What I have learned is that hate has no boundaries. It doesn't matter where you are, whether you served your country, or in what context. Discrediting and damaging is a discount of life.
I've been writing about this for a while so I can't go into detail in each aspect without being redundant. Let me say that I have two children and both were in ROTC at one point and at least one wanted to go into the military. My children are mixed race and black while the perpetrators are white; but it goes beyond that. It wasn't only the race that was the main issue but also potential financial crimes, aggressive behavior, and serious lack of civility that led to the request to respect the boundaries of children and the family.
When dealing with narcissistic type behaviors such requests do not go well and are often grounds for an immediate escalation of aggressive behavior. Both children were quickly ostracized but the one who has a pleasing mild personality was quickly targeted for further bullying. So a clean break was needed as growing fear of more aggressive and potentially violent behavior could erupt.
When someone wants to damage you for control purposes, fear of having bad behavior exposed, and due to mental health issues you have to be diligent. It wasn't one person but a group of individuals that blindly followed the lead of one of their members without questioning the motives or accuracy of the information. Thus, what could have been an easy situation to navigate quickly spread into a dangerous situation.
I'm in pretty good shape and have engaged in martial arts and self-defense for a long time but I'm wise and avoid conflict and create as much distance for myself and my children as possible. Tough isn't physical in most cases. It is a mental game where one understands themselves, has no need for inflated egos, and learns to control their emotions (EQ) for the best possible outcomes.
I understood what was happening and maintained my cool to highly provocative behaviors, even to voice discontent, was going to be used to cause further damage. There is a point to be made here. The perpetrators have a close law enforcement friend within their group whom I believe coached them on how to get someone arrested. I still believe that if I didn't develop the ability to be calm under stress and threat things would have turned out different.
I had to dig deep every time I saw my child react and turn away every time the perpetrators provoked conflict. At the honor flight I was volunteering as a firefighter and one after one the perpetrators drove by in a sequence of cars sticking their middle finger at me giggling and laughing. The goal was to embarrass, discount, and create public humiliation. At that point I thought about how more important this distance is at that time and how else to protect my family.
Stories are not so simple are they? There is history and there are lots of different things that go on in any group dynamic. What I can say is that it appears there are personalities involved that lack any sense of right or wrong. As long as their friends blindly supported them there was no wrong. That support is easy to gain if people don't think or ask questions. That is even easier if someone is exploiting perceived racial and religious differences to rally a biased base.
My personality and history pales based on these other discriminatory behaviors. Not a single person could say I have ever done anything to them in this community or that all the way through my childhood and adult life I wasn't polite and friendly. Serving my country or getting an education or helping my community means nothing. Misguided pubic opinion from local bullies count? I take exception to that and I think others should as well.
I believe the perpetrators felt that people who are different than them are lower in some way and that having close friends in law enforcement creates a level of immunity for their behavior. I wonder if this is true? Is it possible to do what you want if you look a certain way, have a particular race, or have the right connections? Not sure...but I think our system should be more universalized than this. We can't compete as a nation if our institutions have separate rules for different people.
So I think there is a need for new laws that help protect people from coordinated adult harassment and bullying based on perceived racial and religious differences. I would like to move beyond that and say that it shouldn't matter what the reason is because such behaviors are a violation of human rights. There are likely existing laws in place but if we sort of apply them in one spot and not another that creates a moral and ethical problem. We as a nation need leaders who can think about how our laws are being applied and what their fundamental purpose. If it is to protect one group over another then we should be willing to accept that large swaths of our country will be unhappy. Couldn't it all be avoided if we were a wiser and more fair minded people?