Actions of High Schoolers–Historically Frightening

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I did not think, that at my age, I would be as shocked or frightened by a news story as I have been recently. Certainly the United States of America has become more coarse and more vulgar over the last few years. Following the pattern of the President, who regularly uses insults to degrade his opponents, many Americans seem to be following his lead.

Worse recently was the incident in which high school boys from a Catholic school, some wearing MAGA hats, confronted and insulted Mr. Nathan Phillips, a Native American of the Omaha Nation and a Vietnam War veteran while he was participating in the Indigenous Peoples’ March. In the video that has gone viral, the boys can be seen confronting and attempting to intimidate Mr. Phillips.

While watching the video, I got chills, not only for the shear ugliness of the racism and bullying behavior but also because the high school students reminded me of another group of youngsters in the past who were used to promote the worst evil the world has ever seen–the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany. I am not claiming that they are of the same level of evil, but we are entering dangerous territory when young people feel emboldened to attack people of minorities. And the man they focused on was a former soldier, a Vietnam War veteran. They demonstrated a dangerous attitude of potential mob violence, fascism, and racism.

How dare they?

How dare we, as a society, allow this to happen unchallenged?

How dare we not speak up?

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95 thoughts on “Actions of High Schoolers–Historically Frightening

      • Jo Elizabeth Pinto

        As an American, I make no excuses. I am deeply disturbed and embarrassed by the behavior of the Catholic teens in DC. It’s wrong on so many levels, it’s difficult to even put into words, and it’s a symptom of deeper problems in society as a whole. But please know there are many, many of us who fight against these problems with every ounce of our mental strength and passion daily. The Catholic school from which the boys were sent to the Right to Life March received phone calls, e-mails, and social media messages by the thousands from concerned and angry citizens, demanding swift and appropriate consequences for the hateful young men. I spend hours of my valuable writing time contacting my representatives in Congress, fighting an often losing battle against racism and misogyny, and ableism I would have thought completely unimaginable even five years ago. So yes, it’s disgusting and dangerous. But please, please, don’t paint all of us Americans with the same brush. Some of us are as flabbergasted as you are, and fighting to turn the tide.

        Liked by 4 people

  1. I felt embarrassed for this kid’s parents, but maybe they made him that way? I hope it’s not due to their attitude. I don’t think this behaviour has much to do with racism, but rather with a general disrespect of others no matter who they are, or how young or old or what gender they are. I just wanted to smack this kid’s face, but then, that doesn’t say much for me either. I do wonder what he will think when he sees this video when he’s old (if he survives that long).
    I’m very sorry that he put on a red cap. I see the media is already blaming Pres. Trump for this behaviour. If a guy robbed a bank and was wearing a red cap they’d probably blame the president too. I think the red cap is not the issue here. It’s this boy’s vileness and rudeness. What a horrible personality he must have.
    I don’t usually comment at such length but I was really horrified by this kid’s ugliness. And no, I don’t think it’s a reflection of what Americans are like. He is only one person (along with a few other idiots goofing off in the background).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As horrible as this is, I wish we could say it is the only incident, but unfortunately bullying everywhere by all ages of people is happening at an alarming rate. A 13-year-old girl killed herself because of bullying. It wasn’t about race; it was about braces on her teeth. When my significant other was with another lady some years ago before she passed on, they attended a so-called Christian church in this area. He is part black and very light, and they were not married, but going together. They were asked to leave the church in front of the entire congregation because they were different races and not married. It is not just race, and it is not just age either. It happens to all of us and for all kinds of reasons today. Some of the worst bullying I have known was in my youth when we were overseas with my dad, who was in the Army. I was tormented so much by bullies and at a young age, I nearly had a breakdown. Most recently I was bullied to the point of wanting to end it all and this by seniors in a senior mobile home park because I used my training in Criminal Justice to go after drug dealers in the park. I didn’t realize that more than half the seniors were getting their pain meds from the drug dealers, and although the police did come when called most of the time, they could not make arrests so they said because they did not see anything. The reality of this sort of thing today is that yes, it is shameful, and yes, it is not just limited to racists, but to all layers of society. It is truly pervasive in our society, and the saddest thing is that people you would not believe capable of such horror are behind it all. These young people do what they do because someone tells them they should do it. Most of them do not have enough intelligence of their own even as a group to think of such things. They are almost always led by someone who is the real culprit and quite capable of inciting others to do their biding. So yes, it is dreadful and a sign of the times. We unfortunately likely have the highest degree of illiteracy or very low level of literacy ever of anyone who who is high school level or higher. I used to tutor illiterate adults, and I was always shocked to find how many of them had gotten through junior college and could not read at the 3rd grade level.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I wanted to clarify that I am in no way in support of such actions by any young persons or persons of any age. We are all sacred, and as such, we have a right to be heard and to act on what is right and deserves to be addressed in this world. And I think every person alive in some way believes that as part of their own life philosophy. The problem is that we all come from different contexts in this world. We have children growing up with felons for parents, or abusive parents, and then there are the gangs of young people everywhere who are lacking in any sort of decent learning about what it means to be a citizen of this world and a contributor to its longevity instead of someone who is a maggot that feeds off of the innocent, or those who are trying so hard to make a difference in this world.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think these things happened overnight, though sometimes it seems that way. This kind of ugly thinking has been around for a long, long time, though at times it has remained hidden underground so to speak. But now it is out in the open, its flames fueled with so many social wrongs and the complexity of the whole world making getting any of these things taken care of nearly impossible. Society has reached one of its lowest levels at this time in history, and it is not just here in the U.S., but in many parts of the world. Thank you for always writing about these things. It is going to take a lot of work and time, perhaps longer than any of us have, and I believe it will get a lot worse before it can begin to get better. Our world seems to go in cycles that way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt anger most of all, and then a huge undercurrent of worry and fear for the future. But first I felt anger, and even that is a scary thing, when I think what I might be capable of if I’d been there standing beside this creep.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can so understand where you are coming from, and I have felt the same way about social injustices. And I have come out the loser big-time from acting on it even when I was trying to fight crime. The problem was that I didn’t understand how many people were involved with it in my little neighborhood. These people were not teenagers. They were seniors. I thought I was strong, but I could not beat nearly half the neighborhood. They assaulted me, something I should have realized can happen when we try to go up against evil. And it did not end there. That was just the start. They bullied me until I reacted, and then filed restraining orders against me. I was in such a state of shock from the assault and threats of further assaults that I was unable to mentally fight back by then. I had written the owner and manager of the park where I lived but they had never responded even when I had photos to back me up.

      So the point of telling some (this is just a small amount of the story) is that I now suffer from severe PTSD after years, and for what? Even the police/sheriff’s deputies could not help. Those people still reside there while I had to sell my own home at a huge loss and move immediately for my own safety. I live every day with the fear that they will come after me and my significant other and our pets. Although there were others in the park who might have served as witnesses, they were too afraid for their own safety, and I cannot blame them. Society is very ill today, and it is not any single cause; I wish life could be so easy. Children are not born evil.

      I am a criminal justice graduate (my latest degree) and I was going to become a mentor and advocate for juvenile delinquents, but since this happened to me, I am doing well to just maintain myself from day to day. It is horrible when we try to do the right thing, but society does not support us in fighting wrong. I honestly don’t know what the answer is, but I am where you are with your thoughts about what you might have done in response. I wish with all my heart that my own life could end on a good note with society seeming to be what it was when I was a youngster. But even then there were issues that were definitely wrong. It is truly depressing and sad. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. In my area, things that are as bad as this happen frequently, and I have heard in other areas as well. I live in Southern California and thought most people here were very accepting of others regardless, but I was so wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That video was appalling, Charles, and what’s even worse is how the behavior demonstrated by those teenagers is reminiscent of a larger, and extremely dangerous trend in american morality. I fear where this might end, but I’m glad that people like you are speaking out.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Jo Elizabeth Pinto

    As a person with a visible disability, I’ve noticed a very significant rise in the number of what I would call minor bullying incidents that have happened to me in the last few years. I don’t think hate is anything new in our society, but I believe the haters are more emboldened now than they have been in recent years. They used to put on their disdain and bigotry discreetly, as if they were slipping into their underwear beneath their clothes. But these days they wear it proudly like shiny new gold chains or heirloom brooches. They make remarks about how “that blind woman must not pay taxes”–false–or feel free to physically move my guide dog and me out of their way instead of politely saying “excuse me” if they need something from the shelf I happen to be blocking in the grocery aisle. It’s disheartening.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for sharing, Jo. You are so correct in your writing. I have been working as an advocate and activist for physically,developmentally,emotionally challenged people for many years now. My brother came home a very young man still, barely out of his teens, from Vietnam and he was 100% disabled with a TBI, a spinal injury, and permanent PTSD. It gave me a heart to serve all others as I noted, and I have done this for years and years until I became physically/emotionally challenged as well. I have seen everything you are saying and my challenged friends and I often talk about some of these issues. I have had to intervene in other classrooms (with the preschoolers and kinders) bullying our special needs children and making them cry. Our school principal, whose own son was a wonderful special needs boy, was transferred out of the district because he told all the teachers that bullying would receive zero tolerance. It was not his choice to transfer either. So yes, I can totally relate to what you are saying. Keep getting involved with some of the great organizations that are there to support those of us with challenges. They do understand and are trying to support those with challenges. Thank you so kindly for sharing your story. Just know that you are not alone with these things that happen, even though it seems like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. No one I speak to agrees with me. People are aware that some men groom young children via the web in order to lure them away etc, in the same way, the general public is being groomed to accept new values and behaviours which would never have been tolerated only a few years ago. In Britain, the PC laws are now so extreme, everyone is afraid to open their mouths. Free speech is being silenced. Only the extremists are heard and while we deplore that, nothing is being done. I doubt the behaviour will be any different whichever party is in power.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your comment, but I do not agree that it will be the same. Nothing in the history of the United States compares with a President who is loved by white power extremists and who shows bullying behavior to the public.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Lucinda. I appreciate your comments. And it is the overall philosophy that exists not only in the U.S. or Britain, but in the entire world. And unfortunately, as Charles French notes, there are people around who have been undercover in the U.S. and other countries as well for a very long time, but they are more out in the open because they feel empowered with a President who likely suffers from a form of special needs or mental illness. But he is just a visual reminder of what has been growing stronger for years, and a lack of ethics and principles within our government as a whole. It isn’t just our country or yours, but the entire world. I wish we could all see changes in this lifetime, but I honestly have very little hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The comments here, based on the initial reports, seem justifiably upset and worried. However, there is a different story today, a longer video showing the full incident as well as an account by the teen in question. Everything is so stirred up these days, and many have become highly sensitive and reactive. It’s hard not to be, and both sides engage in knee-jerk responses. In this case, it seems like the initial video was manipulative in showing only a fragment of the encounter.

    The comment here about the mother of the teen in question is incorrect. The article states that the woman quoted *wasn’t* this teen’s mother, but of another high-school kid there. She was correct about the group who started the furor (though not about their identity). The article also mentions the longer video, the verbal abuse the boys received, and it links to the teen’s statement. I’m not sure how the comment and response here, based on that article, can be credited. (Also, by other accounts, the teens were not chanting “build the wall.”)

    Perhaps each of the groups involved could have behaved differently, but the varied accounts show how intent can be much different than what others see. Maybe a good reminder to take a beat and make sure we have the whole story before deciding “what is.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • You make a good point, but I maintain the accuracy of what I said. That boy was in the man’s personal space, which is an act of physical and intentional aggression. It is the action of a bully, and it was not accidental. He is very fortunate that a soldier who saw combat did not react badly. It was an attempt to bully.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dr. French, if you watch the longer video you will see that it was the man who entered the boy’s personal space not the other way around. And that the boy’s were not threatening anyone.

        Now that more details are known, including the hour of verbal insults yelled at the teenagers by adults before the native american’s arrived, it changes the story entirely. Watching the full video exonerates the boy’s entirely in my view, and shows that the adults were the aggressors in the situation, who then deceptively edited the video to show exactly the opposite of what occurred. I would hope that if you were to research the full story you would change your mind and take back your initial statement.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do not wish to continue into an argument, but I have seen the other videos. That another group hurled insults at the boys is clear. I do not dispute that, but even the actions of the so-called school chants was aggressive. The boy’s smirk, which is undeniable, is all to familiar to anyone who has been bullied or looked down on from another group who feels they are in power because of their position. If you disagree, I respect your position, but we live in a society in which bullying is being modeled from the very top. This has consequences.

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  9. Anothet disturbing incident that is particularly alarming due to “ the new normal” acceptance of this vile action by our youth. The immediate attempt to defend Pres Tump by another commentator is telling. It is our own president who has opened the door to bigotry., racism, the encouragement and defense of violence by hate groups who in the past recognized the need to stay under their rock. Having received permission from our highest office we are seeing more and more hateful Confrontations. Is this the new normal? We must all resist these factions and fight for our democracy and make it clear to our young people , who will take the reigns in the near future and decide what kind of country America will be , that such hateful actions will not be tolerated in our democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There are always those who do not respect the boundaries of civilised society, jut waiting for an opportunity to live out their sordid agendas. For a President to be setting such a bad example that these people feel empowered is a very state of affairs. Lets trust in society to let the decency of the masses win out.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We must speak up and also be sure we have searched inside and routed any of the same thinking which may be lurking within. It is a time for soul-searching as well as social action. I am not timid about comparing this behavior to 1930s and 1940s Germany.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Amen, Charles! My wife and I have commented on this too. She predicts that if Trump doesn’t win in 2020 he will claim the election was rigged and call for his followers to take to the streets!! Not beyond the realm of possibility, in my book either!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Charles. The dark underside of American racism will continue to surface and find validation as long as Trump is in charge. His damage is going to take a generation to undo. This is terrible, and the systematic child abuse on the border is even worse. It’s horrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You probably already know where I stand on this. It’s systemic and chilling. I knew this and more was on the horizon. The collective consciousness has eroded in a very large faction of the country. My heart broke at the lack of respect of an elder Native American by these young people. They are under educated in so many areas. I saw other videos from their school. Something is very wrong there. Shades of Hitler’s youth corp.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. To everyone who has commented on this event, and the related news/videos/opinions: Unless you have protested, participated, or attended any form of rally in Washington, DC, be advised that anything can happen, and usually does. There is no set of rules, and spontaneous reactions are more common that one would think. #talkingfromexperience

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am wishing I hadn’t commented on this story as it seems that the video was presented on TV showing only part of the action. As I have come to understand it, there were several groups protesting and the fellow with the drum placed himself in the young man’s personal space. We, the recipients of the news as it is presented to us, have been asked to swallow the story with only part of the information – something that I have noticed happening a lot lately.
    I regret my earlier comments as they were made with only half the real information. The news omissions are what I find truly frightening. The young man could certainly have reacted differently, but if everyone had just gone home, there would be no outrage at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Re-actions have little to no impact and only serve to inflame the debate.
    Pro-actions, a tenacious adherence to one’s ideals by committing to calm, logical discussion of how enlightened society should and will behave — do.
    Remember, in 100 years none of us will be here. But our legacy might — if we persevere in our pursuit of a transcendent culture.
    Keep on keepin’ on. In the end our vision will win; progress IS happening despite the fact that detractors claim it’s not. The logical tortoise crosses the line first.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your good comments. I wish I could believe the philosophical discussion the way you are stating it. I have in the past, but I have continued to see criminal actions that required action to get them stopped, and in the end result, in these situations, calm and logical adherence to principles seems to give those committing the criminal actions the idea that you are in agreement with them. They continue to do what they do because it is the milk on which they have been raised.

      Thank you for putting forth some positive ideals. When I see the results of this wished for ideal, I will be so happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Berchtold Bistonnaccio

    Any difference can be fatal. Race… isn’t really relatively useful as a distinguishing aspect, and not even relatively accurate (the term itself is .. slippery, defining it. The dialog between the stuff we carry as represented information changes and continues, even transmitting to future generations.) One could use… so many others in context, from gender to posture, all more useful in terms of modelling – but less, in terms of affect within established or manipulated hierarchy. I’m American. But going back 4 generations – like many or most – there are Welsh, central Italian, Bavarian, Menominee (native tribe, upper Michigan, current reserve in Wisconsin, crane clan likely,) minor Austrian nobility, and then who knows, given the family surname is from catholic nuns, my paternal grandfather a bell baby (orphan). But… fear, stress, created from context – (for that, more than pointing singular political fingers, well, Clinton-Obama had actually more to do with than Bush-Trump,) takes us away from some equilibriums and makes it easy to manipulate into others. Ie, it’s what you might do as a writer, using scenes, reactions, place, silence ecc., to push a reader into a feeling, and from that feeling guide or coax them to a resolution or to resolutions, like changing a tonic. If we want less expressed racism.. we need to have a much fairer globe. Ie, before allowing the Trumps of the world, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to re-regulate banking (undo Clinton), re-stabilize inherently… artificiallly created places (nations and governments made from lines drawn on a map) instead of un-stabilizing them (or undo the Obama administrations doings in Africa and the like.) If not… not only will they increase but get far worse. In the Us we filled inner cities with un-justice and fear, a generation of black men either dead or imprisoned, sections of cities where a white-skinned person could not enter without real risk. But… no one really paid attention. Now nearly all of us are suffering similar, forced to accept artificially created fear and stress, damaging needless regulation (at the individual level,) and, well… culture will determine from place to place just how that emerges. But in every place – it will still be a false sort of war, the dividing of the us, to make conquest ever more riskless. There are people who should quite feel intimidated, fearful – many of them spent recent days in Switzerland. It’s their awful actions and influence that lay the groundwork for our displeasure and forms of racism. To them, we’re all… niggers, injins, spiks, whores and assholes, basically. (I had the displeasure of knowing a few… maybe you as well. It’s quite worse than most think.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are an excellent writer, and I think you have put your ideas forth in a completely thorough and meaningful way. Although this scenario or bunches of scenarios are truly vivid and true, I believe that today, because of the way people are brainwashed, that it will take huge doses of reality before someone will finally stand up and say, “Enough. This is enough. It ends here.” And then perhaps we will see a revolution or as it might be perceived, evolution. But we are a long distance from that moment in time. At my advanced age, I wish none of this were true. I wish that I could look out on the landscape and say that I feel at peace within and that I feel safe and able to create and to help others to overcome the struggles they are facing. But the truth is that I am as afraid of what is out there as much as the next person, and I honestly don’t have the answer. My significant other is a mixed race, and I live everyday in fear that one day we will be approached in some irrational crowd and be harmed or even killed because of our physical differences. Thank you for your comments. I think it is people like you and like Charles French who can hopefully at some point make a difference by continuing to write. Violence clearly is not going to achieve anything, but someone who makes sense and can communicate it as well as you and Charles (and some others here as well) have done will likely be the key.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Berchtold Bistonnaccio

        …maybe more, instead, people like you doing as you do. Not that I’m utterly embarrassed but… there is a whiff of identification in the story, your story, put forth on your blog – as in I identify not with the forms, but some of the feelings (I come from a relatively very highly problematic familial circumstance, where madness through mental dysfunction, and manipulation for harm dominated by a singular member, with destructive and disastrous results, reigned.) Your’s is a reenforcement of… aspects of self, a helping hand to let go of fear. That helps others find a place to belong, and maybe express a richer part of parts of themselves where the moment has more breath to contain, well, joy.

        Liked by 2 people

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