Saint Blogs and Character Assassination

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I promised myself I would not post on the gorilla-gets-killed-because-of-kid story.  First, because it seemed to me to be a no brainer:  kid gets away from parents into a gorilla gage and a gorilla is near him.  Of course you shoot the gorilla.  Sad that it happened but nothing to raise a hue and cry about.  Second, because all the hullabaloo that it caused I took as further evidence as to the fact that all too many people have way too much time on their hands, and I thought that self-evident fact of modern life needed no commentary from me.  However, David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts brings to light a new facet of this story involving blogger Simcha Fisher :


Apparently Simcha posted a Facebook article in which she said that the parents of the boy whose actions led to the killing of a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo might not be guilty of any wrong doing.  Sometimes kids act out and it’s not the parent’s fault.

Fair enough.  Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don’t.  For my money, a little accountability in our day and age might do us adults some good.  That does’t mean, of course, that the parents in question are guilty.  Most of the comments followed that line of non-accountability, a line not exactly uncommon nowadays.  But a couple bucked the trend, including Melissa Cox, the aforementioned judicial candidate.

Now my approach to Facebook is ‘don’t’.  It was Mark Shea’s page that broke me.  When he and some of his readers descended on me and mocked and belittled me because I agreed with one of them (yeah, I agreed with one of the readers who then turned and let loose with both barrels), I figured it was time to get a real life.

Apparently Ms. Cox is made of stronger material than me, or is more patient, or maybe even naive.  I don’t know. She stayed and tried to make the claim that yes, the parents might be guilty of wrong doing.  When pushed, she admitted she wasn’t there.  Apparently there were some bystanders who were there who frequent Simcha’s Facebook page.  In reaction to that, Ms. Cox explained that there could be many factors behind why a parent might or might not be guilty: Drugs. Alcohol. BAM!

That was what done her in.  By bringing up those examples, she was accused of falsely accusing the parents of being drug addicts and alcoholics.  Simcha and others swooped in and laid layer after layer of condemnation and contempt on Ms. Cox for being judgmental and sinning by bearing false witness against the parents.  I don’t know the full extent of the discourse, because eventually Ms. Cox left and deleted, or blocked, her statements.  Those I did see were kept by some of the readers:

As the comments continued to pile on, a growing number of readers shook their heads at just how much of a disgrace Ms. Cox was to the legal  profession.  Soon Simcha floated the idea that she might have brought the drugs question up because the parents are Black (and you know what that means). Naturally others ran with the race card.  During that time a bright light came on.   While Simcha stated she didn’t want to ruin anyone’s career, she and others  then converged and began shouting out to different individuals from Ms.Cox’s district; calling on reporters to dig up dirt and rake up some muck, calling for articles to discredit her and work to wreck her life, her career, her livelihood:

Simcha Fisher Rebecca Kavan If you are interested in pursuing this, Damien says you should contact the Detroit Free Press and let them know you have a tip, including screenshots, of some nutso stuff that judicial candidate and prosecutor Melissa Cox said on Facebook and then deleted. You could contact Charlie LeDuff, who is a muckraker and might be interested. This is stuff that should disqualify her to be a judge.    (Emphasis mine)

Wow.  My head is still spinning. This is not an endorsement of Ms. Cox, BTW.  I don’t live in Michigan.  I don’t know her from Eve.  For all I know she dresses like Himmler in drag and attends KKK rallies.  I have no idea.  Perhaps some of the comments that were deleted that nobody reposted showed her true colors,  Maybe in those missing comments she guffawed at the dead gorilla and officially made a legal charge against the parents for being drugged up while their child was put in mortal danger simply because they were Black.  I don’t know.

Three things, however, suggest otherwise.  First, with a little bit of research, I found several sites supporting Ms. Cox’s campaign.  I noticed many had African Americans, and among those were people who seemed to reckon Ms. Cox as a friend.  This, in addition to a laundry list of endorsements and awards for her legal career up to this point.  Forgive me for bucking the John Lennon principle of Liberalism, but I look at what a person does and how they live, not what people on Social Media say about them or their failure to speak the Sacred Word of  Correct Thinking.

Second, the copies of her comments that were posted were nothing close to what she was accused of saying.  They were merely posts, musings, opinions not shared by Simcha and most of her followers.  They were thinking out loud about what possibilities might and might not implicate the parents.  That they were seen by the followers as official accusations rather than opinions brings up the Third point.

I know all too well the tendency of Social Media to go straight to lunatic, partisan accusations.  I recognize the tactics, the ‘I would never ruin a person’s career’ followed by calling for people to flock to the individual’s district in order to ruin that person’s career.  I also recognize the fact that Simcha and her followers were attacking Ms. Cox for making a false accusation (which Ms. Cox denied) by then piling on multiple false accusations against Ms. Cox, mocking her, deriding her, spewing contempt on her, and then, as can be expected in our modern climate, playing the race card.  After all, the family was African American, couldn’t that be why Ms. Cox suggested drugs or alcohol?  Not saying it is the reason, but you know. All of this, and then moving to have the young woman’s career derailed and her campaign damaged.

The sad irony in all of this is that based on Ms. Cox’s quotes that were provided, that others referenced as justification for the witch hunt, this represents a gross violation of the Church’s clear teachings on how we are to interpret the statements of others.  Basically we are to assume the best unless we prove otherwise.  And yet Simcha and her followers took the absolute worst possible spin on what Ms. Cox said, piled on, and proceeded to call for her judicial career to be harmed.

Despicable.  It made me ashamed to be Catholic.  Hey kids, Catholic kids I mean.  We Catholics have a reputation for the Crusades, for the Inquisition, for witch burnings.  It would do us well to remember this fact and not act like Facebook is the best alternative we have since the Rack and Thumbscrews went out of fashion.

As for the modern Catholic Church and its field of amateur apologists, I’m sure back in the day this seemed like an awesome thing.  Heck, Pope Francis says it’s awesome now.  And I’m sure it can be a good thing, this idea that Catholics with no particular irons in the ministry fire can nonetheless proceed to the world of the Internet to lay down their opinions and insights, their views and reflections.

But watch out.  The Internet has no peer review.  It has no checks and balances.  It has no level of accountability.  I could start a blog based on molecular biology.  I could use my blog for anything I want.  When we have amateur Catholic apologists who feel that they can use their station and their popularity to attack the livelihood of someone about which they know nothing, then I dare say we’ve crossed a line.  To continue to give a nod to such people is to engage in the worst elements that have come to plague the world of Social Media.  That’s bad enough.  But when you are doing so with the moniker ‘proud Catholic’, then think of what that says to a wider world.


Go here to read the rest.  Trying to destroy a person’s life for a comment they left on a blog, especially on a dopey story like this?  That shows the emotional maturity of a 13 year old and a very hate filled spirit.  As faithful readers of this blog know, I regularly get in heated debates with commenters, and I have banned more than a few people over the years.  However, absent death threats, I would no more threaten someone’s livelihood over a blog comment than I would attempt to fly to the moon.  Blogging is an enjoyable hobby for me, but apparently some view it as a license to appeal to the fallen angels of our nature.  That they do it while being Catholic bloggers makes it doubly shameful.



The circus is complete.  Shea shows up in Dave Griffey’s combox:


Mark Shea said…

Always nice to be gossiped about behind one’s back the Righteous. For what it’s worth, I take it as a great honor of which I am not worthy to be numbered with the Fishers. Let the passive-aggression continue!

June 2, 2016 at 12:42 PM


Nice way Mark to both miss the point of Griffey’s post while simultaneously validating it.

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Saint of the Day Quote: Saint Amata

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  1. Re the race card, before the child was identified as black, I saw wild BS on the worldwide web concerning “white privilege” and the horrid murder an African gorilla.

  2. This is why I no longer use my real name. When I as working at a previous nuclear place of employment, a liberal sent an anonymous email to my employer complaining about my non-work-related opinions made on non-work computing equipment on non-work time. I called into a meeting one morning at work and told that my views did not reflect the company line. So after a while I began using this pseudonym, not to hide but because in today’s liberal progressive environment, the virtue most lacking is tolerance. Imagine that – expecting tolerance for different points of view from the preachers of tolerance and diversity!
    Just imagine my fate were I to have written about the demise of a non-sentient animal!

  3. I used to be a regular reader of Simcha’s, and she still has some enjoyable takes on family life, but she has indeed turned into a bit of a pitchfork wielder, along with her husband (whose “jerk” moniker turned out to be less of an act than I originally thought). Even on this issue, where I basically agreed with her primary take, she and her minions have decided that any contrary opinion is not to be tolerated, and is justification for social ostracism.

    Somewhere along the line social media deteriorated into the adult version of second grade. Actually, I take that back, because second graders are never quite as vicious. I won’t condemn all social media, but there’s something about Facebook and twitter and especially that turns people into petty jackasses.

  4. Simcha’s still around? The Bear guesses he’s too insignificant to be controversial. (He’s waiting for Donald Trump to get elected so the U.S. will bring the Bear back from Syria.) This is the first thing the Bear has read on this subject. It shall be the last. We had one of our cubs fall out of a two-story window onto concrete. (Actually defenestrated by his twin brother.) Does that make us bad parents, or just unlucky, like the couple in that horrible Lars von Trier movie? Since he shook it off and just got out of the Army where he was a Korean linguist, it obviously didn’t hurt him none. Higher animals hate captivity. The gorilla would have killed that kid as a gesture of protest. This is a no-brainer. Shoot the gorilla and put him out of his misery. Save the kid. The Bear IS and animal, and HAS BEEIN IN zoos, and Bear pits. Then shoot the zoo director for having a crappy fence kids can fall through. Or, better, feed him to the brown Bears for a win-win.

  5. Simcha has 10 children. I am sure she can keep them all out of the gorilla enclosure.

    However, I know how hard it is to type adult, meaningful, and fair comments on a blog with one teen around and a post teen who calls a lot. How hard is it with 10 around? I will be Christian and go out on a limb and suggest that Simcha is too quick to throw some posts into the gorilla enclosure.

  6. Oh, the Bear has a Facebook Page. It was quite a shock after the gentle woodlands of Blogger. Fortunately, Captain Ernest has volunteered to keep trolls in check until the Bear can call in a Bearstrike and eliminate them. Atheists and Protestants who take a curiously unhealthy interest in other people’s religions.

  7. P.S., I just noticed a couple of the lines that detailed why Don’s head is spinning. So I partially retract my first post. I’ll say now that it applies to how a trickle starts on Simcha’s pages. It doesn’t explain or condone the avalanche.

  8. Sadly, this kind of overwrought personal, ad hominem against someone posting a differing view is all too common on the net. It’s a function of the anonymity and distance involved. If the dialogue were taking place in person, face to face, much of this digital detraction would evaporate.

  9. Mark shea actually showed up at that post to comment. I don’t want to spoil it for you all, just seriously click over and scroll down.

  10. second graders are never quite as vicious

    That’s because they have to physically face their interlocutors and risk a punch in the nose.

  11. Simcha has an insatiable appetite for vicious slander.

    The time she spends on the computer exercising this hobby does not leave a lot of time for mothering and supervising her own children. Perhaps Ms Cox struck a raw nerve.

  12. Seems to me you’ve got the basis for a 21st century morality play along the lines of The Scarlet Letter meets The Oxbow Incident.

    If somebody’s brave enought to stick up for Melissa Cox, you can throw in a dash of Twelve Angry Men.

  13. The time [Fisher] spends on the computer exercising this hobby does not leave a lot of time for mothering and supervising her own children. Perhaps Ms Cox struck a raw nerve.

    That was as unfair to Fisher as Cox was to the mother of the four year old boy, and as Fisher’s facebook lynch-mob have been to Cox.

    If a four year old managed to get into the gorilla enclosure, it’s because the enclosure is poorly designed. (It happens.)

    Either that, or it was built back in the day when any self-respecting mother would have spanked her child just for thinking of swimming with the gorillas.

    Me? I always try to encourage parents brave enought to have their toddlers in a harness and on a leash –just to offset the looks of disapproval from the self-righteously ignorant.

  14. Ernst, my observation was not limited to this one incident. The time she spends in com boxes defending her flaws and errors with character assassination is irrational and inconsistent with the time a mother of ten children has available.

    The world is not suitable for children to run free but agree a child can make a run for it even with the most vigilant helecopter parents.

    On the other hand, if a mother has a history of convicted criminal boyfriends and is at a place where a child could be kidnapped, how he got any more than ten feet away from her raises legitimate questions. Adults can outrun a four year old. My gut instincts were not drugs but social media.

    Thank God for the quick action of the zookeepers and the safe return of her son. Gods abundant blessings upon them.

  15. My gut instincts were not drugs but social media.

    Or four year sees mom dealing with a sibling and seizes once in a lifetime chance to swim with the gorillas.

    I think every parent has their own there-but-for-the-grace-of-God moment with their kids. Most of us are fortunate enough to not have ours wind up on the 6′ o’clock news, and thus grist for the internet gossip mill.

  16. Paul Zummo –
    I think Nate and I are the two youngest here– I’m 33– and I’m afraid your memory of school is out of date.
    They behave like a modern high school. And they are that vicious.
    Counter to C Matt’s memory, there is no serious risk of being punched in the nose, and they know it. Even the myth of “bullied kids become school shooters” didn’t slow anything down. (I was voted most likely to, euphemistically, bring a gun to school; does anyone actually think they believed there was any sort of risk and yet still added that vote in? They flipped out when I slammed my hand down on MY OWN PAPERS to keep them from scattering them around the room.)

  17. Ernst Schreiber-
    I’m with you.
    Kind of ironic that the Fisher lady made a good point, then went nuts on insulting people with her buddies; this post points it out, and…. people are going nuts insulting people.

    There is no way that even a cow should have been so easily accessible as would be required for anybody to get in without people stopping them.
    The main thing that I’ve noticed coming out of this is massive anti-multiple-child bigotry– and a little bit of reaction to that. I always get teased about shopping with four kids; yesterday it was a nice Veteran guy who asked where I’d fit the groceries, since ALL of the kids wanted in the cart. (I laughed and said I was wondering the same thing.)
    He ended up tracking me down to apologize, because that was “kind of disrespectful.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that compared to being randomly lectured about destroying the world, it was a pleasure.

  18. Touche, Foxfier.

    One thing I’d note is anonymity is not a factor. This all took place on Facebook, so people are not using pseudonyms. You can’t really hide who you are, and yet the language is no less vicious.

  19. Ernst, I wholeheartedly agree. The likely innocence of this particular Mom was subject to scrutiny because of her boyfriend’s past history. The boyfriend sounds like he turned his life around and I am sure could use some prayers.

    Sumcha’s conduct is a separate issue. This is just one if the many times when the amount of time spent in wild overreaction on the Internet puzzled me as a mother. With one 2 year old, one would not have the time to invest in responding as she does without a magician, housekeepers, a cook and a child are provider to keep the child healthily busy to keep out of self imposed mischief. Children under 7 are a constant suck on resources of a mother.

  20. You can’t really hide who you are, and yet the language is no less vicious.

    Why hide it, when they’re sure that they are righteous?
    It’s not like they have to worry about someone taking offense and destroying their lives and the lives of those they love, as LQC told of. (They are, actually, but many don’t realize swatting is A Thing. That will change as their area of influence includes more young and self-righteous that don’t agree with them.)
    The main reason I even bring up the age thing is because I see this division a lot– my mom ran into rather normal facebook behavior by some relatives, a nephew of hers vs her daughter, and was horrified– both at how he behaved, and that I actually responded. In her mind, the behavior he’d shown was an instant end-the-conversation– and it took a while to get her to accept as a possibility that is exactly why the behavior was coming up over something so incredibly stupid. She just could not accept that it had gone from exchanging comments about cute kids to nuclear.

  21. Here you go foxfier.
    I swear I wish you would document the stuff u go through because I still can’t hardly believe people treat u that way – though I know you’re trustworthy. For me I’m trying to figure out the right joke to convey to parents blessed with a bounty that they have my sympathies, and jealousy.

    TomD, I’m usually visiting, I just don’t comment much unless Don makes some huge blunder like claiming star wars is better than Trek (the law mines have addled that brain I tell u what).

    I think this all proves people need religion so they at LEAST fight and tear each other over something just a little less stupid.

  22. “I swear I wish you would document the stuff u go through because I still can’t hardly believe people treat u that way”
    Nate, it IS bad out there, and it is worse elsewhere. I have neighbors with four children who are from Germany. They came here in part because of the anti-large family bias in contemporary Europe, and would rather put up with our bigots than theirs’. They are a beautiful Christian family. We are better for them being here, and Germany is (again) the loser.

  23. Nate– Whoof! the Catholic Register just had an article that pointed to similar studies– the more time you’re in non-maternal care, the more you’re likely to have some issues– and KABOOM! went the page.
    That might explain the change in school, too– a daycare worker generally can’t do good parenting, because BOTH sets of parents are customers– so you just punish everyone involved.
    if you’re the one attacking, you get the first hit AND they get punished for it.

  24. Ernst makes the most salient point of the discussion. The design of the enclosure was probably inadequate. Some where I read that the height above grade on the public side of the wall was just 36 inches. That would be allowed only on porches stairs and landings in single family dwellings. Elsewhere, the standard requirement is a minimum of 42 inches above grade or floor level in buildings and at retaining walls. I recall also that there was a planting of bushes or shrubbery of some sort adjacent to the wall. This feature may have allowed the attempt to climb atop the wall for a better view on the part of the small child to be obscured from view by his parents. This is not to say that there was anything unlawful on the part of the zoo. The requirements of building codes are not ex post facto. Nonetheless it would be sensible to apply adequate guards according to the latest standard. As to the zoo’s decision to shoot the gorilla, that was imperative. Anyone who thinks otherwise has their priorities scrambled.

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