting climate change if the students got up early on a Saturday morning so to do?

Just a thought.

This is the final instalment of my Cannes notebook for 2019 (see parts 1 and 2).

Tomorrow, posts delve into the city’s restaurants.

Before then, here is a bit more about Cannes past and present.

The Anglo-French relationship

In 2017, I wrote a brief history of Cannes, from its earliest days to the present.

For centuries, the Church — via the local monastery on St Honorat Island — played a huge part in the lives of the townspeople.

After the Revolution, things changed dramatically. By then, the English were making their grand tours of France and Italy.

In 1834, Lord Brougham and his daughter Eleonora toured the Côte d’Azur in the hope of finding a place where she could recuperate from her bronchial ailment. By chance, they stopped in Cannes — then, like neighbouring Nice, a poor fishing village — where she recovered. The Cannois extended exceptional hospitality towards the two, and it was not long before Lord Brougham built a villa there for his daughter.

He and his family enjoyed their stays in Cannes. He told his English friends that they, too, should consider spending their holidays there.

With that, the numbers of foreigners grew and grew. By the time Lord Brougham died in 1868, dignitaries and royalty from not only Britain but also the Continent had built holiday villas in Cannes.

Today, everyone visiting Cannes can see a grand statue of Lord Brougham in the city centre (next to McDonald’s!) overlooking a large fountain facing the Bay of Cannes.

As one can see from this Provençal festival poster below, the English were still involved in the city’s activities in the 1920s:

The Lord Brougham referenced there would have been a direct descendant.

The Entente Cordiale between Britain and France began in 1904. This short British Pathé newsreel shows the 25th anniversary commemoration of this important alliance, which exists to this day. In 1929, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, was the honoured guest in Cannes, along with many other British and French dignitaries:

The cityscape looks much different these days! For a start, the old casino in the film was razed a long time ago.

New developments

Mayor David Lisnard has been making many changes which he hopes will further improve the city.

I am less sure, but then I always liked the little quirks that made Cannes such a unique place. They are quickly disappearing.

Rue Felix Faure

This street runs parallel to La Croisette and has the city’s most popular restaurants.

Lisnard is pedestrianising the street so that it forms a new esplanade running from the north side of the Croisette near the bandshell all the way to the restaurants’ frontage.

I already miss the traffic that used to go down there. I used to look at the registration numbers to see where the various cars were from. There were no bin men doing their early evening collections, either. Oh well.

I can understand Lisnard’s objective, but yet another quirky aspect of Cannes daily life has disappeared.

Plage Zamehnof

Zamenhof Beach is at the eastern end of La Croisette.

It has recently been enlarged and improved:

Largely, it’s a great move, especially as this is a public beach.

But …

Look at the rocks to the left of the photo. When we first started going to Cannes regularly in the late 1990s, they used to be a haven for locals who sunbathed nude. They did not bother anyone because the place was deserted. The sunbathers did not seek each other out. They placed themselves as far apart as possible.

Some years later, the nearby marina was expanded, making that area more exposed. Fewer lone sunbathers went there for privacy and quiet.

Now, as you can see, the rocks are deserted.

Another quirk gone forever.

Le Carré d’Or

The Golden Square is just off the Croisette.

It had the city’s nightclubs, particularly the late, glitzy Sparkling (6-8 Rue des Frères Pradignac), which was no stranger to the local news in 2013.

This area, comprising the small streets of Rue Macé, Rue des Frères Pradignac, Rue Gérard Monod and Rue du Commandant André, is undergoing renovation:

I can vouch for the fact that, since 2014, a number of traditional French restaurants in that area have closed. I accept that a) people retire and b) restaurants fail.

However, their replacements in Le Carré d’Or are highly-priced, characterless, blingy restaurants and bars designed for those on expense accounts, i.e. conference goers.

I liked the old places better. It was in this Golden Square that we had our first serious dining experiences in Cannes.

Another bit of ‘old’ (my term) Cannes that is no more.

Rue des Serbes

Arrgh! This is where the Nice Airport bus used to stop on its return journeys. It was so easy for travellers staying in the vicinity.

Note the palm trees in the before and after photos:

Okay, it’s now streamlined, and no doubt delivery lorries find it much easier now, but it’s too darned tidy!

I also lament the absence of the palm trees just to make a new bus lane.

This part of Rue des Serbes coming off La Croisette was actually quite pretty in the ‘old’ days. No longer.

Le Suquet

On top of Le Suquet, the old quarter, is a fortress which was turned into a modern art museum many years ago.

Added since our last visit is a large gold CANNES sign, similar to the HOLLYWOOD one in California, only more discreet.

You cannot see the sign in the photos below, but when you are in the centre of town a few storeys up you can see it and the clock clearly, even if the clock looks tiny here:

I haven’t been up there so I cannot comment, but I have been along the streets below the fortress, and they had some character to them. I will have to return next time to see if everything there has been cleaned up, too.

Conclusion

We saw a lot fewer cars in the centre of Cannes.

It seems that is one of the objectives of this exercise.

With that, however, the city is also beginning to lose some of its innate charm.

Cannes needs a bit of its old chaos. However, that’s all by the wayside now.

Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage

I attended Mass in this 19th century church in May 1978, in the days when I was still Catholic.

It is absolutely beautiful and, if I am not mistaken, Grace Kelly attended Sunday Mass when she was in town for the Cannes Film Festival one year in the 1950s.

This is another restoration project the city is undertaking:

There is a stone plaque on the side of the church along Rue Notre-Dame commemorating Napoleon’s march along that route.

It is one of Cannes’s oldest churches and why it is important to Mayor Lisnard and to the city. Both the exterior and interior will undergo renovation:

The importance of classical music in Cannes

Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage is known for its organ music. Often, between 6 and 7 p.m. you can hear the organist rehearse for Mass.

On June 24, the local Conservatoire de Musique et Théâtre gave an end of term concert at the church:

Here are some excellent photographs of that event — and of the church interior:

Education

As I mentioned yesterday, education has long been a priority for Cannes.

A new initiative has been launched for every child born in Cannes who is still living in the city on his or her sixth birthday — a set of six books to enjoy during their formative years:

These books will cover traditional subjects such as fairy tales, mythology, history, animals and nature:

Lisnard’s EAC — Education Artistique et Culturelle — has been achieved and appears to be going nationwide:

Parents attend special art workshops with their children. This one was held on a Saturday in June:

The mayor also actively promotes civic education in schools:

In order to receive the ‘passport’, each child has to undertake eight activities, involving personal behaviour, citizenship, computing and the environment:

This was a voluntary school project but will become mandatory in all Cannes schools for the next academic year:

Mayor Lisnard distributed the passports personally:

Thus ends my summary of Cannes for another year — with nary a celebrity or film star in sight!

February 2019 turned out to be violent for some supporters of President Trump.

Four real hate attacks took place that month.

University

On Tuesday, February 19, a Trump supporter was violently punched in the face at UC Berkeley for manning a stand for conservative students’ organisation Turning Point USA (TPUSA). The victim, Hayden Williams, is not a member of TPUSA, but was volunteering for them at the time.

On February 21, Fox News reported (emphases mine):

University of California police want the public’s help tracking down a suspect whose brutal alleged assault of a conservative activist on the Berkeley campus was caught on video.

The campus police website said that two men on Tuesday approached a table where the activist was recruiting members to his group, and an argument ensued. The alleged victim, identified by Turning Point USA as Hayden Williams, held up his cell phone and began filming the two men who were allegedly harassing him. One of the two men knocked over the table, police said, and then punched Williams several times, causing injuries to his face. Much of the incident was captured on a witness’ cellphone, but it was unclear what, if anything, Williams may have said before the attack.

The suspects had left by the time police arrived.

Although Williams was helping Turning Point USA, he is not actually a member of the group. Williams is campus representative for Leadership Institute, according to Campus Reform, a conservative news site that the institute operates.

A witness told Fox News the recruitment table had a sign that said: “Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims,” in reference to the case of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who is accused of staging a bias attack against himself in downtown Chicago last month.

On its website, Campus Reform, which interviewed Williams, reported that the alleged attacker cursed at the activist, calling him a racist and threatened to shoot him.

The Berkeley incident is the latest in a growing series of ideological clashes that have turned violent on college campuses. Conservative groups claim students who lean to the right have been targeted for harassment and even assault over their views.

That evening, Hayden Williams spoke to Sean Hannity about the incident:

TPUSA founder and president Charlie Kirk tweeted:

A few days later, a conservative organisation offered a $50,000 reward to bring the attacker to justice:

Just a few days later, on Friday, March 1, University of California — UC — Police made an arrest. Gateway Pundit reported (italics in the original):

On Friday, Zachary Greenberg was identified and arrested by UC Police — law enforcement booked him into jail at 1 PM.

CBS San Francisco reported that police will formally present the case to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of the filing of criminal charges, the university said.

That evening Fox’s Laura Ingraham interviewed Hayden Williams and his lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, who is experienced in representing conservative victims of violence and hate (start at 11:06):

On Saturday, March 2, President Trump welcomed Williams onstage to say a few words. He then praised Williams for being able to ‘take a punch’, which, he added, the student did ‘for all of us’. How true:

Here’s the full CPAC segment. Trump also asks Williams to request that Harmeet Dhillon sue the university, the city and the state. Trump had high praise for her:

High school

On Tuesday, February 26, a young man wearing a yellow vest fought to remove a Trump flag from a younger student at a high school in New Mexico:

A Twitter account holder published the school’s number, then attempted to call, only to find out the number was not in service:

Someone tweeted the name of the school principal, who did not reply:

Restaurant

That same day, across the nation in Falmouth, Massachusetts, a Brazilian woman who has been in the US illegally for 20 years, was taken into ICE custody following an assault on a young man wearing a MAGA hat in a local Mexican restaurant. The assault had taken place earlier that month, at which time the woman was promptly arrested and released by local police.

After her ICE arrest, she was subsequently released, pending an upcoming hearing on March 20. This story ran and ran on the Howie Carr Show (Boston) last week.

CBS affiliate WBZ in Boston reported (photo at the link):

Police said Rosiane Santos walked by Bryton Turner as he was eating dinner at Casa Vallarta and knocked the hat off his head. She then allegedly confronted him verbally.

Turner recorded video showing some of the confrontation.

Falmouth Police charged Santos with disorderly conduct following the incident earlier this month. On Tuesday, ICE took her into custody.

“Deportation officers with ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested Rosiane Santos, an unlawfully present citizen of Brazil, today near Falmouth, Massachusetts,” said ICE spokesman John Mohan.

Turner said he was just trying to eat a nice meal when Santos grabbed his hat supporting President Trump.

“It’s just a hat at the end of the day,” Turner told WBZ after the incident. “I don’t really understand why people can’t just express themselves anymore, everybody has to get mad.”

Santos was later released from ICE custody. She has been ordered to appear before an immigration judge for removal proceedings.

Heavy has two short videos of the incident.

Retail outlet

Also on February 26, an 81-year old New Jersey man was assaulted at a ShopRite store in Franklin Township because he, too, was wearing a MAGA hat. The New York Post reported:

The victim was confronted by an unknown man over the hat just before 3:30 p.m. Monday in Franklin Township in Somerset County, officials said.

County authorities, who are working with local cops on the investigation, would not release any further details.

The injured man, who is a Franklin Township resident, refused medical treatment.

Pathological behaviour, especially towards an elderly man.

Conclusion

Anyone who thinks these attacks are outliers should read the tweet below listing the incidents that occurred between June and August 2018:

The verbal and physical assaults — as well as battery — on Trump supporters are very real, indeed.

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.

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, posted this short YouTube video on Sunday, January 13, 2019:

It is all about the effect of the Left on state education in Brazil.

Interestingly, state education in Brazil is in the same doldrums as it is in Western nations.

I urge everyone — parent or not — to please watch this short video. At the end, he explains why he is wearing a Japan football (soccer) shirt:

In Japan, kids with six/seven years of age can solve math problems our college students CAN’T.

Bolsonaro says that leftist educators emphasise topics — sexual identity — that really should not be part of the school curriculum. He points out that the topic showed up in Brazil’s national high school examination.

He says that it is high time to return to the three Rs so that people can learn to get themselves out of welfare, poverty and misery.

Tropical Trump, as he is popularly known, speaks the truth.

By now, everyone has heard of Christine Blasey (pron. Blah-zee) Ford, who recently attempted to smear Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the US Senate chamber.

However, Palo Alto University, where she teaches psychology, appears to be resetting the clock and putting women back into the 1890s as trauma victims who need shelter and security.

Professor Janice Fiamengo of the University of Ottawa (YouTube Studio Brule) tells us more about Palo Alto University in this absorbing 11-minute video:

Four out of five students are women. The vast majority of lecturers and professors are female. There are special programmes and help groups for the students, especially for those suffering trauma.

There is no denying that some women have suffered trauma in their lives, especially from an indecent assault, however, to transform a notional university culture into one where that is the predominant focus does no one any favours — especially women.

These leftist pro-women programmes are, in reality, putting women back into the 19th century. Let’s not be surprised if, 20 years from now, the average male thinks that women are, by definition, hysterical beings who should not be in control of anything, including a car.

Leftists are not helping women. They are doing them a profound disservice.

Ladies — or women, for those who prefer — wake up and smell the coffee!

© 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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