Updated: Aug 23
It is the duty of journalists to report stories accurately, especially during this time of economic chaos and political upheaval. This has not been the case regarding the reporting of San Diego’scommunity defense groups. In particular, the local reporting on Defend East County, the county’s largest community defense group, has been quite inaccurate with the implication they are racists and composed of horrible, violent people. But such characterizations could not be further from the truth. Nor does it help that the UT’s lead reporter covering DEC, Andrew Dyer, is a member of “DEC Sucks” twitter site.
As a proud member of DEC and a former State Assemblymanrepresenting East County, I know many DEC members and they are hard-working, taxpaying, solid citizens who are active in the community. I resent the implication made by lazy and biased reporters that DEC is “racist,” parroting talking points given to them by groups who support violent protests and the looting of our communities.
I’ve never met anyone in East County who actually believes thatone race is superior to another, nor am I aware of the existence of any “white supremacist” groups in our community. DEC’s Mission Statement states that “we really don’t care what your race, ethnicity or political views are as long as you agree with our mission of defending and serving the community.” It also makes crystal clear that “no hateful or racist comments allowed, or tolerated. If you spew hate, you will be removed from the group…” Indeed, DEC has many minority members and itswebsite www.defendeastcounty.com is linked to many sites operated by conservative blacks. Obviously, the desire to defend one’s community crosses all racial lines.
Nor is DEC a “militia” as the media implies. Such groups wear uniforms, train with weapons, and are militarized, none of which describes DEC. DEC members are ordinary people includingcarpenters, secretaries, plumbers, insurance agents, soccer moms, attorneys and realtors.
But of course, this hasn’t stopped the media from smearing DEC by mentioning in the same articles the news that a Michigan militia plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. But what wasn’t reported is that this militia is associated with the “Boogaloo” movement, which supports police shootings and has marched with BLM. Obviously, that fact didn’t comport with the official leftist narrative so the media omitted it.
Similarly, the UT would combine unrelated stories as a way of smearing DEC, such as the story about a Santee man who wore a KKK hat at a mall and another one who wore a facemask bearing a swastika. The idea, of course, is to convince readers that East County is full of racist hicks led by DEC. However, both men reported that they wore these emblems to protest what they viewed as authoritarian COVID-19 lock-downs and restrictions. Perhaps their choice of protest garb wasn’t wise, but their motives were not race related and they had nothing to do with DEC.
DEC was organized after a dozen buildings in La Mesa were either burned to the ground or looted and it became obvious that police alone could not stop a large crowd from committing violent acts. In the first few months, its membership swelled to over 20,000, but bear in mind, anyone was allowed to join DEC’s Facebook page and post comments. And, yes, out of the thousands of comments posted on DEC’s Facebook page, there have been some inappropriate comments but they were removed for violating DEC’s standards. It is impossible for DEC to vet everyone who joins a Facebook group involving thousands of people. Nor can DEC prevent leftist trolls from creating fake accounts and joining DEC for the sole purpose of postingembarrassing comments in an effort to make DEC look like something it isn’t.
Nonetheless, the media insists on defining DEC based on a few posted comments which were removed long ago. But this is a double standard because one can find outrageous comments posted on media websites but no one assumes such comments reflect the views of the media outlet. So why is DEC being held to a different standard? The UT has even implied that DEC leader Justin Haskins is a racist because he used the phrase “colored girl” instead of “woman of color.” Seriously.
The same goes for the few violent incidents that have occurredat events in which DEC was involved with defending the community. All kinds of people show up at these protests, many of whom DEC has no idea who they are. Some are store owners who have watched as thousands of stores are looted and burned across the country and then the same crowd shows up in their communities seeking to destroy what they have worked hard to create. And the media wonders why they are angry?
The UT’s idea of “evidence” that DEC is violent are anecdotes about incidents in which they have no idea if DEC members were even involved or even if the incidents were acts of self-defense. When DEC founder Justin Haskins posted a comment on election day to “Lock and Load, then pray. Today’s the day. We pray for peace and prepare for war,” the UT immediately jumped on that as evidence DEC supports violence. But he was simply using a common phrase to warn his members to be ready to defend our communities against more riots. Haskins has never carried a gun to a protest but the UT coverage all last year played down or ignored numerous shootings by BLM activists at protests all over the country.
While the UT and other media outlets fabricate or grossly exaggerate alleged violent acts by DEC, they virtually ignore the left’s violence. Let’s remember who started the attacks on our communities. It wasn’t DEC. BLM and its allies have killed over 30 people, injured over 700 cops – many of them minorities -- and destroyed thousands of stores and businesses all over the country but yet the media portrays them as heroic and itsopponents as bigots for having the audacity to defend our communities. This is why the media’s breathless accounts of how some local citizen punched a poor BLM activist rings hollow.
Incredibly, a local BLM activist posted attacks on Haskin’s deceased infant son, calling him a “fascist pussy” and a “stupid Turd” and said “f**K that dead kid” while her boyfriend, BLMactivist Perry Esquerra, posts on his Facebook site, “Blue lives don’t matter.” The UT ignores this, of course, as they want everyone to believe BLM and its allies are all virtuous people. Right.
The media coverage of the BLM attack on La Mesa exemplifies its bias. There were no investigative stories about the expertiserequired to burn down buildings built of mostly stone and metal. Or stories about who is funding the protesters. Or who rentedthe buses they arrived in. If a few thousand conservatives had committed this carnage in La Mesa, the UT would have printed a dozen stories revealing every detail about who the looters were, who trained them and who funded them.
For that matter, while the UT fixates on petty stories about DEC and bogus incidents having nothing to do with DEC, they have virtually ignored BLM and Antifa and the ideology that drives these groups. A little research reveals that many of BLM/Antifa leaders are Marxists, as many of them have openly boasted; they detest the free enterprise system and the traditional family unit. They have attacked the constitution and the rights this critical document protects, and they routinely attack America itself as an evil “racist” country.
It is also very clear BLM and Antifa are using phony and exaggerated racial incidents as a vehicle to destroy the country. Clearly, the media has decided to not investigate BLM or Antifabecause what they would find would undermine the false narrative that these spoiled thugs are victims of “oppression” and that anyone who opposes them must be bigots. Nor will the local media investigate the connection between the main group organizing local protests, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and the groups that have engaged in the destruction of our communities.
The local media also ignores the fact that DEC does more for East County than just defend it from looters and thugs. Theyhave held fundraisers for breast cancer research, raised funds for childhood cancer, and most importantly, when the massive fire hit last September, DEC was given access to an old dilapidated ranch which they literally rebuilt into an animal shelter. They rescued over 600 farm animals from farms and ranches threatened by the fire and was probably the largest animal rescue effort by a private group in recent county history. Somehow, the media did not cover this. Anyone surprised?
The local media, of course, was thrilled when Facebook removed DEC’s page a few months ago and even took down personal Facebook accounts for most of DEC’s leaders and associated pages such as the “DEC Prayer Group.” There was no warning and DEC was not given any opportunity to defend itself. The media claims this as “evidence” DEC is “racist” butFacebook has never provided DEC with any evidence of any racist or illegal activity. But this is not surprising, given Facebook is led by liberals who have routinely censored conservatives all over the country for speaking out against senseless COVID restrictions and exposing election fraud. Facebook even banned a Trump campaign ad that denounced Antifa violence. So much for being balanced. Facebook openly support BLM and have contributed money to groups aligned with BLM. Like most liberal groups, they desire to control society by undermining the constitutional rights of others. For anyone to equate Facebook censorship with evidence of racism is simply outrageous.
The real goal of the left and its media allies is clearly to weakengroups such as DEC, so that the next wave of violent protesters will face fewer obstacles as they destroy our communities. And yes, we are expecting more violence since the anti-police ideologues surrounding Biden are assembling a Department of Justice team which will be used to harass and hamstring local police departments with phony “civil rights” investigations, just as Obama did. Between local leftist anti-police officials and a DOJ hostile to maintaining law and order, we are preparing for the worst.
DEC is not going away. We will continue to defend our communities and our neighborhoods from looting and violenceand we have the right to do so. But we also expect our media to report the truth and not act like propagandists for those who wish to destroy our communities.