Tuesday, June 30, 2020

K-State: Tell your football team "you're fired"

Kansas State University should fire the student athletes on its football team, women’s basketball team and any others who refuse to play their sports as directed by their programs, or risk the staggering moral and financial costs other universities have suffered.

Two reasons: First, university management is and should be in charge of its athletic and for that matter its academic programs, not the students. This accountability and responsibility is a point that has somehow been lost on those cowardly leaders now in charge of some cities, police departments and even state governments since this, the Summer of the Black Lives Matter Lie.

Second, K-State and its other students and faculty don’t deserve the kind of negative financial repercussions that will follow if the university doesn’t assert that it – not "woke" student narcissists and agitators who have nothing to lose – is in charge. 

That case in point should be clear except that 2015- 2016 is, in these Twitter-warped times, a long, long, long time ago. 

Ever hear of a place called the University of Missouri? 

Let me recap the story of how my dear ole’ alma mater lost the faith and confidence of the parents of Missouri college-students-to-be as well as that of donating alumni due to the the Black Lives Matter disaster of 2015-2016. 

In a nutshell, racial unrest on campus around the time of the Ferguson riots led to the Mizzou football team stomping its feet and going on “strike” due to racial tension on campus until former University President Tim Wolfe was fired or resigned. Spineless head football coach Gary Pinkel backed his players instead of firing them and playing the walk-ons from places like Florissant, Mountain Grove Thayer and Koshkonong, who would have done anything to play for Mizzou.

Lacking that, Pinkel and the players should all have been fired for insubordination and the Tigers taken the field that season with the C and D teamers, or simply forfeited their games. Then, Wolfe should have been fired as well because of his ongoing incompetence and cowardice.

To Mizzou’s ill fate, none of that happened. Instead, university management let the whole thing blow up in their faces. Protestors took over the university's famed quadrangle, confronting journalists trying to cover the events, in order to help control the story. In one instance, a communications professor named Melissa Click asked for "some muscle" to throw a photojournalist out of the protest area – on university property, no less.

In the ensuing years black and white enrollment both dropped at Mizzou. Some 4,500 students – 13 percent of enrollment and a number that translated to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tuition, housing and beer sales – left Columbia. Also lost were donations from disgusted alumni for all manner of university causes. Dorms closed; faculty was cut; the university’s famed agricultural and medical research went undone or was set back. The hemorrhaging of dollars only ceased recently with meagerly recovering enrollment. 

K-State, you don’t want to go there. Much better to assert control of your university now and show the world the adults are in charge. Better to make the hard decisions and suffer the immediate consequences rather than capitulate to naive student bullies following Marxist agitators who will throw away the honor of a D1 athletic slot because someone said something that offended them. 

Jaden McNeil’s tweet that started the K-State trouble: “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!” was an off color joke, but only because of the bogus pre-election inflammation cooked up by the Black Lives Matter movement. Sure it’s inappropriate – lots of humor is. But certainly no worse than the old Saturday Night Live breaking news joke: “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” If you're too young to remember, Youtube it.

McNeil made a salient point in his own defense: “I condemned George Floyd’s life of violent crime and Twitter gave me a 12 hour suspension for ‘glorifying violence.’ ” 

That kind of logic, even if you don’t agree with it, is lost on these modern purveyors of Cancel Culture. Offend me, this new cultural phenomena says, and my mob will force my will on you. Unfortunately there are too many cowards in positions of leadership these days to fight back.

It’s a spooky place for America to be, and it’s incumbent upon heretofore sensible universities like K-State to draw the line. If the Wildcats cave in, the costs – both financial and in basic morality of right and wrong – may be devastating.

-Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kansas.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The dark lie of Black Lives Matter

Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. The world witnessed Floyd’s last conscious moments on video shot by bystanders. Chauvin was fired and has been charged in Floyd's killing, which most people regardless of color agree was brutal and unnecessary.

Black Lives Matter wants you to believe systemic racism – racism built into our social system aimed at blacks and to a lesser degree other non-whites – is responsible for confrontations between primarily young black men and police – predominantly white police. This is a smokescreen which denies the facts and falsely impunes police and other citizens around the country.

That’s because there’s a common denominator of criminal behavior in many of these confrontations – certainly the high profile ones that have generated an apparent justification to loot and burn neighborhoods and now to literally occupy a multi-block area of Seattle after city government surrendered it.

Back in 1991 Rodney King was driving drunk, leading police on a high speed chase through Los Angeles because a DUI would violate his parole on a robbery conviction. That was no excuse for the beating he got from cops, but King himself controlled the beginning of his story that night.

Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., stole from a convenience store and shoved a clerk after what may have been a drug deal there got rough, then fought a cop for the policeman’s gun back in 2014 before the cop shot and killed him.

George Floyd, whose criminal record dated back decades and amounted to numerous stints in jail and prison, tried to pass a fake $20 bill at a Minneapolis store before the incident that led to his police confrontation. He resisted getting into the patrol car and was subsequently subdued and handcuffed before Chauvin held his knee on a handcuffed Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, killing him. Toxicology reports said Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died. Store employees who confronted Floyd about the bogus $20 bill before calling police said he was very intoxicated and “not in control of himself.”

If we can’t ignore the element of race in these incidents, we also can’t ignore the role criminal activity played. The chronology is too often the same regardless of the race of the subject involved: Subject is confronted or apprehended for a crime or suspected crime, suspect resists arrest, police reaction ends in subject’s death. At least part of the solution should be simple: Number 1, don’t be a criminal; and number two, don’t resist police authority to enforce the law.

Black Lives Matter wants to focus on race as the issue instead of criminality, but the statistics don’t support the fervent emotion of that claim. Last year nine unarmed black men were killed by police, while 19 unarmed white men were killed by police. Black men – overall 6 percent of the population – commit 44 percent of all murders and 50 percent of violent crime. The number one cause of death for black men age 15-34 is homicide – and 93 percent of all homicides are victims of someone of their own race.

Most Americans regardless of race live by the rules. We go to our jobs, we pay our taxes, we drive at least somewhere close to the posted speed limit. Most of us don’t drive drunk or high, we don’t shoot at members of rival gangs and hit innocent bystanders, and we don’t fight the police if we’re in a situation where we’re detained or arrested. This doesn’t mean we’re not flawed or that we’re some kind of heroes, but it does indicate we at least have a core respect for the society we live in and the laws we enact to protect us.

It’s apparent that the black lives that matter most to Black Lives Matter are those that can fit a false narrative of surging racism and rampant police brutality that can be leveraged for political gain, not the black lives being forfeited every day on the streets due to gang violence and homicides committed by other blacks.

How unfortunate that the energy that’s gone into protests and the sacking, looting and burning of some of America’s cities apparently can’t be brought to bear against the foundational problems that far and away cost the most black lives. ###

– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kansas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Quick Batman, before they sober up

Take notice, every local economic development chief, chamber of commerce director and real estate salesman in rural Kansas; David Toland – stop wishing for more wind farm subsidies from your spacious Kansas Department of Commerce office cubicle and pay attention – the mayors of America’s largest cities are about to give you an early Christmas gift. 

They’re talking about dismantling… yes, that’s right, I said DISMANTLING their police departments in the wake of the George Floyd killing.

So, yeah, that means… well, we presume… no more cops? 

At least that’s the plan in Minneapolis, Minn., where city council president Lisa Bender and her veto-proof majority of council members are working to better serve the citizens of Minneapolis – by dismantling the only thing standing between them and total bedlam. 

No, I’m not kidding. It’s like the script of the next Batman movie. In the first act, the Joker pumped city hall full of Stupid Gas and revoked Commissioner Gordon’s Target Rewards Card. 

Remember those pictures of the Oklahoma land rush? It’s easy to envision at the city limits of Minneapolis – hoards of cutthroats, thugs and criminals massing at the borders with St. Paul, South Park and Edina, ready for the last city police paycheck to clear the bank – and likewise a hoard of law-abiding business people and upstanding citizens ready to high tail it south on I-35 for Burnsville and parts beyond. 

It all makes perfect sense, under the influence of Stupid Gas. White cop murders a doped-up black career criminal while in police custody, and criminal thugs and political anarchists rush in to take advantage of mass protests to loot and burn black-owned businesses right along with everything else they can get away with. Their deeds – and those free 50-inch TV sets – mix with plenty of outside instigation to inspire similar criminal assaults nationwide. Astute city leadership’s response is crisp and effective: 

First, disband the police. 

I mean, what else would competent civic leadership do? 

And Minneapolis isn’t the only city to embrace this genius plan. New York (of course), Houston, Los Angeles – others have taken a whiff of the dastardly villain’s half-witted redolence. The secondary explosion should and will send tens of thousands of small business people out of those urban hellholes in search of sanity and a new place to hang their shingle. 

That’s where our local economic development gurus and their statewide grand poobah should have their marketing guns cocked, locked and ready to rock. Every newspaper, TV or radio station, Facebook Page, church bulletin and matchbook cover in those cities should have an ad from Kansas that says something to the effect of: “Looted, burned, and now no police protection? Bring your small business to Beloit or Council Grove or Wakeeney or Plainville– we’re more decent here.” 

How many of those poor abused business people wouldn’t really rather live where people wave when they drive by whether they know you or not; where arguments are more civil; where police are still on duty and where the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous? 

Call that kind of opportunism inappropriate if you want, but you can’t tell me a lot of people in those cities aren’t asking themselves right now if it's worth rebuilding their business just to await the next unfettered urban assault from a bunch of thugs. Most of these city leaders couldn’t move fast enough to shut those businesses down and make their customers stay home during the coronavirus scare, but their authority was nowhere to be found to combat the criminals that beat those business owners, shot them and burned homes and businesses to the ground. 

If this was Hollywood, Batman would have met the looting hoards with some superior firepower and outwitted the Joker to land him in jail. In the meantime small towns should make lemonade out of these lemons and like the rest of the country – pray we see the Bat Signal soon.

–Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks.