Roy Exum: Our "Real" Health Crisis

Thursday, July 2, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Let’s be real honest. Anyone who dares to think that defunding the police is anything more than a terribly-twisted psychology experiment now being pushed by flaming liberals, or a zany “Black Lives Matter” type of ‘money grab,’ has never visited a jail, shared a Subway sandwich with three Chattanooga police officers, or witnessed a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer valiantly working a fatal car wreck in a blinding rain. It is totally absurd.
There is currently a viral video making the rounds at warp speed on the Internet where this patrolman sitting in the front seat of his cruiser tells somebody with an iPhone video recorder: “So, I come in this morning and we were informed there was going to be a protest … to, um, ‘defund the police.’ Well, that’s fine … I like protests … except for, they requested a police presence … you know … (officer trying not to laugh) for their safety at the … ‘defund the police’ event.
Ah … (he shakes his head) before a pause and then with a grin, he delivers his classic line in a chuckling voice: “I (kid) you not!”

This is the way I guarantee 90 percent of America feels and, just you watch, the coming public backlash against this uneducated idiocy, according to my “Uncle Larry,” ain’t going to be pretty. During a meeting Tuesday afternoon my pal Demetrus Coonrod, a City Councilwoman, is calling for racism to be declared “a public health crisis” in the city. What in heaven’s name is that about, and the bigger question is what on earth is that going to accomplish. Be completely honest. It’s hot air.
Not only that, it is “stinkin’ thinkin’” that serves as no benefit to not one single soul outside of Vaudeville.
I am told Councilman Erskine Olgesby and Councilman Jerry Mitchell are supporting the fiasco, this after the American Public Health Association has just come out with the sterling nugget that the average life expectancy of African Americans is four years fewer than the rest of the population. Are you kidding me?
It has been well known, much studied, and a stark given at every medical school across the globe that individual lifestyles, diets (diabetes), hereditary genes (hypertension), are easy and quick indisputable answers as to why African Americans have a shorter lifespan. Please, adhere to age-old facts and the truth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a 2015 report that is well-documented, found that per 100,000 people in the United States, 851.9 blacks died compared to 735 whites in 2015. That’s a 15.9 percent difference. The age disparities are even larger. Among Americans between the ages of 18 to 34, there were 41 percent more blacks who died than whites; in the 35-49 age group, there were 41.4 percent more blacks than whites; and in the 50-64 bracket, there were 44.8 percent more blacks who died.
Why is that:
* * *
AN EXCERPT: From “Vital Signs: Racial Disparities in Age-Specific Mortality Among Blacks or African Americans — United States, 1999–2015
“This analysis shows that blacks had significantly lower educational attainment and home ownership and almost twice the proportion of households living below the poverty level and unemployed than whites in all age groups. Such social factors are posited as “fundamental causes” because they influence chronic conditions, related behaviors, health-related quality of life, and health care utilization by constraining persons’ abilities to engage in prevention or treatment.
“These differences in “fundamental causes,” health behaviors, and access to health care contribute to the excess deaths and chronic conditions among younger black adults that are most common among persons aged 65 years. For example, blacks in age groups 18-34 and 35-49 were nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as whites.
“These findings are generally consistent with previous reports that use the term “weathering” to suggest that blacks experience premature aging and earlier health decline than whites, and that this decline in health accumulates across the entire life span and potentially across generations, as a consequence of psychosocial, economic, and environmental stressors.”
* * *
Racist disparity was nowhere to be found in the report first published in 2017. Nowhere could I find it. But far-and-away the most shocking figure in the massive tabulation was that the leading cause of death to African Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 was homicide. Compared to whites of the same ages, the death rate disparity was 785.8 percent. Per 100,000, that is 47.2 percent of blacks versus 5.5 percent of whites. And for all ages, black homicide was 506.4 percent higher in blacks. (Suicide for all ages was 62.9 percent more whites.)
Dee, you and I and Erskine – leave Jerry out of it – all know the biggest epidemic among African Americans in Chattanooga, Tenn., is black-on-black bullets. Not hours after you said, “It's really not much to discuss. We already know what the issues are, we know what the data and everything shows. But I really would like (racism as a “public health crisis”) to be put on the agenda," just guess what happened. The epidemic struck again.
That’s right. If you missed it on, the news story read, “Police said Dequan Scott, 27, was shot and killed in the 4400 block of Kemp Drive on Tuesday night. At approximately 10:42 p.m., Chattanooga Police were called to a local hospital after an adult male arrived with an apparent gunshot wound. The victim … arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle. He died at the hospital.”
Dee, I was shattered when I learned your granddaughter Peyton will go through the rest of her life without her daddy, a recent victim of what is believed to have been another black’s gun. Forget joining some trendy fad where three states and about 20 cities have declared racism as a “public health crisis.” It’s ridiculous, an allegation based on no more than hear-say, when Dequan Scott, age 27, was murdered two days ago and his death is stone-cold fact.
Our most urgent public health crisis, make no mistake, is an ongoing series of black-on-black shootings, not some fad-of-the-hour racism nonsense that only education and our Sunday Schools can better serve. Look at what notorious shootings have done to so many wide-spread black families both in Chattanooga and nationwide. Please, Dee…
To cop an expression, “I (kid) you not.”

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