The Washington Post declares: “Despite ongoing national scrutiny of police tactics, the number of fatal shootings by officers in 2016 remained virtually unchanged from last year when nearly 1,000 people were killed by police.” There are a few problems with this declaration.
First, by the Post’s count, the number of fatal shootings by officers decreased by more than 3 percent this year — down from 991 to 957.
Second, the Post assumes that “ongoing national scrutiny of police tactics” should have reduced the number by more. This assumes that the number of killings is higher than it would be if the police used proper tactics. But the Post doesn’t demonstrate the validity of this assumption. Yes, the number is higher than it would be if police officers were perfect. But we already knew this. We also know that perfection cannot be the standard.
“Ongoing national scrutiny of police tactics” is fine as long as it doesn’t morph into mindless criticism of the police. The Post’s article is further proof that the “scrutiny” has so morphed, and that the race card has been thrown in with abandon.
The Post emphasizes that “a disproportionate number of those killed this year were black.” Disproportionate in relation to what? In relation to black representation in the general population.
But how about in relation to those who put the lives of police officers in danger? The Post has nothing to tell us about this.
The Post says that, adjusted by population, black males were three times more likely to die at the hands of police than their white counterparts. But adjusted by population, blacks are about seven times more likely to commit homicide than their white counterparts, according to Justice Department statistics from 2010.
Deep into its story, the Post tells us that the percentage of police shootings of unarmed people decreased significantly this year. In 2015, such shootings were 9 percent of the total. This year, they are only 5 percent.
This suggests that, contrary to the Post’s opening sentence, the “ongoing scrutiny” may be having an effect. But such scrutiny will never trump the need of police officers to protect themselves.
And that need is increasing thanks, in all likelihood, to the left’s war on cops. Very deep into the Post’s story — 28 paragraphs deep — we are informed that 62 police officers were fatally shot by civilians in 2016. That’s up from 39 in 2015, and it’s exactly twice the number of officers fatally shot in 2013.
But this isn’t the Post’s concern. It’s mission is to spin statistics that, if anything, suggest a diminution in excessive use of force by the police, into a story that fits its anti-police narrative.
I don’t know whether police shootings will rise or fall in 2017, but here’s a prediction you can take to the bank: The left’s war of the police will continue unabated in 2017.