The Cops-Killing-Blacks False Narrative

 

George Floyd’s death is a brutal tragedy and four Minneapolis policemen need to be held accountable for their actions. All four have now been charged in the death of Floyd and a jury of their peers will determine their fate. Anyone who has seen the video of this tragedy knows this is an inexcusable example of bad policing.

It is understandable and altogether fitting that many would protest this situation as unacceptable in our country. Peaceful protests are protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution and no patriotic American should object to those who choose to exercise this right. But violence and looting are never justified in a civil society, especially when those who suffer most are innocent members of the same minority community.

The leaders behind these violent protests would have us believe that police single out blacks for more brutality than whites and more blacks than whites are being killed by police. They use this narrative to justify their violence and to promote defunding and even eliminating police departments in major metropolitan cities such as Minneapolis and New York. This is a false narrative not supported by the facts. Unfortunately, according to WSJ columnist William A. Galston, recent surveys report nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe that police officers generally treat whites better than blacks and are more likely to use excessive force if the suspect is black.

Jason L. Riley, a courageous black journalist for The Wall Street Journal, gives us the inconvenient truth that refutes this false narrative. He reports that in 2016, black Harvard economist Roland Fryer and coauthor Tanaya Devi published their study of police bias in shootings and found results that surprised even them. They found no evidence of police bias and, in fact, found whites were more likely than blacks to suffer violence at the hands of the police.

Their research was confirmed by others at The University of Maryland and Michigan State University in 2019 who concluded: “We didn’t find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.”

Tragically, they also found that when police were investigated for violent incidents that had gone viral, police activity declined and violent crime spiked, especially in minority neighborhoods. This happened in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was shot by a police officer. It happened in Chicago after police gunned down Laquan McDonald. It happened in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody.

Mr. Fryer stressed that it isn’t the investigations themselves that are the problem so much as the circumstances under which they are launched. Investigations that weren’t prompted by well-publicized events resulted in little change in police behavior and violent crime. “But when I look at cities in which the investigation was preceded by a viral event,” he said, “homicide goes up considerably. Total crime goes up considerably.” What happens, he said, is that police effectively pull back. “They don’t stop doing their jobs, but they become less proactive and curb their interactions with civilians.”

Peter Kirsanow is a black attorney and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He writes in National Review, “The narrative is false. In fact, it’s not just false, it’s upside down. And it’s been false for quite some time. There are racist cops in a nation of 330 million. But 2020 America isn’t 1965 Selma.”

He goes on to say, “Some media recently ran the story that blacks are twice as likely as whites to be shot by cops. On its face, that’s true. But the statement doesn’t consider the comparable encounters with police, especially in high-risk situations, that are likely to prompt exchanges of gunfire or other forms of violence. Consider the following, from the 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, Census data, FBI Uniform Crime Reports, and other sources:(Unless otherwise noted, most of the data is from 2018.)

  • In 2016, 466 whites were killed by police; 233 blacks were killed by police.
  • Whites are 76.5 percent of the U.S. population (including Hispanics); blacks are 13.4 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Whites commit 59 percent of violent crimes (defined as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault); blacks commit 37.5 percent of violent crimes.
  • One out of 8,511 blacks is arrested for murder; one in 58,582 whites is arrested for murder.
  • Blacks are approximately 6.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for murder.
  • One out of 2,800,438 blacks is arrested for killing a cop; one of 7,674,278 whites is arrested for killing a cop.
  • Blacks are 2.74 times more likely than whites to be arrested for killing a cop.
  • In 2016, 66 cops were killed in the line of duty; 32 whites and 15 blacks were identified as the killers.
  • More than twice as many blacks (533) murdered whites in 2016 than whites (243) murdered blacks.
  • Black males are 6 percent of the U.S. population. Black males are responsible for 42 percent of cop killings in the last decade.
  • In 2015, a cop was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was likely to be killed by a cop.
  • In 2016, 222 black males were killed by police. 16 were unarmed. 445 white males were killed by police. 20 were unarmed.

 

The real tragedy is that every time a black person dies in police custody, other blacks will surely die as a consequence of those who are spreading the false narrative. Kirsanow puts it this way, “Riots are inevitable the next time a black person dies in police custody. People will be killed; property and livelihoods will be destroyed. The false narrative ensures that.”

Kirsanow says contrary to the tweets and posts of some celebrities, blacks aren’t being hunted by whites. He quotes Heather MacDonald who writes, Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimizations, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks.”

I am thankful for these courageous and politically incorrect black leaders who are willing to stand up for the truth and be counted.Tragically, it is the black community that is suffering the most from those who spread these lies. It’s time to stop the false narrative that is dividing our country.

The Lancet Gets Research Wrong Again

 

Journalism credibility has taken a deep dive in the era of the Trump administration as liberal journalists lower their standards when covering a president they can’t tolerate. The New York Times has even admitted they have changed the rules when it comes to news concerning President Trump.

Now it seems this attitude even applies to medical research. The British medical journal The Lancet recently published a study suggesting the antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCL), which Trump has promoted and used, is dangerous. But now TheLancet is backpedaling as it becomes clear the research data for this study has been discredited.

Hydroxychloroquine has been in common use worldwide for over sixty years and has been safely used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. When early studies in China showed no COVID-19 cases in patients who concurrently were taking HCL for lupus, doctors hypothesized it provided prophylactic protection. When other studies in France showed promising results, the FDA approved it for emergency use for COVID-19.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board say Democrats and the media assailed Trump for promoting “voodoo medicine” since randomized clinical trials have not confirmed HCL’s benefits. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attacked the Department of Veterans Affairs for launching clinical trials after a small study found 27.8% of veterans receiving the drug died compared to 11.2% who didn’t. But patients given HCL displayed much worse clinical vital signs including lower blood oxygen levels. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has explained that “we used this in the last hours of a veteran’s life in the hopes it could prolong this life.”

Adding fuel to this political fire was the initial report of TheLancet, published May 22, that showed a 30% increase in mortality based on 96,032 COVID-19 patient records that the data company Surgisphere claimed to have collected from 671 hospitals on six continents. As a result, the World Health Organization halted its global HCL clinical trial and many countries banned the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.

But The Lancet study quickly came under fire when scientists around the world reviewed the data. They spotted glaring errors such as obesity and smoking rates in the study were the same across six continents. In a letter to TheLancet’s editors last week, 120 scientists criticized the study’s sloppiness and aggregation of patients who were different in many respects including HCL dosages and the severity of illness. The study also had not undergone an ethics review and The Lancet had broken its pledge to share all data and code on COVID-19 studies. Surgisphere is now under investigation concerning the sources of their data.

The Lancet recently published an “Expression of Concern” about the study and said it would undergo “an independent data audit.” If there is any doubt their work may be politically biased, one only has to read an editorial published by the Lancet editors last month urging Americans to vote out President Trump.

This is not the first time The Lancet has been at the center of controversial studies. In 1998, a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, published an article in The Lancet. Wakefield did intestinal biopsies on 12 children with intestinal symptoms and developmental disorders, 10 of whom were autistic, and found intestinal inflammation. The parents of 8 of the autistic children believed their symptoms began after receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The published paper clearly said, “We did not find an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virologic studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.”

However, despite this disclaimer in the paper, Wakefield held a press conference to say the MMR vaccine probably caused autism and he recommended stopping MMR vaccinations. Instead, he recommended giving the vaccinations separately at intervals of a year or more.

Wakefield’s analysis was thoroughly discredited later and he was found to have done questionable research on other subjects as well. The Lancet retracted his original paper. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, described the original paper as “fatally flawed” and apologized for publishing it. Ten of the original 12 co-authors published a retraction stating:

“We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between the vaccine and autism, as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of a link was raised, and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.”

 

The damage from this poorly vetted research continues today as many still believe autism is associated with vaccinations. The Lancet bears responsibility for this publishing malpractice. Now they have done it again, apparently due to their political bias. There is no place in medicine and medical research for political bias. Scientific research should be above the political world if we are ever to have faith in the accuracy of its conclusions. The Lancet has failed us again.

 

COVID-19 and the Nursing Home Disaster

 

Nursing homes are supposed to be places of refuge for those who need long-term medical care and support. They are home to some of our most vulnerable, usually elderly people. Sadly, they have become death traps for many, especially in some states.

Avik Roy, writing in Forbes, says 2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of our population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In a recent analysis, performed by Roy and Gregg Girvan for the Foundation for Research and Equal Opportunity, they studied the number of nursing home-related deaths due to the COVID-19 virus. They found 42% of all deaths due to the virus, in the 43 states reporting figures, occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

42% of all COVID-19 deaths happened in facilities that house 0.6% of the population!

These astounding numbers are probably too conservative. In New York, the number of nursing home deaths was certainly under-reported since they chose to exclude any deaths of nursing home residents that occurred after transport to a hospital. Outside of New York, more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 are of residents of long-term care facilities.

Here are some states with the highest percentages:

  • Ohio – 70%
  • Pennsylvania – 69%
  • Minnesota – 81%
  • New Hampshire – 70%
  • Washington – 61%

Tragically, the decisions of state government officials greatly impacted these figures. In the states of New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, nursing homes were ordered to accept infected patients in transfer from hospitals after discharge. This may have been designed to prevent overcrowding of ICUs, but at the expense of nursing home residents.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was outspoken in defending this practice. As recently as April 23, Cuomo declared that nursing homes “don’t have the right to object” to accepting elderly patients with active COVID-19 infections. “That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that,” said Cuomo. Only on May 10 – after the deaths of 3,000 New York residents in nursing homes – did Cuomo stand down and partially rescind his order.

Florida Did Better

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis required all nursing home workers to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the facilities. On March 15, DeSantis signed an executive order banning nursing home visitations by friends or family, and also banned hospitals from discharging patients who were infected with the virus to long-term care facilities.

Florida also prioritized long-term care facilities for personal protective equipment (PPE). DeSantis said, “If I can send PPE to the nursing homes, and they can prevent an outbreak there, that’s going to do more to lower the burden on hospitals than me just sending them another 500,000 N95 masks.”

Roy says we should all learn from the Florida experience. He recommends the following:

  • Rescind all state orders to mandate nursing homes accept infected patients
  • Restrict visits to nursing homes by friends and family until further notice
  • Prioritize PPE for nursing homes at least as high as hospitals
  • Test all nursing home workers for active infection
  • Limit nursing home workers to one facility when possible
  • Force those 7 states not reporting nursing home deaths to begin reporting

 

The Silver Lining

The silver lining in this story is that the 99.4% of the U.S. population that doesn’t live in nursing homes is roughly half as likely to die of this corona virus than we previously thought. These latest figures show a strong correlation with advancing age, other medical co-morbidities, and nursing home residence. Those who do not fit into these categories are at considerably lower risk.

 

If you’re one of the 99.4% of Americans who do not live in a nursing home, you should feel better. If you, or your loved ones, do live in a nursing home, you should insist they comply with the above recommendations whenever possible.