Re “Kaepernick undertaking important civil rights work” letter by Martin Danenberg.
Colin Kaepernick is not a hero.
To be a hero you need to do something self-sacrificing, and possibly even mortally perilous, where you put someone or something else’s well-being ahead of your own, or in less lethal instances, publicly support something that is widely unpopular.
Kaepernick has done neither of these, yet Mr. Danenberg bestows hero status upon him. As a back-up quarterback fading into obscurity, Kaepernick “heroically” decided to protest racial inequality and police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem and fortuitously got himself back into the limelight. Far from taboo or even novel, it’s hard to find a more popular topic in modern America for social activists to try and build their credentials upon. Race hustler extraordinaire Al Sharpton has made a very lucrative career out of it.
In taking his stance against racial inequality and police brutality, Kaepernick said we need to “have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people,” yet he and his supporters are uncharacteristically silent about uncomfortable facts such as the implications of 72 percent of black children being born to single mothers.
Nor do they want to discuss that of 6,095 black homicide victims in the United States during 2014, the overwhelming majority were killed by fellow blacks. In her book, “The War on Cops,” Heather Mac Donald details such statistics, which show at just 15 percent of the population, “blacks committed 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of all murders, and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009.”
The low-income and minority victims of the robberies, murders and assaults are who the police are fighting for by confronting and arresting the criminal predators lurking amongst them.
Just as there’s a distinction between criminals and victims, so too is there a difference between police brutality and lawful use of force. When a person doesn’t want to be stopped or arrested by the police and instead fights with them, it’s not police brutality when they die because of their own pre-existing health problems (Eric Garner) or police shoot them in self-defense (Michael Brown).
Data from The Washington Post illustrates that far from routinely or indiscriminately killing innocent black men, our nation’s police officers chances of being killed by a black assailant are 18.5 times higher than the chances of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop.
Despite that danger, the police aren’t taking a knee; they continue risking their lives for the safety of all our citizens. That’s what heroes do.
The police have literally millions of encounters each year with citizens across our country. The mere fact we are talking about a handful of police encounters, usually involving people with extensive criminal histories or disregarding the lawful orders of the police, is proof there is not an epidemic of racial inequality or police brutality.
I’ve served overseas on two combat tours as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan and patrolled more than 10 years as a police officer in New York. I have seen heroism in action, and in no way does Kaepernick fit that definition, nor merit comparison to any nation’s hero.
As for Mr. Danenberg and his incredulity about his offer to promote peace between Kaepernick and the NYPD not being received positively, despite his contempt for them, the police are not the idiots he takes them for. The police know it’s cop-bashing Kaepernick supporters such as him and the anti-police atmosphere they’ve created which has led to 21 officers being killed in ambush style attacks in 2016 -- the highest total in more than two decades.
The writer is from Smithtown, New York.