Yesterday it was announced that you would be having Colin Kaepernick represent your “Just Do It” campaign. A bold move. Immediately the outcry began to boycott your products. I would like to say that I will not be boycotting your products…because I don’t buy them anyway. My boycott would be absolutely worthless. I do, however, have an opinion on the subject and since you seem to be quite excited about opinions, I’m sure mine will be just as important to you as Mr. Kaepernick’s. (I realize this will likely get me all kinds of hate mail, but I’m blue family, that’s pretty par for the course these days thanks to folks like your new spokesman.)
Let me begin by saying that I am fully supportive of your right to make this decision as well as Mr. Kaepernick’s right to his opinion. That being said, just because you HAVE a right doesn’t mean you ARE right, and, contrary to what virtually all mainstream media seems to believe these days, spreading misinformed or misleading opinions is generally unwise and reckless, but I’ll get to that.
There seems to be a large group of people who have a hard time understanding the visceral reaction to this news by the rest of America- and specifically the majority of our law enforcement and military communities. I think there are several reasons behind this that should probably be examined and at least thoughtfully considered by any responsible, conscientious member of society.
Let’s take it back to the beginning, when Mr. Kaepernick first decided he would no longer stand for the playing of our National Anthem. To be clear, he has every right to make that decision. That right does not make him exempt from consequences. When you use your right to free speech to do something that is perceived as blatantly disrespectful to a huge swath of the country, you’re not really a victim of anything but your own poor discernment.
Why was his refusal to stand for the National Anthem so inflammatory? I don’t want to speak for others, but I would be honored if you’d hear my own reasons.
When I was a child, I grew up around veterans. A couple in our church had lost a son in Vietnam and had taken all the area veterans under their wing. There’s not a veteran in the county who doesn’t know Mom and Pop Hensley. I spent a lot of time around them and gained a huge amount of respect for those who had served, especially those who were so horrifically disrespected upon their return to the states.
Have you ever stood next to a combat veteran during the National Anthem? Watched their face? It’s different for them. Why?
Well there’s a piece of shrapnel on our bedroom dresser that’s a reminder of all I nearly missed out on with my husband. His father carries his shrapnel still inside him. They walk around like the rest of us, but they’re not like the rest of us. They’re different. Frankly, they’re better. They know what it’s like to have something worth dying for. What was worth dying for? The people of their beloved country…the one represented by the National Anthem.
When we lived on base the National Anthem was played every afternoon. No matter what you were doing…you stopped. Traffic stopped. Conversation stopped. Playing stopped. The whole base went silent while those hallowed notes rang out. If you were sitting, you stood. It’s was ingrained in the whole community. Expected respect for all that song stood for and all those who had sacrificed everything for it.
If you’ve never held your spouse while they wept for a fallen comrade I don’t expect you to understand, but a little respect goes a long way.
The fact that Mr. Kaepernick chose this method as a way to make a point is one issue. The point he’s trying to make is completely another.
Originally, we were told this was a protest against police brutality. It’s morphed many times into something vague about equality, but it was anti-police at its very core…as Mr. Kaepernick has expressed his disdain for law enforcement.
Frankly, the NFL has a long history of its players being on the wrong side of the law, and as common sense will tell you, criminals generally dislike the police, so an anti-police protest makes for an easy sell. Again, Mr. Kaepernick has a right to his opinion, but it’s still stupid. (I tried to find a more polite and eloquent way to say that, but nothing quite fit like “stupid.”)
We’re told we need to stand together to fight against police brutality which is specifically and disproportionately imposed on African Americans. It’s a fact that has been shouted from the rooftops by everyone from the media, to the politicians, to overpaid football players. Except that isn’t true.
You see, facts are interesting things. It’s easy to look up a few “facts” and twist them to fit your narrative. But a half-truth is still a lie.
I’d like to give an example. If you Google people killed by the police this year one of the top results is a database put together by the Washington Post. According to this database 684 people have been killed by the police this year. (The fact that they actually have a database for this is very telling to their position on the narrative, I think, but I digress.)
If you filter the results you find that 121 of those killed were black…as opposed to 264 white. Hm. Ok, per this database, whites have been killed twice as much as blacks this year. Interesting. Of those killed, 34 were unarmed. THIRTY-FOUR out of 684. Now there are a lot of factors to consider when you look for justified use of force, but I think that’s a pretty interesting statistic.
Even more interesting to me was this…at the bottom of the page it shows a slider with the newest deaths.
Here’s what’s listed on their database site, “An unidentified person, a man with a gun, was shot on Aug. 29, 2018, in Washington Court House, Ohio.” Beneath that are the stats that were put into the data base. “Ohio. Male. Unknown race. Unknown Age. No/Unknown mental illness. Gun. No body cam recording. Not fleeing.” Then it lists its sources.
Here’s the problem.
In a 2-minute Google search, I found the rest of the story they haven’t bothered to update. According to myfox28columbus.com and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office the “victim” was 72-year-old male who had been identified in the sexual assault of a juvenile. The confrontation took place when police received a report of the suspect parked near a common drop off site for elementary school students. By the time a detective arrived on scene, he was no longer there, but was located in the area. When contact was made, he displayed a firearm which he was told repeatedly to drop and would not, resulting in his being shot.
So, we go from the incomplete story of “a man was killed by the police” to a 72-year-old identified in SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A JUVENILE was by an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL drop off WITH A GUN. He brandished the gun and got shot.
Totally different. And if all they’re updating is the initial facts without updating the information as it becomes available, well…you can probably make it say anything you want, right?
A few clicks down on the slider you find “Sebastian Siney Chamale, a 37-year-old man, was shot on Aug 28, 2018, in Tarboro, NC.” Followed by “NC. Male. Unknown Race. 30 to 44. No/Unknown mental illness. Weapon unknown. No body cam. Not fleeing.”
This guy was caught in the act of breaking into someone’s home. That’s not in the database of course, but you’re welcome to Google it.
Two small examples that I share to make this point…YOUR STATISTICS DON’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY.
As we’ve seen over and over, people frequently make inflammatory accusations against officers and then body cam footage shows a completely different story. But, of course, by that time the initial lie is spread around the world. The damage is done.
Side note: My very favorite filter on the database is the “not fleeing” option. As if “not fleeing” is synonymous with complying. You can ambush an officer and not be fleeing. So, I feel like that’s pretty irrelevant, but hey, if it helps you feed the narrative.
Since we’re all about shouting facts at each other these days, here’s a few to ponder. 98 law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty so far this year. 36 states have lost officers as well as the U.S. Government. Not breaking the law, just doing their jobs. They went to work and never came home.
According to www.nleomf.org there were 58,627 assaults against police officers in 2016. That’s a lot of brutality. Might even be worth protests. I dunno.
But here’s the big statistic…according to that same site there are currently about 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S. right now. 900,000 law enforcement officers. 684 people killed by an officer. Even if you said every one of those was somehow unjustified that leaves 99.9% of officers who haven’t killed anyone this year. (Please note, the cases of unjustified shootings would make this number significantly less, but I’m trying to be liberal here.) The number of people who were “victims” of police brutality while not breaking the law and complying with lawful orders…yeah…I can’t seem to find that in a database because the number is so low it’s not even worth reporting, but if you find it, let me know.
But THIS is the issue we’re supposed to get behind? Not the number of women assaulted by NFL players? The DUIs? The abuse? Police officers are the real problem and kneeling for the National Anthem is how you propose we fix it? And that makes you a hero????
I’m going to get really real here for a minute. I don’t give a darn about the stats either way. A database isn’t why I feel so strongly about this. Statistics are not the reason my hands shake typing this. Statistics don’t tuck my kids in at night. The reason this movement is so repulsive to me is that it’s killing my family. Literally.
People like Mr. Kaepernick painting the entirety of law enforcement with a broad, inaccurate brush and insinuating that they are the enemy and that there is no need to respect those who wear a badge has created a more dangerous environment for MY husband. For MY friends. For MY family.
It’s interesting that the same day you honor a man who is trying to salvage his fame by throwing law enforcement under the bus, a wonderful husband and father was shot in the head just trying to arrest a shoplifter. Blue families are so incredibly tired of sending our loved ones out into a world where they are constantly lied about and unappreciated at best and assaulted or killed at worst. We’re tired of people like Mr. Kaepernick who use something we hold so dear to attack that which we give so much to defend.
When you work 14-16-hour days, regularly encounter things no human should ever have to see, and knowingly put your life on the line every time you walk out the door just to earn so little that you can still qualify for food stamps…THEN you can talk about sacrificing everything.
Until then, the rest of us will stand for truth. For the whole story. For the good guys. For the men and women out there sweating in Kevlar just trying to make it home. Those forced by their job to stay silent while the millionaires exercise their “right” to slander them.
Because having a right doesn’t make you right.
A wife behind the line,
*Photo by Rachel Hammer Photography