Stats can kill. Rational analysis. Whenever you see a stat-based MSM story, you can bet that someone somewhere is trying to “sell” a particular point of view. For example, this from officer.com: “Police officer deaths, including those fatally shot in the line of duty, are on pace to rise for the second straight year, despite a sustained decline in violent crime across the country. Overall officer deaths are up 14% so far in 2011, while deadly shootings have increased by 33%, according to a midyear report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), which tracks law enforcement fatalities.” What’s wrong with/missing from this picture . . .
First, remember that two is 100% more than one. And it really helps to know what you’re counting before you start counting it. In this case, “overall officer deaths” includes car accidents, which are far and away the leading cause of farm buying for American law enforcement officers.
As for that 33% increase in firearms-related police fatalities, “deadly shootings reached a 20-year high in the first half of this year. Forty officers were killed by gunfire, up from 30 in the first six months of 2010.”
So, up 10 then. That’s a tragedy, especially for ten families. But a little context would help those of us who don’t want to base public policy, police procedure or gun control legislation on anecdotal evidence that leads to overly-emotional conclusions. You know, politically-driven analysis like this:
Craig Floyd, the memorial fund’s chairman, said the numbers suggest that recent cuts in local law enforcement training and equipment budgets because of the economy may be contributing to the increase in deaths.
“When you slash those budgets time and time again, you are putting communities at risk and officers at risk,” Floyd said.
Last year, nearly 70% of police agencies cut back or eliminated training, according to a survey of 608 departments conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement think tank.
False synchronicity is not a pirate copy of a Police CD. It’s the belief that two concomitant events indicate causality. I think. Anyway, something must be done! Taxpayer money must be spent! The Feds must step in!
The mounting casualties prompted Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a federal officer-safety initiative in March that required federal prosecutors to meet with state and local police to ensure they were taking advantage of federal grants for bullet-resistant vests, training and other resources.
Melekian said he was meeting with Justice officials Wednesday to determine what more the federal government could do to assist local law enforcement agencies.
This story is missing one key factoid: the total number of cops in the U.S. Which is: around 800,000. So 40 officers killed by gunfire. Do the math. According to the NLEOMF, “on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours.” Define “line of duty” and, while you’re at it, “physical related.”
As I’m on a boat (and), I’d appreciate a little Googling on where cops rank in terms of the dangerousness of their work. Rational thought thanks you. Nick?