If you ever wonder what we do up here for fun in one the coldest states in the lower 48, have a click here. That’s right—for kicks and giggles, we throw pots of boiling water off our decks for the fun of watching it freeze instantly in midair. (Because, what else do you do when it’s -65 outside?)
I’ve often joked that I’d love if there could be warm snow. I love the beauty of a snowy day—but I hate the bone-chilling cold that comes with it.
The thing is, I’ll never get warm snow. Why? Because water has a precise freezing point, and that’s an irrefutable fact.
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and it boils at 212. Two plus two equals four. When mixed, the colors red and green make yellow.
These are all undeniable facts.
Can you imagine the insanity of trying to have a substantive debate with someone who insists that red and green make pink?
Silly, I know—but in all seriousness, we’ve got a serious problem in this country with facts. We shove data aside for narratives; for emotions; for anecdotal experiences that we use to paint broad pictures—especially when it comes to race and police … which is exactly why we have professional football players using their position of influence to promote the idea that African Americans remain racially oppressed in this country.
Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player now infamous for refusing to stand for the National Anthem, has started a “Black Panther Party-inspired youth camp to make sure kids ‘know their rights.’”
Who can argue with helping kids know their rights and stay safe, right?
And, when we live in an era where data takes a backseat to narratives, and where vast majorities of the population are largely unfamiliar with what the Black Panthers represent—Kaepernick’s camp is compassionate and smart.
So let’s talk facts—but first let’s understand Kaepernick’s premise for starting the camp:
“We’re here today to fight back and give you all lessons to combat the oppressive issues that our people face on a daily basis. We’re going to give you knowledge on policing history, what the systems of policing in America were based on, and we’re also going to teach you skills to make sure you always make it home safely.”
So, do these kids have something to fear?
Now let’s talk facts:
As I’ve recently illustrated, 214 of the 894 Americans killed by police (2016 year to date) were African Americans. That means that statistically, an African American has a 1 in 1,490,186 chance of being killed by a police officer.
With that probability, there’s actually a greater chance you’ll die in a plane crash, die by a flesh eating bacteria, get struck by lightning, die in a bathtub, or die in a car crash than be an African American killed by police.
For the record, given current figures, an African American has a 1 in 8,858,333 chance of being unarmed and killed by police. There’s a greater chance you’ll die from being left-handed (seriously!) or become a movie star with those odds.
Don’t get me wrong—the last thing I want is for this to be construed as flippant towards those who have real fears.
But are those fears real because the facts back them up, or are they real because people like Colin Kaepernick are busy cementing the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” fallacy (yes, it’s been substantially disproven by the Barack Obama Justice Department) in the minds of our youth?
And yet, instead—Kaepernick’s youth camp kids will be taking cues from the Black Panther Party, which has a history rooted in violence, racism, and black supremacy. One writer put it well: “Despite starting out to protect blacks from police brutality and to set up community programmes, the group were soon famed for lawlessness, ruthlessness and links to extortion, drug dealing and even the murders of women.”
The group advocated armed insurrection and wanted to “overthrow the U.S. government," killed police officers, and routinely tortured (and even sometimes murdered) those they considered to be disloyal to the movement.
Kaepernick will help to instill life-long fear in the hearts of our nation’s children by ignoring facts, and clinging to a bygone era in which rampant government-sanctioned, police-enforced racism DID exist in parts of the country. That is not today’s America—and he knows it.
Imagine the world of good that Colin Kaepernick could do by simply helping kids understand these three things: first, don’t break the law; second, don’t associate with those who do, and third, understand that police are trying to keep you safe too.
Remember my illustration at the start? Facts are facts: snow is cold, water is wet, a day has 24 hours in it. These are all irrefutable facts.
You tell me: what are the facts here?
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Monday-Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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