TRAUMA AND REVOLUTION: Yale grads explore the depth of the rot!

THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2020

The traumatization of children:
Just for today, let's extend our anecdotal survey of the terrible things that can happen to children. Let's even consider their possible traumatization.

We turn to an Associated Press report, a report we found this morning on the web site of the Washington Post. We'll focus on the 7-year-old caught up in these events:
DAZIO (6/18/20): The half-brother of a black man recently found hanged in a Southern California park was fatally shot by police after opening fire on deputies about to arrest him on charges he beat his girlfriend and held her captive for nearly a week, according to authorities and court documents.

The shootout occurred Wednesday afternoon as Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop a vehicle driven by a woman police described as another former girlfriend of Terron J. Boone. A 7-year-old girl was a passenger along with Boone.

Deputies shouted “hands up!” and Boone opened the passenger door and began firing
from a semiautomatic handgun, authorities said. Boone fired at least six rounds, hitting the deputies’ vehicles, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Westphal of the homicide bureau. Four deputies returned fire, fatally striking Boone.

The girl and deputies were not injured.
The driver was struck by gunfire and treated and released from a hospital.
Some children get a very bad deal when it comes to such matters as these. As to why Boone was being pursued, the allegations read as follows:
DAZIO: In Boone’s case, authorities allege he imprisoned his on-and-off girlfriend in her Palmdale home between June 9 and Monday, threatening and pistol-whipping her, court documents show. The girlfriend “waited for an opportunity when he wasn’t looking and she was able to get out, run to a business and had them call 911,” Westphal said.

Prosecutors filed 13 counts against Boone on Tuesday and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The next day a surveillance team of deputies followed Boone to a residence in the desert community of Rosamond, about 20 miles north of Palmdale.

Boone got in the vehicle and left with the woman and child. Deputies later moved in to arrest him and the shooting erupted.
We can't vouch for the accuracy of any of these statements. But assuming this whole thing wasn't made up, a 7-year-old girl was present in a car when a gun battle broke out.

She was present to see her mother get shot. She saw a second person of her acquaintance as he was being killed.

Should 7-year-olds be exposed to such events? Presumably no, they shouldn't.

Might some form of traumatization result from such horrific events? We'd have to guess that such things happen. You may recall the first-person account of childhood trauma we cited at the start of the week.

We pause to note an intriguing fact about that AP report. Right from its opening sentence, it focuses on the fact that the person who was shot to death was the half-brother of Robert Fuller, 24, who recently died by hanging.

Indeed, the Post might not have published that AP report but for the connection to Fuller. Exactly one week later, Fuller's case reappears on this morning's front page, in a lengthy report which strikes us as the type of journalism which may appear at revolutionary times such as these.

Out in high desert country, authorities are still trying to determine whether Fuller committed suicide or was killed by somebody else. In this morning's bracing report, the Post adopts a less than fully dispassionate stance with respect to that probe and especially with respect to the feelings which surround it.

That said, in paragraph 9 of this morning's report, the Post offers new information to readers. It involves a second high-profile death by hanging. That paragraph reads like this:
GREEN (6/25/20): In Victorville, a city about 50 miles east of here, Malcolm Harsch hanged himself from a tree near a homeless camp on May 31. A review that turned up videotape of Harsch’s death confirmed that the 38-year-old had killed himself, a finding announced by his family to ensure public trust in it.
Really? Harsch's family has announced that his death was a suicide? That (pretty much) came as news to us, in part because we read newspapers like the Post and the New York Times.

For starters, consider the Post. On June 22, the Post published an opinion column by Stacey Patton, who has occasionally been spotted out well past her skis. Along the way, Patton said this (headlines included):
PATTON (6/22/20): Police say deaths of black people by hanging are suicides. Many black people aren’t so sure.
Even the official cause echoes the history of the lynching era


[..]

The families of Malcolm Harsch and Robert Fuller, who were found hanging from trees in Southern California within 10 days and 50 miles of each other, are also denying police claims that the deaths were suicides. (On social media, attention is also focusing on the fact that Fuller’s brother, Terron Jammal Boone, was killed in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles County last week.)
Three days earlier, on June 19, Harsch's grieving but thoroughly decent family had announced that his death actually had been a suicide. Three days later, the Post was still exciting readers with Patton's exciting misstatement of fact, connected to the frisson wrung from her citation of the police shooting.

In her citation of the shooting, Patton didn't mention the apparent surrounding circumstances. She didn't mention the pistol-whipped former girl friend. She didn't mention the 7-year-old who was trapped inside this overall madness, a ball of madness which may even be said to include the Post's decision to publish Patton's column.

Let's review the chronology:

On June 19, the Harsch family announced that the death in question actually was a suicide. On June 22, the Post was still encouraging readers to think otherwise.

Everybody makes mistakes! Often, though, mistakes may keep pointing in one direction, occasioning unhelpful stampedes of feeling and false belief.

This morning, the fact of the Harsch family's announcement is finally reported by the Post in a single throw-away paragraph. In paragraph 9, without any detail and without any links, we're told what the Harsch family said.

After that, the exciting report moves excitingly on. This may resemble the type of work once referred to as "yellow journalism."

As for the New York Times, the paper reported what the Harsch family said in a later, online addition to a June 20 hard-copy report. You can peruse what resulted simply by clicking this link.

Clicking that link takes you to the current self-contradictory online report. As it now exists, the report initially says that the Harsch family is disputing the claim of suicide. Later, the same report says that they aren't.

Inevitably, the report quotes a realtor and a mental health therapist saying that no black man would ever hang himself in a public park. The Times printed these exciting remarks despite the fact that similar events have occurred in the recent past, something large news orgs should know.

In these ways, traumatization and fear, and even misjudgment, may spread among us humans. The mental health therapist cited above said that, when she visited the site of Fuller's death, “I just screamed. I was just so outraged and saddened.”

That mental health therapist is a good decent person. In part, she may have reacted in that way because of the various things she hasn't been told, by orgs like the Post and the Times, in the past quite a few years.

In Los Angeles County, a 7-year-old may have been traumatized by a deadly gun battle. In yesterday's report, we mentioned another 7-year-old, one who was described as "terrified" after a talk with his mother. The terrified child even said that he wanted to leave the U.S.

In recent years, various people, young and old, have been encouraged to believe the worst, and only the worst, concerning a range of events. In the next few weeks, we'll re-examine some of the ways our major news orgs have taken part in this unhelpful process.

Should 7-year-olds be terrified by things their mothers tell them? Ideally, no, they should not. But what if their parents believe the worst and only the worst? What are those parent to do?

Should 7-year-olds be terrified by things their mothers tell them? We'd say they probably shouldn't be.

Similarly, should adults be conned by the people who work at the Post and the Times? We'd vote against that process too, with more this afternoon.

When adults are told the worst, and only the worst, they may end up screaming in pain. They may end up believing the worst, and imagining only the worst, about an array of events.

At some point, they may pass their trauma along to their kids. The mother who said her child was terrified said that she herself was crying as she wrote her column for Slate, which then proceeded to publish it.

There's no "right" way to respond to endless accurate representations of our country's brutal racial history. Over the next few weeks, we'll suggest that there probably is a right way to assess the way our major news orgs have functioned over the past eight years.

When adults are told the worst and only the worst, they may end up terrifying their kids. On the brighter side, this may be good for sales and for clicks. For the record, it very much reflects the way our human minds tend to work at revolutionary times such as these.

No one would ever do such a thing, except for those who already have! This may be good for sales and for clicks, but is it good for anything else? Are people well served by this process?

Tomorrow: Somewhat peculiar ideas in the Times

Yale grads explore the depth of the rot?: For something which may verge on comic relief, come back this afternoon.

38 comments:

  1. "On the brighter side, this may be good for sales and for clicks."

    Are you one of those marxist commies who think money isn't the most important thing in society?

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  2. Boone may have been traumatized by Fuller's hanging.

    Somerby says:

    "Should 7-year-olds be exposed to such events? Presumably no, they shouldn't."

    This sentence implies that Somerby thought the adults were deliberately exposing the child to what happened. I doubt Boone or his ex-girlfriend wanted the shootout to occur. The AP report isn't clear about whether the girlfriend (mother of the 7 year old) had any choice about driving, given that he had imprisoned and pistol-whipped his current "girlfriend," coercion seems pretty likely, with the 7 year old as hostage not participant, so that her mother would drive Boone.

    Then Somerby goes on a long discussion of whether Fuller committed suicide or was hanged. It should be easy for Somerby to understand why the family thinks he was hanged, but Somerby appears pretty clueless about it. He considers the outrage and upset of the family to be "unhelpful feelings". He again implies that the press is deliberately stirring up such feelings, despite the uncertainty concerning such deaths, and the symbolism of hanging for black people. Maybe Somerby will discuss whether Fuller shot himself too? Maybe he thinks that would be "helpful".

    I can't help feeling that Somerby is using these 7 year olds to score political points and I don't believe that children belong in the middle of adult political diatribes, especially when Somerby doesn't know what occurred (with any certainty) and is preferring to speculate in a way that helps white people feel better at the expense of black people (who are so awful that they would bring a child to a shootout).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. correction: "Maybe Somerby will discuss whether Boone shot himself, too?"

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  3. Dear Bob, even if did hand himself, WHITE SUPREMACY made him do it.

    Your goebbelsian liberal-nazi media reports THE HIGHER MEANING, because actual facts are a form of WHITE SUPREMACY.

    So, shut up and get on with it, dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting rid of white supremacy is a liberal idea designed to kill the Republican Party.

      Delete
    2. ma0 ma0 * ,!, ,!,

      Delete
  4. "Should 7-year-olds be terrified by things their mothers tell them? "

    When I was 7, I saw a film in school that depicted the dangers of running into the street and being hit by a car. It terrified me. I had nightmares about it. Should the school not have shown such films?

    Does that really constitute trauma in the same way as being in the midst of a gun battle? I don't think so. Somerby's attempt to link the two is ridiculous.

    Next, Somerby will be suggesting that publication of COVID-19 data is traumatizing people needlessly and all reporting of statistics should stop because it is upsetting Trump's supporters and their 7-year olds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same thing happened to me when I was 16 and they showed The Last Prom in Drivers Ed class.

      Delete
  5. Somerby mentions Yale grads in the title of his essay, but then he never returns to that in the rest of his text. What does graduating from Yale have to do with anything he has written?

    Why does Somerby call the death of a human being "the rot"? That sounds like a peculiar thing to do, and its implications are pretty awful when you are talking about grieving families. Why does he think about black people in such terms?

    Somerby then suggests that adults are getting too worked up over things such as possible lynchings and shooting deaths. He seems to be saying that if reporters didn't tell the public about them, people would be happy (although Fuller's family and Boone's family would still be affected, even the 7 year olds). All reporters have to do is suppress negative news about black people and there would be no unrest, no more protests that terrify children, no more police treating people unjustly to terrorize black men and teens, no more white people calling 911 on black women in shops or parks. Such a simple solution. Don't tell the children anything, and don't tell the adults either, because they get too worked up and will frighten the children. And then the world will be fine. Perhaps even the virus will go away too. Just close your eyes and pretend it is gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby mentions Yale grads in the title of his essay, but then he never returns to that in the rest of his text.

      You have to read to the end. It's from the tease at the end of the entry:

      Yale grads explore the depth of the rot?: For something which may verge on comic relief, come back this afternoon.

      What does graduating from Yale have to do with anything he has written?

      Nothing yet. You'll have to wait until the afternoon blog entry. Presumably it will be about Yale grads continuing to be the egregious assholes they've always been.

      Delete
    2. Still has nothing to do with anything.

      Delete
    3. Speaking of egregious assholes, Somerby went to Harvard.

      Delete
    4. 'Somerby then suggests that adults are getting too worked up over things such as possible lynchings and shooting deaths. '

      Somerby cares deeply about anything that might offend right wingers, for instance examination of the slavery past of the country. That explains his gallant defense of Donald Trump, Barr, Roy Moore and Zimmerman.

      He also cares about attacking liberals.

      In short, he is a hard core Trumptard.

      Delete
    5. However big an asshole you think Somerby is, there's no correlation between anuses and Harvard. Yale is a different story.

      Delete
  6. "This may be good for sales and for clicks, but is it good for anything else?"

    I suppose that depends on whether you think achieving racial justice is a good thing or bad for white people. Somerby seems to be having trouble deciding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'I suppose that depends on whether you think achieving racial justice is a good thing or bad for white people.'

      Certainly it's bad for Trumptards like Somerby

      Delete
    2. Some things never change. I come back to this site after 6 months, and Somerby's dogsbody continues defending TDH as gallantly as TDH defends Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Barr, Jim Jordan, Ron Johnson.

      Delete
    3. I can't miss you until you go away again. Don't let the proverbial door hit you in the ass on your way out. When can we expect that blessed event, liar?

      Delete
    4. Who wound you up tonight? Did you start your drinking early. Stop spewing hate in all directions and watch some TV like everyone else.

      Delete
    5. He's filling in for Cecelia on this thread.

      Delete
    6. Comparing me to our Cecelia? Now that is hateful, and I resent it. Cece is a Republican.

      Delete
  7. Let us count the ways this type of reporting harms Americans:

    1. It makes African Americans more fearful and less trusting of whites and of Asians and of police. This lack of trust reduces their life and career options as well as their relationships.

    2. It allows international organizations, who do not have US interests at heart, to portray the US as racist.

    3. It reduces the media's credibility.

    4. It helps anarchists and extremists to recruit people and to encourage their people to commit terrorist acts.

    Perhaps someone would like to continue this list...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was about to add how this type of reporting is he death knell for the Republican Party, then i noticed you are looking for things that harm Americans.
      Let me keep thinking about it.

      Delete
    2. Isn't this cute? David is trying to gaslight us too.

      The truth doesn't go away if you fail to report it.

      What about those alt-right extremists? Should African Americans be trusting of them? Their antics are rarely reported but they are the main source of violence at the protests and they are the #1 domestic terrorists in our country. How are they being recruited? Through stories portraying black people as criminals and leeches on society, the kinds of stories that appear on Fox and similar sources. Because we have tolerated their activities and the activities of every day racists, the United Nations and other global organizations are rightly condemning us as a racist nation.

      Pretending that this is an exaggeration of sensationalist reporting and not a real phenomenon is an extension of the racism minorities must live with, a compounding of their injustice.

      And it makes fools like David think there is no real problem to be addressed, just a malicious press making up stuff to sell newspapers -- oh, wait, no one buys papers any more -- what are they doing this for?

      Delete
  8. “Harsch's family has announced that his death was a suicide? That (pretty much) came as news to us, in part because we read newspapers like the Post and the New York Times.”

    Except that he links to a New York Times story from June 20th that reports the family’s acceptance of the finding of suicide. The headline of the article is “Family of Black Man Found Hanging Says Death Was by Suicide.” That’s rather unequivocal.

    You cannot fault the Post story by Miranda Green from the 24th either, which unequivocally states the fact of the family’s acceptance of the findings. It is not evidence of “yellow journalism” that “After that, the exciting report moves excitingly on.” Of course it “moves on.” It is about a larger issue than the Harsch death.

    So, Somerby’s claim of “yellow journalism” rests solely on a statement in the opinion piece by Patton. And that is flimsy “evidence” of such an incendiary charge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the link for the Times headline I quoted:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/20/us/malcolm-harsch-death-victorville.html

      It is not the one linked by Somerby, but it clearly shows the Times reported these facts unequivocally.

      Somerby somehow “missed” this one.

      Delete
  9. "For something which may verge on comic relief, come back this afternoon."

    None of this stuff is funny. If you find lynching funny, you may be a sociopath.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What one doesn’t talk about can be as revealing as what one does talk about.

    Somerby does not mention the rise of white supremacy and the alt right , and how it is being deliberately stoked by Trump, Miller, Bannon, et al. He has not devoted a single sentence to this topic.

    That allows him to falsely cast the reactions of black people and liberals as overwrought expressions of performative tribal outrage.

    That is the danger of ignoring the context of events.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Somerby does not mention the rise of white supremacy and the alt right , and how it is being deliberately stoked by Trump, Miller, Bannon, et al. He has not devoted a single sentence to this topic. '

      Naturally, he's too busy attacking liberals and defending DJT, Roy Moore, Zimmerman, Barr, Jim Jordan and Ron Johnson. Somerby is a Trumptard.

      Delete
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