The Gross National Debt

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blue lines, numbers, percentages, war and funerals

Full disclaimer: I am terrible at math. As a junior in high school, I tested out with a 6th grader's math ability. Dad, a Georgia Tech grad, was mortified. Mom, who made it through calculus and developed an ulcer from it, was nonplussed.

So. I am presenting you with some numbers. I'm going to do my best to make sure they are correct. Well, correct based on the source of the information. I am including the sources so you can check my figures.

Ready? Let's rock.


According to the information I dug out of several websites, the men and women of law enforcement show incredible restraint where lethal force is concerned.

You have heard the chant "Black Lives Matter." (Disclaimer: I detest using the words "black," "white," "Hispanic" and etc when referring to people. We're people. Humans. Stop attempting to define each other by recent ancestry. If you call this "white privilege" then so be it.  "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.")

I tell you, Lives Matter.

Here's the numbers.

According to Killed By Police, here's the number of police-caused deaths so far this year.

Sept. 54
Aug. 106
July 126
June 82
May 85
April 103
March 115
Feb. 86
Jan. 92


However, other sources say this information is suspect"It's ridiculous that I can't tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year," FBI DIrector James Comey said in February.

The numbers may be off, but that's what we've go to work with.


So let's take a different look at the numbers. Mother Jones offers this insight. Mother Jones is a somewhat suspect journalism outlet. It has an agenda and believes in pushing that agenda, but this is also data. Interpret how you will. There's a chart a short way down the page. Here's a snapshot.

"African American" deaths a 3.66 per million. "Hispanic" 1.2 per million. "Non-Hispanic white" .9 per million. Does show "African Americans" are killed a lot more often by law enforcement.

I can't find any report to show the information I want next. How much of law enforcement's time is spent responding to calls in "African American" neighborhoods v. "white" neighborhoods? I did study this a few years ago in my community. I split my town into quadrants, which worked very well as an ethnic breakdown as well, according to the US census and my own observations in the community.

More than 75 percent of the calls for law enforcement were in the southwest quadrant. The rest of the calls were in the northwest and southeast (my neighborhood) quadrants. During the 6 months I examined, the northeast section of town had precisely 2 calls, both were for fights at the alternate school.



Now how about law enforcement deaths? These numbers should be more accurate than the ones above.

The Skeptical Libertarian took at look at this. The author uses some strong language in his article, so you are now warned. His info is current as of 2012.

He found 2009 had the fewest LE deaths in the years he examined. 12.9 per 100,000 cops were killed. The worst was 19.8 per 100,000 in 2007.

Let's compare that to the per millions as figured by Ma Jones.

129 per million in 2009.

198 per million in 2007.

Call it an average of 150 per million.

Contrast that to Ma Jone's report that shows less than 10 people per million were killed by police on average.


Lives matter. You can crunch numbers however you wish, but the bottom line is each "1" in any column represents a human life.

These numbers show me that cops are killed in far higher numbers than the people they are here to protect and serve. Some bad cops do exist. Most are dedicated and good people who are sometimes forced to make instant decisions. 

My opinion, based on these numbers, is cops make the wrong decision more often than the right decision when it comes to lethal force. They have the physical wounds to prove it. Too often, there's a funeral to prove it.

Your mileage may vary.

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