The Anti-Cop Trend That Isn't

Despite breathless media reports, there is little evidence that violence against police officers is on the rise.

Between January 20 and January 25, 13 police officers were shot in the U.S., five of them fatally. Two officers in St. Petersburg, Florida, were killed while trying to arrest a suspect accused of aggravated battery. Two more were killed in Miami while trying to arrest a suspected murderer. An officer in Oregon was seriously wounded and another in Indiana was killed after they were shot during routine traffic stops. The Indiana assailant had a long and violent criminal record. The suspect in Oregon is still at large. In another incident, four officers were injured in Detroit when a man about to be charged in a murder investigation walked into a police station and opened fire.

Some police advocates have drawn unsupported conclusions from this rash of attacks, claiming that they are tied to rising anti-police sentiment, anti-government protest, or a lack of adequate gun control laws. Media outlets also have been quick to draw connections between these unrelated shootings. While these incidents are tragic, the ensuing alarmism threatens to stifle much-needed debate about police tactics, police misconduct, and police accountability.

Jon Shane, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told NPR the January shootings "follow some bit of a larger trend in the United States," which he described as an "overriding sense of entitlement and 'don't tread on me.'" Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, told UPI, "It's a very troubling trend where officers are being put at greater risk than ever before." The same article summarized the opinions of other police leaders who think the shootings "reflected a broader lack of respect for authority."

Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, told MSNBC, "It's not a fluke….There's a perception among officers in the field that there's a war on cops going on." Police critic William Grigg notes that Smith County, Texas, Sheriff J.B. Smith told the NBC station in Tyler, "I think it's a hundred times more likely today that an officer will be assaulted compared to twenty, thirty years ago. It has become one of the most hazardous jobs in the United States, undoubtedly—in the top five."

During his interview with Shane, NPR host Michael Martin linked the shootings to the availability of guns. Salon's Amy Steinberg concluded "there is a disturbing trend and an increasingly pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control."

Dig into most of these articles, however, and you will find there is no real evidence of an increase in anti-police violence, let alone one that can be traced to anti-police rhetoric, gun sales, disrespect for authority, or "don't tread on me" sentiment. (CNN is one of the few media outlets that have covered the purported anti-police trend with appropriate skepticism.) Amid all the quotes from concerned law enforcement officials in MSNBC's "War on Cops" article, for example, is a casual mention that police fatality statistics for this month are about the same as they were in January 2010. Right after suggesting to NPR that the recent attacks were related to anti-government rhetoric, Shane acknowledged there has been little research into the underlying causes of police shootings.

In truth, on-the-job police fatalities have dropped nearly 50 percent during the last 20 years, even as the total number of cops has doubled. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 279 cops were killed on the job in 1974, the worst year on record. That number steadily decreased to just 116 in 2009. The leading cause of death for cops on duty is car accidents, not violence. For the last several years, the number of officers intentionally killed on the job each year has ranged from 45 to 60, out of about 850,000 cops on the beat. That makes police officers about 50 percent more likely to be intentionally killed than the average American. But contrary to Sheriff Smith's claim, the job isn't among the 10 most dangerous in the country, let alone the "the top five," even if you include officers unintentionally killed in traffic accidents.

As for guns, Salon's Steinberg strangely came to her conclusion about "the pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control" just a few paragraphs after she noted that gun sales have risen dramatically during the same 20-year period when police officer fatalities have plummeted. Last year there was an increase in officers intentionally killed on the job, from 41 to 58, which Steinberg characterizes this way: "In 2010 policemen killed on the job rose by nearly 40 percent, the greatest increase since 1974." That's true. But isn't it more significant that these numbers have dropped to the point where 17 additional deaths now represents an increase of 40 percent? In any event, 2010 also saw the smallest increase in gun sales in six years.

None of this is meant to denigrate the heroism of police officers who confront and apprehend dangerous people, and we certainly should honor and remember those who are injured or killed while doing so. But seizing on an anomalous series of terrible shootings as evidence of a nonexistent anti-police trend skews the debate on issues such as aggressive police tactics, police militarization, the use of Tasers, searches and pat-downs, and police transparency and accountability. Officer safety is important, but it should not come at the expense of the safety and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect.

 Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

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  • Tim||

    A lot of this is to dress up gun control in patriotic looking clothes so it will appeal to (what the NPR left sees as) rednecks.

  • P B||

    Any excuse to advance the agena, facts be damned.

  • Raven Nation||

    In addition, it is part of the overall argument that right-of-center anti-government protests/anger leads to violence against innocent police, etc.
    This is as opposed to the left-of-center anti-government protests/anger which leads to righteous election results.

    In other words, the use of the situation to extend gun control is part of a wider argument to try to silence anti-left critiques. While almost all libertarians see little difference b/w red & blue, most of the media (& a surprising number of academics) sincerely believe that only Democrats can save the country.

  • ||

    In other words, the use of the situation to extend gun control is part of a wider argument to try to silence anti-left critiques.

    Eh, I dunno, I don't think there's any grand conspiracy going on here. I think most of these people are sincere in their stupidity.

    You're certainly right that plenty of wrong-headed lefty thought has essentially been accepted as canon by the media. But I'd more readily attribute that to plain old-fashioned bias than a concerted effort to "direct the narrative" or whatever the kids are saying these days.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Y'know, I believed that too. "Yeah, yeah, the media's one big massive liberal conspiracy, Whatever... Go back to watching WWF, Grandpa."

    And then the whole Journolist thing came out. Now, I'm not so sure. Still can't believe there weren't massive firings as a result of that story.

  • Raven Nation||

    I could have been clearer: I don't think there is a conspiracy. What I meant to say was just that the general narrative here is to quiet dissent rather than just to focus on gun control.

    And I do think the issue is bias rather than directing a narrative. That said, I'm not sure bias is the right word either. Bias implies a knowing decision to lean in one direction or another. I believe most journalists do not see themselves as biased but rather "telling the truth." I see this in academia where most academics sincerely know that anyone who is not a liberal is dumb, misinformed, or a victim of a nefarious campaign to keep them in the dark. Most academics sincerely believe that they do not hold liberal views, they just hold views that are right (or true).

  • ||

    Yeah -- and actually that smug, subconscious self-satisfaction is what I meant by bias. I think what you wrote is a perfect characterization of that mentality.

    What they fail to realize, of course, is that I am actually right about all this stuff, not them.

  • Raven Nation||

    No kidding. You should hear how they respond when I say, "But Rhayader says..."

  • Apogee||

    What they fail to realize, of course, is that I am actually right about all this stuff, not them.

    There is, however, a difference between an ideology that necessitates the regulation and collection of other people's monetary wealth for its survival, and one that depends on consensual transactions for its survival.

    This isn't just about people wanting their side to win.

    It's not two sides of the same coin, because it isn't the same coin.

  • LarryA||

    I think a main MSM problem is that most of the firearms world is simply not on their radar.

    A woman winning a national championship in a male-dominated sport should be Big News, from stories in major newspapers and on TV news to appearances on talk shows with Leno, Oprah, and DeGeneres. But outside the gun press no one has heard of Sherri Gallagher.

  • Gray Ghost||

    That is incredible, Larry. Thanks for the link. Shades of Margaret Murdock.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Do people have to wear trash bags when they watch her shoot stuff?

  • ||

    We demand unlimited belt-fed ammo...for self-defense.

  • ||

    Sure no prolem homes! What else can I gets for ju?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I saw an episode of CSI: Dubuque last night that featured a gun crime. I think it's time we open a serious discussion on gun control.

  • Stretch||

    They have a CSI dedicated to tasty pork products now?

  • Warty||

    None of this is meant to denigrate the heroism of police officers who confront and apprehend dangerous people

    Radley, I'm pretty sure the pigs already hate you too much for flattery to get you anywhere.

  • Radley Balko||

    Radley, I'm pretty sure the pigs already hate you too much for flattery to get you anywhere.

    I don't care who likes me and who doesn't. The four cops killed in Florida were killed while apprehending violent felons. That's heroic. And it's something I sure as hell wouldn't have the guts to do. I'm glad there are people who do.

    There are bad cops. And we have a flawed system. Both are worth drawing attention to. Neither is reason to piss on the memory of the cops who actually did die while trying to protect the community from bad people.

  • ||

    We had a cop recently killed in metro Detroit.

    He was doing the exact job we (even most libertarians) think cops should be doing. This does not in any way mitigate my outrage about police abusing their authority, being incompetent, or unjustifiably abusing/killing innocent citizens (or even guilty criminals who pose no immediate threat), but the fact that cops do regularly protect people's lives and property only a fool denies.

  • Ass Heaven||

    "This does not in any way mitigate my outrage about police abusing their authority, being incompetent, or unjustifiably abusing/killing innocent citizens (or even guilty criminals who pose no immediate threat)"

    This may prove difficult for you to comprehend but I'm going to try anyway.

    Some problems can not be fixed. Not by the family, not by the church, not by the government. Kinda sucks, don't it?

  • ||

    Thank Jeebus anonypussy is stalking others now. Shitty, passive aggressive bipolar stalkers for everyone! Share my disappointment in the quality and intelligence of my stalker. Marvel at the impotence and bitterness of it! Watch as it it cycles through manic and depressive phases!

    Or don't.

  • ||

    *Sheepishly digs toe into ground*
    Shucks, I'm honored.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Some problems can not be fixed. Not by the family, not by the church, not by the government. Kinda sucks, don't it?

    What part of this is untrue?

  • Tolly||

    This is the debate my wife and I had on Saturday -
    While I am glad the cops are there and doing a dangerous job, in this case and in others, we're seeing it degrade to blank hero-worship. All of which sidesteps the issues that (in the St. Pete case) the one time when cops would've been justified in calling the SWAT team to apprehend an armed felon, they didn't, and afte rthe initial shooting, the call was made to completely destroy the house. So much for chain of evidence or crimescene forensics.

    The wife was angry that I'm not too broken up about the deaths of two cops who appeared to be a little too gung-ho to charge a suspect. Instead I just think about these faulty gun-control, war-on-cop arguments and the flood of ridiculous but well-intentioned laws to come. All of that, when the real untold story is the increased militarization of PDs around the US (the house was destroyed partly by a armored personnel carrier - paid for by DHS funds - natch), and the increasing silencing of recording and accountability for officers.

    It only takes a few seconds to bring up multiple, astonishing criminal acts perpetrated by PDs and officers around the nation - killings of dogs and innocents in wrong-door raids, prostitution, theft, assault, and witness intimidation/tampering - all while bankrupting towns with bloated pension plans that somehow manage to pay off these criminals with badges.

    But instead the media's going to pursue the War On Cops lede and exploit the funerals and deaths w/o addressing the heart of the problem. For those of us paying attention, it's enough to make you ill.

  • ||

    The word "heroic" has been stripped of all its meaning. It is not "heroic" to do your job, even if your job is dangerous. No one would ever call Alaskan fishermen "heroic" yet their job is far more dangerous than a cop's job.

    This use of "heroic" is part of why cops feel like they are above non-cops. It needs to stop.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Do you need a hero?
    Are you holding out for a hero `til the end of the night?
    Does he gotta be strong?
    And does he gotta be fast?
    And I'm assuming he's gotta be fresh from the fight?

  • ||

    Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...
    I never thought I could feel so free-e-e;
    Flying away on a wing and a prayer
    Who could it be?
    Believe it or not, it's just me...

  • ChicagoSucks||

    I'll be back in the high life again
    All the doors I closed one time will open up again
    I'll be back in the high life again
    All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in
    And I'll drink and dance with one hand free
    Let the world back into me
    And on I'll be a sight to see
    Back in the high life again

  • Name Nomad||

    The hero has gotta be fresh from the shop.

    Yes, I'm sorry for anyone who had fond memories of that song.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Episiarch,

    This use of "heroic" is part of why cops feel like they are above non-cops. It needs to stop.

    Hey! Even thuggish, jack-booted, tax-fed leeches can be heroic!

  • junyo||

    The four cops killed in Florida were killed while apprehending violent felons. That's heroic.

    A plumber apprehending a violent felon is heroic. A LEO doing so is doing their job. I don't have the greatest of sympathy for people that voluntarily undertake a dangerous profession, and then complain about how dangerous it is (unless they go above and beyond). The cops in every monster movie ineffectually shooting at the horror with pistols? Those are heroes, because they didn't sign up for that shit.

    If it was easy and completely safe, everyone would be eating doughnuts all day, wearing a gun on their hip, and ignoring speed limits.

  • Abdul||

    Soldiers are just doing their jobs, which is why we call guys like Sergeant York and Audie Murphy "War Just-doing-their-jobbers" and not "War Heroes," even though the latter would be far less awkward.

  • Jim||

    He specifically said, "unless they go above and beyond". Which is exactly what Audie Murphy and Alvin York did.

    p.s. Murphy went on to be a drunken, wife-beating, gambling addict.

  • Moe||

    "Show me a hero and I'll show you a bum." - Greg "Pappy" Boyington

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Wasn't he a little small to be a wife beater? The guy was like 5' 6" or something, nearly a dwarf!

  • BakedPenguin||

    And it's something I sure as hell wouldn't have the guts to do.

    Really? Are you just being modest? I don't ask this out of sarcasm - you've walked into some places and asked some powerful, connected people questions they couldn't have wanted to answer. You had to know you were potentially putting your life at risk.

    Perhaps not as dangerous as facing down some scumbags who just shot up a bank, but it's not accountancy, either.

  • Tango Mike||

    Well said, Radley. Well said. As usual.

  • ||

    Radley - I am surprised that you didn't have MORE to say about the two Florida officers killed last week serving a warrant against a known violent offender. The police routinely send SWAT teams in to subdue non-violent druggies, yet send two deputies with nothing but a bullet proof vest to arrest a KNOWN violent criminal. So bizarre.


  • Asshole||

    Not that they were "heroic."
    Off topic, but does this cubicle make my ass look fat?
    Ouch, a paper cut!

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Makes me think that these SWAT guys are a bunch of pussies.

  • ||

    That's because they mostly are.
    Watch one episode of any shitty SWAT reality show, and you'll notice they shit their pants at the thought of having to serve a drug warrant to someone possessing a firearm.

  • Steff||

    Thank you.

    Police culture, as a rule, is broken. It just is. But there are absolutely still good men and women who go out there for the right reasons, put their lives on the line to protect others and they do deserve some basic human decency.

    I'm in a unique position to see just how broken the culture is, and even I wouldn't dream of badmouthing the ones who show courage. Including those who die protecting others, those who suffer for whistleblowing or otherwise.

  • ||

    ... to piss on the memory of the cops who actually did die...

    -- Radley Balko

    We have a word for "did die" in English, Radley. Try: died

    Here's an improved version of your writing: piss on the memory of the cops who died ...

    Dump that "actually" bit too. Adverbs weaken expression.

  • ||

    What's the death rate of the grammar police? Then again you probably rarely encounter any truly sophisticated criminals. Those guys never loose their kewl.

  • ||

    radley, plenty of cops approve of what you are doing. i do.

  • Sean Mack||

    You'd be surprised how many fans Radley has among the police. And you'd be amazed to learn how the glory boys in SWAT are really viewed by blue-collared street cops.

  • O'Reilly||

    It's the same pin heads that started the war on Christmas!

  • Old Mexican||

    Many police advocates [OM: read - fascists] have drawn unsupported conclusions from this rash of attacks, claiming that they are tied to rising anti-police sentiment, anti-government protest, or a lack of adequate gun control laws.

    "Never let a good crisis go to waste."
    Old Statist proverb.

    Of course this "war on cops" shit is a canard, a highly convenient at that.

    By the way, a person dies by the hands of police officers each DAY, on average.

  • Wind Rider||

    Until the climate completely mimics the hiring practice for cops portrayed in 'A Clockwork Orange', along with requisite public genuflection and random free blowjobs towards anyone that has been granted the privilege of state sanction to commit violence while carrying lethal weaponry in an unquestioned or unchallenged manner, you can bet that the carping and whining is going to continue, and the louder and less coherent the better.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    Sounds like Miami in the 80's

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Too right droog. The millicents like to platch on whenever a rozz takes a pooshka shot in the guttiwuts, or maybe takes a shlaga to the yarbles, but they never shed a tear when they oobivat one of us chellovecks.

  • ||

    Caption Contest!

    "Could anyone else go for a dount right about now?"

  • ||

    So, as near as I can tell, nearly everyone yammering on about how dangerous it is to be a cop, and how its getting worse all the time is either

    (a) A pubsec union goon who is lying, or
    (b) A member of the statist media, propagating those lies.

    Oh, and there is one useful idiot from the professoriate, as well.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    To be fair, they could just be stupid.

  • some guy||

    I say it's best to assume everyone is a raving fool until they have proven otherwise.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    The same article summarized the opinions of other police leaders who think the shootings "reflected a broader lack of respect for authority."

    well, if you're one of those crazy ratbaggers who thinks "respect" does not come from the barrel of a gun, but must be earned, that makes perfect sense.

  • ||

    the shootings "reflected a broader lack of respect for authority."

    So, South Park is more documentary than satire?

  • T||

    Has been for years. There's no government policy you can satirize, because some jack ass, in all seriousness, is proposing something worse than you can imagine.

  • ||

    It has become one of the most hazardous jobs in the United States, undoubtedly—in the top five.

    The reporter from NBC fact-checked that claim, though, right?


  • Cecil||

    That claim is wrong

  • ||

    There is not a TV news producer in the country that is going to let it be reported that being a cop is 24th on this list.

  • d||

    Yeah, 24th most dangerous, just before being a *baker* and several slots less dangerous than being a *flight attendant* and a *construction worker*.
    [shudders] Makes me want to be a cop, considering how much more money they make (with very little required education).

  • Amakudari||

    Police work: twice as dangerous as geology

  • Jill||

    1989 nothing in the last 20 years?

  • ||

    It's bad enough that these supposedly educated people don't seem to understand that correlation does not equal causation. But they're not even bothering to establish correlation. Crap, if they're going to try to bullshit us they could at least have the decency to spend five minutes thinking up a more convincing story.

  • Atchafalaya||

    After the last presidential election I figure most government figures realize they can say and do anything they want with giving a damn. No need to stress over being convincing when the people you are trying to convince believe anything you say just because you said it.

  • ||

    Propaganda doesn't require correlation, let alone causation =P

  • ||

    I don't think that there is a War on Cops. But even if there is, I don't have that much sympathy except for the ones that actually put themselves between bullets and those that they are sworn to protect.

    Fuck'em. 20+ years of war rhetoric and then they want to whine when people either fight back or adopt said war rhetoric. Fuck'em

    And I agree with Epi. These aren't heroes. I face the same risks these assholes do when I walk out my door every morning, and I don't wear a side arm.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Just wait. There's gonna be a War On the "War On Cops". We've warred on drugs, negative emotions (i.e. terror), and now we'll war on war itself. There's nothing the U.S. Government can't war on! And there's no war they can't fail to win! War is the opiate of the state!

  • T||

    Last time I checked, picking up garbage was more likely to get you killed than being a cop. Is there a war on trash collectors? Or is it just that getting backed over by a garbage truck is usually fatal?

    I also note that every time I check these statistics, cop never enters the top 10.

  • ||

    I just want to see the rest of Smith's top ten list.

  • some guy||

    10 most dangerous careers (according to Sherrif Smith):

    1. Zombie
    2. Murder Victim
    3. Soldier
    4. Cop
    5. Other public employees
    6. Fuck it, I pulled "top five" out of my ass anyway...

  • ||


  • Cecil||

    Hell, cops aren't even in the top 20.

  • ||

    I wonder if perhaps the increase has something to do with the difference in and reduction in quality of training. Cops should be trained to always de-escalate the situation where possible. Nearly every one doesn't want a felony assault on a police officer or worse a potential capitol murder charge for killing one if they can think about it. It is usually when things escalate and people act without thinking.

    But now cops don't seem to do that. They seem to act like over stimulated babboons. And I wonder if the more agressive attitude isn't getting some of them killed.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    It is usually when things escalate and people act without thinking.

    That's why you need to bust into homes in the middle of the night. That way the suspects are well rested and can be at the top of their mental game.

  • ||

    Yeah, good call. Police were supposed to be the adults in the situation, paving the way for cooler heads to prevail. Modern confrontational tactics have essentially abandoned this notion.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    Or at least that's how police used to be portrayed on television and the big screen. Now, you've got three kinds of cop characters:

    1. The bumbling doughnut munching idiot.
    2. The bad-boy maverick who can take down an entire street gang with enough ammunition (and collateral damage).
    3. The corrupt thug who cares only for himself.

    Not sure what this says about the population's concept of "law enforcement" but I'd take a level-headed officer friendly over Bruce Willis any day.

  • scrat||

    Southland pretty much runs counter to that list.

  • ||

    They've only shown about nine episodes. Give it time.

    But, what was the deal with the "Code 4" the other night? I can't understand why he didn't want more assistance.

  • ||

    That must be why I enjoyed that movie The Other Guys so thoroughly.

    Reporter: Sgt Highsmith, the perp was found with only fifty dollars worth of marijuana. Do you really think that's worth the twenty million in damages you caused?

    Detective Highsmith: Why don't we ask the people of New York City that question. The Greatest. City? On Earth. Yea!

  • ||

    Some problems can not be fixed.

    This is not one of them.

  • Spartacus||

    Between January 20 and January 25, 13 police officers were shot in the U.S., five of them fatally.

    Between January 26 and January 30, no police officers were killed in the U.S. This dramatic decrease in the fatality rate surely means that law enforcement has become one of the safest jobs in the country...

  • Jim||


  • Brendan Perez||

    If a handful of incidents towards cops across the country equals a "war on cops", what does a larger handful of incidents towards non-cop citizens equal?

    Fuck these badge wearing thugs. They're not peace officers, they're soldiers fighting various wars-war on drugs, war on terror, war on crime-with military weapons, pseudo-military tactics, and we the people are all lumped in as enemy combatants.

    Given that, I can't get too upset when a small number of people bring the war right back to the police.
    When the police act like peace officers, I'll get upset when they're not treated peacefully.

  • joel mendez||

    "seizing on an anomalous series of terrible shootings as evidence of a nonexistent anti-police trend skews the debate on issues such as aggressive police tactics, police militarization, the use of Tasers, searches and pat-downs, and police transparency and accountability"

    which i think is the point.

  • They reap what they sow||

    Most of the "war on cops" bullshit is the police departments trying to counter attack pay cuts and changes to benefit schemes.

    Also, if they'd stop dressing up like army men they'd stop thinking there was a war on cops.

  • Sovereign Immunity||


    Not to mention being hostile to the public holding them accountable via recording using various media, which dunphy welcomes as a method of protection of both cops and the accused.

  • ||

    There's a lot of hate out there. The original issue, I thought, was that right wing ideology and increase in gun ownership was responsible for an increase in police being shot. Radley put that to bed pretty easily. Many people forget (or ignore for their own purposes) that in the 60s and early 70s it was the radical left that was killing cops (black pantehrs, SDS, etc,).

    It is obvious that the recent police shootings had nothing to do with politics (left of right), or an increase in gun ownership.

    On the other hand, don't whittle on the street in Seattle.

  • ||

    "On the other hand, don't whittle on the street in Seattle."

    I'm surprised Balko hasn't covered this case.

  • ||

    or Walk While Native.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    If so many cops are dying in traffic accidents, maybe we should start a separate police force to pull cops over and give them expensive tickets for distracted driving or not wearing their seatbelts.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Read my handle.

  • Heh||

    They're called state troopers.

  • ||

    You'd be surprised how many fans Radley has among the police. And you'd be amazed to learn how the glory boys in SWAT are really viewed by blue-collared street cops.

    I'm willing to hope.

    But the problem remains; until the "guild" begins actively driving out the incompetent (and worse), I have no reason to respect them.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Oh, and where is dunphy to chime in with his propaganda?

  • ||

    How about the crappy economy? Could be a factor in the number of robberies and other forceful crimes being committed and which police have to respond to. Or maybe it's just a bad month.

  • ||

    considering that nationwide, crime went DOWN in 2010 from 2009 and down in 2009 from 2008, the "bad economy = more crime" meme needs to go the way of the albatross.

  • ||

    And I'm wondering how political lefties suddenly became aware of the overall lack of respect for authority. Pardon me? I thought the whole point of being a leftist was to question authority, to challenge the status quo, to push the boundaries, to subvert the system. I thought authority was something you were supposed to speak truth to, not respect. Well, if anyone in our daily lives represents authority, it's John Law. Why all the concern for him all of a sudden?

  • ||

    lefties LOVE authority when authority is enforcing the laws they want, the policies they support, and the nannyism they live for.

    heck, spend 5 minutes at DU and read some of the posts. these people FROTH for the full power of govt. to be used against everybody from bill oreilly (for instigating the murder of dr tiller) to teapartiers open carrying at political events (despite the fact they are breaking no law), and they want govt. to crack down on the "dangerously mentally ill" a la loughner etc.

    lefties LOVE authority. they are statists

  • ||

    anecdotally, this sounds about right. i haven't witnessed an uptick in the districts i've worked. granted, i think officer safety, tactics, etc. have improved and in many cases those eliminate/minimize assaults. and that's a good thing.

    granted, my best friend was shot in the head by a BGD and three of my partners (at the time i was in the unit) were shot on one warrant in just the last several years.

    one of the effects of tasers, despite all the media hoopla is that they are very effective at gaining compliance. i have seen at least a dozen instances where officers drew tasers on very aggressive individuals and the mere threat of being tased gained compliance - no assault or other force needed.

    the best tool an officer has is his communication skills, but tools such as this make assaults less likely, too ime.

  • jjtech||

    Good article. What officials want to achieve is control over the guns + probably some other laws in the spirit of the martial law. That's the main reason behind it.
    If someone want's to look for the REASONS of violence, it's rather the other way around, as it's the social structer and abstractification of the relations between so called authority and the society. Most of the 'poorer' parts of society considers authority as a sort of representation of the system of opression. And they're not far from the truth.
    It all goes hand in hand with a dramatic increase of social stratification and social im-mobility. To put it very simple - rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer and there is no ending to this trend. If you want to think about ways to end this distrust, you need to look at whole social structure of modern western contemporary society, otherwise it's excercise in futility. Maybe one day people will come to understand it otherwise we'll be always fighing with effects, not causes.

  • ||

    i don't see support for your proposition. quite the opposite. there have been cases, for example one was in a rural california county , where the sheriff encouraged the residents to get guns and permits because law enforcement resources were being spread so thinly.

    the vast majority of line cops i know support concealed carry.

    we have had a rather steady (moronic "assault weapons ban") notwithstanding expansion of the recognition of the right of people to carry and own firearms. i see NO evidence that the reason behind the belief that these assaults are increasing is that they want to use it to restrict firearm's rights. your post sounds like unsupported assertion to me.

  • jjtech||

    Thank you for your reply. I fully understand your point. I just expressed my opinion that this is what the guys like Jon Shane, Craig Floyd etc are advocating for. Mark my words - they'll be going into this direction, regardless of what some Sheriffs (who can be very noble and reasonable people - I'm not trying to take ANYTHING from good policemen). It's just the logical consequence of the policy of increased control over the citizen - the overall direction whole society is going.

  • ||

    ok, i can grok your point. i just think the gun control dog won't hunt anymore. even larry tribe supports the "individual right" thing now.

  • BradK||

    More about our "heroes" in action:

    Atlanta PD has something called a Red Dog unit that routinely strip searches motorists in broad daylight by the road side.

    Sigh. I miss The Shield.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Why all the cop hate? Sure, Alaskan fishermen are "heroes" but if you have an emergency I don't think you're gonna call the Salmon boys, are you?

    Now I am all for guns and I would love to carry an AK-47 everywhere I go, but after shooting in self-defense you need to call that cleaning service number known as 911.

    You cop haters are something else, if anything we should be encouraging the police to shoot looters more often. There's nothing libertarian about tolerating crime.

  • Asshole||

    It's what we do here.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Now I am all for guns and I would love to carry an AK-47 everywhere I go, but after shooting in self-defense you need to call that cleaning service number known as 911.

    Yes, and the cops will gladly arrest you and book you for manslaughter. Thanks for calling 911!

    You cop haters are something else, if anything we should be encouraging the police to shoot looters more often.

    Looters? Is looting a problem in your town? Do you live in Watts?

  • ||

    in what universe? if the shooting reasonably appears to be self-defense, the cops will not arrest you for manslaughter, at least not where i work. i have seen 3 civilian shootings (or non-leo if that suits you) in my area recently, and in none of those cases was the shooter arrested or later charged for anything.

    it is true that some extremely anti-gun locales are more likely to view any citizen shooting as suspect, but at least where i work, if it appears self-defense, no arrest is made.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    So we went from "what universe" to "at least where I work". I'm guessing you don't work in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., L.A. or Boston. You know, little towns where they don't want anyone but cops to even have a gun, much less use it. Hmm, there were bunch of self defense shooting in Ohio recently (where they have a castle law), is that where you work dunphy?

  • ||

    i work in WA state. one of the reasons i chose to move here was our libertarian constitution

    right to carry? check
    right to carry openly? check
    right to privacy (no right to privacy under the fed constitution btw despite misconceptions) ? check

    we also have a right to self defense where the burden is on the state to DISPROVE self defense, and if the state fails to do so and a jury rules that it was self defense, the state has to pay lawyer fees, and lost wages.

    as it should be.

    i can;'t speak for boston specifically, but i used to work in Mass. and at least in my general area, we had two obvious self defense shootings during my time there done by citizens and in neither case was somebody arrested.

    but WA is better than NYC or places like that, certainly. i wouldn't choose to live or work there.

  • Apogee||

    There's nothing libertarian about tolerating crime.

    Which is why, when LE violates the constitutional rights of its citizens by threatening arrest or prosecution for recording video or when police illegally confiscate personal property under the false guise of an 'investigation', Libertarians rightly point out the criminal activity - which you term 'cop hating'.

  • ||

    *i* certainly don't. i think people have an absolute right to video/audio tape cops, just as cops should have the same right themselves. thankfully, my state does not have any law or practice that allows this crap, and people are free to record.

    i;m aware of two recent incidents where a recording by a citizen helped a cop prove his case for lawful force. good cops have nothing to fear from people recording us, and i welcome it

  • zoltan||

    He isn't talking about you, idiot. Photography is not a crime blog should help you figure out who he IS talking about.

  • RyanXXX||

    What "looters" are you talking about, dipshit?

  • Pip||

    Why all the cop hate?

    3 words: That Liar Dunphy.

  • Jill||

    Dunphy? what is he lying about? I just read to here and saw nothing to call him a liar about.

  • ||

    that's the response when pip et al don't want to have a rational discussion and.or have their kneejerk anti-cop sentiments (iow feelings, not logical conclusions) challenged.

    a while back, "hmm" (how many "m's"? i don't know) made the absurd claim in a discussion that police are "experts" in firearms. as a firearms expert myself, and somebody who testified in court and shooting inquests, i KNOW this is fallacious and i explained why.

    to this day, he keeps repeating it, out of ignorance.

    i will be called a "cop apologist" because i don't always agree with them about what is and isn't excessive force, even though there have been several police use of force incidents i have said were NOT proper - such as the recent seattle PD shooting of the woodcarver.

    hmm et al are just reflexive bigots. anything posted that is remotely supportive of police or that brings facts into their rhetorical gangbang is ridiculed.

    iow, they are trolls

  • ||

    note: should be "as a firearms INSTRUCTOR myself". heck, even i am not a firearms expert. but they keep using that word.

  • Coeus||

    Dunphy? what is he lying about? I just read to here and saw nothing to call him a liar about.

    Nothing in this thread (until he responded to you). In fact, He seems pretty well on the up and up about everything except his job. His comments are usually informative and fairly well thought out. But when it comes to his job, well, I can give you two off of the top of my head:

    1. He claims he's never seen another cop break the law (unless he's legally blind this is obvious bullshit).

    2. He claims that it's impossible to kill anyone with a taser.

    Much of the hate comes from the fact that he's obviously fairly bright and libertarian-leaning, but he still says shit like that. So why should anyone have any hope for a normal cop?

  • ||

    Could it be the cops violent way's are getting noticed more? Maybe we the people are fighting BACK. America preaches "non-violence" while attacking other countries based on lies, and SWAT teams kill innocent 90 year old woman, or 7 year old little girls, what comes around, goes around.

  • ||

    It must be very comfy, citing statistics from that chair of yours while the actual police are out there experiencing sentiment you claim does not exist!

  • zoltan||

    Oh no, they're "experiencing" mean people! Why the hell did they sign up for the job in the first place?

  • ||

    For the first time I can remember police are the subject of spree killings. Lovelle Mixon in Oakland, Maurice Clemmons in Portland, and Lamar Deshea Moore in Detroit. You might also throw the Giffords shooting in as she was a symbol of authority equal to the police. So in my view something different is going on.

  • ||

    spree killings were more common in the 70's, as were outright assassinations vs. the more "garden variety" shootings from robbers trying to get away, deranged mentals, etc.

    fwiw, the guy in seattle who shot and killed the SPD officer and wounded his partner had previously set up a bomb booby trap during his arson of the police car on a previous incident. it just didn't go off. if it HAD, it would have probably killed a # of cops and firefighter. iirc, his name was monford. he had an apt full of IED's etc. and was shot and killed during his arrest.

    i am not at all convinced there is any "trend". iow, i agree with balko. given sufficient "n", trends are often suggested when none are really present - just as its not uncommon to flip 4 heads in a row on a coin given sufficient flips. doesn't make a "trend"

    monford and clemons represent two relatively unusual types of cop killers - those that planned, sought out and executed cops vs. those that shoot cops in the course of trying to get away or heat of passion (DV) etc.

    clemons walked in and gunned down 4 cops sitting for coffee pre-shift.

    he then tried to set up the next cop for an ambush by setting up a stolen car, witht he hood up on a seattle street and then approached when the officer was investigating. the officer, thankfully was hyperaware and saw clemons right away and managed to draw his gun and win the encounter. we were all on hyperalert while clemons was at large.

    i was glad to see that the members of his family that aided him in his escape and care after the shooting were mostly convicted.

  • Mr Lizard||

    If a war on cops actually starts there will be no ambiguity.

  • ||

    I've got no use for the cop-haters. As an ex-police detective and Libertarian for about three decades, I'll admit that there are police abuses, police heroics, and media spin. The difference between the general public and the police is that we run towards the sound of gunfire while everyone else is running away. It's how we are recruited and trained. It doesn't require spin, adoration or anything besides a paycheck. It certainly doesn't serve as an excuse for any type of misconduct. I applaud citizens for questioning authority, but the haters are just morons.

  • zoltan||

    Cop haters exist because the so-called good cops rarely speak up about their co-workers' egregious violations of the law.

  • ||

    We always use the words "on the rise" in the context of reality, when what we really mean is reports of [issue] are on the rise. I don't doubt that reporting and focus on officer (gun) deaths has increased dramatically since 1974.

    The amount of "news" we're exposed to a day (let alone that is available) must have increased 1000% since then.

  • ||

    Professor Shane seems to have a viewpoint that I've always found incomprehensible.

    Why is it an unwarranted and/or irrational sense of "entitlement" to expect those who are sworn to uphold, obey and enforce to law to know the law at least to the same extent as an ordinary citizen is expected to (as the old saying goes, ignorance of the law does not excuse violations of it) or to actually obey the law at all?

  • Strawman||

    Thanks for all the attention. A handful of "breathless" media reports does not a war make, and few outside this chatroom really believe that there is a war against cops, but what the hell. It gives the anti-authority crackpots something to yak about.

  • Mensan||

    I was pleasantly surprised that the St. Pete Times had a somewhat rational article about this topic on Sunday.

  • ||

    Im seeing this same scare tactic used to get more laws to basicly keep normal everyday people in check. They use these scare tactics on all different groups of people as well. I belong to a motorcycle club, and when they pull us over, they do it in numbers, and there reasons for this is they say its for there saftey, yet ive never seen any reports of cops being attacked by bikers while pulled over, and they sure wont back up anything they say with facts.
    I used to have respect for cops and any type of law enforcment, but after 30 plus years of being singled out and pulled over for things like the type of car i drove, or the length of my hair, or now because i belong to a motorcycle club, i now hate the cops, and what they stand for. now of the 30 years of being singled out, the most ive ever been guilty of was speeding.
    They always cry poor us, to get funds or big weapons, but the fact of the matter is they are the biggest criminals. they are the real "GANGS", and they get away with most of what they do, because there good at covering there tracks. the new video cameras are starting to show the truth about how they really are.
    All people have to do when reading a news story, is read it with out bias, and you will start questioning them.

  • ||

    does the term logical fallacy mean anything to you? you say cops pull over groups of motorcyclists with sufficient backup to help prevent attacks and improve their safety, and then you say you aren't aware of attacks of cops by groups of mcyclists pulled over. headsmack!

    if a cop can engage in a practice that improves his safety, such as the one mentioned, that benefits us all. no shooting, no assault, no problem.

    they would be wrong if they didn't use good officer safety, and you would be blaming them for stupidly going into a situation where they were vastly outnumbered w/o having backup.

    good officer safety practices significantly minimize risk of assault/death on officers, as well as suspects and innocents. god knows we could do way better, but there are a lot of tactics used routinely that you don't even think about, that in the aggregate greatly increase safety - whether that be felony stops, handcuffing for arrests (something we take for granted because it's been happening so long), etc.

    if the cops have valid reason to make a traffic stop of the group of cyclists why do you care that they choose to do it in #'s for their safety? how does that violate your rights?

  • Joe||

    There are many other jobs -- which get no respect or honor -- more dangerous than being a cop. A truck driver is much more valuable to the everyday lives of Americans, gets much less respect and is more likely to lose their life.

  • Joe||

    Oh and this proves once again why I will never read Salon, watch MSNBC or listen to NPR.

  • ||

    I predict that next year's statistics will have a new category, something along the lines of "other attacks on cops" which will really translate to the number of times someone posted a video to the Internet that embarrasses said cop by showing him beating up or bullying someone who didn't deserve it.

    Any cop who can't take it should quit and get a job he can do correctly.

  • ||

    From US Bureau of Labor Statistics
    #1 Fisherman
    #2 Logger
    #3 Farmer/Rancher
    #4 Structural Construction Worker
    #5 Sanitation Worker
    #6 Airplane Pilot
    #7 Roofer
    #8 Coal Miner
    #9 Merchant Mariner
    #10 Miller
    #11 Power Line Installer
    #12 Police Officer

  • ||

    Only one mention of Kevlar vests, and not in relation to the decrease in cops shot dead. I have no clue if that's why cops being shot dead are down but I do know that 25 or 30 years ago they didn't wear them as a matter of habit. Nowadays the local cops at least wear them while they're directing traffic.

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