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The Myth of the 'War on Cops'

If there really is a war on cops, whoever's fighting it seems to be losing.

With the "war on cops" narrative on the rise again, you might be wondering: When it comes to lethal violence against police officers, how does 2015 stack up against other years? Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute took a look at the annual number of cops who died of non-accidental gunshots, as measured by the Officer Down Memorial Page. This year isn't over yet, obviously, but if the trend thus far continues, 2015's rate will be higher than 2013's. It will also be lower than every other year since 1870:

American Enterprise InstituteAmerican Enterprise Institute

The trend may look a little different if you added the cop-killings committed with other weapons—knives, cars, bombs—but probably not drastically so. (2015's total would go up by six, 2013's by eight. 1975's would grow by 17.) The pattern is just overwhelming. Even if you don't adjust for population, the police of 2013 and 2015 are on track to have fewer firearm deaths than any other years of the 20th and 21st centuries:

American Enterprise InstituteAmerican Enterprise Institute

It's a funny sort of war that produces a lower body count than there was before the war began.

Update: Radley Balko has posted a more detailed discussion of this issue at The Washington Post. Among other things, he shows that assaults on police officers have also been in decline, and he looks at what happens if you calculate a cop-killing rate based on the number of officers on the street rather than the total U.S. population. (The short version: The exact numbers depend on what estimates you use for the police population, but the trend there is also sharply downward.) Read his post here.

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  • __Warren__||

    Harrumph!

  • Jimbo||

    You're Fired!

  • RBS||

    Speaking of Trump, he has a campaign office that's on my way home from work. In one of the shittiest neighborhoods in town that also happens to be a majority immigrant neighborhood.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    War on Cops trumps Trump!

  • jrom||

    Of course there is no war on cops by the people. Rather, it is the pigs that are at war with the people they are supposed to be serving. They believe the people are there to serve them. Most government workers feel this way in general.

  • RBS||

    You'll change your tune when you need a cop and that cop decides not show up.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Who will break down my door, steal my stuff, and shoot my dogs now?!

  • SugarFree||

    Shoot your own dog, you lazy bastard.

  • Citizen X||

    OLD YELLER! NOOOOO!

  • ||

    He's my dog, pa. I'll eat him.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    That's racist towards dogs

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    NO. Leave that to trained professionals or so help me you'll be arrested, at which time your replacement dog will be shot.

  • jrom||

    Usually, the police are more likely to break down your door and steal from you. Rather, than anyone else.

  • retiredfire||

    That's bullshit!

  • jrom||

    Retiredfire,

    It's not bullshit! Its the truth that police are more likely to break into your home, than anyone else.

  • Riven||

    Doubtful.

    Besides, by the time I'd be calling the cops, it's likely just for clean up/statements/etc.

  • ||

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

  • jrom||

    Only when it comes to them wanting to fuck with you!

  • JParker||

    As opposed to that cop just showing up too late to do anything other than file a subsequently ignore report?

  • Cavadus||

    Why would anyone change their tune? Cops don't stop shit in progress; they hope and draw the chalk lines after the fact. They're glorified report writers.

    If you want real protection carry a firearm.

  • What's the frequency, Kenneth?||

    He'll change his behavior when he's suspended for dereliction of duty.

  • Warren||

  • sarcasmic||

    I saw that on the Daily Mail. He actually expects an apology and consequences for the officers involved. Good luck with that, dood.

  • Warren||

    He'll get it, his celebrity membership is good till the end of the year.

  • RBS||

    I'm glad they got the race angle out of the way early, that way we can all focus on the insanity of five plainclothes officers taking down an unarmed man who a "witness" thought was a suspect in a non-violent crime.

  • sarcasmic||

    Come on! Officer safety! You think they're just going to go up to him and talk with him? He might pull out a machine gun and kill them all! There's a war on cops, remember? They must first catch him off guard and then secure him on the ground in handcuffs before anything else! I mean, it's a war! A fucking war! The bad guys have machine guns and stuff! They're killing cops every day!

  • ||

    You think they're just going to go up to him and talk with him?

    Unintended consequences! When you take away their ability to stop and frisk, what else are they supposed to do?

    /sarc

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Yeah. ID theft. It's fucking ridiculous.

  • Paul.||

    And no one is doing anything about it!

  • retiredfire||

    Had to go back to see where the crime, they though he had committed, was listed - only in the headline.
    While the method of the arrest was overly aggressive, the fault lies with the description given by a victim, and what that victim was subject to, which wasn't spelled out in the article.
    Do we know that it was, really, just ID theft, or maybe a strong-arm robbery where the victim's wallet was taken, thus giving the police the concern that the offender might violently react to the TV version of an arrest. Considering the "reporters" didn't bother to delve into that subject, but focused on the methods used, their bias came through, loud and clear.
    If race was involved, as so many would like to claim, it was because the victim provided an accurate description of the race of the one who committed the crime.

  • Lee G||

    One officer involved was placed on modified duty

    oooooooooo.... they mean business

  • Citizen X||

    So basically, one officer gets to spend his shift napping in the squad car until this thing blows over?

  • Lee G||

    I think they make him write "I will not tackle famous people" on the chalkboard 100 times.

  • Restoras||

    Sure, until his union rep intervenes and get's it down to two times.

  • ||

    So, "they all look alike to me" is bo longer racist?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There are other stories revolving around the race issue. Blake says race is likely a factor, Bratton gets indignant, claiming the actual suspect was the spitting image of Blake. (NOTE: I'm sure the NYPD commissioners isn't suggesting that all black people look alike.) It seems Blake was likely saying it was a factor in the tackling, not the identification. Anyway, the statement allowed Bratton an opportunity at misdirection.

  • Idle Hands||

    My favorite part are the comments where people are trying to take issue with the cops and saying that this happens to white people too, are attacked and lambasted as idiots or racists. It almost seems as if the actual goal isn't correcting the problem.

  • Akira||

    Of course.

    The problem is that police unions - private organizations - have a stranglehold on a crucial government function. Furthermore, the officers are not held accountable to anyone.

    Democrats have been equally complicit in creating this scenario, but they have to spin it to their advantage some way. The way to do that is by squealing about racism, because a lot of people think that if enough Democrats occupy elected positions, they'll erase racism forever. Just like when Obama was elected, remember?

  • Chip Woodier||

    That is the whitest black guy I've ever seen. (notice I say black *guy*...Rachael Dolezal does not count)

  • sarcasmic||

    I'd like to see a graph of the number of people killed by the police over the years. I would suspect there is an inverse relationship between the number of people they kill and the number of them who are killed. You know, with this emphasis on "officer safety" they tend to shoot first and not bother with any questions. Oh, wait. No one can make such a graph because our protectors don't keep track of how many peasants they murder.

  • JFree||

    Yes they do track that. Homicides are homicides. DoJ does track which homicides turn into 'justifiable homicides' (a legal/prosecutorial determination not a 'police' determination) - things like suicide-by-cop shootouts; police killings of civilians; 'self-defense' homicides, etc.

    That stuff is not released by DoJ at the same time/place as their crime statistics precisely because that legal/prosecut stuff occurs at a later point than the crime itself. But they do track it and I've seen it somewhere on DoJ site. My memory tells me about 400 of the 12,000 or so annual homicides are deemed 'justifiable' most of which were 'self-defense' or suicide-by-cop decisions - but I'm not gonna bother finding that link.

  • sarcasmic||

    Last I checked, police departments are required to report this information to the feds, but many cross their shoulders and say "Make me." And of course nothing else happens. So the information is incomplete.

  • JFree||

    I doubt it is 'incomplete' since it is not police depts which report that info - but DA's/courts. And bureaucrats are nothing if not thorough with paperwork if that paperwork can lead to a 'better' bureaucratic job.

  • retiredfire||

    You don't get it JFree.
    On here EVERYTHING, from the passage of the laws, to all reporting requirements is the fault of "the cops".
    Everyone's life would be so much better if the "thugs in blue" were just gone from the world.
    Then they could smoke their weed, in peace.

  • What's the frequency, Kenneth?||

    When cops are allowed to murder by their fellow bureaucrats, it's their fault, by definition.

  • kbolino||

    police killings of civilians

    Is there some reason to exclude members of the military? The police don't seem to avoid killing them, so why the separate categories?

  • JFree||

    I prob should have put quotes around civilians or used a word like 'non-police'. Military itself is prob irrelevant to homicide stats

  • R C Dean||

    Serf, plebe, or subject are all acceptable.

  • ||

    Does the peak in the early 70s not correspond to the start of the War on Drugs? Seems odd that prohibition is the only 'era' highlighted. The FFA and Brady era would be equally relevant as well. Seems like the AEI wouldn't be averse to noting some of that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Alcohol Prohibition is a pretty discrete time period, whereas it's up for debate when the War on Drugs actually began and at what points it escalated significantly.

  • ||

    Right, but there's a pretty clear rise prior to prohibition and a pretty clear fall after prohibition and the correlation between drinking ability and shooting police officers hardly seems concrete/relevant at least, not as relevant as say, being able to lay hands on firepower superior to that which police officers could deploy or being verboten from superior firepower and still being able to shoot a bunch of officers.

    I just see two spikes and only one of them labelled with a label that doesn't exactly explain the spike, per se, and it seems odd.

  • Robert||

    Actually the fall started with Prohibition! The peak came just before Prohibition, there was a significant fall during, then a steeper fall afterward. I'd like to know what caused the run-up from 1870, and also whether Prohibition actually had this effect or coincided w something else that did. Very interesting graph.

    The later peak is usu. blamed chiefly on a spike in the proportion of the popul'n of the hotheaded ages produced by the Baby Boom that was a result of the end of the Great Depression & World War. However, other influences have been said to have been general recklessness caused by an attitude that we were soon all to perish anyway in a 3rd world war (or a minor war that one would be drafted to fight in), and by laxity against criminals.

  • ||

    That is, doesn't explain the spike per se or otherwise broadly make a point about officer deaths (like Prohibition *and* the WOD would). It just seems very spurious.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Explaining causation is not what graphs are for. But labeling Prohibition gives some idea about the circumstances surrounding that large sustained spike.

  • Dan Bongard||

    It corresponds to a demographic peak in the number of men in their teens and 20s -- i.e., the years during which violent criminals do most of their killing.

  • Zeb||

  • Mackenzie Brunson||

    ^This. I LOLed.

  • ||

    Hmm. How old should my kids be before I expose them to this stuff?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    The other prohibition is missing on those graphs.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I wish there were a "war" on the police unions, specifically. If Democrats all over the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago and NYC, took their party back from the police unions that dominate the Democratic Party at the local level and run their cities, we'd live in a much better world, where the police really are held accountable for racism, brutality, murder, and other forms of misbehavior.

    But until the Democrats take on the police unions, the police will remain largely unaccountable.

  • Lee G||

    Ain't gonna happen. No way, no how.

    Besides UNION, Democrats are way too afraid of "soft on crime" accusations

  • Rhywun||

    until the Democrats take on the police unions

    I laffed.

  • Idle Hands||

    lol.

  • ||

    I would imagine that the "war on police" rhetoric is surging because the overwhelming support and popularity the police enjoyed for a long time is tanking. Based completely on their own actions, of course, but it would be crazy to expect them to understand that. The very job is basically designed to attract people who cannot understand why so many people hate them now. The job is designed to attract sociopathic, law-enabled highway robbers who don't mind stealing from people as part of their day. Someone who is attracted to that isn't going to understand why people hate them for it.

  • ||

    9/11 certainly brought out a crazy love for the military... and firefighters... and, to a lesser extent, cops.

  • sarcasmic||

    First-responders are all dreamy heroes!

    *swoon*

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Technically they're second-responders.

  • LarryA||

    IMHO police are typically the first to "respond." Those at the scene react.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    So if you get a job as a first responder does that automatically include becoming good-looking, charismatic, and being able to get some hot tail with the snap of a finger?

  • ||

    9/11 was bad, but there was a lot of copsucking going on before it. It had been cultivated very heavily for a long time, in media, the news, from the government, you name it. I mean, how far do you have to go back in time to find a time when there weren't at least a few "cops are great" TV shows on the air? Before Dragnet?

    This has been going on for a while.

  • Robert||

    I'm 61, & when I was, say, 5 YO, policeman was a very attractive occup'n to 5 YO boys. I imagine it's that way now for 5 YOs of both sexes, although probably still more for boys. Of course garbage man was also attractive to 5 YOs, because you get to handle garbage w the approval of grownups instead of their criticism.

  • RBS||

    Don't forget their families and other hangers on.

  • ||

    It's time for the boys in blue to check their privilege.

  • Restoras||

    That's a good one. Are you here all week?

  • ||

    Why don't you check your privilege?!? You're so arrogant about being the worst, shoving it in our faces! Just who do you think you are?!?

  • Robert||

    The job is designed to attract sociopathic, law-enabled highway robbers who don't mind stealing from people as part of their day. Someone who is attracted to that isn't going to understand why people hate them for it.


    The latter does not follow from the former. Psychopaths know perfectly well why people hate them for it—indeed they hate other psychopaths they may wind up dealing w—they just don't give a shit. That's pretty much the point of being a psychopath, isn't it?

  • Marshal||

    So if we determine cops kill fewer people unreasonably than they used to we can conclude the cops aren't inappropriately violent? This is a poor justification and will ultimately defend cops by helping convince the public those critical of cops are biased.

  • SugarFree||

    They are lying about a War on Cops to deflect valid criticism of the way they conduct themselves. If more police are not being killed, there is no War on Cops and the deflection cannot be made.

    If they start murdering less people, that is a good thing.

  • Marshal||

    If more police are not being killed, there is no War on Cops

  • Marshal||

    If more police are not being killed, there is no War on Cops

    Why do people keep saying this? This is sloppy thinking the like of which we rub in the faces of cons and libs all the time. Now we're creating our own sacred mantras?

    1. Fewer deaths means fewer successes, not fewer attempts.
    2. The statistic that is dropping is all cop deaths, not solely politically related deaths. It is possible for political deaths to stay the same or even increase even while the overall death rate is dropping.
    3. Deaths are not necessarily the most meaningful metric to track a metaphorical "war", and are certainly not dispositive.

  • R C Dean||

    Why do people keep saying this?

    Because the War on Cops rhetoric invites us to believe that something is different, that more and more cops are getting gunned down in cold blood.

    Which isn't happening, which means the rhetoric is a lie.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Because the War on Cops rhetoric invites us to believe that something is different, that more and more cops are getting gunned down in cold blood.

    And indeed, when some numbers blipped upward last year, we saw stories like this.

  • Marshal||

    We did see those kinds of stories, and Reason was right there criticizing them. But now you're relying on the same methodology. This is evidence in your favor?

  • Jesse Walker||

    But now you're relying on the same methodology.

    No, now their argument is failing even on its own terms.

  • Jesse Walker||

    It is possible for political deaths to stay the same or even increase even while the overall death rate is dropping.

    Have there been any cop-killings this year that were definitely motivated by politics? There were at least four last year (two of them pre-Ferguson).

  • Marshal||

    Why are we pretending years are some sacrosanct evaluation period? Why are we hiding behind absolutism?

    I can think of several recent murders that were very likely motivated by anti-cop animus.

  • Calidissident||

    But no one is saying that people killing cops aren't inappropriately violent. They're disputing the argument that there's a trend of increased violence against police.

  • Marshal||

    They're disputing the argument that there's a trend of increased violence against police.

    How do you dispute something that isn't asserted?

  • R C Dean||

    What do you think "War on Cops" is supposed to mean?

    "Gentlemen, there is a war on cops. We have had a prolonged downward trend in cops being killed, and no indication as of yet that this long term trend has reversed."

    We may be profane and disrespectful, but we're not stupid, Marshal. Don't treat us as if we were.

  • Marshal||

    What do you think "War on Cops" is supposed to mean?

    It means a group of people is systematically trying to generate animus against cops and the desired end goals include violence.

  • Calidissident||

    There are many people arguing there's more violence against cops and holding up certain cases as examples. Also, if the standard for "War on Cops" is "multiple people hold this opinion that advocates violence against them" then there's a War on pretty much everyone and everything in this country.

  • Marshal||

    There are many people arguing there's more violence against cops and holding up certain cases as examples.

    Or there are many people arguing even a few murders of cops for political reasons is too many and we can't bring ourselves to agree. Because while we can easily say "an acceptable number of unjustified cop killings is 0" we cannot bring ourselves to say the same thing about dead cops.

    multiple people hold this opinion that advocates violence against them"

    This is such crap. There have been multiple marches with people chanting for the deaths of cops. Many, many people have rhetorically supported violence. Acting like it's three people is just as bad as saying cops just have a few bad apples. Again we criticize one repeatedly and loudly while we make excuses for the other.

  • ||

    So if we determine cops kill fewer people unreasonably than they used to we can conclude the cops aren't inappropriately violent?

    Ah, yeah, I missed the parts in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Am. where the acceptable number destruction/seizing of persons and effects prior to criminal prosecution by a jury of peers was stipulated.

  • Marshal||

    And yet you're advocating an acceptable number of cop deaths 0.

    We will never reconcile police and the public as long as we continue refusing to defend those saying police are the enemy. And that's exactly what we're doing by pivoting to "fewer cops die as a percentage of the population" whenever people chant "death to pigs".

    In other contexts we expect others to criticize people who generally support their positions but are more extreme, accusing them of pandering to racists for example. This is the same thing.

  • R C Dean||

    No, we're advocating an acceptable number of unjustified cop killings: 0.

  • Marshal||

    No, we're advocating an acceptable number of unjustified cop killings: 0.

    Incorrect. The existence of a War on Cops is not a question of cop behavior but of others' behavior toward cops. The fact that you refuse to focus on this shows how biased you are.

    It's just not that difficult to focus separately on each group and criticize whatever behavior deserves it. This proves to both sides you are addressing the unacceptable behavior of both groups which develops trust your desired final position is equitable. You will never bring the parties closer together until you do that.

  • retiredfire||

    Come on, Marshall.
    Here's the bottom line: The "cops" are the ones stopping your average REASON poster from smoking their weed. Thus the cops are "enemy number one".
    There is no cause for reasonable exploration of what good they provide for society.
    Death is too good for them,

  • Calidissident||

    "And that's exactly what we're doing by pivoting to "fewer cops die as a percentage of the population" whenever people chant "death to pigs"."

    Do you think that's what's going on here?

  • ||

    And yet you're advocating an acceptable number of cop deaths 0.

    Nope. Ignoring is/ought; acceptable number of human deaths: 0.

    We will never reconcile police and the public as long as we continue refusing to defend those saying police are the enemy.

    As long as it's not 'Who shot who dead (or ran over, asphyxiated, exsanguinated, etc.) first with or without whatever justification.', IDK, how interested in reconciling the police and the public.

    If the police want to 'go to war' with the constituents of Rowan County on the softball field to decide whether county clerk must accept gay marriage applications with little bride & bride or groom & groom sketches in the corner, IDK, that it's my job to get involved. Even if the fans of the Rowan County constituents are screaming "Die pigs die!" and "Tear those pigs heads off!". Actually, I kinda know on several levels, that it's my job *not* to get involved.

  • simplybe||

    The problem is the mainstream media and yes that includes FOX taking a story and treating it like a hungry dog on a bone. I tend to watch FOX but they are as bias as MSNBC and the rest. Why can't they just report the news and leave all their two bit commentary out of it. This is a gray world not like black and white. 15 % of cops probably deserve to be shot. Gays should have the same rights as straights but they want to shove it down everyone's throat. Abortion should be legally but shouldn't be used as the primary form of birth control. The people complain about politicians but they keep electing the same people. Trump is a loud mouth ass and I defy anyone to name one concrete idea he has. People get their news from twitter and most haven't read a book since high school if then. Blacks worship the Democrats that 60 years ago were hanging them for looking at a white woman. I suppose what I am trying to say is that if you keep doing what you have been doing you are going keep getting screwed by the politicians.

  • Idle Hands||

    Trump is a loud mouth ass and I defy anyone to name one concrete idea he has.

    I imagine the wall that Mexican's will build in his honor, for winning the presidency, will feature concrete in places.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *polite applause*

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    Some good points.

    I'm not sure about the Democrats, though. I think the focus of their party changed when a significant portion of the pro-slavery "Dixiecrats" went Republican. Either way they still suck, but for different reasons, in my opinion. The moderate centrist Dem is a thing of the past, it seems.

  • retiredfire||

    Ah, the meme of the magical switch.
    Racists, who were demoncraps, had a "come to Jesus" moment and suddenly loved them some black people.
    Others, who couldn't change, became Republicans, who had fought for equal rights, but switched over to being the racists, maybe because they felt the vacuum left by the formerly racist demoncraps needed to be filled.

    Yeah, that one makes all the sense in the world.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I'm inclined to agree with this analysis, but I think it's missing some key points. The majority of cops killed in the line of duty (and I'm omitting things like traffic accidents or accidental discharge of their own guns; intentionally killed by someone else) are probably killed by people in the commission of a crime. But, the incidence of crime has also been plummeting over the same time period. You'd expect to a decline even if criminals were no less inclined to kill cops. And, to be fair to the claim, there does appear to have been a (still vanishingly small) increase in the increase in the incidence of cops being killed by someone specifically looking to kill a cop. Now, I'm strongly inclined to suspect that the number we're talking about is statistically insignificant (not that it's in any way insignificant to those effected) and could just be random error. But, saying cop killings have declined doesn't really demonstrate that the "war on cops" claim is a myth.

  • sarcasmic||

    When a citizen kills a cop, I assume it was an act of self defense until proven otherwise.

  • ||

    But, saying cop killings have declined doesn't really demonstrate that the "war on cops" claim is a myth.

    Huh? Unless you're asserting that cops have become so scarce that those conducting a war are unable to track hunt them down and kill them effectively or that an occupation rife with walking into bullets somehow grew in size and dramatically became an efficient law enforcing machine then, as asserted in the last sentence; *if there is a war*, fewer officers are being killed than when there was not one.

    Unless we wade into the bullshit of police-hate crime (O.M.F.G.!), whether they shot an officer in the act of robbing a gas station or shot an officer at a gas station because police makes no difference.

  • kbolino||

    In war, people usually count casualties and not just fatalities. Deaths could be going down, and non-fatal injuries going up.

  • ||

    In war, people usually count casualties and not just fatalities.

    Right, but again, you need some pretty ridiculous ideas to hang the story appropriately. Despite the war on cops being typified by execution-style *killings* of off-duty or otherwise not-actively-engaged cops non-fatal woundings dominate the "war".

    Only distortions of war (e.g. asymmetric, guerilla, cold) or armed conflict fit the definitions/data.

  • kbolino||

    There are many reasons why it doesn't fit the definition of war, but a drop in killings isn't one of them. And normally, a drop in casualties means a war was going on but is likely coming to an end. The whole narrative doesn't make much sense to begin with, as there is no organized, coherent force fighting against the police. Even gangs target other gangs far more than the police.

  • ||

    There are many reasons why it doesn't fit the definition of war, but a drop in killings isn't one of them. And normally, a drop in casualties means a war was going on but is likely coming to an end.

    *facepalm*

  • kbolino||

    Yeah, I get how it reads, but "there is no war" and "there is a war but it's probably going to end soon" are not the same statements.

  • Dan Bongard||

    But, saying cop killings have declined doesn't really demonstrate that the "war on cops" claim is a myth.

    It is impossible to demonstrate that something is a myth.

    One can, however, point out that the supposed evidence that it ISN'T a myth is bunk. In this case, the repeated claims that police work is ultra-dangerous and there is a surge in police killings both turn out to be false.

  • ||

    Ah, read too much hesitation into the "I'm inclined to agree with this analysis, but...".

  • Jesse Walker||

    there does appear to have been a (still vanishingly small) increase in the incidence of cops being killed by someone specifically looking to kill a cop

    It's not at all clear to me that there's been such an increase. Without going back and looking at all the slayings in 2014, I know there were at least four that fit your description: the NYPD officers murdered in December, and the Las Vegas cops killed in June. In 2015, there have been incidents that might qualify—the recent murder in Texas is one, and there are some cloudy cases like this one where it's just not clear what happened—but have there been any clear-cut examples? As many as last year?

    The numbers here are so low that, as you suggest, any difference is probably just statistical noise. But I'm not convinced there's been an increase either way. If I've missed some incidents, please share them.

  • *GILMORE*||

    re: the data set

    not a big deal... but the 100+ year graph is actually more misleading than it is illuminating.

    Timescale distortion is the cheapest trick ever (see: Hockeystick). It resists any use compared to the kind of Year-on-Year bullshit that news media try and hype up

    Try from 1970 to now... i.e. since the "Drug War" began. Comparisons with prohibition, while cute, aren't really all that relevant. Most political issues like this need to occur in "within our lifetimes"- timescales to put things in rational perspective. People don't understand numbers unless they're withing their frame of reference.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what your point is, since considering only 1970 to the present, we're still at an all-time low. I kind of agree about people needing a frame of reference, but that's the whole point of historical comparisons - saying, "Look, if you think there's some kind of 'war on police', consider that during the 'good old days' of the 1950s, there were more gun-related police deaths than there are today, and Prohibition saw rates that would make your jaw drop."

  • *GILMORE*||

    "I'm not sure what your point is, since considering only 1970 to the present, we're still at an all-time low. "

    It makes the point clearer, more defensible, and shows that how *within our own lifetimes* that we've never lived in a safer country.

    Comparisons to the 1920s end up seeming hyperbolic and invite criticism. an emphasis on more recent declines since the 1990s makes the point more tangible.

    in any case, its not jesse who ginned up the data, but AEI, from numbers provided by these guys

  • *GILMORE*||

    The Atlantic does a similar analysis along the lines i suggested here, which includes the "traffic deaths" and "other", which are far more likely to kill cops than shootings.

  • Derpetologist||

    I think most people want to believe cops are the good guys because of the "just world fallacy".

    link

    Accepting the problem of police abuse I guess is too distressing for most people to think about.

  • Sigivald||

    The only relevant statistic should be deaths per thousand officers, not per capita or totals.

    Rates are what's relevant.

    (There's still no "war on police", I'm sure, but those graphs are the wrong way to show it.)

  • Bill Dalasio||

    As I suggest above, wouldn't it be deaths per arrest?

  • *GILMORE*||

    No, because petty crime laws have risen dramatically over the years such that it would bury any changes in the actual "risk" measurements.

  • Jesse Walker||

    The only relevant statistic should be deaths per thousand officers, not per capita or totals.

    For what it's worth, the number of cops in the U.S.—both the raw total and per capita—has been increasing. (I don't know offhand how far back the increase goes, but it's been happening at least as far back as the early '90s.)

  • *GILMORE*||

  • Almanian - Micro Trumper||

    How about a War on Derp? Can some of you all get behind this? I think this is a war worth fighting! A war worth #WINNING!

    The War on Derp! A War That Makes Us All Winners!

  • sarcasmic||

    You spelled wiener wrong.

  • Almanian - Micro Trumper||

    Quit hot dogging it and get back to work!

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    Wiener's wife is hot

  • DenverJ||

    You know who else called for war?

  • TommyInIdaho||

    Bill Dalasio and simplybe make good points. Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers' anti-cop rhetoric only increases tensions -- tensions that news coverage further exacerbates. If I need a cop I'm sure as shooting not approaching him from behind in the wake of "We will creep up behind you..." threats.

    None of which should deter us from moving forward on such issues as demilitarizing police forces, requiring body cams, and ending corrupt civil forfeiture practices...

  • modurhead||

    its funny how the cops are the only ones going around attacking citizens with military weapons over any crooked law politicians will make up. soon we will all be criminals

  • sarcasmic||

    We all already are. All an interested enforcer has to do is watch you long enough, and you'll commit some arrest-worthy crime. Likely without even knowing it. Of course ignorance of the law is only an excuse for those who enforce it.

  • ||

    All an interested enforcer has to do is watch you long enough, and you'll commit some arrest-worthy crime.

    And this is the honest variety. The situation with asset forfeiture pretty clearly demonstrates that cops and local government can/will show up under the assumption of guilt, detain you, and invent a crime afterwards.

  • 0x90||

    Probably not mine, but: a profusion of law is functionally equivalent to no law at all.

  • Zehnhund||

    By this illogical logic, World War I should no longer be referred to as a war nor should the Civil War or the Korean War or the Vietnam War etc.
    Maybe it's just me but when a specific group or groups are calling for the killing of another specific group, they are declaring War on them despite any insane requirement that the body count research a specific number to be worthy of being called a War.

  • kbolino||

    By this illogical logic, World War I should no longer be referred to as a war nor should the Civil War or the Korean War or the Vietnam War etc.

    No, that doesn't follow. If you were to apply the "logic" of the article appropriately, it would be to say that WWI, Korea, and Vietnam are not ongoing wars. Which is true, albeit with some qualification in the case of Korea. Similarly, the "war on police" must be winding down if the number of casualties is declining.

    An actual war between the police and criminals took place in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. What we are seeing today isn't remotely comparable.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    " second half of the 19th century "

    What? Pinkertons are cops now?

  • kbolino||

    I was thinking of police in the more general sense of people who enforce the law and protect the rights of others. To some extent, the Pinkertons and other private security would qualify, as would U.S. marshals, local sheriffs, and deputized members of a posse. Although on further thought, I'm not sure that time period would quite reach the definition of war, either. I imagine movies and pop culture overstate the violence of that era.

  • R C Dean||

    when a specific group or groups are calling for the killing of another specific group, they are declaring War on them

    Talk is cheap. Its not a War until there is an organized and substantial movement that is actually killing cops.

    And that ain't happening. Naw, this is PR misdirection as the broken culture of the cop tribe is making it into public view, and drawing a bad reaction.

  • Cbalducc||

    There is at least one comment on this thread celebrating the execution of an LEO in Houston.

  • biljay||

    The police occupation fatality rate is not even one of the top ten occupations. Their police unions do a great job of telling you how much you owe them for risking their lives to protect you, and you fall for the propaganda. Yet, when the police show up, 95% of the time the crime has already been committed! The Secret Service protects the President. The cops do not protect you.

  • reason1984||

    Would a more valid measure have been ambush/execution style murders of police officers, not unlike those witnessed in the sixties?

    Perhaps a per capita measure combined with ideological motivation?

  • TJ_Friedman||

    Exactly.

    Quoting statistics on non-accidental cop deaths en toto tells you little because we are not given data on the motivation behind the attacks. What we need to know is the statistical history of the number of times someone goes out looking for a cop to kill. If that number has fallen or stayed the same over time, then Author's conclusion might have some merit. If that number, however small, is increasing, then all of the Author's graphs and stats are meaningless. (Please note that I am not arguing that a rise in these type of attacks necessarily means that there is a war on cops; I'm just saying that if there is an increase, then his statistics do not support his conclusion.)

    When I studied statistical analysis, one of the teacher brought up concept of confounders when he covered the topic of "correlation does not equal causation". The classic example is that of ice cream sales at sports stadiums...

    It's a statistical fact that the ratio of ice cream sales per fan drops drastically from the baseball season to the football season. Based on this statistic, can we assume that baseball fans love ice cream more the football fans?

  • Jesse Walker||

    What we need to know is the statistical history of the number of times someone goes out looking for a cop to kill.

    And as I stated elsewhere in this thread (and in a previous blog post), there's no sign that's increasing in any meaningful way. It's so rare, at any rate, that it would be hard to distinguish any increase from statistical noise. Which is not much of a "war."

  • TJ_Friedman||

    If that is true, then the author should have documented those statistics to support his conclusion.

    My point is that his statistics prove nothing. In fact, even if the statistics had shown that non-accidental cop deaths had increased dramatically, that wouldn't necessarily support the opposite position that there IS a war on cops.

    I will agree that the use of the term "war" is hyperbole.

  • Kratoklastes||

    Being a pig has about the same unconditional risk as being a 15 year old girl: the whole "Us vs Them" schtick is designed to engender group loyalty, which is not hard given the psychotype of individuals drawn to being an armed thug for the government (inb4 some mouth-breather claims that pigs exist to 'serve and protect' us peons... take a look at jurisprudence all the way back to South v Maryland (1856) - it simply ain't so, at law).

    Becoming a pig is the same as becoming a soldier: it's a mechanism for power-acquisition for people who (a) really want to wield power; and (b) did not do well enough in high school to get into a decent college (and thereby enter a meritocratic competition for power - that is, power acquired by economic means rather than political fiat).

    Like soldiers, pigs are the refuse of the labour market - the fact that as a group they have an average intelligence less than half a sd from the median IQ means they are not fit for anything that requires judgement. People who matter (like Buffet) have finally started pointing out that 'sending them to Afghanistan' is what societies do with their economic detritus... shame that they come back, join a PD, and take their PTSD out on the public.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Just in case you are unaware, your comment conflating personality types of soldiers and cops, enlightens only in that it alerts others how little you truly understand.

    There is a silver lining as others now know they can easily dismiss any other opinions you have.

    As while you may write other comments in the future with some basis in reality, given your deeply flawed understanding of humans in general, any connection you may make with either reality or a thoughtful idea will only be incidental.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    The only people who can win a war on cops are people who have the cops outgunned or certain politicians.

  • SamDod598||

    lol, Personally I think the only good cop is a dead cop. Just sayin.

    www.Total-Privacy.tk

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    And these are the same people who want to start a "Race War".
    How much more badly can they lose.
    Losers!

  • ||

    Well, obviously they mean "War on Cops" in a metaphorical sense, in the same way as "War on Women".

    That is, by attacking and undermining cops innate right to shoot people who are perceived as a slight threat, they are depriving the police of their god-given liberties. Just like taking away women's birth control by not paying for it and stuff.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Go study worker's comp insurance rates and you'll be surprised at just how dangerous a cop's job is NOT. There are scads of jobs more dangerous.

    And using worker's comp rates eliminates all bias.

  • Gumbi5||

    I'm sure these details will comfort the families of the officers recently killed. It certainly makes the rest of us feel much safer when we are told that the 24 or so police officers that were killed across the nation are insignificant.. Nice job, if you goal was callous disregard for those who've died.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The sad part is the Stockholm Syndrome bootlicking toward politicians by cops. Rather than stick up for the rights of the individuals pillaged to enforce victimless crime laws (LEAP), Trilby cops struggle to believe what they are paid by the politicians to believe. Theirs are the bought minds Orwell warned us against.

  • retiredfire||

    Typical stupid REASON article about the police, but always good for a laugh at the supporting stupidity.
    I have to believe:
    "When a citizen kills a cop, I assume it was an act of self defense until proven otherwise." takes the cake.
    OK, just to get the obvious out there: how many police officers, or sheriffs' deputies are killed or injured isn't evidence of the War on Cops.
    The war isn't being fought on the streets, it is being fought in the media, such that police, that would do their jobs, without concern that every, little, misstep would be inflated to "barrage balloon" size, are now afraid of taking a step outside the patrol car.
    The evidence of the War on Cops is the number of crimes committed, especially the unsolved ones - yes, police do solve crimes - and that number is increasing, everywhere.
    Enjoy your anarchy, libertine-arians, some day you just might grow up.

  • What's the frequency, Kenneth?||

    Typical blustering by a bureaucrat when confronted with the CAUSE of VIOLENCE he supports.

  • jrom||

    Good point Kenneth. Retiredfire, was probably just another overpaid, law enforcement bum, himself. He probably lives off a 75 thousand dollar a year pension, plus free healthcare for life, all at taxpayer expense.

  • jrom||

    retiredfire:

    There is no war on cops by the people. The pigs and other government jack asses are at war with the people. They all believe the people are there to serve them. That's how government crooks think. You cannot deny this! And police will never be afraid to step out of their patrol cars. Why should they be afraid, they have all the fully auto guns and armor piercing bullets, grenades and grenade launchers, and even helicopters and armored vehicles. The people cannot even buy most types of semi auto guns. And when police do kill innocent people, they can always count on their cowardly prosecuting attorney friends to lie for them. And judges are all law enforcement kiss asses. You don't know what you are talking about, Retiredfire.

  • SezWhom||

    To be honest, I didn't even read this article or study the graphs. Cops are being gunned down in the street. There is no acceptable level of that. For those who say that it's terrible what cops do to blacks, well, is there an acceptable level of that? Wrong is wrong, statistics be damned.

    We'll start to solve these problems only after we comprehend them.

  • What's the frequency, Kenneth?||

    Get used to cops being gunned down. If you keep murdering, you might actually SEE a war.

  • ||

    I am fully behind the cops and if they need help just call on me.

  • jrom||

    Robert Eldridge,

    How can you be behind the crooks with the badge?

  • What's the frequency, Kenneth?||

    Just an additional note. Cops whine about how dangerous the job they chose (probably so they can beat heads in) is, yet it's not even one of the top ten most dangerous jobs.

  • jrom||

    Exactly. Law enforcement is one of the safest jobs anyone can have.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe that the cop-killing marches in lockstep with victimless-crime/asset-forfeiture enforcement. From Herbert Hoover and Senator John Glenn (no relation) to Nixon to the Federal Asset Forfeiture program sparking the mislabeled "subprime" crash, all of these coercive abuses put cops at risk and destroy the economy. Show the voters that their pension and life savings were destroyed by looters-by-law (it's not that hard) and people will line up to vote libertarian. A 5% turnout would repeal those laws.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Anyone who thinks 5% is not much can review the first minutes of Farenheit 9/11, the Florida vote counts with Bush's cousin and brother Jeb doing the counting.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujaJrrDJBE8
    Anyone who thinks 5% is aiming too high can watch more footage of that same flick. That is the cost of the LP not getting 5% of the vote, and the DemoGOP freely pushing its meddling crusade abroad and looting orgy at home.

  • SomebodySmart||

    It wasn't only the exact same enemy pilots who dropped the bombs on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The armed forces of the hostile government were the enemy. It ain't just the exact same enemy officers who threw the flash grenade into a toddler's playpen in Cornelia GA on 28 May 2014. The police forces of the hostile government are the enemy.

    If you have some $50 FRN's and a $50 parking ticket, nobody cares which serial number you pay the price with. If you don't like it, you shouldn't have parked in a crosswalk.

    After the cops brutally murdered Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte NC, one cop went up for only manslaughter, and after the jury deadlocked the attorney general announced no retrial. The case was dropped. The next day, a Freedom Fighter didn't care which badge number the price got paid with, and he took out a Harris County TX cop. If they don't like it, they shouldn't have murdered Ferrell. They shouldn't have elected an attorney general who is soft on police brutality. They didn't pull the trigger, but they did pull the lever. Slaves were freed in Maryland using ballots, in Virginia using bullets. Whatever works.

    Cops under control or cops under flowers.

    Any objection? Objection overruled, casket closed.

  • jrom||

    Prosecutors and judges always stick up for their fellow government crooks!

  • Cbalducc||

    Back in the years when more cops were killed in the line of duty, each killing didn't make the national news like it does today. Nor were deaths at the hands of cops reported as they are today.

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