Same statistics on police shootings – two radically different perspectives

It just goes to show – the direction from which one approaches something makes a big difference in how it looks.  That applies particularly to police shootings of Black suspects.

The Huffington Post takes a progressive, left-wing approach to the statistics.

Police and law enforcement officials killed at least 223 black Americans in the year after Kaepernick first began to protest, according to a HuffPost analysis of data compiled by The Washington Post and The Guardian … police across the United States killed at least 222 other black Americans ― culminating with the death, on Aug. 13 of this year, of Patrick Harmon, a 50-year-old black man shot and killed by police in Salt Lake City.

It’s likely that even more black people were killed by police during that time period. The race of the victim has not been identified or confirmed in more than 160 police killings between Aug. 14, 2016 and Aug. 14, 2017 … Overall, police shot and killed 978 people in the yearlong period that immediately followed Kaepernick’s first protest, according to the Post. Black Americans made up roughly 21 percent of the victims, according to HuffPost’s review.

. . .

African-Americans make up roughly 13 percent of the country’s population ― meaning they are far more likely to die at the hands of police than white Americans, even though more white people are killed by law enforcement overall.

Though many of the victims of police violence were considered armed, according to the Post’s database, others were not. Black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to be unarmed when police kill them, according to a study released in February.

There’s more at the link.

On the other hand, the more conservative, more right-wing City Journal looks at the same numbers, and comes up with a very different perspective.

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.  Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide-victim total to 7,881. Those 7,881 “black bodies,” in the parlance of Ta-Nehisi Coates, are 1,305 more than the number of white victims (which in this case includes most Hispanics) for the same period, though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The increase in black homicide deaths last year comes on top of a previous 900-victim increase between 2014 and 2015.

Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous, according to the Washington Post. The Post categorized only 16 black male victims of police shootings as “unarmed.” That classification masks assaults against officers and violent resistance to arrest. Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers—committed vastly and disproportionately by black males. Among all homicide suspects whose race was known, white killers of blacks numbered only 243.

. . .

Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection.

Again, more at the link.

The difference is obvious.  City Journal focuses on the “big picture” – crime statistics overall – and shows that racial disparities appear very different when viewed from that perspective.  Huffpo, Black Lives Matter and their ilk “drill down” to a narrow, tightly focused view of police shootings of black suspects, and draw drastically different conclusions.

I view the latter approach as being so flawed, statistically speaking, as to render it both dishonest and irrelevant.  It plays well to the perpetually aggrieved section of the populace, but all it’s doing is reinforcing their stereotypes and further inflaming already seething emotions.

Robert Heinlein put important words into the mouth of one of his most famous characters:

What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell”, avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

I think only the City Journal article bothers to give us most of the plain, unvarnished facts, and – whilst expressing its author’s own opinion – gives us enough information to draw our own conclusions.  The Huffpo article presents opinion as fact, and ignores any statistics that would lead its readers to question that opinion.  In this case, reality is not on the side of Huffpo, or Black Lives Matter – or the NFL protesters.



  1. Black, white, it doesn't matter. There are entirely too many Americans killed by cops. There is no "war on cops" as they have been brainwashed to believe. There is a war by cops upon American citizens.

    The rights of a citizen are more important than a cop making it home at the end of shift. If they don't like that, then they are more than welcome to find productive work where they are not living off the sweat on the brows of the American people.

  2. Chris Mallory – It must be tough, going through life with such a hateful attitude.

    Clearly, you didn't read the linked article…or if you did, you were clearly incapable of understanding it.

    A cop has every right to expect to make it home at the end of his shift. I'm sure you expect to make it home at the end of your workday, too. While there are situations where a cop makes a mistake, I really doubt that there's many, if any, cops who are just itching to kill someone every time they go on duty…though you seem to be believe otherwise.

    As for "living off the sweat on the brows of the American people"…. I do agree that there are FAR too many government jobs, far too much bureaucracy, entire agencies that have no good reason to exist, entire departments whose only function appears to be making work for themselves and other departments. But that's not true of the cops. They perform a vital and useful function. Though I doubt you have the imagination to do so, I challenge you to try to imagine a country without them. And be honest about it, if you can.

    Good day, sir.

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