Justin King | The Anti-Media
The media is currently pushing the figure that law enforcement deaths are up a staggering 40% so far this year. The nation is again told to respect and forgive the mistakes of those involved in such a dangerous profession. The problem is that being a cop isn’t really that dangerous. In fact, according to the latest census data, your trash collector is entitled to more respect for performing a dangerous job. Law enforcement isn’t even in the top ten of the most dangerous professions. Thumbnail credit: scmp.com
It might be surprising to know 2013 was the safest year for law enforcement officers since 1944, with 100 fatalities. Even if the 40% increase stays in place throughout the entire year of 2014, placing the total at 140 fatalities, 2014 will still be one of the five safest years to be a cop since 1965. The 40% increase is unlikely to hold throughout the whole of 2014.
1944 was the last time law enforcement fatalities were as low as last year. 1944 was the height of World War II and millions of men were overseas fighting. That year, over 11 million men were in the armed services. If the years of World War II are excluded from the study, the data reveals that 2013 was the safest year for cops in over 100 years.
While recent attacks on law enforcement officers have been making headlines, the deliberate targeting of cops is an extremely rare occurrence. The numbers of law enforcement fatalities above include all types of death that occur on duty, not just homicide. If an officer were to lose control of his car and die in the crash, it would be included. If an officer accidentally shoots himself on duty, it is included. When one officer kills another, it is included. The numbers will even include Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Sowders, who was killed in a military raid on a home based off of bad information.
Despite Christopher Dorner’s best efforts, 2013 had the lowest instance of cops dying by gunfire since the late 1800s. Dorner’s attacks on cops last year amounted to about ten percent of all law enforcement fatalities by gunfire nationwide. The total for the year was 33.
Meanwhile, cops are killing civilians, armed and unarmed, at an unprecedented rate. More civilians have been killed by cops in the same time period than soldiers killed in Iraq by insurgents. And in 2010 alone, law enforcement agencies paid out over $148 million to settle claims of police misconduct.
As police departments become more militarized in their operations and more likely to open fire on civilians, it should be expected that the American population return fire out of a very real fear for their own safety. As police departments scramble to acquire military weapons and employ military tactics, the departments must realize that military forces take casualties as part of their operations. If departments choose to behave as militaries, they must begin to use military terminology. One of the terms that departments across the country will need to become familiar with is “acceptable losses.”
Conducting countless daily raids across the country, sometimes on the wrong home, and suffering fewer than 150 killed in action over the course of a year would definitely be seen as acceptable losses by the Pentagon. If this is unsettling to Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, perhaps it’s time to move back to Andy Griffith’s style of policing and away from the tactics used by the Gestapo.
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