Let’s start with this fun fact; apparently riots cure Coronavirus! Who knew? We had the vaccine for Covid-19 all along!
Gone are the tote-boards counting every alleged death and even positive case. Gone are daily briefings by governors and presidents about “tests” and “contact tracing,” and lectures about “social distancing.”
In the time span of 72 hours the hair-on-fire lunacy that scared an entire nation into being afraid of getting sick disappeared entirely, and was replaced by the never-ending video loop of the horrific death of George Floyd, split screen with 30 of the biggest cities in America burning, and daily briefings by governors and presidents about “peaceful demonstrations,” and “riot mobs,” and lectures about “civil disobedience.”
Through both “crises,” there has been a common thread; rampant verbal stupidity in the face of any sort of logic, fact, reason, or common sense. I have found myself shouting out “HUH?!?” over and over again as I listen to peoples’ mind-numbing attempts at connecting dots that aren’t even on the same piece of paper. Here are some of my favorites across all sides of all of the arguments over the past 72 hours:
THE “EVEN IF,” ARGUMENT
For the last 12 weeks we have documented the endless barrage of misinformation as it relates to Covid-19. We have chronicled and proven, in their own words, that health officials are counting car crashes, gunshot wounds, and alcohol poisoning as Covid-19 deaths. Additionally, as data begins to roll in, we see just how unserious this “serious” virus is. Of all fatal cases in New York state, confirmed COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions to date, showed that 99.2 percent, had an underlying illness. If you do not already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age. And young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness from COVID-19. (https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation) The Surgeon General of the United States, Jerome Adams, has said repeatedly that when it comes to Covid-19, “99% of people will recover,” and that the 1% is comprised almost entirely of the elderly and immunocompromised. (https://foxbaltimore.com/news/coronavirus/coronavirus-facts-vs-fear)
Throughout all of it, endless emails and calls to our show have recounted peoples’ attempts to convince those who insist on being scared to death of this virus that their fears are unfounded…to absolutely no avail. One gentleman told the story of telling a family member that a week ago Friday, the CDC reported that the infection fatality rate for Covid-19 is 1/10th the original estimate and that for Americans under the age of 60, the risk of death from Covid-19 is “less than or equal to seasonal flu.” The family member responded by saying “where did you hear that?” When the gentleman pulled up the CDC website, the family member responded by saying “well that’s their numbers.” HUH? Whose numbers is this family member using? Count Chocula’s? (https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/data-cdc-estimates-covid-19-mortality-rate/275-fc43f37f-6764-45e3-b615-123459f0082b)
On Friday, we were documenting the provable worthlessness of mask wearing. We began by reminding everyone that in March, the almighty Dr. Fauci himself said on 60 minutes that “There is no reason to be walking around wearing a mask…wearing a mask might make people feel better…but it’s not providing the protection people think it is…”
The initial reaction from the scaredy-cat crowd was “well that was March.” HUH? Later, it was clarified as “science has the ability to evolve.” In other words, we’re learning as we go. Funny how that argument is disregarded when it comes to actual data which continues to pour in showing that Covid-19 is nothing more than the flu. No matter…we soldiered on and pointed out that doctor after doctor is writing that masks don’t work (https://www.wsj.com/articles/will-a-face-mask-protect-you-11589842953) and that as of right now, today, the all mighty World Health Organization says “masks should only be worn by health care workers and those who are infected.” (https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/491725-who-no-evidence-wearing-a-mask-can-protect)
A moron called in. At first, he tried the “science evolves,” argument. I pointed out that there is plenty of evolution on this and study after study is showing masks don’t work. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/new-study-questions-the-effectiveness-of-masks-against-sars-cov-2?fbclid=IwAR1CqYsKCEKtl_–iXzSzdeIoa_RUSHbBfHmxTV5EeOomudHH1j_nLQCmWM) I then reported that just last week, the New England Journal of Medicine wrote “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection (to anyone). Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and) The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.” (https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp2006372?articleTools=true) That last sentence, of course, completely blows out of the water the “social distancing” argument. When I was done, Mr. “science evolves,” responded by saying “well even if that’s true,” (completely disregarding the evolving science he was just touting because this “evolving science” doesn’t fit his narrative), “why can’t you just wear a mask to make people feel safe.” HUH? “EVEN IF,” something it true, we should then disregard it because cowards insist on being afraid of something they have no business being afraid of? How about this; EVEN IF you refuse to believe all of the science, data, and facts before you, and insist on being afraid of simply getting a little sick, how about you just stay the hell home and let the rest of us live?
SO MUCH FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING
One week ago, images across the country showed people having massive private pool parties, sitting shoulder to shoulder at packed racetracks, and lying body-to-body on the beach. They were called “irresponsible,” and told they were “tempting fate.” (https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/n-c-officials-say-packed-alamance-speedway-race-was-only-allowed-to-have-25-spectators/article_ae4b4e94-d4bb-5c9e-ab73-6a811d0dca03.html) Many on social media referred to them as “grandma killers!” (https://www.lakeexpo.com/news/coronavirus/dr-fauci-troubled-by-lake-of-the-ozarks-pool-partiers/article_20908dee-a10e-11ea-9cf9-0bb74b897076.html) As it is pointed out that the riots taking place across America run afoul of all social distancing guidelines, we are told that they are simply “people who need to be heard.” And we should therefore not concern ourselves with the lack of social distancing. HUH? So, the virus is apparently impervious to social justice, but not socialization? Interesting.
BUT HEY…THOSE MASKS.
Bouncing between news channels on Saturday night as the riots erupted and made their way to Downtown Sacramento, my wife and I skimmed and watched the chaos. Since we were jumping from channel to channel I can’t confirm which network or local news station it was, but the counter-argument to ignoring Covid during the riots was made by one of the geniuses covering the riots when she said “it’s nice to see that while exercising their right to protest so many people are adhering to the guidelines to wear masks.” HUH?! Have you never seen a riot before this weekend? They’re ALWAYS covered in masks…that’s how they hide their identities. We know most of the damage is being done by professional agitators, so simply Google any Antifa riot prior to Covid and try to find someone not wearing a mask, you moron. All we’ve done now is make it even easier for them.
THIS IS JUST LIKE FERGUSON
No. It isn’t. The endless people who keep referencing Michael Brown and the events in Ferguson, Missouri of 2014 are an insult to everyone’s intelligence. As former Obama aide Van Jones pointed out this weekend, the George Floyd case is entirely different. Nothing we were told about the events in Ferguson ever happened. “Hands up don’t shoot,” was never said, and the entire incident was a case of justifiable self-defense on the part of a police officer. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/)
In Ferguson, a black man had committed a crime (stealing from a convenience store) on video. When confronted by police, he ran and then became violent. He fought with the officer for his gun, and false witnesses lied about how he was killed.
In Minneapolis, Floyd was pulled over for the investigation of using a counterfeit $20. By all accounts, he wasn’t even verbally combative, let alone physically resistant. Yet, he was yanked from his car, thrown against a wall and then to the ground, where he lay handcuffed with one officer on his feet and another with his knee on his throat for more than 8 minutes. As Van jones said, the difference is this; there is nothing black people can tell their children about this to make them feel safe, protected, and equal. It used to be that the lecture went like this; when interacting with law enforcement, be respectful, answer their questions, follow their commands, don’t have drugs on you, don’t have weapons on you, and don’t resist. By all accounts, Floyd did all of that…and he was murdered…for allegedly using a fake bill. There isn’t even any proof that he knew the bill was counterfeit, and yet he’s dead. (https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/31/van-jones-reaction-george-floyd-protests-ip-vpx.cnn
IT HAPPENS TO WHITE PEOPLE TOO!
Anytime we discuss deadbeat dads, it isn’t long before men start calling and writing solely to make sure that we know that there are deadbeat moms, too. We get it. It cuts both ways. However, responding to Floyd’s death by pointing out that white people are also the victims of police brutality misses the point by a mile.
It is true that we don’t, at this time, know if officer Derek Chauvin is a racist or that he kept his knee on the throat of George Floyd because Floyd was black. In fact, we know that Chauvin has a long history of more than a dozen use-of-force complaints in his professional history. (https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/derek-chauvin-george-floyd-police-officer-conduct-complaint-1006672/) In other words, he was probably just a terrible cop who never should have been one in the first place, and certainly should have been removed from the force long ago.
And yes, it’s true that study after study proves that white police officers are not, in any way, more prone to shoot minorities. (https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/745731839/new-study-says-white-police-officers-are-not-more-likely-to-shoot-minority-suspe)
Your privilege is showing. Whether or not Floyd was treated the way he was because he was black is not the point. The point is that it is undeniable that black people, and men in particular, have every valid reason to believe that too many cops do not have their best interest at heart (to say the least). In the U.S., African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Roughly 1-in-1,000 black boys and men will be killed by police in their lifetime. For white boys and men, the rate is 39 out of 100,000. (https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/) Statistics last year showed that the seventh leading cause of death for young black men is being shot by the police. (https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2019-08-15/police-shootings-are-a-leading-cause-of-death-for-black-men)
And while young men of all races are the most likely to be the victim of death caused by police violence, for white men it isn’t even one of the top 50 causes of death. That is the very definition of racial disparity. (https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2019-08-05/police-violence-a-leading-cause-of-death-for-young-men)
ONLY WHITE PEOPLE CAN BE RACIST
The double standards around race and language has been one of the most maddening debates of my lifetime. The nuclear example, of course, is the use of the “N” word. Some African Americans claim no one should use it. Others claim only they can use it. There are subsets of the word; dog whistles, say some. Put another way, the case has been made that certain words are now code for overt racism. Over the weekend, President trump referred to the rioters as “thugs,” and was immediately castigated for using that word. Yet, in 2015 President Barack Obama did the exact same thing in regards to the rioters in Baltimore. Grow up, America. (https://twitter.com/realDerekUtley/status/1266380994430582786)
NO ACTUAL CITIZENS ARE PROTESTING
Self-loathing African American right-wing activist Candace Owens seems to always find a way to explain away obvious racism. While I appreciate the fact that she doesn’t look to be offended, she often goes over the edge in ignoring the truth. She is leading the charge, along with other conservative pundits this weekend, to claim that none of the actual rioters are citizens of their various cities and are all professional agitators. While it is true that Antifa and other extremist groups are absolutely fomenting the anger, it is wildly naïve and irresponsible to dismiss the tens of thousands of Americans of all races who are so angry (about so many things) that they are turning to destructive behavior. Many African Americans of prominence are using the argument that the history of their race is that only violence causes positive reforms, pointing to the Civil War and race riots of the late 1960’s as examples.
THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS COULD HAVE PREVENTED ALL OF THIS
I saved the best for last. If you’ve read this far, you deserve to be rewarded with a guttural laugh. On Sunday morning during the show “New Day Weekend,” CNN had on as a guest, a Columnist for the Baltimore Sun and Deadspin named Carron J Phillips, who has also been the Sports, Race & Social Issues columnist for the New York Daily News since 2017.
The anchor asked Phillips about a statement that had been released by the NFL offering condolences and an understanding of the power and platform the league has in these times. From there, the anchor then listed off various things individual teams were doing, including the San Francisco 49ers, who announced a $1 million donation to organizations “making change,” (whatever the hell that means).
Phillips was not impressed and actually stated that “if the owner of the 49ers would have just used that $1 million to sign Colin Kaepernick to a contract, none of this would be happening.” HUH?!(as a reaction) doesn’t even begin to cover it. I stopped in my tracks, looked off to the horizon for a moment and convinced myself that I didn’t hear what I just heard. Upon rewinding the live TV and listening again as I transcribed the idiocy, I found myself beginning to giggle at its’ sheer stupidity. It became funnier, and then much sadder, as he continued to make clear that he was deadly serious.
One of the most embarrassing and upsetting parts of this whole story is the insistence by some in the African American community to make Colin Kaepernick a modern-day Civil Rights Leader. He’s not. He’s an NFL flunkie who flamed out because of both his lack of talent and his choice to become a toxic commodity to the very league he wanted to play for. It’s ironic; when a school shooting occurs in America and people offer “thoughts and prayers,” they are mocked for their hollow symbolism that does nothing to fix the problem. Yet when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the National Anthem, a hollow, symbolic (and misdirected) action, he is to be heralded as a strong, black, leader. We’ve got a long way to go, America.