Remember what I said about predictable patterns of press coverage and responses to press coverage? As I suspected, a faithful reader, Jackie Haddock, decided to prove my point in the comments section to my blog entry on how a newspaper reported an incident concerning the display of the Confederate Battle Flag in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Here’s Jackie Haddock’s final comment in full:
So now you are playing me as a racist you don’t know me, you’re only taking the same path you always do stereotyping someone of Southern Heritage who wishes to fly the colors as a rascist. I was raised in the south on a tobacco farm worked side by side and played with black boys and girls everday until I left the farm as a young man. As an adult I have many black friends today, and for the past ten years have maintained a graveyard for blacks across the road from my house without having been asked to do so or neither have I charged anyone for my labor. I do it so there resting place will remain a place of beauty for everyone that rides by to see. No one should be killed for what they are struggling for whether it be for ones civil rights or desire to fly the colors that their ancestors fought under. No Mr. Simpson it’s you that manipulates ones death to fit your blogs. How sad. How typical.
Now, let’s review what happened:
I highlighted a story about a controversy surrounding the decision of a business to fly a Confederate Battle Flag. The business owner said that the decision had nothing to do with Confederate heritage: indeed, once the owner discovered that some people found the display of the flag objectionable, the flag was removed. That should have been the end of something that I don’t deem newsworthy, except (as I suggested) the reporting of the event followed predictable patterns that I find tiresome. I also suggested that someone would find what I said to be objectionable, and that the objection would be equally predictable.
Then along came Jackie Haddock.
Haddock apparently found Margaret Blough’s recounting of another incident, one that resulted in the murder of a white man, Michael Westerman, by a black man who took exception to the white man’s display of a Confederate Battle Flag on his truck. As Ms. Blough pointed out:
In all the furor, including the SCV claiming it was a heritage violation and trying to make a hero out of the murdered man, at one point, the widow admitted that he flew the flag because he liked the way it looked with his beloved truck.
In short, while the motives of the murderer were connected to how he felt about the display of the Confederate Battle Flag, the victim had no such intent to celebrate Confederate heritage. Like the business owner, the victim simply found the flag to be attractive.
That did not satisfy Jackie Haddock.
So what was so wrong with him having the flag on his truck that he would be murdered, surely if the black man was flying an African National Flag and he was murdered by a white man for that indiscretion it would have been an hate crime.
This seemed to me to be beside the point. No one was defending the murderer. No one was justifying an act of murder. No one said there was anything wrong with the victim’s decision to display a Confederate Battle Flag. All that was said was that the victim was not celebrating Confederate heritage, but that Confederate heritage groups had hijacked the story to serve their own purposes. It seemed to me that Haddock was doing the same thing … in predictable fashion.
Haddock’s next reply continued down the same road:
Who said anything about anyone justifying a murder it can’t be. For some flying the flag is a celebration of herirtage and for that some are murdered, I guess.
Again, it did not seem to matter that the victim was not celebrating Confederate heritage by displaying a Confederate Battle Flag. However, the truth did not satisfy Haddock’s purposes. As for what Haddock meant to say in the first sentence, beats me. However, as Haddock was drawn to the story of people being murdered for espousing beliefs, I called his attention to the civil rights movement.
Haddock was not impressed, nor was he detoured from the fact that he had erected a straw man.
Oh my Brooks how we do carry on it always reverts back to dragging out the old race card doesn’t it, nonetheless he was killed while having the banner on his truck how did you miss that.
It’s not clear why Haddock would try to conceal the fact that it was he who brought out the issue of the race card (an increasingly overused term); the import of the rest of his comment is (to be kind) unclear. How mentioning the civil rights movement constitutes playing the race card escapes me, as I noted. Haddock’s next reply offered no illumination on that point:
You always turn the worm towards everyone else, everybody knew what you were playing with your civil rights movement reference.
There’s not much one can do with that. But, as Haddock seems concerned about the victims of racist violence (and it can be argued that Michael Westerman was the victim of racist violence, whatever one makes of his beliefs), I suggested that someone might take the time to visit Birmingham and see the church where four black girls were killed in a bombing in 1963.
This brought forth the outburst that heads this discussion.
I have offered nothing to suggest that Jackie Haddock’s a racist. It’s irrelevant to the concept of Confederate heritage that some of his best friends as a child were black (and let’s not lose sight of the fact that Haddock manages to confuse southern heritage with Confederate heritage). As for the declaration that “No one should be killed for what they are struggling for whether it be for ones civil rights or desire to fly the colors that their ancestors fought under,” no one’s argued that, either, although Haddock continues to miss the point that in neither case was the person flying the flag honoring ancestors or Confederate heritage. I now think that it is crucial to this predictable complaint that he ignores this fact and distorts the story because he needs to do so to advance his perspective. And, of course, I did not mention Westerman’s death; it was Haddock who tried to turn a murder to advantage, thus manipulating the facts of the case. That’s predictable, too (as will be the content of the comments section that follows this post), just as the pattern of the original newspaper article about the flag incident in Arizona this past week was very predictable (indeed, last March I outlined the pattern in another blog entry). Just watch.
It strikes me that those folks who talk about the “evilization” of Confederate heritage (often they try to claim it’s really “evilization” of the South and southern heritage) are really into victimization. They want to be seen as victims … and a discussion about the past is really a discussion about them. Thus the claim by Jackie Haddock that some of his best friends are black people, which has absolutely no bearing on anything discussed.
And so it goes.