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VOL 120, Issue 9 - November 10th, 2022

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THURSDAY

NOV. 10,

2022

OPINION

Early on the morning of Oct. 28, David De-

Pape, 42, allegedly broke into House Speaker Nancy

Pelosi’s home in San Francisco, and bludgeoned

her husband Paul with a hammer. Pelosi received

care for his injuries, including a fractured skull, at

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and

returned home on Nov. 3. He is expected to make

a full recovery.

The nature of the attack against Pelosi is political.

CNN reported that during the intrusion,

the assailant asked Pelosi where the house speaker

was, implying that she was the intended target of

the attack. The attempted murder of Nancy Pelosi

— who is second in line to the presidency after the

vice president — is reminiscent of the insurrection

of Jan. 6, 2021, when far-right extremists stormed

the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results

of the 2020 presidential election. According to

AP News, on Jan. 6, rioters “roamed the halls and

shouted menacingly, demanding ‘Where’s Nancy?’”

The parallel between the attack on Pelosi and the insurrection at the capitol is

OLIVER RIVER

SATALICH is a first-year

environmental studies

major.

PAUL PELOSI AND RECENT

AMERICAN EXTREMISM

a disturbing reminder of how extremism has ballooned over the past year. A report

from the Atlantic Council found that some far-right extremists have sought support

by pushing into mainstream conservative politics, reaching new, susceptible

audiences.

DePape was subject to the rise of right-wing extremism online. NBC Bay Area

interviewed DePape’s boss, Frank Ciccarelli, about his employee’s extremist attitudes.

Ciccarelli has known DePape for six years, and said that his involvement

with extremist groups was “a gradual process,” and that DePape spoke about “Hillary

Clinton, Pizzagate, MAGA, the election was stolen — all of it.” Along with

speaking to people in his personal life about his theories, USA Today reported that

DePape ran a now-deleted blog with right-wing conspiracy theories and slander

targeting Black people and Jews.

Conservative social circles and sites with

similar rhetoric have had an unsettling reaction

to the brutality that Pelosi faced. The

Southern Poverty Law Center reported that

multiple conspiracy theories about the attack

have circulated, such as the theory that Pelosi

and DePape knew each other before the

attack and were involved in a romantic relationship,

or that DePape was a male prostitute

who Pelosi was soliciting. These theories

have turned an attempted murder against a

major political figure into a homophobic and

classist joke.

DePape’s recollection of the attempted

murder disprove the theories. Details of an

interview of DePape conducted by the San

Francisco Police Department (SFPD) are included

as evidence in the criminal complaint

submitted to the U.S. District Court by FBI

Special Agent Stephanie Minor. During the

interview, DePape told SFPD that his goal for

the morning of Oct. 28 was to “hold Nancy

hostage and talk to her,” and break her kneecaps

if she lied during their conversation. He

also reported viewing Nancy as the “leader

of the pack” of the Democratic Party. De-

Pape disclosed that after breaking Nancy’s

knees, he wanted to wheel her into Congress

to show other members of Congress what the

consequences of their actions were.

The claim that DePape was sexually involved

with Pelosi also reinforces the harmful

stereotype that gay men are predatory.

This stereotype is rooted in homophobia and

is pervasive enough to have dug its roots into

the U.S. legal system in the form of the “gay

panic defense.” According to the LGBTQ+ Bar, this defense is a strategy which asks

a jury to excuse violent crimes, up to and including murder, because of the victim’s

sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The conspiracy shifts the blame

from DePape to Pelosi: if Pelosi is gay and was having an affair, then he was in the

wrong. It removes political extremism from the context of the attack by suggesting

that DePape was motivated by a personal vendetta instead of political values.

By removing politics from the situation, conservative leaders and public figures

are free to pass off the attack as a personal issue of Pelosi’s instead of acknowledging

the systematic issues that have contributed to the rise of political extremism

and resulting violence. For example, in a now deleted tweet, Elon Musk, the new

CEO of Twitter, sent out a link to an article from the Santa Monica Observer that

reported Pelosi and DePape meeting and going to the Pelosi home together after

spending the night at a gay bar. The author of the article said, “Here's what really

happened early Friday morning in San Francisco. IMHO (in my humble opinion).”

Musk has 114.4 million Twitter followers, which gives him an enormous

reach. His decision to tweet false information about the attack on Pelosi was entirely

irresponsible. Many people lack the media literacy abilities to tell false information

from fact, and don’t go out of their way to fact check sources. According to

Brookings, Twitter is “perfectly tailored for the spread of misinformation” because

its algorithm promotes tweets with high instances of engagement. When figures

like Musk post misinformation, the high level of engagement that their tweets garner

means that more people will engage with and end up believing misinformation.

Regardless of the homophobia associated with the conspiracy theories about

the attack, Paul Pelosi is an 82-year-old man who was just assaulted in his own

home and has traumatic injuries. If he wasn’t married to a highly influential political

figure, it would be out of the question to insult him by speculating about the

circumstances of the attack.

By focusing on conspiracy theories and excusing extremism, we’ve lost sight

of what truly matters in the face of threats to the people who are the foundation of

our country’s democracy. In order to maintain the integrity of news and renew the

sense of empathy that should be afforded to all people, it should be of the highest

priority for those in power not to spread false information, and to encourage their

audiences to think critically about the information they take in every day.

GRAPHIC BY MORGAN LEE/GRAPHIC CENTER

CHASE DARDEN

Staff Writer

DONS WEEKLY ROUNDUP

Dons athletics was in full swing this week. Women’s soccer held their annual

senior night as they finished their season against Saint Mary’s College of California.

Men’s soccer played their last road game of the season against Gonzaga University,

and women’s volleyball played the no. 2 ranked team in the nation, the University

of San Diego Toreros.

The women’s soccer team honored their seniors with a win against Bay Area

rival, Saint Mary’s Gaels. The Dons got the win with strong performances from seniors

Keanna Roth and Megan Nail. The Gaels played a strong defensive match, but

the Dons persevered. Senior defender Keanna Roth found the back of the net, late

in the first half, off a corner from star sophomore Marissa Vasquez. The Dons held

the lead as they went into the second half and took home the win behind the effort

of senior goalkeeper Megan Nail, who secured her third straight clean sheet this

season. The Dons finished the season with a six-game winning streak and finished

with their first winning record since 2019.

Aside from the win, seniors of the women’s soccer team were honored with leis

and flowers as they walked the field with their families before the start of the match.

Some of the honored seniors included forwards Tia Catalano, Marie Marlow, Kaylin

Lunsford, Ashley Jordan, defenders Samantha Curwood-Wagner, Catherine

Hill, and goalkeeper Megan Nail.

The USF men’s soccer team was on the road in Spokane when they took on

the Gonzaga Bulldogs. This was the Dons' final road match of the season, and the

Dons and Bulldogs battled hard for 90 minutes. For the first half of the match, it

was high-energy and high-tempo as both teams had many chances to score, with

the Dons outshooting the Bulldogs, nine to seven, in the first half, but both teams

went into halftime scoreless. The Bulldogs scored first, with a penalty kick in the

47th minute. Later in the match, senior Arjan Dosanjh notched his fourth goal of

the season in the 68th minute with a header assisted by Easton Harryman. Both

teams aggressively went for goal for the rest of the match, but ultimately ended the

game with a 1-1 draw. A star in this match was goalkeeper Eric Waltz who recorded

five saves and is now leading the WCC in save percentage at .758 for the season.

Men’s soccer will host their senior night on Nov. 12, on the Hilltop at Negoesco

Stadium when they take on the Toreros of the University of San Diego.

Women’s volleyball took on a tough opponent on the Hilltop, the University

of San Diego Toreros. The Toreros rank second in the nation with an overall record

of 22-1 and an undefeated conference record of 13-0. The Dons and Toreros battled

hard from the first whistle, with the Dons keeping pace as they were within one

point of the Toreros at 6-5. Later on, the green and gold continued to fight as they

capitalized on an attack error by San Diego and remained in distance with a score

of 12-9. San Diego would go on to win the first set 25-18. In the second set, the

Dons looked to even the score with kills from Maria Petkova and Orsula Staka. San

Diego took down the second set 25-19. In the final set, the Dons continued to chip

away at the lead, with the Dons down 14-12 midway through the third set. The

Dons eventually trimmed the deficit down to 18-17, but the Toreros didn’t let their

foot off the gas. The Toreros answered with a 7-1 stretch and would win the third

set and the match, 3-0.

The Dons will enter their final road trip of the season when they take on the

University of Portland and the University of Gonzaga in the Pacific Northwest on

Nov. 10 and 12.

USF students can attend home games for free with the use of their One

Card.

Seniors embrace each other before their final match on the Hilltop. Pictured front to back are Tia Catalano, Marie Marlow, and Kaylin Lunsford. PHOTO COURTESY of CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS

ATHLETICS

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