Quite honestly, this fellow would probably be better served incarcerated just so he might be saved from his own stupidity. Anyone thinking they can escape the eye of a camera in a place where money is made has some serious intellectual shortcomings.

However, by no means does the City of Brotherly Love have the market cornered on these acts of cowardice and ignorance.

If you are going to attend American University in Washington, D.C., it’s going to cost you $45,000 a year. This prohibitive cost did nothing this past May to dissuade the hanging of multiple nooses holding bananas — one of which had “HARAMBE BAIT” scrawled on it in a reference to the gorilla shot and killed last March in a Cincinnati zoo after a child fell in its enclosure — on the campus the day the first African-American president of the student body took office.

They’ve been popping up all over the nation’s capital, in fact. Two were recently found at Smithsonian Museums. One made its way to the floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture — a place you have to go and take your kids while you’re at it.

I was even able to harness a teachable moment with my 12-year-old son in Croton, Md., thanks to the towering dullardry of Connor Charles Prout and John Adam Haverman. These are the names of the 19-year-old dolts arrested for hanging a noose on a light fixture at my son’s middle school. This little act resulted in their arrests. For some reason, these serial noose hangers don’t seem to understand that surveillance is everywhere these days. There has been no arrest at American University, but yes, the culprit has also been caught on camera.

In response to the incident at the museum — which is a national treasure that I will again implore you to visit — museum director Lonnie Bunch said: “The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African Americans. Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face. … We will continue to help breach the chasm of race that has divided this nation since its inception.”

Good stuff. All true. But there’s more.

While this is an unimpeachable act of moral repugnancy, I don’t get the feeling that Black people still shiver in our boots at the appearance of a noose. How could we when the noose has been replaced with far more visceral telltale signs of hatred such as the police assassinations of Eric Garner and Walter Scott forever preserved in perpetuity? No, this is more of a white liberal thing, where exhibiting shock sometimes represents to some — by no means all — that they are in touch with their inner freedom fighter.

But the noose and the Confederate flag are the symbols of defeat. They should be viewed as representatives of weakness and fear. Seeing them as otherwise empowers people longing for what was but what will never be again. When America was great, I guess.

I had my son google that glorious moment in history known as Sherman’s March to the Sea, a five-week decimation of southern forces and infrastructure during the Civil War that absolutely crippled the Confederacy. He wanted more, I smiled, and he did some further research on his own.

He’s not all shaken up over the noose anymore. He understands that the symbols of hatred are the tools of the weak.

Now, if I could just discern a way to explain those troubling videos.

John N. Mitchell has worked as a journalist for more than a quarter-century. He can be reached at jmitchell@phillytrib.com and tweet at @freejohnmitchel.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/john-mitchell-noose-confederate-flag-symbols-of-hatred-are-tools/

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