As I began to write this column this past Sunday, I had no idea the horrendous events of the Las Vegas shooting would unfold later in the evening. My intention was to write about the growing national uproar concerning the NFL players, coaches, and owners taking a knee during the playing of our national anthem.
I was going to point out that contrary to the narrative strung along by anti-police groups and the demonstrative protest begun by former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, all of whom claim that US police officers indiscriminately target and kill African Americans is not supported by any data. In fact, multiple sources, to include the FBI and a 2016 Harvard University study, reveal that African Americans are 28.3% less likely to be shot by police than whites. The reason this false narrative has gained such popularity is due to the overwhelming majority of videos of Officer Involved Shootings involving African Americans posted all over the internet, social media and supported by the liberal media.
Additionally, I was going to thank many of the public figures, talking heads, and others who equate standing during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and facing the flag is an act of paying respect to all of those military members who have fought, been injured or who have died defending the very freedoms we all enjoy in this country. But really, paying respect to our flag and national anthem is not a military issue; it is a citizen issue. As a citizen of this great country – your home, my home, and our collective home – it should be a no brainer to be respectful of those symbols. But with decaying personal values and national traditions being eradicated daily, attacking this high visibility symbol of our country is just another piece of America coming under fire.
Lastly, I wanted to apply the perspective that America, despite any real or perceived issues, is a far better place to live than most, if not all, other countries based upon standards of living, governmental corruption, police and military corruption and most importantly the freedoms guaranteed by our unique constitution based form of government. I believe these are reason enough not to take our country for granted. But maybe that is exactly what these complainers are doing – taking our great country for granted. Maybe they should see, first hand, how people struggle to live in other countries, how oppressive some governments are, and maybe they should truly experience social injustice and the complete lack of civic freedoms in other countries before they disrespect the country that gives so much to its citizens. Heck, that is why so many people want to come to America in the first place, isn’t it?
Yet, regardless of how valid those 3 arguments may be, they may not be the answer some agree with as to why we should be respectful of our institutions, our traditions and values and stand and show respect for our national anthem and our flag. This leads me to the horrific event that took place in Las Vegas Sunday evening. With all the divisiveness occurring nowadays on almost every front in our country – much of which is being perpetrated by both foreign and domestic groups and individuals – the true nature of Americans doing unbelievably heroic deeds in the face of sheer evil is singular proof for me of what unites us more than divides us. So far 59 souls have lost their lives and over 500 innocent people were injured by this nut job. But in the face of death, off-duty police officers, military veterans, fire fighters, and common everyday American citizens stood up, joined forces, and did whatever they could to save their fellow citizens from harm’s way. Once again, police officers and sheriff deputies rushed toward the source of the gun fire in an attempt to stop the carnage; all the while placing their own lives in jeopardy for complete strangers albeit fellow citizens.
In light of those tragic events, my intention remains and stands with even more vigor, determination and resoluteness. To me, maybe not to you, these reasons are more than enough for me to be respectful of this great nation and show proper respect by standing during the playing of the national anthem and saluting the American flag anywhere it is flown. Particularly, and to the point, inside a publicly funded NFL stadium where citizens over pay for parking, seats, food, and clothing just to watch a bunch of overpaid entertainers toss a leather ball around.
Viper One Six – Out