Black Lives Murdered

U.S. homicides increased nearly 30% from 2019 to 2020. Homicides of blacks spiked even more, making up 56% of the victims whose race was known instead of 53% in 2019. This amounted to over 2000 extra yearly deaths among blacks.

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You can see the data here and here. It appears likely that, as with homicide generally, the overwhelming majority of these extra homicides were intraracial, just as the overwhelming majority of the extra homicides of whites were likely intraracial.

Naturally, I very much support preventing unjustified police killings of blacks (and of whites and of others). But of course I'd like to see that happen together with a reduction of the vastly larger number of unjustified nonpolice killings of blacks (and others), rather than together with a sharp increase in net homicides.

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  1. I, too, would like to see intra-racial homicides go down. That said, murder and other forms of violence are especially repulsive when the state does it. Hence the focus on the police.

    1. Better a thousand more civilian on civilian murder than have one policeman kill a civilian?

      1. Did I say anything even remotely approaching that?

        1. Reining in the police should be the focus rather than Black on Black or White on White violence is the clear implication, even though it’s the focus on reining in the police that is causing the murder spike.

        2. Seemed implied. But, let's offer you the choice then.

          In a hypothetical world, you are Police Chief Krychek.

          Your chief deputy and police statistician offers you two options for new policing programs. The first is a more aggressive policing option. She estimates that the new aggressive policing will drop the number of homicides by 20%. But it will also increase the number of violent police - civilian incidents by 20%.

          The second option is a non-confrontational program designed to avoid potentially risky incidents that may result in police-civilian violence. She estimates it will drop the number of violent police-civilian incidents by 20%....but increase the overall number of homicides by 10%.

          Which program do you pick?

          1. Which program do you pick?

            That one is easy. He picks the one that bolsters his virtue-signaling street cred, because when it comes down to it he and his ilk don't give a tinker's damn about black lives, except to the extent that they can use those lives as pawns in a game designed to fool themselves and others into thinking that they're something other than the wastes of oxygen they really are.

            1. Oh, so it’s virtue signaling to say the state should be held to a higher standard. Thank you for clearing that up.

              1. Oh, so it’s virtue signaling to say the state should be held to a higher standard.

                No. But saying that "the focus" should be on a tiny fraction of murders because "feelings" is.

                1. I said nothing about feelings. You're projecting again.

            2. The product is feels goodies to suburban white women, living safely away from the carnage.

              See also no stop and frisk, popular locally in high crime areas, but unpopular with those who go home to gated communities.

              From a statistical economist's viewpoint, this is a hell of a bloody bay filled with murdered dolphins offered up on some statistically smaller altar.

              I wonder what will hapoen next. Let's turn on the TV and see so we can inform our outrage emotions.

          2. It wasn’t implied. It’s possible to focus on both.

            I need more facts before I can choose either of those options. Are the civilians facing police violence also the people perpetrating the homicides, or are they innocent bystanders? Have the views of the affected community been solicited and if so, what do they think? Candidly, I’d probably call a town hall meeting and see what they think.

            1. "Are the civilians facing police violence also the people perpetrating the homicides, or are they innocent bystanders? "

              Like real life, the answer is "yes". Some of them are murderers. A few are unfortunate innocents...a kid who points a too-realistic looking paintball gun at a cop. And a fair number are more grey. A drug dealer, who when confronted, goes for a gun or knife. A Robber who is a little high, and tries to reach for the cop's gun.....

              "Have the views of the affected community been solicited and if so, what do they think? "
              Yep. There's a large number who are upset at the gang violence killing their kids, and want more police to stop it. But there's also a vocal minority who think the police are too aggressive.

              Stats for homicides per capita and police violence per capita are right at the national average.

              So, which do you pick Krychek? It's not a trick question, it's pretty close to real life.

              1. Usually the community knows what is in its best interests, so assuming you are right on the facts, I'd probably go with Door Number 1, if those really were my only two options. At the same time, I would look for ways to mitigate the worst side effects of Door Number 1.

                1. So, a with a lot of these communities, Chicago, Minneapolis, these communities, especially the lower income areas, they want more cops. They want more proactive policing. There mistrust there of the police, but there's also a substantial crime problem, and the cops are a whole lot better than the alternative...the gangs.

                  The problem is...there's not enough police. They can't be hired. And the way they're being treated, the cops just don't want to be cops anymore. Which creates an issue.

                  Most good cops aren't really in it "for the money". They do it for the community service, to feel good about helping people, about stopping crime. But with the public opinion being spat on them, as it is...to risk your life on a daily basis. Your risk of death from being a cop is greater than the risk of death from COVID (under 65 years of age).

                  So the "focus" on police violence which is so common, paradoxically has the effect of reducing the number of good cops and cops in total around, while increasing the number of civilian deaths.....

                  1. And the way they’re being treated,

                    You mean, treated like royalty, being allowed to do whatever they want, legal or illegal, even kill, with complete impunity? Almost impossible to be fired, and on the rare occasions when they are, easily get the same job elsewhere? Can retire after 20 years with a great pension? Yeah, that really sounds like a terrible life for them.

                    Please stop with the propaganda. They don't risk their lives on a daily basis. They don't risk their lives at all. Being a cop is not one of the ten most dangerous jobs in the country. Lots of cops have died in the last two years, but not from violence — from their own idiocy; COVID has been the top killer of law enforcement. And yet their unions still fight against vaccination mandates.

                    As for good cops, well, it's the 95% who aren't who make the other 5% look good.

                    1. Er, I meant look bad.

            2. I’d probably call a town hall meeting and see what they think.

              Oh, what an insight.

      2. This is the biggest failure of the scumbag lawyer profession. It always protect the criminals, and allows mass slaughter of victims. Some of the victims are bystanders. Why? The criminal is a clietn. The victim is not and may rot. And crime has not gone done, scumbags. It has updated and rebooted, with 100 million internet crimes. The average bank robbery nets $4000 and is dangerous. The average identity theft nets $5000 and totally safe, you vile dumbass scumbags.

        Only self help is effective against crime. It is crushed by the rent seeking lawyer scumbag profession because low crime will cause lawyer unemployment.

        The poster boy for the lawyer dumbass has no idea what I am talking about. He is deafened by the rent.

        1. I'm not a defund the police types; though I'd love to see a reform that aggressively polices violent crimes in consideration for laying off the petty "municipal infraction" type of offenses that bloated municipal governments need to issue in order to bring in revenue.

          That said, Alan Dershowitz responding to the old adage:

          "A conservative is a liberal who got mugged," replied with:

          "A civil libertarian is a conservative who got indicted."

          1. I'd love to see such reforms too. But you won't in any liberal state or locality - just the opposite.

          2. Well I think one common sense reform is to decriminalize drug possession, and thereby reduce unnecessary police interactions for victimless crimes that take the focus off preventing crimes with victims.

            Drug use has a human toll to be sure, but it’s easy to see that the drug war is a total failure by asking one simple question: is there any drug user that wants drugs that has any trouble finding them?

            1. Well I think one common sense reform is to decriminalize drug possession, and thereby reduce unnecessary police interactions for victimless crimes that take the focus off preventing crimes with victims.

              Welcome to present day San Francisco. Not my cup of tea. But you must like the dystopian atmousphere

    2. "murder and other forms of violence are especially repulsive when the state does it"

      That is silly.

      Has any police "murder" in the US been as bad as the ones committed by Ted Bundy, Manson Family, or Jeffrey Dahmer?

      1. Interesting you should mention Dahmer and the police....

        https://www.newsweek.com/milwaukee-pd-congratulate-retired-cop-who-laughed-off-teen-victim-dahmer-1512130

        That officer became union president, btw.

        1. That story justifies ending all immunities. That was police malpractice that cost a life. End all immunities, those of judges, legislators, executives. This is for their welfare. Immunity justifies violence in formal logic.

          1. You should say more (mostly) good things like this.

      2. Bob, that's disingenuous even for you.

        1. Its not "disingenuous", its pointing out you made a stupid statement.

          Because your assertion was stupid.

          1. Bob, if I say that gold is more valuable than silver, and you come back with “oh, so you’re saying a ton of silver is worth less than a half ounce of gold,” that would be either very stupid or very disingenuous of you. Because I assumed you understood that I’m talking about an all else being equal comparison.

            If you really didn’t understand that, I gave you too much credit.

            1. I'm not a mind reader. Your words made a categorical assertion, not a "all else being equal comparison".

              1. Bob, I’ll be surprised if there’s anyone here other than you who honestly didn’t get it.

      3. Does the murder of the mine workers in southern west virginia in the 30's by police count? There's quite a lot of instances of the police just, you know, killing people because they were ordered to union bust or similar.

        I suppose we'll also ignore the state sanctioned mass killings that went along with the destruction of black wall street in Tulsa.

        State killings in the USA aren't generally targeted at specific individuals like serial killers. Unless they were going after civil rights leaders. Those were pretty targeted (Fred Hampton, COINTELPRO operations in general).

      4. Maybe not, but I'd say some of the police rapes are really up there!

      5. Bob, you're getting worse.

        As you care more about performative assholery, you care less about substance. And it's making you look less like an asshole, and more like a cranky fool.

      6. Bob,
        Your comparison is bizarre, even for you. Maybe you think that you're clever with the Ted Bundy comparison. But you're not.
        K_2, comment was simple and straightforward. Murder is especially grievous when committed by the state.
        There was nothing said about the number of murders and your post is no reply whatsoever.
        Hopefully you are not actually that dense and are bsing for the sake of BSing.
        Save it for your friends at the pub.

        1. There was nothing said about the number of murders

          That the original commenter didn't say anything explicitly about the numbers in no way means that they shouldn't be mentioned in response, as they sure as hell are quite important when it comes to determining where the "focus" ought to be.

          1. I didn’t mention the numbers because anyone not a pedantic asshole would have understood that an all else being equal comparison was assumed.

            1. I didn’t mention the numbers because anyone not a pedantic asshole would have understood that an all else being equal comparison was assumed.

              You actually believe your own bullshit, don't you?

              1. So now I shouldn't believe that you're intelligent enough to have understood what I meant. OK, I stand corrected.

      7. Has any police “murder” in the US been as bad as the ones committed by Ted Bundy, Manson Family, or Jeffrey Dahmer?

        Yes.

    3. Is it too utilitarian to apply the Pareto principle and go after the causes of the most murders? What's the argument for talking almost exclusively about a small set of murders on the basis of how outrageous they are? Why not talk about young children being murdered just as much as homicides committed by police?

    4. Not sure if they're more "repulsive." But I do think a focus on police violence is justified for a few reasons:

      1) It is more immediately addressable compared to the incredibly disparate and varied causes for other types of violent crime. You can actually fire bad cops and take them off the streets and stop giving them carte blanche to kill and maim. You can hire better ones with better training to actually achieve the public safety objectives society desires (assuming that society desires public safety and not say, a somewhat low key sustained campaign of state-violence against undesirables)

      2) Failure to control police violence leads to a breakdown in community trust that inhibits their ability to address other forms of violence. When the rules are that the police have no duty to help and they are unaccountable for any violence they might quickly deploy while not helping, then its understandable why people don't want to engage with them at all.

      3) At least with other forms of violence, there is a a social expectation that if the right person is caught they will face some sort of consequences. But with police, there is no such expectation. And that's a major reason people focus on the police, they want some sort of legal accountability for unjustified violence the same as any person.

    5. I am sure the murdered victims rest in peace more soundly knowing that they were murdered by non-police persons.

      Do you think that you are morally responsible for the increase in black murders?

      1. At least there is the possibility the killer might face a prison sentence. And you won’t have a bunch of prominent politicians and media figures defending the killing (give or take a Kyle Rittenhouse/George Zimmerman). Not so much with unjustified police killings.

        1. And you won’t have a bunch of prominent politicians and media figures defending the killing (give or take a Kyle Rittenhouse/George Zimmerman).

          Yes, people using lethal force in self-defense against violent attackers is the most heinous type of crime.

          1. Not want I’m talking about. I’m talking about things like Ted Cruz and others supporting the Botham Jean shooter reflexively. Every douche who explained why Tamir Rice and Eric Garner deserved it. Etc etc ad nauseum.

      2. Kevin,
        Are you actually condoning police murders? It sure sounds like it.

        1. Are you actually condoning police murders? It sure sounds like it.

          If what he said sounds like that to you then you need to have your virtual hearing aid checked out.

    6. "I, too, would like to see intra-racial homicides go down"

      So you want people to kill those of other races instead? That's terrible.

  2. Naturally, I very much support preventing unjustified police killings of blacks (and of whites and of others). But of course I'd like to see that happen together with a reduction of the vastly larger number of unjustified nonpolice killings of blacks (and others), rather than together with a sharp increase in net homicides.

    Great, I look forward to your statement denouncing Black Lives Matter. And I find it troubling that you couldn't see this result from the beginning, unlike many of the commenters here. But what do I know, I am just a lawyer not a "legal scholar"

    1. Why would he need to denounce Black Lives Matter?

      1. Because in practice they're just fronting for urban gangs trying to drive the police off their turf.

        1. Well "They" is a stretch because 1) there's a few national organizations with the name 2) but overall its a slogan about valuing black lives. Something Eugene is doing here, but many other white conservatives are incredibly resistant to.

          Although thanks for the implicit acknowledgement that the police function as a gang.

          1. Yeah, that's what the slogan is about, and we all know slogans always accurately describe the organizations touting them.

            Yes, the police do sometimes function as a gang. But so does BLM, and they don't want the police off their turf to improve black lives, they want rid of the competition.

            1. But so does BLM, and they don’t want the police off their turf to improve black lives, they want rid of the competition.

              Racist Brett is at it again. Can't possibly imagine that black people care about the lives of the members of their community and see policing as a danger to that community.

              1. Racist Brett is at it again. Can’t possibly imagine that black people care about the lives of the members of their community and see policing as a danger to that community.

                Most black people want better policing and they want more of it. Perhaps you should stop speaking for black people?

                1. I know they do. And American policing ain’t it, hence the BLM movement.

                  1. Well, sure, but they're not going to get better than that by backing BLM, because BLM's goal isn't improving the situation in any sense most of the black community would recognize as "improvement".

                    They are, by their own statements, a Marxist revolutionary movement. They're just leveraging citizen unhappiness to fuel the revolution, and doing all they can to increase the fuel supply.

                    1. One organization is. But there’s also a general social movement advocating the normative principle that Black Lives Matter.

                      Think of it this way: there was a nation movement for the advancement of colored people. That doesn’t mean that the NAACP is the definitive word on the issue.

                      Also notable: every popular black movement and organization has been baselessly accused of Marxism by conservative whites. So enjoy that company.

                    2. "every popular black movement and organization has been baselessly accused of Marxism by conservative whites. "

                      While some of them have bragged about it, strangely enough.

              2. Racist...

                That was quick. It's like you're not even trying.

                1. Well I don’t have to try with Brett, you see.

            2. I support BLMs stated objective while recognizing that BLM is truly a garbage organization, but the assertion that they see the cops as competition to be removed is ridiculous beyond description.

          2. "implicit acknowledgement that the police function as a gang"

            "their" refers to the gangs, not the police

            1. They are fighting over turf though, according to Brett. You know who has turf? Gangs.

        2. This is silly dumb-dumb stuff

        3. Because in practice they’re just fronting for urban gangs trying to drive the police off their turf.

          I'd say that you watch too much tv, but no writer would come up with an idea that stupid.

      2. BLM has had a chilling effect on police action, which has had a disproportionate impact on black communities resulting in increased violence and deaths within the black community. This is not rocket surgery, many pointed out this ultimate result very early on.

        1. So police won’t do their jobs because of criticism of their prior violent behavior? Doesn’t that kind of prove their point that they don’t value Black lives?

          1. No, it kind of proves the point that they are rational actors responding to incentives.

            Policing crime gets you threatened with unemployment or prison, best to avoid policing.

            1. Literally every other profession that has some sort of accountability for screw ups still show up and go to work and do their jobs. Doctors, lawyers, soldiers, etc. Police are just weak bullies who are scared of being accountable for the awesome power they hold over us.

              “Policing crime gets you threatened with unemployment or prison, best to avoid policing.”

              This is a lie. Killing people unjustifiably, shooting friendly dogs, manufacturing child porn, sexual assault, theft, property destruction, lying, snd general thuggery leads to those things. Actual policing and investigation of crime does not.

              Police can stop crime without being held accountable for tasing deaf people who can’t understand conflicting commands or shooting neighbors while aiming for an autistic child having a break down or shooting a kid while trying to shoot a non-threatening dog, or shooting a drunk man on his knees with a rifle that says “get fucked” while he cries “please don’t shoot me,” etc etc ad nauseum.

              Frankly, it seems like you have a lower opinion of police as a group than I or reform advocates do. I think they overall have a problem encouraging and protecting violent thuggery that prevents good policing but can be reformed out of it. I think they are grown adults who can handle a smidgen of accountability like everyone else.

              You apparently think they’re more like babies or wild animals who we have to be very careful around and indulge every whim lest they throw a tantrum or go berserk.

              1. Your massive blind spot is for the fact that people, including the police, don't like to be accused and subjected to formal and informal investigations, even when no action is ultimately taken against them.

                1. Not a blind spot at all. Because I know that happens. For instance, do coyotes probably don’t like it, but you know what? They deal with it, show up to work the next day, and don’t organize other doctors to threaten the public with how their won’t be doctors anymore if you start even thinking about questioning them.

          2. So police won’t do their jobs because of criticism of their prior violent behavior?

            No, you mouth-breathing window-licker. Many of them...who have no history of prior violent behavior (your simple-minded broad brush strokes notwithstanding) are going out of their way to avoid ending up in situations that have a significant likelihood of escalating into a confrontation with a violent criminal, which may result in the cop having to employ lethal force and being subject to a public lynching over it. See the "hands up, don't shoot" lie that triggered the formation of BLM in the first place.

            1. Well I’m sorry they have to make tough choices and face accountability for them. But that’s life, and literally everyone else deals with it.

              It truly does seem like the back the blue people have a lower opinion of the abilities of police than reform advocates do.

              1. That is an absurdly weak response. When pressed by the fact that people respond to incentives, you completely collapse into a puddle of wishful thinking.

                1. It’s not a weak response because it’s confirmed by reality. Ever see medical doctors organize and say they won’t treat the public because of medical malpractice or a licensing board? No. Never. Why? Because they’re professionals not children who need to “respond to the incentive” of no accountability.

            2. See, Michael Brown is dead. Darren Wilson… is not. I think you're confused what a lynching is.

          3. So police won’t do their jobs because of criticism of their prior violent behavior?

            Some are doing the job differently because the community demands it and they perceive greater personal risk in some aspects policing.

            1. No community demanded that Eric Garner get choked to death over a misdemeanor. If they did, that’s a shitty community.

        2. I've seen little evidence that BLM has chilled police action.

          I think there was like a town in Missouri that saw police stop policing and crime went up?

          1. I’ve seen little evidence that BLM has chilled police action.

            Well, to be fair, it's hard to see much of anything with your head that far up your own ass.

            I think there was like a town in Missouri that saw police stop policing and crime went up?

            Yeah, you're definitely in desperate need of a rectal craniectomy.

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-murder-spike-of-2020-when-police-pull-back-11626969547

  3. Some would say focusing on Black intraracial violence is attempting to meddle in internal affairs, and only makes the problem worse.

    1. Some would be wrong. Black-on-black violence is no more "internal affairs" than white-on-white violence. It is the business of all of society to protect all of its members from violence by any other members.

  4. Wouldn't you also like to see the number of "justified" police killings (of all races) go down too? That seems to be a larger number than the "unjustified" ones, and I would argue, no less troubling a statistic.

    1. How is it less troubling? Doesn't that imply that a killing being unjustified doesn't make it more troubling?

      You could reduce troubling arrests and shootings by police, simply by getting rid of police, (Which is largely what we're looking at here.) but that's like saying you could reduce firemen busting down doors by shutting down the fire department. You'd get houses burning down in their place.

      It matters, a lot, whether they go down because the need for them declined, (Good!) or they go down because they didn't happen despite being needed. (Very bad!)

    2. "Wouldn’t you also like to see the number of “justified” police killings (of all races) go down too?"

      If they are truly justified, no. That would just get police killed instead.

      1. Did it not occur to you that there could be a world where there is less of a need for justified police killings?

        1. Yes, but I'd rather that humanity continue to exist.

        2. Sure, but that's not the approach to reducing police shootings that BLM is pursuing. They're pursuing the "shut down the police department, and the police won't be shooting anybody" approach.

        3. How does the number of police killing per capita in the UK compare with that in the US?
          I would guess that it is lower and that the UK is not crazy lawless.

  5. The best short-term solution is to make all concealed carry a crime, and sentence those who carry concealed weapons to five years of prison without the possibility of parole or pardon.

    1. So you are a gun grabber after all.

      1. @KevinP, for ten years or more now I have been referring to concealed carriers as cowards and criminals.

        November 30th is the beginning of my 11th year of litigation against the enforcement of California's Open Carry bans.

        Do try to keep up with current events.

        https://californiaopencarry.com/status-of-my-federal-open-carry-lawsuit/

        1. Are you familiar with the concept of "The best is the enemy of the good"? Because you're demonstrating it like mad.

          1. Brett Bellmore, are you familiar with the saying that the lesser of evils is still evil? Well, concealed carry is the greater of evils and Open Carry is not evil. Open Carry is in the words of Justice Scalia in his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, "Noble."

            When the Heller opinion was published, I had no real opinion on concealed carry other than it is useless for those who carry a weapon for self-defense. It is "people" such as yourself who have convinced me that nobody should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, and many (if not most) people should not be allowed anywhere near a weapon of any kind.

            1. Concealed carry useless for self defense? That's just silly. I get that you're strongly in favor of open carry (as am I) but you do your case no favors making such statements.

              1. Jmaie, "secret advantage and unmanly assassination" are not self-defense, and therein lies your problem.

                "The policy underlying the prohibition against concealed weapons is based on the protection of those persons who may come into contact with a weapon bearer. If a weapon is not concealed, one may take notice of the weapon and its owner and govern oneself accordingly, but no such opportunity for cautious behavior or self-preservation exists for one encountering the bearer of a concealed weapon."

                The quotes above are from citations found in my opening brief.

                1. I bet "unmanly assassination" sounded like a great put-down in your head.

                  1. Michael P, it was Justice Scalia's choice of words in District of Columbia v. Heller. You know, the part of his opinion where he says Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution and concealed carry is not a right.

                    I have far more descriptive words I would use to describe you and your kind but Volokh tends to be a whiny little girl when I use them here.

                    1. Michael P, it was Justice Scalia’s choice of words in District of Columbia v. Heller.

                      No, it wasn't. It was the 1850 Louisiana Supreme Court's choice of words. He was just quoting an opinion from then.

            2. Look, if somebody walks around with a gun in their pocket, and never shoots anybody, I don't see the problem.

              And if they shoot somebody, I'm not going to ask, "Was the gun hidden in their pocket?", I'm going to ask, "Was the shooting justified?"

              Whether the gun was concealed basically doesn't figure into my moral evaluation AT ALL. It has about as much relevance as the gun's color, or whether the shooter is left-handed.

              I'm not seeing the evil here.

              1. Brett Bellmore said, "Whether the gun was concealed basically doesn’t figure into my moral evaluation AT ALL.

                Cannibals feel the same way about eating people. Unfortunately, it is impossible to explain morality to immoral folks, like concealed carriers and cannibals.

    2. You've been spouting your bat-shit-crazy nonsense for years here...and time has not made you sound any less bat-shit-crazy.

    3. See Australia for how that ends up.

  6. An unjust solution, but a solution none the less, is to punish the relatives of the murderers.

    1. Given the frequency of drive by shootings at the funerals of the victo-perpetrators of gang violence, I would suggest that punishment of the relatives of murderers is already a thing in some sub-cultures.

  7. Interesting. It seems the goal of BLM in response to the appearance of excessive or unjustified Police use of force was to "defund" the police and remove police services from poor and disadvantaged communities. This appears to have led to a massive spike in homicides in those communities. The likely response will be an increase in police funding and police activities in those communities.

    Weird.

    1. No, it does not appear to have led to a massive spike in homicides in those communities. The rise in homicides was nationwide; it was not limited to cities where BLM protests inspired attempts at police reform, but included Republican-run cities where defund the police was never considered.

  8. Why would a White, male, right-wing blog voluntarily serve this one, out of left field, to its clinger commenters?

    Other than lack of self-awareness.

    1. Artie the bigot rears his head and brays out some nonsense.

      1. You are going to hate the next few decades of American progress, buckleup, much as you have despised the improvements of the most recent half-century.

        Which makes me quite happy.

  9. I think part of the focus is that in a Republic, reform of state actors is ostensibly easier than reform of freelance murderers.

    1. So it's just laziness then.

      1. Efficient use of resources.

        Do you think protests will effect criminals like they do the government?

        The only solutions to the non-police murders I've seen offered are to become a blood-drenched police state.

  10. And reform of the former is actually an important piece to reform of the latter.

    1. Meant as a reply to Sarc

  11. Remarkable that this thread has accumulated 88 comments without anyone mentioning yesterday's NYT article announcing that police killings have been more than twice as frequent as previously reported. To find and read the story just Goggle, "New York Times police killings"

    1. It's an interesting study if you click through to the actual paper.

      A couple of tidbits have me wanting to see followup articles.

      1)"The longest-running open-source database, Fatal Encounters, has a very broad case definition that includes all deaths during encounters with the police, with no requirement of police culpability."

      2)"Police violence is defined in GBD as police-related altercations leading to death or bodily harm.", again with no requirement for police misconduct.

      3)If you look at Fig 1, it has several states purportedly misclassifying deaths at very different rates for various ethnic groups. For example, look at Montana, the Dakotas, and VT/NH. There may be an explanation, but that is also what noisy data looks like.

      I think it would be much more interesting to look at a sampling of the underlying cases for evidence of misconduct, or the lack thereof. If a mugger is running from the police and runs in front of a bus, that's tragic, but the answer isn't that the police shouldn't chase muggers. This study doesn't seem to look at those details.

      1. It gets worse if you read the detailed methodology.
        For example, all their work is based around building a model assuming that one of their three data sources is 100% correct... but that data source was compiled from news articles covering part of 2015 and 2016, just two years. Which they then use to model multiple decades.

        They use a methodology that is prone to error when using a small number of datasets, but do not include that error in their model.

        They also edit their data sets in multiple ways - they drop years that they feel underrepresent police killing; the fill in missing values with data chosen arbitrarily; they deliberately increase zero values to lower the influence of zero on the model (which they felt caused the model to result in too low estimates).

        Most of these are not indefensible when dealing with poor data.
        However, when you have so many of these but you refuse to include them in the error, it certainly raises questions about the accuracy of your claims, especially when they are so... dramatic.

        1. For example, all their work is based around building a model assuming that one of their three data sources is 100% correct… but that data source was compiled from news articles covering part of 2015 and 2016, just two years.

          Toranth, you seem to be describing the police killings data compiled by the Guardian. If so, did you look at it?

          I followed that Guardian presentation as they published it, and they not only published the data, but discussed in moderate detail a great many of the cases, with each party named—for all the cases about which they could find that info. It looked pretty hard to refute. I get that you may wish to say something like, it's just one study, but I don't think you can make it go away. And given the particularity of the accounts, if you find other studies which say otherwise, I think there is an inference created by the Guardian study that the others need to be examined to see if they can withstand Guardian-level scrutiny.

          More generally, for years pro-gun advocates have grown accustomed to passing off crap statistics as valid—every reference to FBI crime data, for instance. I don't think I have ever seen a pro-gun reference to FBI data which mentioned that all data submissions are voluntary, that there is no system to say what data to include, and that many political jurisdictions do not participate.

          About a year ago I read that Florida records for years omitted police killings altogether. Concealed carry licensing systems have criteria for conduct which warrants license revocation. Try finding out how many times various criteria have been cited, with revocations resulting. A few years ago I checked what I could find from Florida and Texas, and the data seemed to show that among licensed concealed carriers numbering in the millions, no one ever got convicted of domestic abuse. When federal and state statistics aren't being abused, then pro-gun advocates go with self-reporting and phone surveys, like the nonsense they cite about defensive gun use.

          I am fine with critiquing data, the more critiquing the better. But please do more than critique. Demand useful, accurate data in the first place.

          Will you join me in advocating a complete overturn of all federal restrictions on funding and keeping statistical studies of gun ownership, gun use, and gun crime—together with uniform, mandatory gun incident reporting requirements for all political jurisdictions? If not, then I have to put you down among the many who strive to keep gun data inadequate, but don't mind trying to exploit the weaknesses when it serves an argument.

          1. Not only did I read it, I read the methodology of the Guardian articles, too. If you'd bothered, you would have seen that they describe problems with their dataset right there that you are attempting to dismiss - including the limited time frame and the reliance on news publications.

            And as for the once-again lie about funding gun studies, as it has been explained to you many time, there is no such thing. There is a ban on funding activist groups, which the CDC tried several times, but there have been several Federal studies on gun usage - last one I read was about 2016, IIRC. There are plenty of people trying to get accurate data, even if you choose to ignore them.

            1. Toranth, what I meant was, did you read the case-by-case analysis which the Guardian put together from newspaper stories. I am having a hard time understanding why if you did that you would be critiquing their use of newspapers as a method. It was exemplary reporting, and looked to me like the best data I have ever seen on the subject.

              1. You don't seem to be getting this.
                The Guardian, the paper that generated the data you are extolling, admitted that there were significant problems with their data.
                The fact that the other two data sets were far worse does not make those problems go away.

                And when you use data sets with known problems to do your analysis, you either need to compensate for the issues in your model, or qualify your conclusions - and the very dramatic report just released did neither.

                1. Once again Toranth, did you read what the Guardian published for its readers? I am beginning to think not. If not, please give some thought to what the best evidence of the strengths and weaknesses of the Guardian's work actually is.

            2. Tell me, what exactly does that, "ban on funding activist groups" say?

              1. "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control."

                The amendment allowed them to do any research they wanted. The problem is, they didn't want to do research into guns, their minds were already made up. They wanted to do advocacy.

                When they had picked people to fund for studies, they had picked people who were advocates, who were guaranteed to produce 'studies' with predetermined conclusions. The quality of their work might be crap, but it was guaranteed to come out making gun control look like a good idea.

                1. Thanks for the quote, Brett. Bystanders can now compare it to this from Toranth:

                  Toranth: And as for the once-again lie about funding gun studies, as it has been explained to you many time, there is no such thing.

                  Congress: none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.

  12. "Google," not "Goggle"

    1. Google,” not “Goggle”

      That's funny to me, because I recently pointed out to the person producing our school districts lab safety document about the reference to "safety googles" .

      1. Jason, anyone researching chronic hazards might benefit by use of, "safety googles."

  13. Black culture moving on its historic trajectory, a free people in a free country freely killing each other, what is wrong with that??

  14. Naturally, I very much support preventing unjustified police killings of blacks (and of whites and of others). But of course I'd like to see that happen together with a reduction of the vastly larger number of unjustified nonpolice killings of blacks (and others), rather than together with a sharp increase in net homicides.

    Prof. Volokh,

    Without even a hint about what you think might be done about these problems, this doesn't say much at all. It's not like there is anyone sane that wouldn't want the same things.

    Some food for thought:

    Does being "tough on crime" work to prevent crime? If we consider locking up criminals as the solution to crime, then the U.S. is a far flung outlier here any way we look at it. Incarceration rates as a share of population here are far above any peer countries without general crime victimization rates being any lower. Locking up even more people seems very unlikely to reduce the homicide and armed robbery rates that do tend to be higher in the U.S. than peer countries given that. (With fewer lower level offenses balancing that out in the overall victimization numbers.)

    How about increasing concealed and/or open carry? That also seems unlikely to work, given that we already have far more guns in civilian hands in the U.S. than any of our peer countries with lower homicide rates.

    Of course, one thing that might make a difference is going to be highly unpopular on this blog. One thing that the U.S. does significantly less of than its peer countries is social welfare spending as a share of GDP. Programs that might help communities reduce crime that involve spending public funds (drug abuse treatment, welfare, child care, criminal youth diversion) likely have a mixed record, but figuring out which of them work and implementing them more widely and with more resources is something to look at more closely.

    Basically, it is too easy to let politicians use talking points and ideology that are so vague or that are just slogans as to be useless at addressing the issue. We need to do the hard work of insisting that they study issues and look at details and evidence of what works and what doesn't instead of appealing to our fear and emotions.

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