You are 47 times more likely to be killed by a cop than by an Islamic terrorist. This was the ratio in America as of June 7, 2017. Between January 1 and June 7 of this year, 11 Americans were killed by people classified here as Islamic terrorists whereas 520 were killed by cops.
These 11 people died in four one-man attacks. Out of perhaps 4 million Muslims in America, 4 have murdered in the name of Islam this year. Yet the entire nation is on edge about the threat of Islamic terrorism, while at the same time not putting 2 and 2 together about the much greater threat posed by law enforcement.
When cops properly apprehend violent criminals, I am the first guy to salute them. And when they direct traffic at sporting events and around accident scenes, I am the first guy to thank them.
However, just because some cops do good things doesn’t mean they should be supported unconditionally and never ever questioned. When they commit crimes, which happens far more frequently than many people are willing to admit, they need to be held personally and financially accountable just like any other criminals. Google “police brutality” or “police misconduct.” Enter the same terms into YouTube. The list of examples is endless.
And to dismiss the sources as “left-wing” totally evades the point. The true paradigm in politics is not left-right, liberal-conservative, Democrat-Republican, Hillary-Trump, etc. Rather, it is the state versus the individual.
William Norman Grigg, who left this earth WAY too soon, was the premier chronicler of police abuse in America. You can read his blog here. In 2009, Grigg formulated something called the “Tom Joad test” to determine one’s true political worldview. Tom Joad is the character from John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath who stated, “Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.”
Grigg spells out the Tom Joad test as follows:
“When you see a cop — or, more likely, several of them — beating up on a prone individual, do you instinctively sympathize with the assailant(s) or the victim?
“If it’s the former, you’re an authoritarian, irrespective of your partisan attachments or professed political philosophy.
“If it’s the latter, you’re an instinctive libertarian, whether or not you are consistently guided by that impulse in your political decisions.
“It may later be demonstrated that the figure on the receiving end of the beating had committed some horrible crime. However, such a disclosure wouldn’t invalidate the results of the Tom Joad Test, because that test reveals a subject’s default assumptions about the relationship between the individual and the state.
“Do you assume that the state is entitled to the benefit of the doubt whenever its agents inflict violence on somebody, or do you believe that the individual — any individual — is innocent of wrongdoing until his guilt has been proven?”
Did some of the 520 people killed by cops between January 1 and June 7 of this year pose an imminent danger to the cops? Most probably. Are cops always wrong? NO!
Cops aren’t always right either. To blithely assume that these 520 people as well as the several thousand other victims of police misconduct and abuse “had to have done something to deserve it,” or to automatically take the word of the police and to go about your day, is to tell the world that you simply don’t understand the rights of individuals when they come nose-to-nose with the state.
The “47 times” statistic really ought to rattle your cage. And between May 1, 2013 and June 11, 2017, 4804 Americans were killed by cops. That is over 60 percent more people than perished in the 9/11 attacks. And this doesn’t even take into account the number of Americans killed by cops between September 11, 2001 and May 1, 2013!
Law-and-order conservatives may insist they hate the government when it comes to the IRS, Obamacare and the school system. However, they are quite willing to overlook the protections for the accused as enshrined in the Fourth through Eighth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. They are six-pack-ab constitutionalists except when they are more than happy to use the Constitution as toilet paper. They seethe with contempt for the government except when they are on their knees worshipping the government.
The cops are the government. And they are the most dangerous part of the government. They are the business end of the government. In any totalitarian regime, it is not the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, Pol Pots or Kims who do the dirty work. But rather the cops, as well as the other armed, badged and uniformed gods of the law-and-order right: military personnel.
If Hillary had prevailed in the election of 2016 and, as many feared, America undergone widespread gun confiscation, it would not have been Hillary, or Chuck Schumer, or Dianne Feinstein on your doorstep demanding your guns. It would have been the police and the military. Would the law-and-order right still be kissing the derrieres of those in uniform?
To be sure, cops have a risky job that puts them on the front lines against some of the true dregs of humanity. But people in numerous other professions have far riskier jobs. On-the-job police fatalities are at some of the lowest levels they have been in decades. And only about half of these fatalities were homicides. There is no “war on cops.”
To go from “they have a tough job” to unconditionally siding with the police absolutely every time is not just stupid, it is downright dangerous.
I started writing this essay on June 7. I finished writing it on June 11. Since then, 14 more people have been killed by police. The ratio is now over 48:1.