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I attended the March for Life last week but saw nothing of the episode that seems to have come to define it in the public mind: the alleged altercation between the students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American war veteran. Those who heard only the first draft of the story—concocted on the basis of a slickly edited video on Twitter—are left with the impression that the students wearing MAGA caps assailed this sexagenarian hero and subjected him to abuse. Those few who viewed the full video know that something close to the opposite occurred. Most of the media outlets who ran with the initial version appear to have been too busy to catch up with the correction, so the Twitter mob that sought to destroy those boys and all belonging to them—and forced an apology from the boys’ teachers and diocese before the truth emerged—got to decide the tone and meaning of the March for Life in the minds of most of those who took in anything at all about it.
The problem indicates an absence of adulthood: Nobody is capable of summoning up the courage and authority to clap his hands and shout “Stop!” as evils are perpetrated in plain sight. Of course, the episode also confirms something we ought to have absorbed years ago: that Twitter is a vile, decivilizing instrument. In the not too distant future, should there be any sane and sentient adults capable of sifting through the ashes of the one-time Christian West, they will almost certainly conclude that it was Twitter, the generator of vile and hateful mobs, wot dunnit. Yet we watch with no more than a shrug as each new low finds its place at the bottom.
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