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“OK” Hand Sign, “Bowlcut,” and More Added to ADL Hate Symbol List

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  • The ADL added 36 new hate symbols to its “Hate on Display” database, including the “OK” hand symbol and “bowlcut” hairstyle which was worn by the shooter in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. 
  • Many are upset that these seemingly common displays are being classified as hate. 
  • The ADL, however, does note in their list that the symbols must be evaluated in their context because “symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist.”

ADL Adds to “Hate on Display” Database

The Anti-Defamation League has added 36 new entries to its hate symbols list, including the “OK” hand gesture and “bowlcut” hairstyle. 

The organization, which is devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and other forms of discrimination, said it updated its “Hate on Display” database in a press release on Thursday. The list was created in 2000 to help law enforcement and the public identify potential warnings of extremism. 

Some of their latest additions include logos for hate groups, the practice of burning neo-Nazi symbols, and the Happy Merchant meme, which the group describes as “the most popular anti-Semitic meme among white supremacists.”

However, the “OK” hand gesture and “bowlcut” are the two that have made the most headlines. According to the ADL the use of “OK” as a hate symbol began “as a hoax by members of the website 4chan.”

Online trolls would say that the shape your hands make when signaling “OK” creates a W and a P, symbolizing white power. 

“The OK symbol became a popular trolling tactic,” they added. “By 2019, the symbol was being used in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy.”

The suspect who carried out the Christchurch, New Zealand shooting in March, which left 51 people dead, used the sign in a courtroom appearance, the organization’s entry explains. This is one of the most prominant examples of the symbol moving from being a troll tactic to being used in real-world white supremacy. 

Meanwhile, the “bowlcut” refers to the haircut worn by a shooter in Charleston, South Carolina, who killed eight people in a church in 2015.

Those who use the bowlcut image or other ‘bowl’ references admire [him] and call for others to emulate his 2015 mass shooting attack at Emanuel AME Church,” their passage explains. 

What These Classifications Mean

Both the “OK” sign and “bowlcut” are displayed in everyday fashions outside of hate groups. Below their list, the ADL acknowledges that some of their symbols exist outside the realm of hate and must be evaluated in their proper context.

“All the symbols depicted here must be evaluated in the context in which they appear,” they write. “Few symbols represent just one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the Confederate Flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. Similarly, other symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist.” 

As for how they decided on what to add, the ADL said that the newly added symbols were identified by their Center on Extremism. These symbols have been found on sites like 4chan, 8chan, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and gaming platforms. They also have a presence outside of the web.

“Such symbols have appeared at white supremacist events such as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and were painted on the guns used by [the suspected Christchurch shooter],” the ADL explains. 

ADL CEO John Greenblatt said that adding these new symbols allow the world to be fully informed on the potential presence of hate.

“Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,” he said in a statement. “We believe law enforcement and the public needs to be fully informed about the meaning of these images, which can serve as a first warning sign to the presence of haters in a community or school.”

Reactions Online

The ADL’s new listings created mixed reactions online. Many were shocked that something as common as the “OK” gesture was being classified as a hate symbol. Others took the warning to heart. Cartoonist Terry Moore said this was something artists needed to know about so they don’t “naively put these symbols” in art and send the wrong message.

https://twitter.com/TerryMooreArt/status/1177224738810318850?s=20

Meanwhile, some mocked the situation. Writer for The Blaze, Samantha Sullivan, said bowlcuts are a “terrible look, but damn.”

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murderers or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

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Doctors Arrested After Attempting to Give Migrants Free Flu Shots

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  • At least two doctors were arrested after laying down and protesting in front of the U.S Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego headquarters.
  • Those doctors, along with others demonstrating on the sidelines, wanted to be allowed to give free flu vaccinations to migrants detained in a nearby short-term detention facility.
  • CBP officials denied the request, saying it was against policy and arguing that migrants are only held in that facility for 72 hours, but the agency later promised to pass on the request to CBP’s chief medical officer.

Doctors Push Vaccine Program Request

After three days of protests, doctors wishing to give flu shots to detained migrants have found some success, even after at least two were arrested during demonstrations. 

On Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials eased tensions after meeting briefly with protest leaders. In that meeting, officials told protesters that they would pass on a request to start a pilot program that would allow doctors to vaccinate detained migrants at a San Diego facility.

That request has now been forwarded to CBP’s chief medical officer, with officials telling the doctors to expect a follow-up call later this week.

The concession comes after an event Monday, where around 20 medical doctors walked up to a short-term migrant detention center in San Diego. Reportedly, those doctors carried coolers full of vaccines and were hoping to inoculate at least 100 individuals in the facility; however, they said they would vaccinate all willing migrants.

At the center, they were told to come back the following day to meet with border officials. When they reportedly again asked to be allowed to vaccinate migrants on Tuesday, CBP told them no.

“This is intentional cruelty,” Marie DeLuca, an emergency medicine research fellow, said. “People are needlessly suffering and dying. You can’t lock people up in inhumane conditions, watch them get sick, and then refuse them access to medical care.”

After being denied, they began to demonstrate outside of the Border Patrol headquarters. Six people then laid in front of the headquarters’ driveway, with others on the sidelines chanting: “Shame on you!”

Federal Protective Service officers gave those people a six-minute warning to get up, but they were eventually arrested when they refused. That group reportedly included at least two doctors.

Those people were soon released after being given a notice to appear in federal court and a citation “for failure to comply with the lawful directions of a federal police officer.”

California Border Patrol Says Vaccinations Don’t Align With Standing Policy

Later that day, the Department of Health and Human Services Press Secretary tweeted, “Of course Border Patrol isn’t going to let a random group of radical political activists show up and start injecting people with drugs.”

The CBP also told multiple news outlets that it has never vaccinated migrants in its custody because most migrants will either be released or transferred to a different federal agency within 72 hours of being detained. Because of that, a spokesperson said that “operating a vaccine program is not feasible.”

However, short-term detention centers are becoming increasingly congested, and many are struggling to push migrants through that three-day window. Border Patrol has even admitted to holding hundreds of children way past that date. Currently, the average wait time is about six days, twice the legal wait time.

Additionally, that spokesperson noted that long-term detention centers run by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security do vaccinate migrants.

“We would encourage those who wish to volunteer medical services to go to shelters and NGO facilities, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, to donate their time and services,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

Although it has refused to offer flu shots, the CBP did say it followed a CDC recommendation to hire more nurses and physicians assistants, including increasing its staff from about 20 a year ago to 250 as of now.

Wednesday morning, Senator Kamala Harris tweeted about the incident, saying, “It makes no sense to deny flu vaccines to immigrant children in U.S. custody.” 

The American Civil Liberties Union also responded to the tweet from the DHS Press Secretary later than evening.

“When our government refers to doctors as “radical political activists” and flu vaccines as “drugs,” it becomes clear how far we’ve slipped from the realm of reality.,” it said.

Migrant Children Are Dying of Flu at Higher Rates

Doctors for Closed Camps said it decided it wanted to distribute vaccines following a recent wave of migrant children dying from the flu either while in government custody or soon after their release. In August, it was reported that six migrant children had died, with three of those children dying from the flu. 

In a letter penned by doctors with Harvard and Johns Hopkins, those doctors said, “Influenza deaths are fairly rare events for children living in the United States.”

“While comparisons are difficult for many reasons, this rate of death from influenza appears to be substantially less than the rate in detention facilities,” they added.

Last week,  ProPublica obtained and published footage of the final moments of one of those children, 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez.

In the video, Vasquez can be seen collapsing in his cell. According to Propublica, no guards ever came to check on them. Later, Vaquez gets up and goes to the bathroom, but again, he collapses. 

According to the report, this is the last time he was ever seen moving. The video then goes blank for a few hours, with guards reportedly conducting three wellness checks in that time.

When the video starts again, Vasquez is in the same position. A cellmate later woke up to find Vasquez laying in the bathroom. He then called for a Border Patrol agent, who found that Vasquez did not have a pulse.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The San Diego Union-Tribune) (Fox 5 San Diego)

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Trump Slammed Over Latest Tweet About Greta Thunberg

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  • After 16-year-old Greta Thunberg was named Time’s Person of the Year, President Donald Trump posted a tweet saying the teen must “work on her anger management problem.” 
  • Many criticized Trump for mocking Thunberg just a week after his wife slammed a law professor for using their teenage son’s name as a punchline.
  • Others have instead pointed to his own temperament as a point of hypocrisy.

Chill Greta, Chill

President Donald Trump posted another controversial tweet about climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday, prompting a new wave of backlash and accusations of hypocrisy. 

On Wednesday, Thunberg was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year after earning international attention for calling on leaders to combat the climate crisis. 

“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” Trump wrote early Thursday in response to a tweet congratulating the teen for the recent honor.

Following the President’s tweet, Thunberg updated her Twitter bio to describe herself as: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”

Source: @GretaThuneberg

This is now the second time the president has shared this type of message about Thunberg online. Following her infamous remarks at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, Trump tweeted a seemingly sarcastic message that read, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

At the time, Thunberg also changed her Twitter bio to include the president’s comments. 

Source: @GretaThunberg

Trump Faces Accusations of Hypocrisy 

However, this time around, Trump’s tweet has received even more criticism considering his wife’s recent stand against the treatment of her minor son. 

Just last week, First Lady Melania Trump slammed Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan for dropping a joke during her impeachment hearing testimony that included the name of  13-year-old Barron Trump. 

“The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” Karlan said. “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

The FLOTUS quickly took to Twitter to condemn Karlan for the remark, writing, “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

Karlan apologized for her joke later that day, but many people came to her defense arguing that Melania Trump has remained largely silent about her husband’s treatment of minors, including Thunberg and migrant children at the border. 

Many of those same critics also pointed out that Trump’s aggressive rhetoric goes against the first lady’s Be Best initiative which focuses on the well-being of youth and advocates against cyberbullying.  

So after Trump’s latest tweet about the young activist, many took to Twitter to point at what they considered another example of hypocrisy. Some also hit back at Trump’s “anger management” comment by criticizing his own temperament. 

The tweet sparks so much discussion that #BeBest became the No. 1 trending Twitter topic worldwide.

See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (The New York Times) (Newsweek)

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Youth Pastor Who Smacked Reporter’s Butt on Live TV Speaks Out

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  • The runner who was caught on camera smacking a reporter’s behind during live coverage of a race has been identified as Tommy Callaway, a youth pastor and Boy Scout leader. 
  • In an interview with Inside Edition, Callaway said he made a “misjudge in character” and says he was not aware of where exactly he had “touched” the reporter, Alex Bozarjian.
  • Bozarjian has condemned his behavior and filed a police report, meanwhile, local race officials banned him from future races.

Smack Video Goes Viral

A runner who smacked a Georgia reporter’s behind during a live news segment spoke out on Tuesday in his first television appearance since the viral incident. 

The smack happened Saturday when WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian was covering the annual Savannah Bridge Run. Several participants waved at the camera as they ran by during her segment, but one man decided to smack Bozarjian on her backside before sprinting away. 

Bozarjian was visibly shocked by what happened as she tried to get back to her live report. 

A Twitter user shared a clip of the incident that quickly went viral. Bozarjian eventually shared that post with her own statement, writing, “To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”

Reactions 

The incident sparked outrage from Twitter users who were disgusted by the behavior and received notable attention from fellow reporters.

Race officials were also quick to condemn the runner’s behaviors. The director of the Savannah Sports Council, Robert Wells, told Bozarjian the incident was “100% unacceptable” and said the organization would identify the man. 

The following day, the organization announced that it had banned the runner from registering for all of its future races. 

Runner Identified

News outlets and social media users later identified the runner as Tommy Callaway, a 43-year-old married father of two who is both a youth minister and boy scout leader, according to his Facebook and Linkedin profiles.  

Callaway’s lawyer, Joseph Turner, released a statement on his behalf to WTOC Monday, saying his client is a “loving husband and father who is very active in his community.” He added that Callaway was “working with those involved to correct the situation.”

“While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions,” Turner said.

Callaway’s TV Appearance

That same day, Callaway appeared on Inside Edition to further explain what happened. “I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera, to the audience, and there was a misjudge in character and decision-making. I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her,” he said.

Callaway added that he took the reporter’s words to heart. “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘Do better,’ and that’s my intention.”

“I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her.”

See what others are saying: (CBS News) (Inside Edition) (Heavy)

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