Friday, January 12, 2018

a man of integrity

Being a policeman is not an easy job, and the vast majority of our law enforcement officials are conscientious while carrying out their duties – but not all of them are.

In 2017, police offices in America killed 1129 people. (In the first seven months of 2017 there were eight shootings by police in England and Wales, of which five have been fatal.)

More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).

Yet only 12 officers were charged with a crime related to a shooting death.

Here are some facts that are sure to raise your eyebrows:
  • Of the 534 killer cops Mapping Police Violence was able to identify, 43 had shot or killed someone before. Twelve had previously shot or killed multiple people.
  • Most of the people killed (718) were suspects in nonviolent offenses, were stopped for traffic violations or had committed no crime at all.
  • 13 percent of people killed by cops were unarmed.
  • Most of the unarmed victims were people of color. Of the 147 unarmed people killed by police, 48 were black and 34 were Hispanic.
  • Black people accounted for 27 percent of the people killed by law enforcement officers. Of the unarmed victims of police violence, blacks made up 37 percent, almost three times their percentage of the U.S. population (13 percent).
  • Of the people who were unarmed and not attacking, but were still killed by cops, 35 percent were black.
  • 95 people were killed when police shot at a moving vehicle, a practice that many say should be banned.
  • 170 of the people killed were armed with a knife. In 117 of those incidents, police shot the person before trying any other method to disarm the person.
  • 20 percent of the people who had a gun when they were killed were not threatening anyone.
  • Law enforcement training spends seven times more hours training officers on the use of firearms than on how to de-escalate situations.
Colin Kaepernick was named the offensive player of the year twice during his college football career at the University of Nebraska. After graduation, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. He started as backup quarterback to Alex Smith, but became the starting quarterback the following year when Smith suffered a concussion. That same year, he led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.

During the 2016 season, he had a passer rating of 90.7, a very respectable number, and one of the lowest interception rates of the 29 “first string” quarterbacks. His guaranteed salary for the 2016 season was $11.9 million.

At the end of the 2016, he opted out of his contract to become a free agent, which occurred after he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in the United States. In addition, Kaepernick pledged to donate one million dollars to "organizations working in oppressed communities."

In 2017, Kaepernick was named GQ magazine's "Citizen of the Year" for his efforts. He was also nominated to be Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, a fact that likely infuriated Donald Trump, who railed against NFL players who followed Kaepernick’s example during the 2017 season.

Trump wasted over $250,000 in taxpayer money by directing Mike Pence to walk out of an Indianapolis Colts game during the playing of the national anthem because some of the players knelt down.

Ironically, Trump's attitude, instead of intimidating players, has actually strengthened their resolve:

Right in the middle of WWII, when patriotic fever was at its peak, the Supreme Court (in 1943) ruled it was unconstitutional for anyone to be forced to salute the flag or stand for the national anthem. Any attempts to do so are a violation of the 1st amendment of the Constitution.      

Since becoming a free agent, Kaepernick has received no offers from any NFL team. Some of those teams have legitimate reasons for not hiring him (likely due to the fact that they already have good quarterbacks) - but a lot of them do not. The stories at the links below makes for interesting reading:

I am of the opinion that it is more patriotic to fight for the rights of our fellow citizens (even those who have come here from “shithole” countries) than it is to stand for our national anthem.

What do YOU think?

(editors note: On April 21, 2018, Colin Kaepernick was named Amnesty International  Ambassador of Conscience, which is Amnesty International's highest honor. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, U2, Alicia Keys, and Ai Weiwei.)

In addition, Kaepernick was named GQ's Citizen of the Year in November and in December accepted the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. He has also received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California in December.

In addition to all of these awards, Kaepernick was awarded a "Human and Civil Rights award on July 1, 2018 by the National Education Association.  in recognition of the former pro-football star’s campaign “to fight racial oppression through education and social justice activism.” Predictably, conservative websites (like Townhall) are recommending that teachers should quite the NEA to protest the award.

Townhall is an American politically conservative website and print magazine. Previously published by the Heritage Foundation, it is now owned and operated by Salem Communications. The website features more than 80 columns (both syndicated and exclusive) by a variety of writers and commentators, who often appear as guest commentators on the Fox News Channel

Kaepernick's story has also received international attention. The August 24 issue of Al Jazeera published the story below this morning:

Kaepernick has also attracted support from prominent political figures. On August 23, 2018, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke gave a thoughtful response to a question from the audience about players kneeling during the anthem:

For most of his race to replace Ted Cruz as the senator from Texas, O'Rourke has been virtually tied with Cruz in the polls, and there is a very good chance that he well defeat Cruz in November. As of August 23, yesterday, Cruz only had a razor thin 4 point lead over O'Rourke.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the N.F.L. in October of 2017, accusing the owners of conspiring to not offer him a new contract because of his decision to protest during the playing of the national anthem, which began in August 2016.

On August 30, 2018, an arbitrator hired by the NFL said the lawyers hired by Kaepernick had uncovered enough evidence to allow the case against the league to proceed. If Kaepernick is ultimately successful, he will receive the money he would have received from playing ($11 million a year) PLUS triple damages:

As of Labor Day, 2018, the Kaepernick story continues to roll on :

Nike's latest ad features a picture of Kaepernick that reinforces the value of sacrifice> By now, he has achieved strong support from most plalyers, as well as international acclaim:

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