Thursday, July 14, 2016

Police Killings versus Citizens Being Killed by Police

Recently a number of police officers were shot in Texas and five of them died. As far as we can tell at the moment, none of the police had been involved in any way with the shooter prior. Many in the media came out immediately to say that there was a war on police. Funny that these same pundits did not claim there was a war on homosexuals after the shootings in Orlando or a war on civilians after the numerous shootings of unarmed people for the past few decades. Whether or not you believe any of these murders constitute a "war", there is certainly a lot of innocent people being shot, I want to look at those numbers.

So far this year, 2016, 624 people have been killed by the police. In 2015, 1208 people were killed by the police. In 2014 1,111 people were killed by the police and in 2013 773 people were killed by the police. The Guardian newspaper reports that in 2015 the police killed was 1,140 and that 224 of those were unarmed. Now lets look at killings of police officers.

In 2015, 129 officers were killed in the line of duty. In 2014, 133 officers died in the line of duty with 51 feloniously killed, as opposed to the 44 who died in accidents. Lets explain this another way, the police like everyone else get into car accidents and sometimes they die. When you are shot by the police, it is not an accident.

The numbers on police killed is easier to obtain than the numbers on civilian deaths. I should also point out that the number of people killed by cops in accidents is not tracked and the numbers we are using do not include the number of people killed while in police custody.

Here is what the numbers we know do show. If there is a war on against the police, the police are winning as the number of unarmed people killed by the police far exceeds the number of police killed each year.

I expect law enforcement people to get killed in the line of duty, my father was in law enforcement and was shot at more than once. If it is your job to arrest people with weapons who have committed a crime, you have to figure sometimes they will shoot back. This is why the penalties, written and unwritten, are so stiff for people who kill police officers as it should be. The problem seems to be that there is no penalty for shooting unarmed civilians and up until recently, not many complaints in the media about it. While every officer who is shot gets local and state reporting, most killings by police are not mentioned in the media.

I have been sitting back for the past week reading all the "sides" regarding the recent killing of the police in Texas. I have read that Obama is the reason for the officers killings, that Black Lives Matter is responsible and even that it is Trump's fault. The discussion seems to focus on the race of the people killed by the police, I am much more interested in when unarmed people are killed than their race. The police are killing more and more unarmed people, that is a problem. The murder of police officers is not going up.

So, is there a war on against the police? Nope. Cops are usually killed by armed suspects attempting to evade arrest, not by protestors or liberals or democrats. I would also like to point out that when gays or movie goers or school children or really the victims of mass shootings, the right claims it is a question of better mental care; but, when cops are killed it is blamed on Obama and anything else the right is against. The truth is ignored by both sides to support their beliefs on gun control, Islamic extremism or racism.  The man who killed the cops in Texas was mentally unstable, yet, that issue is not raised by right wing pundits. To me the issue is why are so many unarmed civilians being shot by the police and criminals, because the answer to that question might mean new gun restrictions, more free mental health care and stiffer penalties for anyone shooting an unarmed person.

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