Amber Heard & Uvalde Shooting: How Feelings & Identity Politics Are Overrunning Facts
Written By: Anton Sawyer
Humans are dumb.
It has always been this way, and sadly, I foresee it being a plague that will spread the breadth of humanity’s existence. Since mankind had begun structuring societies based on social classes and their interactions, someone has always had some kind of angle. Though we’ve evolved as a species, there has always been one constant that has followed us throughout history: the most effective tool in getting someone to buy into an angle is by making it as emotionally impactful as possible.
During the spring/summer of 2022, there have been two examples that we can add to this list—no matter how opposite their core ideologies may be. In one corner we have the Republicans & The Uvalde School shooting. In the other, we have the Democrats and the outcome of the Amber Heard trial and its impact on the #Metoo movement. Though these two events may appear seemingly unrelated, they both use the same tactics of replacing facts with feelings in an attempt to push a specific political narrative.
Before I jump in too deep, I want to make it clear that not I’m saying the horrific deaths in the shooting are somehow on the same level of importance as two Hollywood stars airing their dirty laundry for the world to see. The only equivalent I’m attempting to make is in how there is no difference between the two major American political parties’ usage of taking highly-charged emotional topics in order to score political points. Nothing more, nothing less. With that being said …
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.
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REPUBLICANS & THE UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING
I wanted to begin with the more humanely negligent use of misdirection when it came to examining the two topics today. This meant starting with how the GOP has responded to the tragedy that befell the small, Texas town in May 2022.
Before I begin, this tragedy has been covered by a multitude of news outlets, therefore I’m only going to mention the key points of negligence at every level which lead to the 21 deaths. If you do want to read the specifics, there are sites dedicated to the minute-by-minute account of this tragedy (which can be found in the bibliography for this piece).
At 11:28 am the shooter crashed his vehicle in a ditch near the school. He fired his gun at two male witnesses who began approaching the crash from a nearby funeral home. The witnesses fled and called 911. He entered the school five minutes later. It then took officers 85 minutes to reenter the school after their first confrontation with the shooter. The shooter was taken down by a Border Patrol agent. Almost immediately after the carnage ended, questions began as to what caused the massive delay.
The American people were given their (non)answer a few weeks following the tragedy by Police Chief Pete Arredondo when it was revealed that two officers who initially approached the door were shot at and grazed. This prompted Chief Arredondo to decide that quickly breaching the classrooms without shields and other protection would have led to officers possibly being killed. He focused instead on getting other children out of the school while waiting for additional protection equipment. Though there was also the need to wait for a key to the classrooms being used as an excuse, I think the lack of proper preparation is not only far more egregious but was also far more impactful. A cascade of failures took place at the school: the local police radio system, later tests showed, did not function properly inside the building; classroom doors could not be quickly locked in an emergency; and after an initial burst of shooting from the gunman, no police officer went near the door again for more than 40 minutes, instead hanging back at a distance in the hallway spending their time waiting for the proper protection to arrive.
The department knew it was an active shooting and essentially went to a gun fight with a pocket knife. They apparently felt that an active shooting wasn’t enough to warrant pulling out whatever SWAT gear they had so they would have things like battering rams, thereby negating the need for a key. Knowing this level of ineptitude is present brings about a question; if we increase funding for the police to the point where fully-automatic, military-grade weaponry is available, is that going to matter if it isn’t utilized? I mean, if zero rounds are shot, does that make the death toll less than 21 like Uvalde? Plus, when looking at the financials of the city, a 2022 Bloomberg report found that the budget for the police force makes up 40% of the total city budget. I can’t see how law enforcement could realistically be funded any more without drastic cuts to other programs. Even though both the pragmatic and economic realities of increased funding for the police have been debunked through both analytics and actions when it comes to school shootings, this concept has fallen deaf on the ears of both conservative leadership and constituents alike.
In the face of these facts, shortly after the shooting, both ex-President Donald Trump and Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz have pushed for hardening school buildings, with Trump calling for the elimination of gun-free school zones and Cruz saying schools should have a single door guarded by armed police or trained military veterans—a plan that would appear likely to run afoul of fire safety laws requiring more than one exit in buildings. Cruz also called for bulletproof doors and locking classroom doors. Cruz has also called for more armed school police, describing them as “the most effective tool for keeping kids safe.” This concept has also trickled through the pundits on Fox News and political radio outlets.
Of course, because there are those who are tied to their political party so vociferously, they ignore whatever facts seem to be present—either to toe the party line or because it makes them emotionally charged in the knowledge that they are “right.” As we’ve seen, the conservative party is clearly guilty of this … but does that mean the liberals are off scot-free?
DEMOCRATS & AMBER HEARD VS. JOHNNY DEPP TRIAL OUTCOME
Like most Americans, I was consumed by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard case. Every day both Nicole and I would watch the highlights, and we were both utterly fascinated by the entire train wreck. Throughout its duration, I refused to be on a definite side until all facts and testimony had been presented. During jury deliberation, in my opinion, everything presented weighed heavily in favor of Depp. However, having been through the American judicial system before, I know how minute legal verbiage can sway the entire verdict. Yet, like everyone else who had been following the spectacle along with me, curiosity as to what the verdict might be was at a zenith. When it was revealed and was found to be in Depp’s favor, I learned quickly that my viewpoint about Depp’s innocence wasn’t shared by all. Articles in the Washington Post with titles like “Depp-Heard Verdict Will Have Chilling Impact On #Metoo, Advocates Fear,” along with “The Decision In The Amber Heard And Johnny Depp Case Will Silence Survivors” from the Huffington Post fully illustrated that there was an opposing viewpoint to the one I held. Typically, I find that a majority of the articles found on both the aforementioned sites have pretty air-tight research and make their sources easy to locate. However, in both cases, it was clear that emotions had clearly overrun the facts presented in the case. To both of these news monoliths, it was more important to push a Democratic narrative than it was to focus on fact-based news reporting.
And when it comes to the facts that were presented during the six-week trial, here are some of my personal favorites—
Heard’s makeup artist Melanie Inglessis testified that during Heard’s appearance on “The Late Late Show” with James Corden in December 2015, she "covered the discoloration, the bruises, with slightly heavier concealer" due to Heard having been beaten by Depp the previous night. Heard had also previously testified that there were bruises on her face due to Depp's abuse, and she had feared that the bruising would appear on Corden’s show. Yet, when pictures were shown from her Late Late Show appearance, it was clear that there was no bruising. According to Indie Truther's own Nicole West (who has been a licensed aesthetician since 2015), a "slightly heavier concealer" is very unlikely to have been able to flawlessly disguise the injuries she's claiming to have sustained the night prior.
Another example of dubious pictorial evidence provided by Heard was when hours before stepping out on the red carpet for the Tokyo premiere of "Mordecai" in January 2015, she said she and Depp got into a fight that left her concerned about back-bruising. "I remember in the car checking my phone obsessively for pictures because my dress was backless. Of all times to have a backless dress," she told the court, starting to get emotional. "I was looking at pictures of us on the red carpet and it was surreal because I was checking for bruises and making sure there would be no marks on me." There wasn't a single picture from the media present that night that had any photographic evidence that this assault took place.
My final example would be during the cross-examination of Heard by Depp's attorney Camille Vasquez when Vasquez wanted to know from Heard why she never got medical attention after she allegedly slipped on broken glass while being barefoot during the alleged fight with Depp. Heard had previously claimed Depp threw a bottle of liquor at her, threatened to carve up her face, and allegedly penetrated her with it. Also during that alleged fight, Heard had also claimed Depp smashed a phone to "smithereens." But Vasquez said no phones were shown smashed in pictures taken of the scene.
There are many others, but I think you get the picture.
These facts fly directly in the face of her assertions. Her credibility as a witness was decimated with her own evidence used as fodder. The audio recordings, the blackmail letter she sent him prior to her commencing her plan, the lack of honoring her agreement to various non-profits like the ACLU per her divorce … the list of evidence that brings her credibility into question is endless. So, for the liberals to shift the narrative to that of one being centered around the belief that no matter what is brought up in a court case that deals directly with the alleged abuse is irrelevant and there should be some form of punishment issued to the accused regardless, is not only gross but completely antithetical to our American judicial system. But this has how the Democratic party has decided to play their hand when it comes to media focus.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that this verdict is going to greatly impact the #Metoo movement for two reasons. The first is much the same reason that Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson believes: those involved in this headline-grabbing case are not held to the same standards as the average citizen. Having worked in the music business previously and working with acts that had Grammy awards, and both gold and silver records, when you attain a certain level of success, you are treated differently by the law. While speaking to BBC's Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4, Thompson explained, "One of the great issues to do with that case is fame and how people who are famous are treated differently and viewed differently. A case where the two protagonists are that famous is not representative." She continued, "And it's just very important to remember that this movement—which is about human kindness and is just so simple, really, and has been made so complicated—cannot and will not be derailed by one case."
The second reason stems from the fact that there are a lot of us out there who have had loved ones suffer at the hands of abuse and have seen its fallout firsthand. Abuse of any kind is horrific, and it’s imperative that we still maintain the empathetic value of neither shaming nor blaming, the victim in any kind of way and allow their story to be told. This is a part of our moral compass and a single case isn’t going to change that.
With their unfaltering belief in God leading them to adhere to rules being thrown at them their entire lives, along with their disdain for logical conclusions, I understand how the conservatives of the nation could be duped by what is being peddled to them regarding the increased funding of the various law enforcement agencies nationwide. It doesn’t excuse them for their intellectually deficient stance, but I can see how the lie could become so big. But when your side of the political fence is known for “going high” in almost every regard (i.e. moral, ethical, educational …) like the Democrats, it’s kind of galling when you see that party have such blind allegiance to a clearly false narrative.
It’s these kinds of reactions from both political parties that have led me to my heightened distaste for identity politics. When you engage in being solely identified as an “either or,” then you’re really attaching yourself to an invisible yoke of the ideologies brought from the top-down. Ideals that you are expected to adhere to because it’s part of a larger agenda, and supporting anything from the opposing side is nothing more than venom to the system as a whole.
That has to be tiring …
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