Colin Kaepernick Makes The Cut

God bless Colin Kaepernick!

I’d almost given up on watching the San Francisco 49ers this year when the former starting quarterback sparked a national uproar by refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” at preseason NFL football games.

When asked why he was not standing by NFL Media after the Niners loss to Green Bay on Aug. 26, Kaepernick went full Black Lives Matter.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In our current racially-charged political climate, the biracial quarterback’s comments set off a firestorm of criticism. In a matter of hours, videos of now former Kaepernick fans burning expensive Kaepernick replica jerseys with “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing in the background proliferated on You Tube. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested Kap might do better in another country. Conservative commentators accused him of spitting on the troops and sympathizing with cop killers, labeling him a traitor, hypocrite and worse.

I’ll admit I got a little caught up in the hoopla at first. I’m a Kaepernick fan, but know that despite the fact he’s guaranteed a base salary of $11.9 million this season, he’s been struggling to regain the form that made him one of the league’s most exciting players just a few short seasons ago, when he took the Niners to the Super Bowl. He didn’t suit-up the first two preseason games because of injuries and played only a few downs against Green Bay. Nevertheless, I was still hoping for a comeback when he reached out and touched the third rail of American sports, the national anthem.

Since at least 1968, when African-American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised gloved fists during a medal ceremony at the summer Olympics in Mexico City, it’s been no secret that using the traditional playing of the national anthem at sporting events to make a political point is to risk career suicide. I couldn’t help thinking that Kap, knowing there’s a chance he might not make the team, had decided to take advantage of his celebrity status while he still can and had staged an extremely ill-advised political stunt.

Or perhaps someone had taken advantage of his remaining celebrity status. From whom might this ill advice have come? According to the conservative website Daily Caller, it was MTV DJ and Black Lives Matter activist Nessa Diab, Kaepernick’s Muslim girlfriend, whom he’s been dating since last summer. That quickly spun up into a false rumor that Kaepernick, whose body is liberally tattooed with biblical passages, had converted to Islam during the off-season. Someone Photoshopped him to look like Osama Bin Laden. He now throws the Allahu Akbar instead of the Hail Mary. It was clear he was taking orders from BLM or ISIS, but which one?

To be sure, while the majority of public opinion appears to be running against the beleaguered quarterback, there’s been no shortage of pundits, mostly left-leaning, supporting the notion that America is a nation founded on white supremacy and the body of black slaves, as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” composed by the slave-owning Frances Scott Key in 1814, reminds us every time it’s played.

(For the record, I’ve never cared for the tune musically and have long supported replacing it with “America the Beautiful.”)

Lost in the spin, hyperbole and identity politics is why we play the national anthem at sporting events in the first place; namely, to promote national solidarity. That may sound a bit quaint in the age of open borders and globalism, but the 49ers got it correct when it acknowledged Kaepernick’s right to express his political opinion, even if the organization doesn’t necessarily agree with him.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony,” the team stated in a press release. “It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

For his part, Kaepernick denies being influenced by any one individual or organization, even though his remarks regarding police officers are clearly from the Black Lives Matter playbook. He appears oblivious to the fact the targeting killings of police officers during the past few months, inspired in part by BLM rhetoric, has turned public opinion decisively away from the activist group. In one recent practice, he wore socks depicting police officers as cartoon pigs. He claims to be surprised by the volume of the negativity directed his way.

“It wasn’t something that I really planned as far as it blowing up,” he said in an Aug. 28 national press conference. “It was something that I personally decided – I just can’t stand what this [the national anthem] represents right now. It’s not right. And the fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness.”

The problem is that Americans haven’t been as racially aware as they are now since 1968, the year Martin Luther King was assassinated, the inner cities burned and a pair of African-American sprinters held their black-gloved fists high as the national anthem played in Mexico City. We’ve become painfully aware. It’s as if nothing has changed in 50 years. Sadly, in many cases they haven’t.

“These aren’t new situations,” Kaepernick explained. “This isn’t new ground. There are things that have gone on in this country for years and years and have never been addressed, and they need to be.”

He doesn’t see either of the two major party candidates fixing our racial divide, a fact that’s been lost in the partisan ruckus.

“You have Hillary who has called black teens or black kids super predators, you have Donald Trump who’s openly racist,” he said. “We have a presidential candidate who has deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me because if that was any other person you’d be in prison. So, what is this country really standing for?”

These days, that’s a hard question with no easy answers. After watching Kaepernick’s performance against the San Diego Chargers in the final preseaon game last Thursday night, I feel much more confident predicting his future with the 49ers.

The broadcast began with the anthem already playing—perhaps to mask out the boos reported by some sources—and Kap taking a knee instead of sitting. It was an interesting adjustment, making him appear humble rather than militant, the full afro he’s grown out during the offseason framing his head like a halo. He’s lost a little weight—from converting to Veganism, not Islam—and looks less intimidating and perhaps somewhat pallid.

The Niners won the toss and Kap proceeded to lead the team down the field on a 16-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. He completed six out of eight passes for 58 yards and cracked off three runs for 30 yards, including one 20-yard scamper showing signs of the old brilliance. I had expected him to be rattled from stress caused by the controversy, but with the exception of some rust on timing routes, he looked as smooth as he has in two years. He went three-and-out on the next drive and on the third drive took the team down the field again for a touchdown, just as the half ended. He looked like the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Asked if the national anthem controversy has been a distraction, Kaepernick swore it hasn’t.

“No, I don’t see it being a distraction,” he said. “It’s something that can unify this team. It’s something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.”

I don’t know about all that, but I guarantee you Kaepernick makes the cut.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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72 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    I have problems with the way our DC legislators have morphed into a conflict with each other on many matters, which I won’t get into a debate over now, but I choose to remember what the flag stands for not what recent politicians have done or not done.

    And, yesterday, Kaepernick was a no show at a black church in SF where he had agreed to speak to the congregation.  The reason given for the no show was he was tired from the rigors of training.  Besides I’m more interested in the Super Bowl matchup Thursday night.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      I do the same thing as you with the anthem, the pledge of allegiance, and even the Lord’s prayer. I choose what it means to me, not someone else.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      One of my daughters went to Foothill HS.  I believe it was her sophomore year when she learned that the “…under God…” bit was written into the Pledge of Allegiance in the mid 1950s, and surmised that this was part of the same anti-communist movement that led to McCarthyism.  She subsequently refused to participate in the pledge, viewing it as an overt violation of separation of church and state.  She took a lot of grief from some of  her classmates and one particular biology teacher*. I tried to convince her that she should recite the pledge but exclude saying the “…under God…” part that offended her, but she wasn’t having it.  Apple, tree.

      *The same fool wouldn’t allow anyone to discuss evolution in his effing biology class because he was a creationist.   I tried to talk to the guy about it once, thinking it would be an interesting discussion, but quickly realized that he had been hired to coach, not to teach.  Dude was dumber than dog****.

  2. Howard Lucas says:

    In Shasta County where many people are intolerant of anyone one who does not conform to their “American Way”… flatlanders,” “commies” or “homeless.”
    This is not in keeping with what America is about. Does not any American, such as a Witness or any other, have the right to personal expression.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      It’s interesting that you bring up religion because we’re supposed to have freedom of conscience too and that is rapidly changing. It’s like you can’t believe the government and the bible at the same time.

      • cheyenne says:

        Speaking of religion it seems those supporting Kap’s kneeling are the same ones who ranted against Tim Tebow’s praying while kneeling.

        • Virginia says:

          Great analogy with Tim Tebow!

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Those who insist on doubting the sincerity of others say that Kap and Touchdown Timmy are both grandstanding attention wh***s.  That’s pretty much where the analogy ends.  There were no choruses insisting that Tebow be fired (for praying), and no Youtube videos of people burning their Tebow jerseys.  As a Broncos fan and an avowed secularist, I’d have been happy to tolerate Tim’s very pointed posturing if he hadn’t sucked so hard as a QB.

          On a side note, much has been made of Kaepernick jersey sales going up since the anthem kerfuffle began. But it’s probably mostly that he’d fallen so far from grace as a football star that his jersey sales were nonexistent—it’s pretty easy to improve on zero sales.

          • cheyenne says:

            Actually Tebow’s jerseys were a hot item here in Bronco country even with his short time.  And at that time a lot of national figures, sports and political, weighed in on Tebow’s praying.  And the NFL owes Tebow, does anyone remember the strike and how fans were fed up with the NFL?  No.  Why?  Because Tebow mania took everyone’s mind off of it along with the success in Green Bay of a north state product.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Cheyenne — I have plenty of Denver-area relatives who were on the Tebow bandwagon (and still are), and plenty who weren’t (and still aren’t).  The lines are drawn neatly between the megachurch-attending “Prosperity Christianity” believers in the family, and everyone else.

            My opinion is that his selection by the Broncos was the dumbest first-round draft selection in the history of the franchise.

          • cheyenne says:

            When it comes to Tebow the big divide then and now comes down to religion.   those on his band wagon were as Steve points out, the mega-church group while those against him were insulted by his religious bent.  His play had little to do with it though he did seem to make the players around him play better.  There are calls now for Elway to bring back Tebow but John knows better.

             

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        “It’s interesting that you bring up religion because we’re supposed to have freedom of conscience too and that is rapidly changing.  It’s like you can’t believe the government and the bible at the same time.” — R.V.

        Say what?  

        Imagine running for President in this country and saying, “I’m an atheist.”

        Or, “I’m agnostic.”

        Or even, “I think the Creator of the Universe is fundamentally unknowable to humans—I believe in an Unmoved Mover, in the Aristotelian sense, who put the material universe of causes and effects into motion, and I see no evidence that this entity interferes in the daily affairs of humanity.  I am, at my core, a rational empiricist.  I do practice a little Zen Buddhism, but I regard that as a philosophy rather than a religion.”

        If there exists any almost universally shared form of American religious intolerance, it’s the intolerance against those who dare say right out loud that they are irreligious.     

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          Well, it’s interesting that you bring up that example, an atheist running for president, and I agree with you, it’s a non-starter if you’re running for president. That’s why Hillary’s team considered pulling the atheist card on Bernie.

          It is not however what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the organized decades-long effort to erase all signs of Christianity from public life, from nativity scenes, to religious schools to Christian bakers who don’t want to sanction something against their strongly held religious beliefs. I neither support nor oppose this effort, I only point out that it exists.

  3. gmonteri says:

    Thanks for the relatively even-handed analysis.  Kaepernick seems somewhat naive, if sincere, in his protest.  He appears to be developing the ideology he needs on the fly.  His stance is polarizing, and possibly dangerous for him.  I have to wonder what the endgame will be.

    BTW, you right R.V., the national anthem should be “America the Beautiful,” not Key’s racist rant.

     

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      I don’t consider the anthem racist. In the third stanza Keys refers to slaves the British hired to fight us in the War of 1812. That’s the line people claim is racist, but we no longer sing the third stanza.

  4. CoachBob says:

    Key’s “racist rant”? “Personal expression”? Please!

    Folk seem to miss one thing during all this nonsense: He’s an employee of a corporation and he’s “on the clock”. Sports corps have company rules and regs about behavior contrary to the image they want portrayed. Now, it’s entirely the 48ers (sic) business if they want to tolerate it. They can be as stupid as they want. NFL has rules, too. After all, the 8ers are a franchise. But the NFL wouldn’t let the Cowboys honor the slain police officers from Texas. Hmmm?

    Tattoo-Nik is a self-centered, half white kid (yeah, kid) 28 yrs old going on 18. His maturity level is waaay below his chronological age. That’s his business. But, I’d suggest, that before you go making political stances in public, weariing the company shirt, especially in the presence of the media, you might have the decency to ask the boss first…if it might be alright. Megan Rapinoe might do the same.

    PS: Interesting that Tattoo-Nik says the gov’t is guilty of suppressing minorities. Last I checked, the country is run by a half-black guy who has appointed mostly black folks to help him run the country. Guess that doesn’t say much for BHO, hmmm?

     

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      The Niners, at least on the outside, appear to be tolerating Kap’s behavior for now. I agree with you 100 percent that the Cowboys should have been permitted to honor the slain police officers. The NFL and the MSM don’t seem to understand how dangerous the BLM rhetoric can be.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Coach — Nobody is missing the point that Kaepernick is employed by the 49ers, and nearly everyone is aware that he remains employed by the 49ers at their pleasure.  Most of us know that Kap is risking his career, not just with the Niners, but with the NFL. The Niners can easily tell him to can it, or he’s gone.  We can speculate as to why they don’t. Maybe the Niners think Kap’s upside is still so good that it’s a sound business decision to tolerate his weekly protest, or maybe they think the Niners’ largely liberal fan base would react negatively if they were to tell Kap to shut up, or else.  What they’ve said is that it’s our right as Americans to either stand at attention during the national anthem, or not.

      P.S.  Your “half-white” and “half-black” distinctions are interesting in that they have zero to do with anything, so it’s curious why you use them.  You shed light on your intentions by first implying that “half-white” Kap’s primary beef is with the federal government, and then stating that “half-black” Obama has appointed mostly black folks to help him run the country.  Neither of those statements is close to being true, so they come off as racially inflammatory and, if we’re being honest, racist AF.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        Well, you gotta give Coach props for “Tattoo-Nik.” At least he’s trying to be funny. It has a sort of Pacific Northwest ring to it. Maybe Kap can play for ‘hawks. Writing about race, professionally or in a comment, is difficult because of social pressure. As a journalist, I was trained to avoid references to race unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, over the past three years or so, it’s become increasingly necessary in many stories. In this story, I left out Kap’s background: His birth mother (who last week shamed him in front of the nation on Twitter for being ungrateful!) is white, his father is an unknown black man who left before he was born. Kap was adopted by a white Christian couple and raised in, of all places, Turlock. Growing up, he has related the many times he, has a young black man living in a white world, was occasionally profiled for being black. So he has plenty of real experience to draw from and might actually become an effective activist. If you read the longer interview linked in the story, he’s obviously doing some of his own thinking, which is encouraging.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          It’s pretty hard to have a discussion about race—as you’ve started here, in accordance with what Kap says is his intent—without bringing up race.  I’m certainly not suggesting that Coach Bob refrain from mentioning race, but in his case I’m afraid his words reveal his true stripes.

          You’re much harder to read than Coach, but here’s what I think (based as much on your comments as your articles, going back several months):  You’re not at all racist, but you resent the fact that people of color can advocate on behalf of their races/places of origin, whereas white dudes can’t do so without being summarily labeled as racists. You believe that white dudes don’t have it so good anymore, and that they should be able to stick up for themselves, like everyone else. You don’t care for BLM not so much because you don’t think they have a point, but because you think white dudes should be able to say that they’ve got issues too, without getting slammed.  And oh boy, do they get slammed.

          That’s my take.  As I said, you’re harder to read, but that’s what I’m getting.

          • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

            I’d say you’re partially correct in regards to my motives, that part of my concern is with language, and the ability of whites to express their own grievances without instantly being branded racist and shut out of the conversation. I don’t necessarily share those grievances, but I do believe the inability to express them–until the advent of the internet–has polarized the United States on a level not seen since the 1960s.

            I liked things better when we were all Americans. It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago.  I’ve been opposed to identity politics my entire career, and I think we’ve reached the crescendo. BLM is the epitome of everything that is wrong with identity politics. If there’s one scene that symbolizes their divisiveness, it’s the BLM-commandeering of Bernie Sanders’ stage in Seattle. If Bernie had stood up to them, he’d be demolishing Trump in the polls right now. Instead, he began pandering to blacks and Latinos and running against Trump instead of Hillary. At least he got a nice summer home out of the deal.

            I don’t think I’m a racist. I like to believe for lack of a better explanation that we all have the same human souls. I don’t go in for these alt-right message board discussions about race and IQ and DNA. But seeing that you’re a statistician, I wonder what you might think of the data that’s out there on these topics. Live by the numbers, die by the numbers? Or choose the scientific studies that confirm our beliefs and discard the ones that don’t?

      • CoachBob says:

        Actually, I think “half-black, half-white” comments DO have something to do with these issues. I know too many folk who openly voted for a “black man” to be president. Well, fact is….he’s NOT a black man or a white man. He’s half-black/white. Period. Statement of simple fact. Nothing else. Let’s call him a white guy! Seems fair. Sorry if anyone thought I was being “racist” or anyting else but I just see things very literally. Simple as that. But remember, I’ve been accused (lololol) in this dot com of being of white privilege. Too funny. I was attempting to make a simple point that Tattoo-Nik has a little “white privilege” going for him (much more than I ever had…actually, I don’t think I’ve had any at any time in my life). So, anyway, while BHO whines about The Nik having the “right” to spew his opinion, he’s affecting his employer. If they like that, fine. If they don’t…they need to bring a stop to it.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Coach — Many of us are, to varying degrees, of mixed race—me included. The harsh reality is that most black Americans are of mixed race on account of how female slaves were treated by their owners and masters. Barack Obama’s appearance is that of a typical black American of some degree of mixed race. He is married to a black woman who is also to some degree of mixed race.  Same for their daughters.  They, as a family, self-identify as black.  Most Americans grant them this choice.

          If we were to meet and I were to tell you I’m white, you wouldn’t say a thing.  If I then told you I was 1/8 Native American and at some later date you heard me self-identify as caucasian, I doubt that you’d get all literal on me.  If someone told you they’re Hispanic, you probably wouldn’t say, “What?  Your family is from Mexico.  If we ran your DNA, you’re almost certainly part Hispanic, part Native American, and likely with a little Semitic and African in your DNA.

          No, you only get picky about self-identity with our first black President.   It’s weird—it smells of being grounded in racism.  And when you say that our half-black President has hired mostly black people to help him run the country—an utterly false statement—and you make it clear that you think they’ve done a horrible job, you’ve pretty much invited everyone to think that you’re racist AF.

          Sorry.  I’m just seeing things very literally.

           

    • Breakfast Guy says:

      Coach – Really?  “The country is run by a half-black guy who has appointed mostly blacks to help run the country?” Can I get a few Lysol wipes served with that, Coach? It seems my screen now has kind of an ugly smell.

       

       

       

       

      • CoachBob says:

        Maybe mis-stated. “mostly blacks” was a reference to mostly blacks voted for him. He didn’t win because of black. Just 90% voted for him.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          S*** from a bull.  Here’s what you said:

          “Last I checked, the country is run by a half-black guy who has appointed mostly black folks to help him run the country.

          Your statement has nothing to do with who voted for Obama.  It clearly has to do with who he appointed to help him run the country.  A drunk emu flies better than your weaksauce attempt to walk your proclamation back.

  5. David M. Kerr says:

    Black lives matter is not a winning strategy in the North State.  If Democrats want to improve on their usual 40%, they need to understand the demographics of Shasta County voters and why they  vote the way they do.

    Crime is a big reason people vote Republican.  The democrats in Sacramento passed AB-109.  They own it consequences.  AB-109 did not give the counties the resources to deal with the influx of criminals moving to the North State because they will be released after a few hours of booking.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Well, it was both Democrats and Republicans who ramped up the Three Strikes war on crime in the 1990s and sent so many people to prison in the first place. It’s like they don’t pencil shit out when they make this stuff up. Uh, oh, you mean we don’t have enough cells? Well, let’s double-up! When the feds stepped in and said you can’t do that, Democrats and Republicans said hmmm … well we’ll just parole these low-level druggies to places like Shasta County. I don’t hear any local politician turning down the money the Sheriff’s Office gets for these services. But I hear thousands of people screaming about what AB 109 has allegedly done to the streets of Redding. Rural counties have no power in the north state, which is why the State of Jefferson movement exists.

       

  6. H.A. Silliman H.A. Silliman says:

    Our soldiers fought to keep our country free so its citizens can express whatever opinion they want–not so that we have to salute the flag or stand for the anthem. People who rabidly decree we do so border on fascism, etc.

    Now, C.K. might have handled this differently. As to suddenly not standing, that’s provocative–it makes a point quickly and widely, and he has people’s attention–especially in our social media frenzied environment. He might have introduced his protest first by penning an op-ed piece for the S.F. Chronicle, or the SJ Mercury News: This is what I think, and now this is what I am going to do.

    And yes, “America the Beautiful” is a better anthem.

    • R.V. Scheide says:

      I think you’re right, he might have benefited by easing into activism instead of boom! I am now an activist.

  7. A. Jacoby says:

    Well, When you referred to the BLM I immediately thought you meant the Bureau of Land Management . . .. guess that gives you some ideas into MY point of reference. LOL!!

    About the primary thrust of the article . . . I agree, I think it’s a pretty even handed treatment. And Bob, you do raise some valid points .   . but if you keep your head down, no one will notice! But (musician that I am) I was much more interested in your statement about the National Anthem. I TOTALLY agree that the National Anthem should be America the Beautiful. . . . every verse of it (I especially like the 3rd verse). Danny Thomas mounted quite an effort in that cause while he was still alive. I even signed the petition!

    • CoachBob says:

      Yep, AJ, if Black Lives Matter had thought first….(oops) they would have realized that most folk will see Bureau of Land Mgmt. It was a poor marketing plan.

      • CoachBob says:

        Oh, and why would I keep my head down? I wouldn’t be able to see anything!

        • CoachBob says:

          Really, this is the last thing..really! Re: the Nat’l Anthem….leave it alone. I’m not a fan of changing the history of this because of a “new warm and fuzzy” feeling about another tune. Anymore than I’m a fan of calling the Constitution “out-dated”. We can change things willy-nilly by calling them “out-dated” about every year or so. Seems, re the Constitution, we only want to change it when it suits our purpose. The Banner, however, has lasted quite a long time and I don’t see needing to change it and set that precidence so a couple of generations from today (when you and I aren’t around to argue our case) our great g-kids will want some damned rap tune to replace A. the Beautiful. For the record, it is a better tune…for folk to sing, etc. But some stupid “pop” singer will still butcher it at a football game while Cap kneals.

          • Breakfast Guy says:

            Coach – I’m a little reluctant to carry this further. However, I notice the more you attemp to clarify, the more you descend in the direction of a rather unsightly place. BTW, why “Tatoo-Nik” and now “The Nik”? I haven’t seen those used anywhere. The person of subject here has a full first and last name. For sake of respect, either or both can be used. No need to dig any deeper, Coach. I think your disposition is pretty clear to most.

  8. R.V. Scheide says:

    I used to think the same thing about BLM. Too many acronyms.

  9. Rod says:

    Yeah, CK made the cut. He now receives a million a month.  Success!  The great American measure, wealth.

    The kid is a great blend of breeding genes, 50/50 gets everyone’s attention. There’s the true success.  It’s kind of easy for him to raise awareness about the poor folks.  I guess a million to charity helps the kid sleep at night.

    I do prefer the neo-afro hair style he’s running.  Almost a throwback to an earlier time of the NFL.  The greasy looking rastaman ringlets were offensive to a former athlete, such as I.  You want to run faster? Cut your hair off and shed pounds.

    Seriously……..Thanks Colin, single handedly you did what you could manage.  The mistakes and problems you’ve highlighted are real-life threatening items.  It begs the question……why doesn’t everyone receive a million a month?

  10. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Any large-scale movement, including the Tea Party and Black Lives Matter, is going to develop a lunatic fringe—especially movements born of frustration and even anger.  Often those fringe elements are embarrassing to the core movement.  Sometimes they are destructive to the core movement.  So it is with BLM.

    Black Lives Matter posts their Guiding Principals on their website.  Check them out.  You may not agree with all of them, but they’re not radical. They go so far as to acknowledge that in some places/contexts, black people are privileged.  They’re certainly not about inciting violence against cops.

    BTW, the three states in which it’s most dangerous to be a cop (in the currency of murdered LE personnel per 100k people)?  In descending order: Montana, South Dakota, Alabama. Redneck states.  Among the safest states? New York, California, and (safest of all) Vermont.

    • cheyenne says:

      Quoting per capita stats is not very representative.  Wyoming is ranked in the top five states in per capita gun deaths, 16.7 per 100,000. that’s barely a hundred.  Chicago has beat that five times over and the year is only two thirds over.  And that’s just the city not the state.

      • Rod says:

        You’re right. Per capita stats tell only half the story, the other half is location or area.

        When combined, we get closer to real-time numbers.

        Urban vs rural seems to be a political witches brew.  Just ask rural enforcement why they need retired military equipment.  It’s not to maintain the peace.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Cheyenne — On this we disagree completely.  You can’t do meaningful comparative statistics without some sort of normalizing of the data.  That’s why per-capita statistics are so prevalent—it’s one of the simplest ways to meaningfully compare one place with another.

        What’s truly meaningless is that Wyoming has relatively few gun deaths (because it has so few people).  By extension of that logic, you could argue that some uninhabited island in Lake Superior has the lowest rate of gun deaths in America, proving that….well, it proves nothing.

        As for Rod’s contribution, urban vs. rural comparisons are also relatively meaningless without use of per-capita statistics—it goes without saying there are far more murders where there are far more people.  What’s of interest are the probabilities, not the raw numbers.  In California, the two cities with the highest per-capita risk of being a murder victim are Compton and Desert Hot Springs.  The county with the highest risk of gun-related death is Shasta County (we in Shastanistan are pretty good at homicide, but exceptionally good at suicide).

        • cheyenne says:

          Ask any police officer it they feel safer in Montana and Wyoming or safer in New York or California.  No matter what per capita stats are you can’t use them.  I have a per capita stat for you.  There were 325 Congressional Gold medals handed out last year to students nationwide, 6 went to Wyoming students.  Per capita that.  That is one for every 100,000 people, using that scenario how many should California have had?

          Rod, the rural police force in converse county, you don’t get any more rural than that, used their homeland security money for police cams not military hardware.  But it shows the difference, like you pointed out, between different areas.  Citing per capita stats just gives people the initial wrong information on an area.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Ask anyone in LE if they’d feel less fearful of being shot dead as an Oakland cop, or a game warden in Montana.  Unless they’re ignorant, the answer will be an Oakland cop.

            The most dangerous LE position in California is game warden for Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The second-most dangerous LE position is rural deputy sheriff.

            Rubes.  Booze.  Guns.  A culture that promotes the notions that guns are a legitimate means of solving interpersonal conflicts, and that undifferentiated rage is a manly virtue.  All that, and lack of back-up.

        • Rod says:

          No Steve, I said it ‘s a witches brew, obviously you agree.

          Rather than talk about Chicago or Montana, let’s explore Shasta County.

          Out here where I live, I haven’t heard of a murder by gun, for years.  I’m referring to a 3by3 or 9 square miles.  Let’s look at a 9 square mile area in Redding City.  There’s been a few over the same time period.  That’s location and area responsible, not per capita.

          If an ignorant person looked at the urban stats,  Shasta County would look like a death valley.  Unless the same person looked at the rural stats.  Now there’s a confusion.

          IN order to find the mean, average, normal the two must be combined, as I said, and a formula worked to strike the balance for the area or location.

          Probabilities and forecasters count on the confusion, it equates to cost projections which can be off-the -chart.  Confusion drives election outcomes.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I lectured in statistics and research methodology at UC Davis and had a three-year fellowship in that field at NASA-Ames, so kinda know what I’m talking about.  Regardless, if you and Cheyenne want to co-author a paper on the inadequacy of normalized data and standard comparative statistics, and present your alternative comparative analysis, I can suggest where to submit it for publication.

            I’ll warn you in advance that the reviewers will tell you that your methodology is nothing but shameless data rummaging aimed at getting you the answer that you want.

          • Rod says:

            Good news, Steve.  I’m flattered.  I didn’t realize that I was conversing with a NASA fellow who maybe a scientist.  I’ll ask a few questions of you in the future, I won’t bore you with my perspectives.

            We wasted a bunch of effort over a meaningless topic.

            Rubes, booze, and guns sorta mislead me, never fails.  And all I wanted to prove was “confusion always must be factored in.”

             

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Some of BLM’s written suggestions are sound ideas. Kap mentioned one: more training and education for cops. Why shouldn’t something as important as law enforcement require at least an AA?

      But no one’s buying all this hogwash about white privilege anymore. Critical Theory has played out.

      Cheyenne is dead right about their misuse of statistics. The use of excessive force by police crosses all racial boundaries and is a problem that concerns all of us. Black Lives Matter prefers to ignore the fact that black males are far more likely to be involved in criminal activity that increases the likelihood of police encounters. BLM martyr Michael Brown is the perfect and far from the only example.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        My least-favorite portion of BLM’s Guiding Principles is the “Black Villages” principle:

        “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, and especially ‘our’ children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.”

        Sorry, but to me this reads in part as a rationalization of something that plagues black communities and is a serious impediment to improving the lot of black Americans: Broken families and fathers who don’t take care of their kids and aren’t involved in their lives.

        BTW, Cheyenne didn’t say that BLM misuses statistics—he said that I misused them by reporting per-capita statistics. It’s possible to misuse per-capita statistics, but I didn’t, and the alternative he provided is a far worse misuse of raw data.

        Paraphrasing Cheyenne:  Per-capita statistics are misleading.  Wyoming is said to have a high per-capita murder rate, but look at how few actual murders there are in Wyoming.

        Yeah, and look at how few murders there are on the moon.  So what?  If you live in Wyoming, you’re more likely to get shot dead during your lifetime than if you live in California.  If you’re a cop in Montana, South Dakota, or Alabama, you’re more likely to get shot dead during your career than you are in New York, California, or Vermont.  I you’re in LE in California, you’re more likely to get shot dead in your career if you’re a game warden, rural sheriff, or rural CHP than you are as an Oakland cop.

        Per capita statistics = probabilities = levels of risk.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          That part about the nuclear family is your basic Cultural Marxism. It’s like they believe the family was invented in the 1950s as some sort of capitalist plot. I used to drink the same Kool-Aid way back when. Alt-right people will tell you that when they say destroy the nuclear family, they mean destroy white families. That’s one way of looking at it I guess.

          One problem with crime stats is that we do a remarkably poor job gathering, analyzing and taking action on data. Anyone who takes an honest look at the crime stats in the ghetto can see that cities like Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, and beyond have become overrun by crime, even before the recent dramatic increases in the wake of BLM. Yet the Clinton supporters say that it’s racist to mention this. If you don’t mention it, how does it ever get fixed

           

        • cheyenne says:

          92 homicides in Chicago just in the month of August, that is more than all gun deaths including suicide for the whole year in Wyoming.  And those 92 murders were mostly on the south side which has less population than the whole state of Wyoming.  Per capita that.  Chicago cops now reject overtime because it puts them at risk because of all the hatred pointed against them.  Show me one game warden in any rural red state that turns down overtime because they might get shot.

          • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

            I can’t imagine what it must be like to a cop in Chicago. Guess that’s why Spike Lee called his latest movie Chi-Raq.

  11. Tom O'Mara says:

    R.V., I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the line, “He now throws the Allahu Akbar instead of the Hail Mary.” That’s a keeper.

    Now in relation to the issues Colin K. is trying to address. . . I had the opportunity to go on a local AM radio morning show three times in the late 90’s and early ’00’s, in connection with the No Room for Racism sign campaign. Each interview began the same way, with the host saying, “We don’t have any racial issues in Shasta County.” I wonder if I were to go on again if the same thing would be said. It is this kind of denial that Colin K. and others are trying to break through. And if we’re going to criticize BLM, militancy, and dangerous rhetoric advocating violence, let us acknowledge that is not what we have here, but rather an attempt to break through the noise and cast focus on issues which remain unresolved for our county and our country.

  12. JeffG says:

    When has patriotism done any good?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      World War II.

      • JeffG says:

        Ignoring patriotism’s obvious contributions to Nazi abuses, even the US succumbed to its downsides:

        suspension of due process for Italian-, German-, & Japanese-American citizens

        alien registration act

        changes to the map/ divying up the spoils of war

        Killing 200,000 Japanese civilians in Nagasaki & Hiroshima

         

         

        Patriotism is not required to unite in common defense — any rational being is capable.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I see patriotism as a necessary ingredient for social cohesion that is in itself value neutral. It is a means by which we share and transmit our values. There were many patriots who were opposed to US involvement in WW II because it was against American values. There were many patriots who fought in WW II in support of American values. Both are patriotic, although the former have been pretty much written out of the history books. I don’t think someone is suspect because they claim to be patriotic. It’s what comes next that makes the difference.

  13. A. Jacoby says:

    Here’s the bottom line in my perspective.

    Colin is granted the same freedom of speech we all  are. He can say it however he wants and we can respond however we want . . . (apart from crying fire in a crowded theater). And it appears to me that that is exactly what is happening.  GOOD FOR US ALL, COLIN INCLUDED!  Also, this is not a freedom to be taken lightly. Ask some of the folk that live in various parts of the world where anything controversial is whispered if given voice at all.

  14. pmarshall says:

    Please don’t bring God into your comments Mr. —-I can’t believe the comments that makes K such a wonderful person. He know nothing about history.  I wouldn’t  want to take any interest in the 49ers as long as he is allowed to play! I hope you will leave God out of your comments.  God doesn’t care about football anyway.

  15. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Media coverage and speed of reactions are astonishing these days.  I’m more horrified about dog fighting and wife beating by athletes than I am by non-violent political actions by the same.

    It must be difficult to avoid jumping onto the bandwagon of ridicule, vitriol, and indignation about an action or statement by some one person.  People seem to jump into the fray with glee and anger.

    This is not new.  Check out what happened to women in France who were suspected of fraternizing with Germans after WWII.

    I remember when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved hands at the Olympics in Mexico.  We didn’t have TV yet, but I saw photographs.  It was a powerful and controversial action, but I felt that these two men must have weighed the loss of support and respect of their country against the message they thought needed to be expressed to make that country a safer place for everyone.

     

    • cheyenne says:

      True, just reading today about a 49er being cut because he assaulted a 70 year old man and his son.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      What’s interesting about Smith and Carlos is that because they were in track and field, not exactly the highest profile sport (every four years), no one really heard about how they were ostracized by the sport. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out for Kap. I feel the pressure growing in the media as the first game of the season approaches.

  16. CoachBob says:

    The Nik says we need more police training. I the surface I don’t disagree. But if you want to stop blacks from being killed by guns (primariy) the BLM (not the gov’t group) should concentate on black on black crime. 80% + of all black killings are at the hands of other blacks. Hmmm? Not cops…they’re rare and almost always justified. Not always (don’t have a fit) just almost. Blacks have their own communities to blame for much of their issues.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I agree Coach, if Black Lives Matter truly cared about African-American lives, they would be protesting about the crime in their own communities along with the police shootings of blacks. The two are closely related and one problem can’t be solved without the other.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Do you know who’s shocked by the popular alt.right meme/accusation that black people don’t care about black-on-black violence?  Black people.  These are not mutually exclusive issues—it’s a false dichotomy to insist that black communities can’t protest this because of that.  If you’re black, you can’t insist on being treated with respect and equality by the police, because of gangsters in South Chicago?

      Yes, yes, yes, the impoverished inner cities of America—populated largely by black people—have a lot of violence.  So that means if you’re a black dentist in suburban Sacramento, you should just keep your mouth shut if your son regularly gets pulled over by the cops in your neighborhood because why is that black kid driving around in a late-model BMW in the ‘burbs?  How dare that dentist say anything when there’s all that black-on-black crime in South Oak Park.

      Black people, including BLM, are addressing black-on-black violence. It’s even the subject of Spike Lee’s latest film. One of the ways they’re addressing it is by pointing out that the insane percentages of young black men who are sent to prison for drug-related crimes has been catastrophic to black communities.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I’m strictly talking about BLM, not the black community. Perhaps suggesting they don’t truly care about the black community because they don’t protest about black-on-black crime, misstates the point I’m trying to make. BLM rarely acknowledges any culpability on behalf of the black male victims of police violence. For example, BLM continues to promote the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray cases as evidence of rampant racism in our police departments, even though Brown was assaulting a police officer when he was shot (as testified under oath by black witnesses) and Baltimore’s police department and city government has a large black representation. Whose neighborhoods burned in Ferguson and Baltimore? Crime has gone up in both cities and other locations where BLM protests have taken place. How is any of this helping the black community? I don’t think is.

  17. Steve Murray says:

    I really enjoyed your motorcycle touring article. Motorcycles are THE best way to see the world. More of that please.  On your other writing I often shake my head and wonder to myself “what the heck did he just say?”, or “I have no idea what he’s trying to say!” Could be me as the gasoline fumes have had an effect. All the best.