Reading a column from the Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham this morning, I was left with some conflicted feelings. She’s describing the rather sad story of the White Rose Coffeehouse in Lynn, Massachusetts, owned by one Kato Mele. The shop attracted some unwanted attention recently when a Facebook post went up declaring that they would not be hosting any “Coffee With a Cop” community outreach events because cops, “uphold an unjust system and murder without consequence.”
Needless to say, that didn’t go over well at all. An outraged community quickly mounted a campaign and now the White Rose is going out of business. But the problem here is that Kato Mele didn’t post the Facebook article. Her 23-year-old daughter (who was also an employee at the shop) did. Kato said she was “appalled” by the statement and demanded the post be taken down as soon as she heard about it, which it was. She also issued a heartfelt apology to the police.
It was all too late. The damage had been done, her customers were gone (along with her daughter) and now the small business is on the way out.
Since the daughter wasn’t speaking for the business and was chastised for making it look as if she did, I think we can have sympathy for Ms. Mele. But at the same time, I keep coming back to Yvonne Abraham’s description of “the mob” which formed to take action. (Emphasis added)
It’s not enough to just disagree with somebody who says something some find odious. No, angry mobs must be set upon them, to terrify them and destroy their lives. Especially if they’re women…
A mob had descended within hours of the Facebook post, whipped up by a website that specializes in (and makes money from) marshaling drooling goons for mass attacks, mostly on victims who express left-of-center views…
People now get their kicks, and sometimes their profit, from destroying people they’ve never met. They get to satisfy their bloodlust and find an outlet for their racism and misogyny and a remedy for their deep feelings of inadequacy in other people’s pain.
With so much to agree with in the author’s telling of the specific story of the White Rose, it’s amazing how quickly the essay goes off the rails when you look at the descriptions. “Especially if they’re women?” I’m not sure anti-cop bias has much of a gender component to it. And these mob attacks are, “mostly on victims who express left-of-center views?” It might be time for a reality check here.
You can take a quick look at Ms. Abraham’s online history through her recent articles or by scrolling through her Twitter feed. Whether you’re talking about views on gun control, illegal immigration, transgender debates… well, let’s just say that I’m not expecting to see Ms. Abraham showing up at a NACAR race wearing her Make America Great Again hat any time soon.
With that in mind, and particularly considering the description of how such mobs “mostly” go after left-leaning views, we’re left with questions. Did Abraham write anything about Memories Pizza in Indiana when it was temporarily closed down by the mob after an elderly grandmother answered a phone call from a reporter one evening and said she wouldn’t want to deliver pizza to a fictional gay wedding reception? Did Abraham shed a tear for Elaine Huguenin after her home photography business was literally bankrupted by the mob because she didn’t want to create a wedding album for some lesbian nuptials? How about Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon? A similar story, except involving a bakery and a hypothetical wedding cake. Was Abraham clucking her tongue at the mob in that case?
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I rather doubt it, and a quick Google search doesn’t turn up anything to change my mind.
So yes, the mob can definitely get out of control. And sometimes it goes after completely inappropriate targets based on bad information. But let’s not pretend that this is a right-wing phenomenon. Actually, shutting down businesses with “unpopular opinions” is far more the business of the left. And if you honestly believe that it’s only Republicans who get upset when people badmouth, disrespect, threaten or attack the police, that probably says a lot more about you than them.