Lately there has been a narrative in the mass-media about a so-called “War on Cops.”
But is this really true, or is it a problem “being fueled by a hysterical media”?
According to the Washington Post, 58% of people believe there is a war on police. However, the numbers totally contradict these beliefs. 2015 is on pace to have the second lowest number of cops killed in almost a century. First lowest? 2 years ago. While the estimated number of gun related officer deaths of 35 is still too many (even one homicidal death of cop or civilian is too many), this number has consistently declined since 1975. In fact, you are much more likely to die on the job if you are a logger, commercial fisherman, aircraft pilot, roofer, steelworker, trashman, farmer, landscaper or any number of other professions. Link.
However, the media, and sometimes even cops themselves, are leading the public to believe that their job is so dangerous, they must have things like this:
and have teams of people like this:
Are these cops patrolling small town Oklahoma, or the army kicking in doors in Iraq?
Is it surprising that there is blow-back from a large portion of the citizenry over this type of policing? How can we be shocked when there is anger and resentment from certain communities when they are being policed by what can now be known as the new “Warrior Cop.”
Now consider this with the other side:
Now, don’t get me wrong, in a large percentage of these cases the police have no choice. They have a split second to make a decision in very difficult circumstances. Locally, a small town sheriff was shot when a mentally ill man was trying to break into a house and had a gun. Link. Without video (that’s a discussion for another day), we cannot be 100% sure what happened, but all accounts point to there being no choice but to kill the man. But regardless, the warrior cop mentality of shoot first has created an us against them problem and unnecessary killings of civilians. In fact, even though the data is very difficult to obtain because there is inexplicably no central clearinghouse or reporting requirements for officer involved shootings, officers are on pace to kill 1,000 civilians this year Link. This is more per year than cops in the U.K. have killed in a HUNDRED years!
And Oklahoma is one of the worst, per capita, for officer involved shootings. Oh, by the way, we are also one of the worst for funding for mental health, substance abuse and education. Wonder if that might be related?
The bottom line is that policing has never been safer – but being a civilian and hoping not to get shot by a cop has never been more dangerous.