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Check Your Assumptions

April 30, 2023

The following article is from the New York Post; it showed up on my Google News. Here's a link to the Reason article mentioned in the NYP article. It provides a much more robust presentation. [I'll note that the Reason article was written by Emma Camp. She is the UVa student (at the time) whose opinion piece appeared in the NYT (last year?) about how students in some of her classes felt that they could not freely share their thoughts on certain topics. I'll be transparent (I hope) and share that I thought her opinion piece was over-the-top and I wondered how many other students shared her perspective. I realize that I made certain assumptions about Ms. Camp in thinking that. I do wonder if Ms. Camp seems to have something against UVa -- the Reason article seems to me to be over-the-top -- with far more detail than I would expect in a national publication.

Here's some information about Reason from its website:

Founded in 1968, Reason is the nation's leading libertarian magazine. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. As the magazine of free minds and free markets, Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day.

Along with a monthly print and digital edition circulation of 51,000, attracts 4 million website visits a month. Reason produces original videos that draw over 4 million views a month, as well as podcasts, live events, and more. Our staffers regularly appear on leading cable news and radio programs and our work is widely cited in the media. Our offices are located in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

I think what I just did was express some frustration at Ms. Camp. My real frustration is at how this situation blew up. What ever happened to discourse? Ms. Bryant could have calmly approached Ms. Bettinger at the time to ask what she meant by comment and the two (with the truck driver) could have diffused the situation right there and then. Instead Ms. Bryant made a HUGE ASSUMPTION about Ms. Bettinger without confirming what angered her. And bad on everyone who piled on.

And there are no apologies??

BLM activist ruined white University of Virginia student’s rep over ‘misheard’ remark: report

A well-known Black Lives Matter activist allegedly ruined a fellow University of Virginia student’s reputation, accusing her of referring to George Floyd protesters as “speed bumps” and threatening to run them over — only to later admit she may have “misheard” the offending comments, according to a report.

UVA student Zyahna Bryant, then 19, was already a high-profile activist when she encountered fellow student Morgan Bettinger at the July 2020 protest.

What happened next sparked a social media hate campaign in which Bettinger was denounced as a “Nazi;” school investigations; and a bid by Bryant to have Bettinger expelled, according to the outlet Reason Magazine.

Bettinger, the daughter of a police officer, pulled up near a local George Floyd demonstration and found the street blocked by protesters.

A truck driver had parked his vehicle to protect the demonstrators, prompting Bettinger to at one point tell him, “It’s a good thing that you are here, because otherwise, these people would have been speed bumps,” Reason magazine reported. There was a bid to get Morgan Bettinger expelled from the school.WUVA NEWS“I had no interest in walking over to him to speak to him,” she told authorities, according to Reason, “but out of being polite, when he spoke to me I answered.”

The “speed bumps” remark was said in gratitude, Bettinger noted, to thank the driver for guarding the demonstrators, who had taken over a busy street.

The driver later corroborated Bettinger’s remark to local cops.

Zyahna Bryant is a high-profile BLM activist.zysaidso/Instagram“Not once did anything from the past, of even the rally, Unite the Right rally, cross my mind,” she said.

“It was simply a comment made to a [dump] truck driver who was sitting and blocking the road, and just saying, like, ‘It’s good you’re here.'”

Bryant took it quite differently, according to the outlet.

One student on Twitter even called Bettinger a “f–king Nazi.”WUVA NEWSBettinger, she claimed, was threatening demonstrators, and got in her car and cried after she was confronted.

The incident drew attention after Bryant, a student and social justice activist, took to Twitter. Her version of what happened was retweeted more than 1,000 times.

Bryant later admitted she “misheard” the comments.zysaidso/Instagram“The woman in this truck approached protesters in #Charlottesville, and told us that we would make ‘good speed bumps,'” Bryant wrote.

“She then called the police and started crying saying we were attacking her.” Bryant also posted videos — not of the alleged “speed bump” comment itself, but of its aftermath.

Bettinger is the daughter of a cop.morgan.bettinger/FacebookIn the footage, Bettinger backs down the street in her car while Bryant and several other protesters follow.

“It’s a Karen, it’s a Karen,” Bryant taunted, according to Reason.

The story was picked up by local media and spread like wildfire.

Bettinger says her reputation has been destroyed by the accusations. Bettinger was identified online the next morning and was barraged with insults and accusations from UVA students.

One student tweeted that Bettinger was a “f–king Nazi.”

The next day, Bryant began demanding that school administrators expel Bettinger.

Bryant has been the subject of glowing profiles in the Washington Post, among other news outlets. “EMAIL these UVA deans now to demand that Morgan face consequences for her actions and that UVA stop graduating racists,” she tweeted.

Bryant herself filed a complaint with the University Judiciary Committee, a student-run disciplinary system, alleging Bettinger had threatened students’ health and safety. Bettinger was the subject of multiple investigations in the months that followed, Reason reported.

“I was completely consumed. My phone did not stop blowing up,” Bettinger told the magazine.

“I didn’t sleep for nights.”

A student disciplinary hearing concluded that Bettinger was guilty of making a legal threat against the protesters.

But a second probe found Bryant probably didn’t even hear firsthand what Bettinger uttered, and considered her evidence shaky, according to Reason.

Bettinger eventually graduated from UVA but with a permanent mark on her record, Reason reported.

No witnesses corroborated Bryant’s claim that Bettinger derided protesters as “good f–king speed bumps” — even though it happened in front of more than 30 people, according to the outlet, which also reviewed documents previously not made public in the case. Bryant was a celebrated activist at UVA.

She got national attention after writing a 2016 petition demanding that Charlottesville take down its statue of Robert E. Lee.

By summer 2020, she was on Teen Vogue’s “21 under 21” list, had spoken alongside Bernie Sanders, and had been profiled in such outlets as The New Yorker and The New York Times. Since the UVA incident, Bryant’s profile has only grown. She was the subject of a positive Washington Post profile in 2021 and was named to Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” list. Neither woman could be reached for comment.

UVA did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Bettinger said that even though she was ultimately vindicated, the damage has already been done.

She’s planning a lawsuit against the school, Reason reported.

“This whole situation has had a huge impact on my life,” Bettinger says.

“The university has never had to answer for what their actions have done.”

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