As we’ve already been seeing, the beginning of the year is the traditional time for everyone in the media to start compiling all the statistics from the previous twelve months and scrambling to find what it all means. One of the more sad numbers to add up is the number of people killed in various ways, but the press has a particular fixation on the number of people who die in lethal force encounters with the police. Boy howdy, that must be one heck of a number. From the headlines we see on a nearly weekly basis, you’d think that cops are out there mowing down unarmed (primarily black) suspects with abandon. But as Michael Walsh pointed out at the New York Post last week, the reality turned out to be very different from the hype.
It’s the narrative that’s given rise to the protest movement Black Lives Matter and to a growing public mistrust of the police in general. From Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to the recent shooting of a middle-aged woman and a teen in Chicago, the body count seemingly keeps rising, exacerbating racial tensions and keeping the nation on edge. And each incident is breathlessly reported by a media determined to show that America remains deeply, irredeemably racist.
Problem is, it’s simply not true.
Last week, the Washington Post published a study of the police shootings that took place in 2015. Likely they intended the story to be shocking — as on Dec. 24, 965 people were killed by police! Instead, the report quells the notion that trigger-happy cops are out hunting for civilian victims, especially African-Americans.
The specifics, even in the normally biased eye of the Washington Post, look very bad for the SJW and their claims. Walsh picks out a few, among which are these eye opening tidbits.
- White cops shooting unarmed black men accounted for less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings.
- In three-quarters of the incidents, cops were either under attack themselves or defending civilians. In other words, doing their jobs.
- The majority of those killed were brandishing weapons, suicidal or mentally troubled or bolted when ordered to surrender.
- Nearly a third of police shootings resulted from car chases that began with a minor traffic stop.
Possibly the biggest shocker (assuming you get all your information from MSNBC, anyway) is that the total number of unarmed people shot and killed by the police was 90. And more than half of them were white. And simply being “unarmed” doesn’t describe the full set of circumstances for many of them. Is it any wonder that so few municipalities wind up taking cops to trial? And even when they do, the charges frequently don’t hold up under scrutiny.
Let’s just stop and think about that for a moment. Even taking into account the handful of obviously bad shootings ( such as Walter Scott) and the truly tragic accidents like Tamir Rice, we’re talking about a few dozen people here. That’s not to say that every life isn’t important or that each incident shouldn’t be fully and competently investigated, but the idea that the police are out there hunting people down in droves is simply absurd when you look at the actual numbers. You literally have a better chance of being struck and killed by lightning.
Not that I expect these numbers to change the tone of the conversation in the media, mind you. I’m not that much of an optimist. But those are just a few good figures to keep on hand next time it comes up.