Things The Media Is Getting Wrong: the McKinney Pool Party & the Duggar Drama

Sometimes, the prevailing media message is just OFF from reality, and as a professional media creator myself, I know that unless challenged, it will only happen more often.

1. THE MCKINNEY POOL PARTY: I’ve worked with police departments enough to get an opinion on this one. I believe that sometimes during police response, use of force is unjustified and/or inappropriate. This was not one of those times, and it had nothing to do with race. I watched the entire original video. The kids who disobeyed what the cops told them to do were brought under control. Those who did not resist were not handled forcibly. Those who did resist had various and corresponding levels of force used upon them. He told that specific girl in the orange bikini 3 or 4 times to leave the area before responding to her repeated yelling by attempting – without force – to handcuff her so he could question her or make an arrest once the situation was under control (you can see the two boys sitting most of the video were detained and obeyed, and additional force was not needed or used to keep them there). She tried to twist out of his grip multiple times, and he used increasing levels of corresponding and completely warranted force to bring her under control.

While attempting to subdue a person struggling against him and attempting to escape, two large boys approached him from behind when he already had 7 or 8 people in front of him. Based on their actions and body language, it is obvious they were attempting to come to the girl’s “aid” by disrupting the officer’s actions. I do not doubt for a second that the officer felt surrounded and threatened as they were approaching and yelling, and I think unholstering his gun and turning his attention to those two aggressive boys was completely warranted. The fact that the children in question are black is the least applicable aspect of the incident. As my mother, a middle school school teacher of 45 years, aptly noted, “There’s a lot of stupid and ill-mannered in the world, and it comes in all colors.”

If my kids were acting the way those kids were acting in the presence of police officers giving reasonable orders (like, “Go stand across the street” or “get the hell out of here”), I’d HOPE those officers would treat my kids exactly the same way, because they would deserve it. This is how law enforcement works. Break the law, taunt or resist a police officer, and you will experience the predetermined and legal corresponding consequences. This police response is in no way, shape or form unjustified, and I can’t believe the department didn’t stand behind that officer, and I’m shocked that media outlets are not choosing to report the incident response in its correct context. At some point, making a profit has to yield to responsible reporting of facts.

2. THE DUGGAR DRAMA: My life has never been touched by sexual abuse, so I can’t speak from personal experience to what this family has gone through. I was, however, raised in a Christian church and consider myself a person of faith, and this is related to the part of the Duggar story I think the most prominent and popular media creators don’t understand – how his victims were able to move past their abuse and even flourish as whole, happy, emotionally-healthy young adults uninterested in prosecuting and endlessly persecuting their apparently-penitent abuser.

Yes, terrible things happen in life, some of which is fair in the sense that it is an intended or unintended consequence of someone’s action(s). Some of it is also unfair and unpredictable. We all have varying degrees of tragedy in our lives, and I believe it is possible to come out on the other side of it redeemed and whole. This is what the prevailing media narrative is not taking into consideration. Yes, Josh Duggar’s actions as a 14-year-old were reprehensible. Yes, the daughters and babysitter experienced something children should never have to. And yes, if they still suffered emotional damage, it would be completely understandable. But not everyone who experiences something unfair and awful and tragic doesn’t recover. Sometimes, through wise counsel, healthy emotional and grief processing, forgiveness, boundaries, prayer, and other coping mechanisms, “victims” transition back into just regular people who experienced something awful, yet go on to live happy, productive, relatively-drama-free lives.

I believe this is what happened to the Duggar daughters, at least those who have spoken out about it. But I haven’t seen a single media source that didn’t treat the situation as though these girls aren’t pretending to be okay or avoiding the reality of what happened to them or keeping with some sort of dishonest, greedy family coverup script. I understand why, though – those who have never experienced true forgiveness in the face of wrongdoing can’t understand how freeing and restorative and possible it is. They can only process that if something bad happens, it can never be made right.

There is so much better stuff in life to experience and explore when we can, in a healthy manner, move past the circumstances, transgressions and transgressors foist upon us. Because Jill and Jessa moved on with their lives after introspection, counseling and forgiveness doesn’t make them unintelligent, obtuse, misguided, brainwashed, or dishonest with themselves. It just means they’ve found a healthy way to move past it and get on with the business of life – AND THAT’S A GOOD THING.