January 25, 2019 3:25 pm

Roy Green: From the MAGA hat teen to the Kingston arrests, avoid a rush to judgment

Teen in MAGA hat denies mocking Native American man, says incident was 'misinterpreted.'

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I decided last weekend not to join in on air as raucous media and online condemnation of a group of high school boys from Covington, Ky., spiralled. Believe me, though, it was tempting as anger, insults and threats increased in volume and headlines in number.

As we’re all aware now, social media released a relatively brief video of a white teen wearing a Make America Great Again hat, standing face to face and smiling (some argue smirking) at an older Indigenous man singing and beating a drum. Even veteran journalists wildly tossed objectivity to the curb and engaged in “smear before you know the truth” tactics.

News organizations issued later-to-be-deleted tweets. The CBC deleted one such tweet, explaining subsequently on Twitter “yesterday we sent out a poorly worded tweet with this story. We have deleted that tweet.”

My Twitter response to CBC was “Why did you delete the tweet? Stand, fall or apologize. Deleting doesn’t change what you did.”

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Ditto to other media globally who couldn’t scribble speculative innuendo and condemnation fast enough. The rush to judgment was that of mob mentality and led to literal death threats.

A week later, I’m glad I sat this one out.

Friday, this nation heard about a national security threat which resulted in two police raids in Kingston, Ont. One youth has been arrested and charged with terrorism-related offences, while a second male has also been arrested.

The criminal charges include “knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity.” The individual is a member of a family of Syrian refugees who entered Canada in 2016.

WATCH BELOW: RCMP confirms youth charged with terrorism in Kingston raids

The temptation may be there for some to engage in unfocused accusation and condemnation toward refugee claimants generally.

While Canada’s refugee accepting policies must be open to review and revision, and while public questioning of such policies is the right of Canadians, any engagement in blanket attacks on refugees would be far worse than the rush to unhinged judgment over last week’s incident in Washington.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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