South Carolina’s School Violence Problem Deserves A Real Debate …

Not ignorant or racist rhetoric …

The very worst of the internet was on display last weekend. You know … the rabidly hateful, stream-of-conscious reactionary, knee-jerk incendiary poison that infects so much of our online discourse these days. This venom came out in force after this news outlet covered a disturbingly violent incident at a South Carolina government-run middle school.

The incident in question – which you can read about here – featured a black female student violently attacking a much smaller white female student at Lady’s Island middle school in Beaufort County, S.C.

This jarring footage – which we were the first media outlet in the country to publish – sparked a social media uproar. On Twitter, the video I posted was viewed more than 400,000 times in less than 72 hours – with most people responding to the rank barbarism via abbreviated, exclamatory shock and outrage.

Like OMG … or WTF.

Such reactions are understandable. The clip is shocking. And scary. And sadly symbolic of so many things wrong with our country right now. It is an outrage … on multiple levels. And it is proof positive South Carolina (and other states) should initiate a long-overdue conversation on the causes of school violence – and the steps that must be taken to eradicate it.

The reactions didn’t stop with the initial outrage, though. And unfortunately, it wasn’t because our state initiated some high-minded, merit-based discussion of the problem and possible solutions.

As the initial recoil receded, opportunistic “culture warriors” parachuted into the conversation. Racist provocateurs on both sides of America’s unfortunate and totally unnecessary color divide went to work segregating people’s raw, emotional responses to the video – injecting them with a tribal toxicity inducing all manner of moral blindness (while ostensibly “curing” them of any color blindness).

Taking a page out of the tired old red-versus-blue playbook, these black-versus-white (and vice versa) agents of division trolled this story into something it wasn’t. Something it never should have been.

You know … something racial. Something capable of pitting us all against each other … again.

God forbid any of us ever just follow the facts in a story like this. Or insist upon actual justice in its resolution. Or (gasp) think independently about what transpired.

Seriously … we can’t even consistently capitalize the races (ahem).

How on earth are we supposed to fairly cover them?

Also, why cling to such Quixotic ideals when we can conveniently conflate anything (and everything) into something which requires absolutely no thought on our part? All that’s ever really required of us in these cases is uniform conformity – an unthinking construct into which we can comfortably slip along with the rest of our “herd.”

Racial relativism, if you will. Or, just laziness.

Either way, this is the ground that was poisoned by the provocateurs …



On the one hand, the black attacker was carpeted with N-bombs and derided as an “animal.” On the other hand, the white victim was lifted up as a symbol of oppression who “had it coming” to her.

Predictable, right? Indeed. Banal. Basic.

Also, no one was happy with how their “team” was portrayed (or not portrayed) in our coverage of this latest lightning rod moment in a culture that cannot seem to move past what it sees on the surface of things. Or, the surface of people.

Just so we are clear: What, if anything, precipitated this attack is unclear … but the violent actions of the black student were definitionally unacceptable under any circumstance.

I’d like to say that last part again, because it bears repeating: Such violence is definitionally unacceptable … no matter the situation.

I don’t really care what was said to provoke this student. Nor do I care what sort of upbringing may have modeled such behavior as an appropriate way of dealing with anger. Well, let me rephrase that: I care, just not enough to suggest either of those things could ever justify such an attack.

White-on-white, black-on-black, white-on-black, black-on-white … wrong is wrong.

There is no excuse. No justification. No “but.”

The juvenile attacker from last week is, appropriately, facing criminal consequences for her actions … although in South Carolina, the juvenile “justice” system is basically just another, deeper level of a rapidly expanding thunderdome.

In other words, anyone expecting anything resembling a positive outcome to any of this should probably brace for disappointment. For the rest of us, I would suggest a few simple truths to ponder …

First, don’t attack people. Defend yourself? Absolutely. Defend others who are being attacked? Yes. Just make sure any defensive action commences with the onset of a legitimate threat and terminates with its neutralization. Don’t ever be the instigator of such violence – and don’t ever let “defending” yourself (or the vulnerable among us) cross the line.

Second, don’t condone violence. When we condone violence against others, we are justifying others to act violently toward us. The only way to maintain the moral high ground is to abstain from embracing violence, period.

Finally, don’t be a racist. While the purveyors of poison pretend it is the other way around, it’s actually so much easier to assess life through the lens of good old fashioned truth and justice (even if the truth is “inconvenient” and the justice maddeningly inconsistent).

So follow the truth … not the trolls. Strive for that authentic justice, not conformity. And stand firm in defense of both even if it makes you uncomfortable … in fact, stand firm especially if it makes you uncomfortable. Or isolated. Because while there is safety in numbers, you will not find wisdom there. Or peace.

“Until all of us condemn these narrow perspectives – and the violence they are fueling – we are never going to be able to have the real conversation that we so desperately need to have in this country,” I noted in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota nearly two years ago.

What was true then is true now …



(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats – including that Asheville Tourists’ lid pictured above.



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