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Don’t Blame Police Racism for America’s Violence Epidemic

In political debates about incidents of police officers shooting and killing Americans, a consistent narrative has emerged: There is an epidemic of white police officers targeting unarmed African Americans—the reason being that America’s police forces are so racially biased that they value the lives of blacks less than they value the lives of whites. Given the horrifying history of racism in the United States, this was never a far-fetched thesis. This phenomenon is at the heart of Black Lives Matter, a movement that has pushed media and politicians to consider the issue of police abuse as a matter of racial injustice.

“Black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed, and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement without accountability and without justice,” then-Texas Democratic congressman and now presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told an audience last year. O’Rourke made the statement as part of a larger speech in support of NFL players such as Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.

The definition of “frightening” is subjective, but as the Washington Post noted later, three unarmed black teenagers aged 18 and under were shot and killed by police between 2015 and 2018. During the same time period, “six teenagers and three children who were white or Hispanic—and unarmed—were fatally shot [by police].”

If you zoom out, and look at killings of African American minors outside the context of police actions, the picture is actually far more grim. “Homicide is the leading cause of death for non-Hispanic black male teenagers,” notes the Center for Disease Control, while accidents remain the top cause of death for teens from other racial backgrounds. The homicide rate in 2017 for black teens was almost 16 times higher than the rate among white teens.

Putting statistics aside, is it true that police killings of African Americans are driven by racial bias—by white police officers with a Jim-Crow mindset who view blacks as less than human? A new study by a group of American researchers offers some insight, and suggests that the conventional narrative is misleading.

Lead researcher David Johnson, psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, led a team that analyzed police shootings in America by building a database of 917 fatal officer-involved shootings (FOIS) from over 650 different police departments in 2015. They looked at both the race of the police officers doing the shooting and the races of the individuals killed. If America had an epidemic of white-on-black police shootings, you would expect that white police officers would be more likely to shoot African Americans. But that isn’t what they found.

Instead, they found that when the data is sorted according to the race of the involved officers, “as the percentage of black officers who shot in a FOIS increased, a person fatally shot was more likely to be black…than white. As the percentage of Hispanic officers who shot in a FOIS increased, a person fatally shot was more likely to be Hispanic…than white.” It is actually more likely for black and Hispanic citizens to be killed by black and Hispanic police officers than by white officers.

This doesn’t mean that the black and Hispanic officers are more biased against fellow black and Hispanic residents. Instead, the researchers postulate that this may be due to “simple overlap between officer and county demographics.” Police departments in areas with greater numbers of ethnic minorities tend to have a more diverse police force. Indeed, the paper notes that “when county variables were included, the relationship between office and civilian race was attenuated or eliminated….This suggests that the association between officer race and black and Hispanic disparities in FOIS largely occur because officers and civilians are drawn from the same population.”

In an interview, Johnson stressed that we shouldn’t conclude that just because racial diversity in a police force does not reduce lethal shootings doesn’t mean it has no value. “Another possibility is we might find that officer race matters more for other kinds of force, so baton use, taser use, those sorts of things,” he said. “Our data is just about shootings that resulted in fatality….What I want to be clear on, is we don’t find evidence for racial disparities, at least as tied to officer race. It’s not the case that white officers seem to be primarily responsible for these shootings. But we’re not at all trying to argue that the police are, say, free of racial bias. The data we have just don’t answer that kind of question.”

This isn’t the only research that shows that white officers aren’t more likely to shoot black citizens. Last year, a study from Rutgers University found that “white officers are no more likely to use lethal force against minorities than nonwhite officers,” in the words of lead researcher Charles Menifield.

But what of the disproportionate number of black citizens killed by police every year? As a Vox writer has noted, in 2012, 31 percent of all people killed by police were African American, while only about 13 percent of the total American population is black. Isn’t that a sign of racial bias?

The new study disputes the use of this metric as a means to prove bias. “Using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that white and black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS,” it writes. “If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading.”

The researchers found that the factor that most predicted the race of a citizen fatally shot was homicide rates for those groups in particular counties. For instance, in counties where whites committed a higher percentage of homicides, victims of police shootings are 3.5 times more likely to be white; in counties where blacks commit more homicides, victims are 3.7 times more likely to be black.

This suggests that violent crime rates correlate to—and perhaps may be used to predict—fatal interactions between police and citizens. The Washington Post’s police shootings database, which serves to document every fatal police shooting in the country, provides more evidence in this regard. Of the 505 fatal police shootings cataloged in 2019 as of this writing, only 20 involved a victim who was unarmed (although 12 of the victims carried toy weapons). If these victims were being targeted for reasons unrelated to their possible identity as criminal suspects, one would not expect that 96 percent would be armed.

This isn’t to say that all police shootings are justified or unavoidable. The state should never take any life if it has any alternative to neutralizing someone who poses a threat. (I oppose capital punishment under the same principle.) But it does suggest that police are using violence largely because they find themselves in dangerous situations, not because they are acting on racial animus.

The percentage of African Americans killed every year by police is tied to the homicide rate among African Americans. I am certainly not endorsing irrational and unscientific theories about some kind of “inherent” violent attitude among African Americans: The majority of African-Americans never commit any violent crime whatsoever, and homicides in the United States are highly concentrated among a few communities with high poverty, high levels of segregation, and inadequate policing (all of which are, of course, indirectly or even directly related to the country’s history of racism). Some prosperous African American communities, like Prince George’s County in Maryland, are relatively safe and see little of both common homicide and police brutality compared to, say, West Baltimore. And we shouldn’t forget that around half of the people killed every year by police are white, and that Johnson’s study found the same relationship between homicide rates and police shootings for whites as it did for blacks.

But we should recognize that policies such as increasing the racial diversity of our police forces won’t accomplish very much if non-white police officers are just as likely to use deadly force. Implicit bias training won’t stop police shootings if they are mostly occurring in dangerous situations in which the victim is armed and connected to some form of crime. Instead, a race-neutral approach may be the best way to lower the number of victims of police shootings.

Some parts of this approach are by now well-known. More and more police departments are being taught to de-escalate tense situations, so police can verbally calm down violent criminals as an alternative to using force.

But so long as parts of America have so much violent crime, police will inevitably respond with lethal force. We can’t keep writing articles noting that Norway’s police are far less lethal than America’s without noting that America has more guns than people and that there were a total of 25 murders in Norway in all of 2017. The city of Chicago, which has around half the population of Norway, on the other hand, lost 650 people to homicide the same year. It stands to reason that Norway’s police simply don’t have to deal with the same social problems and extreme rates of violence that Chicago’s do, so of course they’ll be using less force, and using it less often.

Progressives are quick to (correctly) note that the roots of crime are socially and culturally constructed. But they are more reluctant to accept the reality that one reason for the prevalence of police brutality may be that police are operating in brutal environments. Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among police officers are much higher than among the general population; around one in four police officers has suicidal thoughts.

In the New Yorker profile of Darren Wilson—the police officer who killed the African American teenager Michael Brown in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, setting off the Black Lives Matter movement—what struck me the most was how much violence Wilson had encountered before he ever met Brown. At one stop, he was met with the bodies of two dead women and a two-year-old child covered in blood crawling between them. It is possible that the anti-social or violent behavior by both common criminals and the police is influenced by the environments they live and work in as well.

In other words: If we want to reduce police shootings, we have to reduce violent crime. “The strongest implication from our data is if we can reduce those crime rates, we are going to decrease the number of people who are fatally shot by police,” Johnson said.

There is no silver bullet for how to do so, but we do know of strategies that have worked in the past—ranging from reducing lead exposure, to reducing economic inequality, to increasing police levels (and training), to community activism and interventions based on changing the norms around violence in an area.

A recent study published in the journal Demography found that 17 percent of the reduction in the life expectancy gap between white and black men could be attributed to the reduction in homicides that occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s. For all of their righteous criticism of politicians such as Bill Clinton and Joe Biden—the architects of the ’90s crime-reduction policy in the United States—Black Lives Matter activists are unlikely to admit that reducing violent crime has saved, and would continue to save, orders of magnitude more black lives than any number of police-focused reforms (and the lives of countless others).

Four years ago, the national media and liberal activists converged on the city of Baltimore, Maryland, following the shocking and unconscionable death of Freddie Gray, a man who died in police custody in 2015. Intense protests and riots occurred in the aftermath, and the city engaged in a consent decree with the Department of Justice to reform itself. The government’s investigations did indeed find corrupt and unconstitutional practices by some of the city’s police force.

But as Baltimore engaged in much-needed reforms to prevent police brutality and heal relations with the citizenry, it also effectively de-policed much of the city. There were 39,654 arrests in Baltimore in 2014, compared to 25,820 arrests in 2016, while homicides increased from 211 to 318 in that period. By November 2017, gun arrests were down 67 percent from the previous year.

Reverend Kinji Scott, a community activist in the city, told me last year that he blames this de-policing for the spike in homicides. “We saw the police department arrest less during a period of high crime,” he said. “So what happened is you have a community of emboldened criminals.” The issue is personal for Scott: He lost a cousin to murder in Chicago, and his brother was murdered in St. Louis. In all three cities, the homicide clearance rate—the proportion of cases in which police are able to charge someone for a crime—is abysmal. Baltimore’s clearance rate in 2018 was 43 percent; Chicago’s police are solving fewer than 1 in 6 murders. It would be nice to see liberal activists expressing as much concern about these legions of lost lives as those few taken by police.

According to the Washington Post’s police-shooting database, 223 African Americans were killed in police-involved shootings in 2017. Each of those deaths is a tragedy, even if police had no choice in many or most of these instances. Every one of us carries a precious soul from the moment of our birth to the instant of our death, and we should prioritize saving lives to such an extent that we shouldn’t rest until the number is zero—for African Americans and everyone else. But that same year, we saw 7,851 black victims of homicide, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. That’s a 35-to-1 ratio of killings between the two tallies. Does it make sense that our outrage be guided by the identity of the shooter—whether it’s the color of his skin, or the presence of a police uniform?

There’s some good news out there, too. The New York Police Department shot 341 people in 1971 and just 19 in 2017. The city is much safer than it was then. In 1972, there were 1,691 murders in the city while in 2018 there were only 289. More sophisticated training and technology probably explain some of the decline in police shootings, but a much less violent ecosystem overall probably explains the rest. That should be the goal for the whole country—even if the dream of turning the United States into a place that’s as peaceful as Norway might never be realized.


Zaid Jilani, a journalist, is currently on fellowship, studying political and social polarization at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Follow him on Twitter @ZaidJilani.

Featured image: Protest against police brutality, Anaheim, California, 2012.


  1. ‘Ecosystems’ will improve with reasonable gun control.

  2. Norway… isn’t that where Anders Breivik killed over 80 young people in the worst mass shooting by an individual in recent history?

    Yes, the real problem is - why have some areas become so violent? Not in terms of police shooting people, but people shooting people? The number of black people murdered by other black people dwarfs police shootings by a huge amount… but that doesn’t make for an ad click generating headline, or a convenient vehicle for a washed up NFL quarterback trying to find a new career.

    20 people killed in El Paso makes headlines, while that many are murdered in Chicago… every two to three weeks. Those victims don’t get a garland of outrage, because their deaths don’t advance a political agenda.

    But, they’re still just as dead. And their deaths will continue unabated, until the root cause is addressed.

  3. Law enforcement shooting that initially produced outrage:
    “The fatal shooting of a suspect who allegedly emerged from his vehicle with a weapon after ramming the vehicles of approaching law enforcement officers…”

    “The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said early Thursday that the suspect killed by the U.S. Marshals Service had been wanted on numerous warrants.”
    The face of #BlackLivesMatter.

    “In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings. On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose… 500 to Medical errors 300 to the Flu 250 to Suicide 200 to Car Accidents 40 to Homicide via Handgun Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data,” Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Too bad he lacked the guts to stand by it.

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  1. Great article but this line chafes:

    “Does it make sense that our outrage be guided by the identity of the shooter—whether it’s the color of his skin, or the presence of a police uniform?”

    I would say yes it does. Cops don’t go to jail when they kill someone but blacks do and that fact does so much to undermine trust between the black community and law enforcement.

    • BlackBerry Blackberry says


      Isn’t there a difference between murder and killing in self-defense?

      • Of course but when it’s clearly the former cops seem to get away with it.

        • Ray Andrews says


          I’m as opposed to the ‘black lives matter’ movement as anyone could be for the reasons well expressed in this article, yet I agree with you. There are examples of cold blooded murder where the cops get away with it. Cops must be held to a higher standard than they are.

          • @Ray

            It had become obvious by 2015 that the Supreme Court’s lavish use it’s “qualified immunity” doctrine in very questionable circumstances was encouraging a shoot first and always lie mentality amongst the police (LEO – “law enforcement officer”).

            The way the doctrine was framed meant that unless there had already been a decision in the LEO’s jurisdiction finding that conduct identical to the conduct in question by the LEO was unconstitutional, then qualified immunity meant that the conduct in question was not culpable. Of course, this was a ridiculous standard. In homicides, the question should always have been focused on self-defense and public safety, not arcane ruminations on the Constitution. In all other cases, the focus should have been on the due care, negligence and the intent of the LEO in light of the conduct of the injured party.

            To an extent, the Supreme Court’s qualified immunity standard was an artifact of the “constitutional tort” statute, 42 USC §1983.

            But the courts do seem to have gotten the message. Where before, a LEO would have easily gotten the trial court to find that one kind or another of egregious police malfeasance, brutality or homicide was non-culpable by reason of qualified immunity (i.e., no court had ever previously said that LEO couldn’t do EXACTLY what the LEO in question had done) over the last year or so the law reports do suggest that is no longer the case.

            But we’ll see.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Thanks for an informative post. I knew there was some sort of immunity going on there, but the details were most helpful. Overall I sympathize with the cops. They have the use of lethal force but they’re just human too. Mistakes will happen even among the very best cops. I can forgive a mistake but it’s the stonewalling and the BS that drive me. We had a famous case here in Vancouver: Polish immigrant somehow ended up trapped in the airport. Desperate to leave he started making a scene hoping that it would attract helpful attention. Posse of cops showed up and tortured him to death with a taser. The bullshit went on for decades. An immediate, profound and honest apology would have satisfied the public, instead we got bullshit. Were it not that an onlooker videoed the thing, the bullshit would have worked. I hate lying cops.

          • Ed Quigley says

            WW and Ray Andrews: How many cops who got away with cold-blooded murder who were acquitted by a jury, as opposed to a judge?

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ Ray Andrews

            I would agree that the instance you cited is cause for concern. There have been several others. One involved a white guy in a hallway, who was so shocked by the appearance of an angry armed officer, he kept putting his hands behind his back- perhaps the worst thing he could have done- he was shot as result of his own alarmed actions and the fact that the officer was having a great deal of trouble dealing with his own adrenal response. So there are several points to made here, which could improve the situation.

            1) Mental health. It used to be said that in times of war, there is no such thing as the uninjured soldier. Given the high incidence of lower back pain and headaches reported by officers, I think the same can now by said of many police officers.

            2) Training. In the post 9/11 world, police armed response training underwent a heavy bias towards the use of force, as forces around the world adjusted to the new reality. Training is an unfortunately scarce commodity, and it often takes years to reverse training once it becomes institutionalised. The 21 foot rule is a good example of this- in that veteran police still refer to it.

            3) Biology. Training exercises are meant to simulate real world conditions, but they often fall far short in mimicking the physiological conditions your brain and body will go through in life threatening situations. I discuss this in another comment. In addition, the very part of your brain that is supposed to inhibit overly aggressive responses- the prefrontal cortex- can often lose the ability to regulate actions through tiredness, lack of food, constant pain, use of medication and because of psychological conditions such as PTSD- all things that occur with frightening regularity in cops.

            4) Habit. Police officers are taught the way that departments want them to police, only to be corrected by the very first officer they are instructed by, as a rookie. Refresher training courses, that point out the reasons why some of the habits that experienced officers develop are bad habits, could go a long way.

            5) OODA. Observe. Orientate. Decide. Act. One of the reasons why former military types have a 30% reduced chance of using deadly force in a life threatening situation, is both because of practice and a far greater use of the first two processes, before deciding to act. I would imagine that the first instinct should be to cover and conceal, but from there, taking a few valuable seconds to decide and act, should significantly reduce the chances of officer-involved shootings. It may be a hard thing for conscience to bear, but the collective death of a few civilians at the hands of criminals, because officers take a few more seconds, is a small price to pay to protect the lives of police officers and their partners, and to protect the reputational integrity of Law Enforcement, our institutions, and the very principle of Law & Order itself.

            6) Heroism. Culturally, Americans have a predisposition to let heroism overrule professionalism. It is a common thread in fatalities amongst officers, firefighters and other high-risk occupations. From some of the videos I have seen, officers seemed intent on rushing in, which in other instances might risk their lives, at the expense of their training and professionalism. With the example that special forces set, with their levels of professionalism and training deployed to almost preternaturally human effect, it should be high time for a cultural shift. Heroism should be the last resort, not the first, only employed where training and professionalism fail.

            7) Investigation. There should be a neutral parallel investigation process that looks at all of the problems above and whatever else is covered by rare or unique circumstances. It is only by the process of continuous feedback that institutions improve.

        • Memetic Tribe says

          Are we talking about that negligible fraction of individual officers who violently target black men again?

          It’s amazing how the narrative of white-cop-hunter-killer has exploded despite being a mere fraction of total black murders. Then again, it isn’t hard to believe. Comcast dumped 200 million into Vox Media to push the trope. Another big bag of 250 million bux was given to HuffPo, courtesy of the Open Societies Foundation.

          You are 25X more likely to be assaulted by black man than white man in the US. That takes into account the:
          1. rate
          2. percent of total population (Black = 13%; white = 70%)

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Memetic Tribe

            “Are we talking about that negligible fraction of individual officers who violently target black men again?”

            Yes we are talking about it, because it is a huge problem for our side . Just a few examples of this kind of thing:


            … refuel the BLM agenda don’t they? It is an own goal for realists to try to divert attention away from these things because it makes ‘us’ look complicit and supportive of actual examples of cop brutality which then empowers the whole BLM worldview. I would say that on the contrary, it is we ‘race realists’ who should be screaming the loudest for justice for the innocent. I would like to redraw the battle lines: folks who believe in law, order and justice for all vs. folks who do not. That means justice for cops who are wrongly vilified (the Michael Brown case), but it also means swift justice in cases where a shooting is clearly wrong.

          • Karma says

            You are totally on point! Best response I’ve read so far. When are black people going to take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming the entire white race for their problems? Numbers don’t lie! Blacks are responsible for over 50% of most crimes committed in the US it’s a fact look it up! Blacks kill more blacks than any other race it’s a fact! Your families failed you for generations! Stop blaming the only people that have helped your race in any way! Your own people don’t help you yet you choose to make excuses and blame an entire other race of people for your flaws and short-comings! The lack of common sense is through the roof in this country! I don’t think I’ll ever witness a big change in the way blacks blame whites for everything! Guess who created those monsters, yup white liberals who preach to minorities about white privilege and how whites are racist towards people of color! It’s all bullshit! Just another fun fact: people need to stop the labels especially calling brown and black people, people of color! Has no one learned about the color spectrum? White is the abundance of color and black is the absence of color, fact! So guess what we are all actually shades of white! Deny it all you want! There’s not enough genuinely good people in life. Most people are fake and all people lie! We need better people to start breeding because the future for humans is looking quite dim if people continue to be the way they are now! So sad!!!

        • True, and that’s a problem. Another line I stop at is the correlation to poverty. Overwhelmingly most poor people don’t murder either. And why would they, it certainly doesn’t better your circumstances, they depend on fraternity more than anybody. If we don’t address the cultural element here, at best we only delay progress.

          • Charlie says

            During the Depression many boys grew in poverty and did not commit murder; many joined Commando type forces in WW2- Douglas Pomford SBS. Though growing up in poverty there were Father figures in their lives and learnt how to take orders/correction from older men. A 14 year old lad would not be allowed to challenge of older men amongst whom he worked. Disagreements were sorted out with fists. Many Fathers had been killed in war, died of wounds or been killed in industrial accidents but a male relative took over the role.

            We now have a degree of comfort far in excess of the Depression but many boys have been brought up with no Fathers or emotionally mature responsible and tough men. Consequently, they cannot take orders from an older or someone in authority, such as a policemen . There may have been a decline in quality of Police officers; traditionally many were ex- armed forces. Democrats/Labour Party have lowered standards of entry and many say ex sergeants in USMC/Airborne can go into private security work. Th reality is that most women cannot control wayward boys after the age of 14 years as they are too strong.

            Many young men take drugs and become emotionally and mentally high strung and unbalanced which combined with their inability to take orders from those in authority is a recipe for violent confrontation. Also young boys and men undertaking hard manual work tires people out and gives them a sense of well being. Spend a day digging a trench for foundations in a hot summer and alone wants to do is drink a cool beer in the evening.

            There is a simple procedure, keep 2 paces from the police office, stay stationary and keep ones hands there they can see them and answer questions politely. If one rushes towards an armed police officer and gesticulates wildly, one will be shot whether it is Nigeria, South Africa, USA or any country.

      • Heike says

        Take a quick look at this website:

        Look at all the violence on this page. Scroll down past the human carnage, until you get to the “police-involved shootings” part. Notice how it’s in single digits. And THAT is what everyone identifies as the problem, when the triple and quadruple digits of the rest of the page go unaddressed?

        • Shamrock says


          The Guardian link you provided discusses one case. Not sure where the “few examples” are. If anything, the fact that a far left newspaper is only listing one incident, it kind of supports Memetic’s contention “It’s amazing how the narrative of white-cop-hunter-killer has exploded despite being a mere fraction of total black murders.”

          • Ray Andrews says


            “it kind of supports Memetic’s contention”

            Sure. Memetic is quite correct. The question is how should we respond. If we respond to an example of cops murdering blacks by pointing out that these are less common than other causes of death, it seems as if we are saying that murderous cops are not a problem just so long as other causes of death are greater. This is the sort of victimhood scoring technique that righties don’t like to see coming from SJWs, and in my contention righties should not use the same technique otherwise they are hypocrites.

            You are guilty IMHO of a similar kind of thing when you say that I only had one example, and that from a leftwing paper. Would it make any difference if exactly the same video came from a rightwing paper? (You can find a dozen versions of it on the web.) In my view we should not try to minimize any atrocity using any technique. That shooting happened and it should not have. Irrespective of whatever other problems society might have, trigger happy cops, and worse, the failure of the justice system to punish them (all too often), is a problem. It is a problem for the dead, but it is also a problem for society as a whole because it fuels BLM/SJ Victimhood. Would it not be better to treat each case individually and forget about group statistics? People die one at a time, after all.

          • Shamrock says

            My point in stating it was a left wing newspaper is that a far left newspaper is more likely to publish examples of this than right wing papers.
            Contrary to your stated claim of me being guilty of the same thing I want to know what the facts are before claiming this is or isn’t an issue.
            You claim we have trigger happy cops, but what is your support for this? Is a cop trigger happy if he shoots someone shooting at them?
            Let’s get the facts.
            “Would it not be better to treat each case individually and forget about group statistics? People die one at a time, after all.” No. The article is titled “Don’t Blame Police Racism for America’s Violence Epidemic” so group statistics are absolutely necessary.

    • James Lee Phillips says

      Part of the reason could be that police are equipped and trained to use lethal force in appropriate situations. One might expect them to be prosecuted less often, just as you would be more likely than a demolitions contractor to be put in jail for blowing up a building.

      • DNY says

        @James Lee Phillips

        Indeed, but one would expect a demolitions contractor who blew up the wrong building, if not to go to jail, at least to be sued into penury. In general, nothing analogous happens to police who kill unarmed civilians.

        What is truly mysterious and distressing to me is that soldiers operating in war zones against irregular combatants who cannot be distinguished from civilians by a uniform, and where there is a even greater presumption that someone is likely to have the intent of killing you than in most police circumstances, are severely punished for killing unarmed civilians, while police generally are not. Might we not expect our police to have rules of engagement in dealing with the public at least as restrictive as those which apply to our soldiers in war zones?

        • That’s a very interesting point you’ve got there. We seem to hold soldiers operating in the chaos of foreign war zones to higher standards than police officers in our own communities. That is bizarre.

          • @WW

            No we don’t and that was part of the problem. After 2003 many LEOs who were also in the National Guard and Reserves were doing repeated six month tours in Iraq. Recall that the Abu Ghraib prison was run by demented reservist military police from Maryland. There were some truly sadistic and homicidal cops on the loose during the Bush II and Obama administrations.

        • This is a very true statement and it has baffled me for all the years I have been a civilian again after my tours in Afghanistan. Had I shot ANY one in combat that was not a “combatant” (which don’t get me started on how many qualifiers my RoE card had in order for this to be true) I would still be in Fort Leavenworth. Yet, I can watch countless videos of some fat, out-of-shape cop waving a gun in some unarmed person’s face.

          We need to have better training for these cops is where the problem is. They have a whole Batman-style belt equipped with non-lethal options to retain someone. But they first thing they do is un-holster their most deadly option and start screaming. If you are to weak to subdue an unarmed person, you shouldn’t have a badge in the first place.

          • ga gamba says

            Yet, I can watch countless videos of some fat, out-of-shape cop waving a gun in some unarmed person’s face.

            OK, gimme 20. Post the links in your reply. Thanks in advance.

            But they first thing they do is un-holster their most deadly option and start screaming. If you are to weak to subdue an unarmed person, you shouldn’t have a badge in the first place.

            Let’s analyze this one, .

            Was the first thing the cop did un-holster his most deadly option and start screaming? Would you have been able to subdue this unarmed person? Would a female cop?

        • bumble bee says


          While I totally agree that the rules of engagement for the military should be brought to police departments in some shape or form. However, with regard to the degree of who is held responsible for causing deaths, there are many professions that can get away with “murder”. Doctors/health professionals by and large are not charged with murder when they make fatal mistakes. The worse they get is their insurance company pays out and their premiums go up. The same could also be extended to the legal system where lawyers/judges have also caused the deaths of individuals that morally could be called murder. They do not get penalized at all. The so called higher professional callings have always been above reproach for the most part, and police have been included based on the nature of their work.

          What bothers me the most is that those who commit mass murders, like Holmes, have been allowed to see their day in court, while those who are doing either far, far less, or nothing can end up dead. I firmly believe that while police have extraordinary circumstances, and unless one is a totally depraved nutjob, they do their best in situations. However, there does need to be more training on averting lethal force, and when someone runs unless they are suspected of a serious crime there should be no need to shoot to kill. There are other ways, but BLM seems more interested in rioting about racism, rather than real change that will save lives.

          • DNY says

            There is, however, a difference between lethal police shootings (whether justified or unjustified) and lethal medical mistakes. In a police shooting, the officer undertook an action with the intent of killing another person. A physician (leaving aside new assisted suicide laws) who did the same, would be charged with murder. The appropriate criminal charge for a lethal medical error, would be negligent homicide, which is, on occasion applied.

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ bumble bee

            Studies show that former military operators pursuing careers as police officers are 30% less likely to discharge their firearm in a life-threatening situation. This is particularly true of those who are experienced in Combat Arms. Some of this due to ingrained tactics of conceal and cover, as well as approaching perpetrators from positions of power- but I think it’s also true that these individuals have a great deal more experience managing their bodies testosterone and adrenal responses in a high medium between the two extremes. In effect, they are able to ride their adrenaline, rather than letting their adrenaline ride them.

            One way this physiological system could be trained, is through the mechanism of high performance go carts. Simply put, if you let your adrenaline rise too high and go too fast, you crash. If you let it run too low and go too slow, you don’t achieve your target lap times. This process could highlight individuals with particularly high or low adrenaline responses and recommend specifically tailored dietary and physical fitness regimes to level off the excessive or minimal testosterone systems the cause adrenal spikes or deficits. One unexpected benefit of this process is that it would allow older men to remain sexually active at levels far closer to much younger men.

            This may seem a draconian measure on the part of an employer, but it would protect police officers lives and reduce the chances of them ever finding themselves in front of a grand jury. Plus, go carting is fun.

          • ga gamba says

            There is, however, a difference between lethal police shootings (whether justified or unjustified) and lethal medical mistakes.

            Yes, I can think of another difference. Doctors and nurse don’t have the risk of being shot weighing in their minds when they encounter a patient.

            Let’s examine the angel-of-death incidents that happen in hospitals and care facilities, where employees, often nurses, have deliberately murdered patients, often by poisoning them or denying them life-preserving medication. Take the case of Orville Lynn Majors of Indiana, USA. So many people died during his shifts that his own co-workers called him “the Angel of Death”. And that’s not the extent of their grisly behaviour. Nurses on the night shift joked about it and took bets on which patient would die during his next shift. Majors had been on duty during 130 of 147 deaths from May 1993 to March 1995; prosecutors would later determine that a death occurred nearly every 23 hours when Majors was on duty. When he wasn’t at work, the rate dropped to one death every 551 hours. When his licence was revoked it was for a period of five years for practicing beyond his authority by giving emergency drugs and working in an intensive-care unit without a doctor.

            Does anyone indict all of medical care for the wrongful actions of a few outliers? Of course not. Few are organising protests at hospitals doors, conducting research projects, and holding symposiums on the murderous nursing profession. The news media isn’t over amplifying it and proclaiming a deadly crisis in nursing. In fact, people are careful to not use sweeping generalisations to cast aspersions on the medical profession. Does policing get the same consideration? No way.

            In a police shooting, the officer undertook an action with the intent of killing another person.

            Is the intent to kill another? Or it is to to stop the often deadly threat to the police officer and others? They are trained to fire until the suspect is unable to shoot or in some other way injure the shooting officer, other police, or bystanders. From time to time I read comments from people asking why don’t police shoot the person’s arm or leg. OK, where do the bullets go if the extremities are missed? Police are trained to shoot the torso because that’s the largest mass, it doesn’t move like arms and legs, and it reduces the risk of bullets hitting bystanders and others further away.

      • Ray Andrews says


        “so group statistics are absolutely necessary”

        Yeah, so they are. Yet I’m right too. Broad statistics can inform public policy, yet I am correct that people die one at a time. No crime should be dismissed as not mattering because it is statistically rare. Again, I’ll not do the research for you, but the data is there for the looking — use your time as you see fit. But you don’t address my main point which is that however rare, actual examples of cops shooting the innocent can and will be used by the Warriors. For that reason alone rigorous measures should be taken to reduce killings of the innocent.

        • Shamrock says


          Who are “the Warriors”? Are you referring to SJW’s and their ilk? These are basically unhinged people who will use anything to support their extremist views; facts be damned. One look at their coverage of the Covington kids show they don’t need truth to inform their narrative.

          My original comment was to ask about the examples you claim “Just a few examples of this kind of thing” but you only listed one.

          “No crime should be dismissed as not mattering because it is statistically rare.” This is a straw man argument. I have never claimed otherwise.

    • Morgan Foster says


      “Cops don’t go to jail when they kill someone but blacks do …”

      When you say “but blacks do” I take it you are referring to black people who are not cops.

      I also gather that it has never occurred to you that in the vast majority of cases when a cop kills a black person who is not a cop, the killing is legally and morally justified.

      I’ll tell you what truly undermines “trust between the black community and law enforcement” since you don’t seem to have a handle on it: black people who lie about cops murdering black people.

      And white bourgeois SJWs, like those in the photo above, who tell the same lies.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Morgan Foster

        Alas statistics do not cover for those instances where the cops get away with murder. You fall into the same pattern of thinking as the woke: the majority of domestic abusers are men therefore we can forget about the domestic abusers who are women; the majority of shootings by cops are justified therefore we can forget about the ones that clearly are not. @WW does not address statistics, he (?) refers to the all to frequent outrages that do nothing but undermine the ‘law and order’ position that we both hold.

        • Shamrock says

          Ray Andrews
          “Alas statistics do not cover for those instances where the cops get away with murder.”

          What are those statistics? Do you have a link to some numbers?

          • Shamrock says

            “What are those statistics? Do you have a link to some numbers?” Sorry I posted before completing. Meant to add, without any statistics how do we even know if this is a factor? If there is a report or some discussion about cases where cops get away with murder I’d be interested in reading it.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @ Shamrock

            There’s so much on the web that I’d leave it to you to find something that informs you. I do remember one compilation tho and it was almost unbelievable. Some probably mentally disturbed black kid starts jogging away from a cop and the cop quite casually pulls out his gun and empties his clip into him. Getting bad here in Canada too. Some obvious nutcase running down the street naked. Cop runs after him, corners him on someone’s porch and empties his clip. Dozens of similar. Time was when a Mountie might go his whole career without firing his .44 even once, let alone turning someone into a pile of hamburger.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO WW

      Waaah! WAAAAAHHH! The same old SH!T about “eeevil cops.”
      How about: Blacks = 13% of the population
      Assume Black men are 1/2 of that = 6-1/2%
      SO: 6-1/2% of the population are responsible for HALF the violent crime in America.

      Oh, what poor, POOR VICTIMS. /s
      SCR*W YOU AND YOUR Trayvon-Martin-t-shirt-wearing-Blame-a-thon.

      The rest of America has HAD IT with FAUX-compassion.
      We want genuine justice…FOR ALL: attackers AND victims

      • Go back to Storm Front, you stupid fuck. Intelligent discussion clearly isn’t your thing.

        • ga gamba says

          I’m not a fan of the capitalisation and the irregular sentence structure, but are the statistics incorrect? Black males are about 6.5% of population, and since the very young and those older than mid-40s are very unlikely to commit crimes, this leaves about one-third to one-half of the 6.5%. About two to three per cent of US population commits a disproportionately large amount of violent crime, over representing themselves in feats that males already over represent themselves in. They are the over representers of the over represented.

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ ga gamba

            Unfortunately, the statistics are true. And they are just as true for the UK as the US, with black population committing violent crime at 7 to 8 times the level of the white population as a whole. Trevor Philips dealt with this difficult issue, in his ground-breaking Channel 4 documentary ‘Things We Won’t Say About Race (That Are True)’.

            There is triad of perverse outcomes in operation here. First, studies have proven that it is inequality, not poverty, that drives crime. I think this is because if you perceive that the system is rigged against you, then you are far more likely to either give up or cheat (through crime)- it’s a resentment-driven system. Second, productive fathers really do work as a means of shepherding teenage boys and young men into productive uses for their time, and by acting as positive role models, especially when there are a high proportion of such fathers within a community. It’s the biggest thing the Left got wrong, from the 70’s onwards.

            These two feeder systems combine to create conditions ideal for gangs, the third point of the triad, and by far the most pernicious. It’s not an exaggeration to say that gangs represent the biggest child-grooming operation in human history. Young males are preprogrammed to seek out older males to engage in status competition and co-operation, to make them appealing to woman. It’s the primary mechanism women use to select mates, on a social level.

            Unfortunately, if there are no admirable male role models in the generation above them to emulate or engage with, they these boys will naturally be drawn to far less admirable males. It’s a self-perpetuating system system that was just as harmful to the Irish American community in America in the 19th century, with their then endemically high levels of violent crime.

            The knife crime epidemic in London is driven by this system- and is in many ways worse, as police have noted that many of the victims are not gang-involved and were in some cases made available as targets, through social media. If you are a kid who has been pushed through the system into a pupil referral unit, you are 200 times more likely to be involved in a knife crime incident, one way or the other.

            This is why it is so important to change the failed progressive education methodology to a highly structured, knowledge-intensive system, with strict enforcement of low-level discipline codes (such as detentions)- because not only do kids placed in these schools enjoy far better educational outcomes, but they are also far, far less likely to fall into these negative patterns of behaviour.

          • Scott says

            To be fair, baking in those other demographic factors, while accurate, obscure from the relevant variable we are discussing – race. Crime by Whites, Latinos, etc are also committed by the 18-30 male sub populations within those groups. If we want to focus on the racial comparison, we shouldn’t differentiate down any further than the 13%/50% numbers – or compare young black male crime to to young male crime of all other races which presumably would retain that 13%/50% ratio, unless other races have less concentration of their crime by the young and/or male.

          • Peter from Oz says

            In response to Geary Johansen

            ”First, studies have proven that it is inequality, not poverty, that drives crime. I think this is because if you perceive that the system is rigged against you, then you are far more likely to either give up or cheat (through crime)- it’s a resentment-driven system.”
            No, studies have proven that supposed inequality drives crime. If you are constantly told by all those wet, white regressives that you are a victim, you are going to eventually believe it. This will make you lose respect for society which in turn will lead you to crime.

        • Memetic Tribe says

          Is that where realism goes? To storm front?

          He never said whites are better than blacks. If they were, white’s would dominate the NBA (and tinder, for that matter). He pointed out some rather indisputable facts about race and violence to which you responded with emotion, not statistical realism.

          Ever notice when leftists are defending gender studies or climate change they rattle off statistics?…But when shown the racial reality of the situation they just tell you to “run to storm front”!

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Memetic Tribe

            Contrast your own ability to put a sentence together with:

            Oh, what poor, POOR VICTIMS. /s
            SCR*W YOU AND YOUR Trayvon-Martin-t-shirt-wearing-Blame-a-thon.

            If you try hard you can extract some meaning from this kind of thing but it’s a lot of work and it is sub intellectual. I think that’s why WW would rather the gentleman sent his keystrokes somewhere else — not because of what he might by trying to say but because of the way he prefers to say it, which is moronic.

        • Ed Quigley says

          @WW: Unless intelligent discussion precludes facts, I would say Kauf Buch are relevant, and more concrete than Ray Andrews’ go find your compilation on the web.

        • Kauf Buch says

          TO WW
          “Intelligent discussion”?!?
          “When in doubt and unable to respond with a cogent retort, CALL THEM A NAZI!” is YOUR calling card, it seems.
          Yeah, that’s the ticket, WW. Wadda LOSER you are!
          But thanks for playing.

      • @Kauf Bach, please, if you want to post here, try writing intelligently. If you are not capable of that, take a beginning writing course.

        Right now, your posts are unfortunately like the ravings of a madman. You undermine your own points.

        Also, try not to assume that everyone will agree with you if you just scream and shout REALLY LOUDLY and use random INSULTS, no matter how strong your points.

        • Kauf Buch says

          TO “d”
          You pedantic BORE.
          Make a point on topic of my post, or STFU.

    • Free Thinker says

      Not true that police don’t go to jail if they kill someone if it’s called for. The nature of law enforcement & the fact that police are involved in dangerous situations as part of their jobs means that not every person killed by a cop is a murder. Many are justified because cops have the right to defend themselves when they feel their lives are in danger. Justice system isn’t perfect, but often the public doesn’t have all the facts about these sensationalized cases like Ferguson. Wish we had perfect justice but that’s beyond human ability to achieve. This is an important article that I wish everyone in the US could read.

      • BrainFireBob says

        This is the key bit- rather as a rhetorical device or not, WW is implying that every death at the hands of a cop is a murder by said cop, and then claiming they’re not accountable.

        You can’t count cop-killings for that honestly unless you disclaim you believe a cop should never, ever have to use lethal force- which shows a serious lack of understanding both of what cops do and that there is no 100% safe and reliable “non lethal” form of takedown in a world with drugs. Tasers kill those with weak hearts and epilepsy. Submission holds, heart issues and breathing issues- and rely on the cop being physically more powerful where it counts, PCP rendering that fallacious. Expecting someone high on meth to be talked down is also foolishness of the first order. Rubber bullets and sandbags can communicate lethal force- bone splinters into the heart, shooting out eyes, etc. Flash bangs? Seizures again.

        You have to only count unjustified cop killings. And that’s where you run into those who don’t trust police or the justice system insisting it’s all lies, and that the numbers must be higher than they are. Since they believe a narrative, facts must suit that narrative- and interesting change from our brethren on the left under W., when there was much snarky “Well, facts have a liberal bias”- now, it’s “I don’t believe that, because this is true and that contradicts this.”

        Higher level, cops are expected to need to use and to use lethal force as part of their job- any individual cop might only be forced to discharge their weapon once in their career, but there are a lot of cops over that same 40 year span.

        Regarding Ferguson and BLM- I always rather thought that the DoJ stoked the fires under Holder, not for racial animus, but as a precursor to federalizing the police force, in line with other policies, such as expansion of the Patriot Act, that would serve as a necessary precursor to a more global state. Interesting that you don’t hear more about that coherently.

    • Gringo says

      Cops don’t go to jail when they kill someone but blacks do…

      Judging by the abysmal clearance rates noted in the article- less than1 in 6 in Chicago and 43%i n Baltimore- there are quite a few blacks who kill someone and don’t even get arrested for it- let alone go to prison for killing.

    • Bob says

      Looking at the clearance rates, the civilians don’t go to jail, either.

    • MrJD says

      Actually, it seems that most blacks who commit murder are not going to prison, as evidenced by the “clearance rate”.

    • Stephanie says


      “Baltimore’s clearance rate in 2018 was 43 percent; Chicago’s police are solving fewer than 1 in 6 murders.”

      Clearly there are plenty of blacks not going to jail for murder. And those murders were not in the context of trying to catch dangerous criminals, so are much more of a concern.

      A rational person would be more distrustful of police if they failed to solve most murders like they are supposed to than if they occasionally kill some worthless gangbanger while he’s resisting arrest.

    • The anger felt in black communities over police violence has a history this article mostly ignores, making its conclusions borderline incomprehensible. Take the case of Freddie Gray in Baltimore for example. He did nothing wrong that morning beyond make eye contact with a cop and begin running. Why did he run when he had done nothing wrong in the first place? What did he have to fear from that cop that morning? Having no answers to these sorts of questions makes understanding what happened that morning impossible. Glibly stating the police engaged in much needed reforms with zero evidence for these reforms nor discussing the history of violence that made them necessary in the first place is negligent if this article was trying to understand Black Lives Matters at all, rather than to demonize it as an organization.

      Ask black people who grew up in Baltimore, and they will tell you about constant police harassment and police violence. Read through some of the cases of police violence Baltimore settles every year, such as slamming a pregnant woman’s face into the ground for being disrespectful or punching a man in the face for not obeying an unlawful order fracturing his eye socket, and one can tell immediately the numbers represented in this article do not remotely capture the debate being had at the local level.

      Then there is ideological garbage like this where one can see the actual point of the article coming out. Liberals don’t really care about black lives, so it would seem.

      “It would be nice to see liberal activists expressing as much concern about these legions of lost lives as those few taken by police.”

      Except all of the discussions about historic racism, lead poisoning, and a host of other contributions to the problem of violence in poor black communities get considerably more coverage from liberals. Conservatives tend to stop at the scourge of “black culture”. There answers are to scold poor black people and do nothing except call for more police and more prisons, exacerbating the problems that lead to the violence in the first place.

      This article is propaganda.

      • Pure propaganda? Because you disagree with the analysis? Or because you think liberals are better than conservatives? Or because you still believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that Freddie Gray was murdered by the cops?

        • Jeffrey C

          This post has nothing to do with the issues I brought up in mine. Reread my post, respond to the issues I brought up or fuck off. But don’t bring up shit I never said one word about and expect me to give care even a little about your post. I told you why this is a propaganda piece meant to make idiots like you feel good about not caring about the real issues underpinning calls for reform among the police. If you don’t care to deal with that argument, again fuck off.

    • Cary says

      Unjustified shootings are rare and in fact cops have gone to jail for them. However consider that police are asked to make life or death judgements in mere seconds. We train them to do the best they can, but cops are human and mistakes are made when you have criminals that are very willing to kill an officer and the officer has to make these types of decisions. Cops in these neighborhoods see nothing but horror day after day. Feel free to go sign up to be a cop in a high crime neighborhood and test your decision making skills to see if you do a better job. You won’t, the cowards that constantly blame cops never do. Last year I watched a black community activist (who actively rages against police violence) go on a police training session on how to identify a lethal threat. He was given a fake gun and put through several scenarios where he had to determine within a couple seconds whether or not to use lethal force. He made the wrong decision and died in several of the encounters. Afterwards he was forced to admit he made a lot of assumptions about cops and shootings, that it was much harder than he anticipated to determine a lethal threat. There is a way forward. The thousands of people that complain about these ‘unjustified” shootings can go sign up to be a cop in a tough neighborhood. Think of the change you can help to bring about.

      • Cary,

        This is a stupid post. It’s cops never do anything wrong and how dare you claim they could. Well, I didn’t, the Justice Department did and they showed the evidence for widespread systemic abuse across several different police departments they investigated including Baltimore’s, something the author of this piece acknowledges. So why you aren’t screaming at the author for writing sentences like “The government’s investigations did indeed find corrupt and unconstitutional practices by some of the city’s police force.”

        Or this “…Baltimore engaged in much-needed reforms to prevent police brutality and heal relations with the citizenry.” The reason it’s propaganda is the issues that she claims liberals don’t care about are issues liberals talk about all the time. I stated several of those issues in my last post. I could easily state several more here such as equal funding of grades schools, problems related to the trauma of growing up in violent neighborhoods that prevents learning, so on and so on. What’s actually true is these issues are almost never discussed by conservatives. The reason they are widely accepted as systemic issues is the work of mostly liberals promoting them.

        If one wanted to write a piece that wasn’t propaganda meant to imply that liberals and Black Live Matters and various other groups aren’t ignorant and indifferent about the real problems taking place in places like West Baltimore, the fact that liberals talk about the systemic environment all of the time that hinders the opportunities of the people growing up in these environments would come up. It doesn’t of course, and in fact the exact opposite does. Despite the fact that liberals talk about these issues consistently, the author writes “It would be nice to see liberal activists expressing as much concern about these legions of lost lives as those few taken by police.”

        This is ultimately a hit piece. That snide bullshit doesn’t have to be included to write an article that liberals are misunderstanding or even misrepresenting the statistics around police shootings. No, that’s in there to tell conservatives that liberals don’t really care about black lives. The facts are the liberals are the ones proposing policies around economic investment in black neighborhoods, cleaning up the lead that disproportionately has been left behind in black neighborhoods, equalizing public school funding with better performing schools that are mostly white, increasing the amounts spent on school lunch and breakfast programs to aid with problem of food insecurity, and a variety of other programs that are meant to help poor students overcome circumstances that are clearly outside of their control. To say despite all of this concern, the concern doesn’t really exist is propaganda. It’s meant to demonize people for no good reason. For that the author should be ashamed. It’s dishonest bullshit.

        • JC

          Should say
          If one wanted to write a piece that wasn’t propaganda meant to imply that liberals and Black Live Matters and various other groups ARE ignorant and indifferent about the real problems taking place in places like West Baltimore, the fact that liberals talk about the systemic environment all of the time that hinders the opportunities of the people growing up in these environments would come up.

  2. This is something that Heather Mac Donald (regardless of how you feel about her personally) has been talking about for decades. When you actually take a look at the statistics, you realize that this claim is being 1) wildly overblown 2) focusing on the wrong parts of the problem and 3) is being weaponized to inflame ignorant populism.

    My question with this is how much is this eroding people’s trust in the justice system. How many people are getting hurt or killed because they are now either on the attack when an officer tries to arrest them or acting in bizarre ways out of an overblown persecution complex? I just watched a video online where a black teenager made a (fairly routine) traffic stop escalate to near fatal violence because he felt that the officer was profiling him – instead of just waiting until the mistake had been cleared up and using the processes in place to remedy the problem.

    • tarstarkas says


      It’s an honor culture thing. How DARE the cop pull him over! The cop could ONLY have pulled him over because of his race! Therefore he is dissing not just me but my RACE! When honor is valued over life, that is the attitude you get from lawbreakers.

      I was involved in a close call once with cops. I was dropping off a package late at night after work hours and cruising slowly trying to locate the business. I was stopped and next thing I know there were three cop cars there. I explained politely what I was doing, and they let me go on my way. It probably helped that I am white, but the potential for sudden violence had to been very real to them. For all they knew I was armed and casing the joint.

      Chris Rock is right: Don’t piss off cops, they have too many weapons, both physical and legal. You give a cop lip, you become more likely to get a fat lip. You get violent with a cop, you’re likely to receive violence in return. Most just want to do their jobs, quietly, unspectacularily, and retire alive and in good health. My life and the lives of those i love are far more important than my street cred or my ‘honor’. My honor is based on who i am, not what I am. And I don’t worry particularly what others think of me.

    • ga gamba says

      I just watched a video online where a black teenager made a (fairly routine) traffic stop escalate to near fatal violence because he felt that the officer was profiling him…

      I don’t know about that. Are you sure your eyeballs are working? Every black child gets the talk™ from his/her parents often, telling them not to escalate the situation.

      • DiamondLil says

        Something that gets overlooked about “the talk” is that EVERYONE used to get it when they were teenagers. I am a white female who distinctly remembers my dad telling me exactly how to respond to the police back in the 1960s when I was starting to drive. It was very clear that he knew, even then, and even as a white man, that things can get out of hand with cops if you weren’t respectful and cooperative.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          I grew up in the sixties and don’t remember being given ‘the talk’. But a more important point is that US law enforcement isn’t a random sample from the population. Persons with authority issues and a need for respect–male or female, and all ethnicities–are over-represented at all levels: police, FBI, customs and immigration, etc. That’s why the stories coming from ICE and CBP in the US are as predictable as they are horrific:

          • Shamrock says


            “Persons with authority issues and a need for respect–male or female, and all ethnicities–are over-represented at all levels: police, FBI, customs and immigration, etc.”

            Do you have a study or something to show those numbers?

          • Jack,

            According to multiple studies, on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Tests law enforcement tend to be ISFJs and in the Real Colors personality tests,they tend to be told dominant. They are rule followers, who tend to have highly developed sense of right and wrong, tend to be more rigid in thinking, value organization and punctuality. They do often suffer from lower empathy and impatience. This does not equal authoritarian though. That is a gross generalization and frankly a demonization that says more about your values then theirs.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            ‘……Do you have a study or something…..’

            The book titled ‘Psychology and Policing’ edited by Brewer and Wilson–especially Chapter 1–has a lot of information. [ Psychology Press; 1st edition; August 28, 2016; I couldn’t find the text online except at Google Books and Amazon. ]

            Here’s an excerpt from Ch. 1–“….The specific traits linked to tenure within the police occupation include authoritarianism (…)***, dogmatism (…), conservatism (…), and cynicism (…). Each of these traits has important implications for the manner in which a police officer will typically deal with a member of the public…”

            ***For brevity, I have replaced literature citations with ellipses (…). Academic experts disagree on whether these traits are due to self-selection among police recruits or develop over time (see the book).

            @Jeffrey C.

            ‘…..This does not equal authoritarian though. That is a gross generalization and frankly a demonization…………’

            Yikes! How are terms like authoritarian, dogmatic, conservative and cynical a demonization? Get real! Anyway, these traits are over-represented in law enforcement, but obviously police officers are a diverse lot just like other occupations. I wasn’t generalizing any more than you were with the ISFJ stuff.

            Getting back to the demonization question, it bothers me a lot that on Quillette academics in higher ed are routinely smeared as communist, Marxist, evil scum, etc. with little push back from other commenters except for me and a few others. Sure academics skew liberal just like the cops skew conservative. Different occupations attract people with different views and aptitudes–or else these values are inculcated during training or later. These points shouldn’t be controversial or problematic–it’s just that conservatives worry and obsess about ideological or personality skew in higher ed, big tech and big media, but ignore other areas.

          • P”with authority issues and a need for respect–male or female, and all ethnicities–are over-represented at all levels: police, FBI, customs and immigration, etc. That’s why the stories coming from ICE and CBP in the US are as predictable as they are horrific:” this indicates you consider these undesirable traits, i.e. you demonized these traits. I didn’t generalize, I specifically stated they tend to be, according to volumnous research, more likely to be ISFJ personality types on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Tests and Gold Dominant in the Real Colors personality test. As for your statement about the political leanings of academia, there have been multiple stories and examples of hostility towards conservative thoughts, even sometimes outright statements that conservatives are not welcome, in certain areas of academia. This is not simply a case of self selection, at least on some campuses. The biggest danger is the group think this trend creates. Group think is never desirable.
            ” dogmatic, conservative and cynical a demonization?” Well since I didn’t mention these traits, I can’t respond to my thought process. But I will go with that rarely, if ever are authoritarian or dogmatic used in any way but as derogatory, especially in the USA and Libertarian circles (not equating the two perse). Have you an example of how this words can be seen in a positive light, and are commonly used as such?

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ Jack B. Nimble

            I would agree that there is a greater tendency towards conservative mindsets within the police. The cynicism arises from their daily experiences, as they undoubtedly see the worst in people every day. The dogmatism probably comes from the fact that most join the force wanting to be detectives, and dogmatism is a key characteristic of anyone who wants yo be a good interviewer- there are other techniques, the use of off-base assumptive questions to get the person you are interviewing to correct you is a good one, as is the mostly harmless approach- but dogmatism is a favourite.

            But authoritarianism is absolutely essential for policing. From day one, officers are trained to take charge of situations and that command presence saves lives, in that if you aren’t taken seriously then situations can quickly escalate out of control. This may be an unpleasant fact, but it is true. But in some ways, I think the British method of policing by persuasion is better, actively de-escalating circumstances from the outset. Apart from anything else, if you are friendly, polite and civil, and then suddenly switch to full drill sergeant, it can shock people into compliance quite quickly.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Jeffrey C.

            I admit it was unfair to challenge you with adjectives like dogmatic, conservative and cynical that weren’t part of my original post. But I still think that you are conflating demonization with simple criticism. I do a lot of criticizing in my posts–it’s just who I am. But I actually have a lot of respect for police as they do a nearly impossible job, one that I certainly couldn’t do day in and day out.

            In fact, I think that most misconduct by police should be treated as a civil matter, not criminal [except corruption and a few other flagrant acts]. For example, the American teen who was detained by ICE and CBP for almost a month is suing the government. In my opinion, the real problem at ICE and CBP is the supervisors who are aware of misconduct by their employees but let it pass. See this article for a recent example:


            You: ‘……..Group think is never desirable……..’

            Me: I agree! And your message is one that many Quillette commenters should take to heart.

        • Shamrock says


          Thanks for the response.
          “.The specific traits linked to tenure within the police occupation include authoritarianism (…)***, dogmatism (…), conservatism (…), and cynicism (…). ” I can certainly see these issues being present in police officers I have met, but to get “persons with authority issues and a need for respect–male or female, and all ethnicities–are over-represented” seems to require an interpretation not necessarily evident.

          Authority is huge with police, they must always be the power otherwise no-one would listen to them. Of course they should use this judiciously and certainly not all do but I don’t see from the part you’ve quoted where they have a ‘need for respect’. If you mean in a personal, inadequate sense then I don’t see that from what you’ve quoted.

          Certainly they are cynical, most of their jobs (particularly the detectives) involve dealing with criminals and victims and people constantly lying to them.

          My fear is that as society makes the police officers jobs harder we’ll lose the good ones and have to lower standards to get the numbers up and it’ll become a downhill spiral from there.

          • Stephen Pierson says

            @Jack B. Nimble: I work with humanities academics who are unabashed about their unwillingness to share with their students research and ideas that run counter to their own politics. This is not a trait of authoritarians? The hell it isn’t!

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            ‘…….seems to require an interpretation not necessarily evident……’

            How about this?

            “….The masculine imperative of demanding respect

            One imperative of masculinity is that you may not allow another person to show you disrespect. As I [Professor of Law Frank Cooper] have demonstrated in my research, police officers sometimes punish disrespect because they believe “a challenge to their respect is a challenge to their manhood.” For many police officers, disrespect requires an escalation in force.

            Such escalation is commonly known as “contempt of cop.” Being found in contempt of court is a punishment for disobeying a judge. “Contempt of cop” occurs when an officer punishes you for failing to comply with her request.

            Sometimes the punishment takes the form of being charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest or a similarly amorphous crime simply for verbally standing up for your rights. Sometimes it takes the form of physical force…..”


            Bottom Line: When civilians don’t immediately follow a police officer’s orders and remain submissive, the situation can sometimes escalate into a physical confrontation even though there is no use of lethal force. And yes, it’s not just White cops vs. Black civilians.

  3. Cat’s Eye says

    @WW There’s a difference between murder and killing in self-defense. Or do you mean that black officers who kill in self-defense go to jail, while whites don’t?

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO WW
      Your DISGUSTING faux-moral-indignance is amusing…
      …it’s a HORROR, though, since you seem to use it as a “justification”
      for all the violence Black perpetrate.
      Sometimes a “Fig Leaf” is more than a Fig Leaf…

  4. dirk says

    Ethnic profiling: since a week great new scandal in the NLs, because some ex-officers and a journalist came with many instances of ethnic profiling within the police force, as well with mistrust and ethnic humiliations within the corpses. But is it true, or overblown and highly exaggerated? We will never know, the media live by throwing jerrycans full of oil on what looks like a fire.

    But……it will be investigated and taken care of!! (what else can you say, if authority at the police??)

  5. Serenity says

    “Black culture today not only condones delinquency and thuggery but celebrate it…

    Crime began rising precipitously in the 1960s after the Supreme Court, under Cheif Justice Earl Warren, started tilting scales in favour of the criminals… Warren jurisprudence was supported wholeheartedly by …liberal politicians who wanted to shift blame for criminal behaviour away from the criminals.

    The Supreme Court’s expansion of criminal defendants’ legal rights in the 1960s and after flowed from the Justices’ perception that poor and black defendants were being victimised by a system run by white government officials.

    Why change antisocial behaviour when people are willing to reward it, make excuses for it, or even change the law to accommodate it?

    Crime rate rose by 139 percent during the 1960s, and the murder doubled.”

    “Please Stop Helping Us. How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed“ Jason L Riley

  6. I’ve worked in an urban district for 10 years now. I will start by saying that racism is categorically wrong and that African Americans have faced real endemic racism, particularly prior to the civil rights movement.

    And yet.

    Every year several of my students are either shot at, killed outright, or – most common – know someone who is shot and killed. Every single one of them hides in the evening because of bullets flying. Every single one. Many don’t ever go outside to play because their parents are too afraid of them getting killed, and so on top of having PTSD and other trauma-related issues, they are almost all badly out of shape. I, a woman in her late 50s, am more in shape than 7th and 8th grade boys (I like to encourage them to do exercises they can easily do at home, eg sit ups, push ups, and so on, so I challenge them in the classroom from time to time. I invariably beat them all. Many can’t do a single sit up or push up). I’ve had students shot and killed over drug deals gone wrong, over being in the wrong place at the wrong time, over walking down the sidewalk on a Saturday afternoon. Most of them have fathers in jail due to violence, theft, and large scale drug dealing.

    In the same time period, I have literally not heard of a single time an officer shot at an unarmed person. Not a single one.

    I have, on the other hand, seen officers extremely involved in the community. Recently a Black female officer was calming down a hysterical girl outside our school; the girl had been in the midst of a fight and was wildly upset, and the officer got her calm in about 5 minutes, very professionally and compassionately. This happens all the time.

    Every day I pull into work and see in the Swat Team building next door to us, members – mostly white btw – getting ready for their day, wearing bullet proof vests, ready to risk their lives for their community. Every day, teachers of all races and other involved mentors also risk their lives to help.

    The risks are far far higher from gang members and other dysfunctional members of their community than from the officers–Which anyone would know if they ever stepped foot into the city.

    They don’t though. All these people who purport to care so much for the inner city Black youths know nothing about the community, would never deign to set foot in it much less actually support it by starting small businesses or encouraging small businesses through shopping or investment. None. They literally only care about them as figureheads and symbols for their own egos, and to make ideological points.

    None of them will be swayed by facts and statistics because their goal is not truth. Nor is it actually helping African Americans, much as they believe that of themselves. Their goal is to have ideological and real power, and urban Black people are great tools for them to use–as long as their actual lives aren’t looked at too closely, and as long as no solutions are offered. They want them to remain hapless fearful victims — this is the best way to get them to vote for them and keep their own power.

    I hate to be so cynical but I am so so sick of how my kids’ lives are ignored. These are beautiful children who matter just as much as anyone’s children. But apparently Black Lives Matter–only if White people are involved.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ d

      I find your comment incredibly moving and heartfelt. Thank you for posting.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @ d

      “All these people who purport to care so much for the inner city Black youths know nothing about the community, would never deign to set foot in it …”

      You mean, people such as the white SJWs from “” and the International Action Center in the photo at the top of the article?

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO “d”

      “Prior to the civil rights movement”
      What RIDICULOUS Leftist handwringing:
      For God’s sake! THAT WAS OVER 50 YEARS AGO!!!
      Blacks are 100% responsible for their violent behavior TODAY!

      OR: are you one of those racist Leftists who think
      Blacks just can’t help themselves, due to eeeeevil Whitey?!?

    • JoeLunchbucket says

      That’s not cynicism, it’s your experience. Observing facts without putting an elitist spin on them is the opposite of cynicism.

    • ga gamba says

      In the same time period, I have literally not heard of a single time an officer shot at an unarmed person. Not a single one.

      Yes, you haven’t heard it, but it does happen. It’s documented. Still, you haven’t heard of it raises some questions. One is: Is media not reporting this? Doesn’t appear so. They love black-versus-cop stories. Another is: How often do these shootings this happen?

      There are one million police employed at 18,000 police agencies (fed, state, local) in the US. About one million arrests are made per month. There are tens of millions more face-to-face pubic-police encounters (traffic stops, giving aid, interviewing witnesses, buying donuts, etc.) annually. In 2018, 47 unarmed people of all the genders and colours were killed. In ’17 it was 69. In ’16 it was 51. This it not to say they weren’t violent and police justifiably discharged their weapons to protect themselves in several incidents, but let’s say all these were unjustified. I say so to make police worse than they are. Victims were just standing there and pow, cops shot them execution style.

      What per cent is 47, 69, and 51 of tens of millions of encounters? Let’s say there were 30 million encounters in 2018; this seems to me to be an undercount because that’s fewer than three encounters per month per police officer. I wouldn’t be surprise to learn each cop has a minimum of one encounter per day, but I’ll use the undercount because it favours the victims by making police appear more reckless. So, just to make it clear, I’m deliberately stacking the deck against police in two ways; all unarmed shootings are unjustified and police have fewer encounters with the public than they really do.

      Forty-seven of 30 million is 0.00000156. A ten thousandth of a per cent.

      • @ga gamba, yes. But you’re taking my quote out of context. I was saying in the 10 years I’ve taught in this district – I haven’t revealed which one, but you’ve heard of it – I have never heard of a cop shooting at an unharmed person. I would certainly have heard of this. I work there, I read the local paper daily, and have several friends who live there. It would be a big deal.

        It hasn’t happened. Not saying that it never happens. My point is that in my own experience – and in all due respect, I have more personal experience with this than probably any poster here, and probably more than the writer himself – an officer shooting of an unarmed innocent or nonviolent potential offender is so rare that though I personally know of over 100 shootings in my 10 years, none of these were officer-on-unarmed-civilian. None. That is how rare it is, and that is how much more of a problem the urban violence is. Each year, at least one of my middle school students is shot and killed, or has a family member shot and killed. No one cares because apparently black lives only matter if white people are involved. Though “progressives” paint themselves as against racism, they are disgustingly racist to me. They use my Black kids as props and symbols for their own egos. They literally do not care if they live or die, except in a distant theoretical way and then only if a white person hurts them. Otherwise, they can just disappear, to be trotted out only if their narrative supports the Democrats. In other words, they are used to help powerful/wealthy people (mostly white btw) consolidate their own power. It’s infuriating.

        • ga gamba says

          I don’t think I was taking your comment out of context, and if you think I did that’s a failure on my part. Apologies.

          The occurrence of unarmed people of any _____ being shot by police is exceedingly rare. Really, it’s such an anomaly it’s statistically insignificant. Of course, it’s of no comfort to those shot unjustifiably and their families. Still, the tens and tens of millions of police-public encounters each year prove to us these go off peacefully, even though they may be stressful and at times contentious. The activists have seized on the outliers to fabricate a narrative that this is a common occurrence, one representative of policing. It isn’t. One thing we have to recognise is the far left’s historic antipathy of all police, seeing it the defender of the state, property, and capitalism. In fact, even though many police officers come from working class origins, and certainly are not controllers of capital and owners of the means of production, the far left states police officers are not part of the working class. They are its enemy.

          Police deliberate misdeeds and accidental mistakes are useful agitprop to concoct sweeping generalisations indicting larger society and its institutions’ legitimacy.

          • @ga gamba, no need to apologize, although thank you for being so thoughtful.

            Basically we’re saying the same thing–I agree with you.

            The only thing I would add is that though the far left used to defend the working class, they have now thrown them under the bus–it’s hard to overstate the contempt they have for the Lower Orders, not just white working class, but really anyone of the ‘lower orders.’ Black and Brown people they don’t even think of as quite human; their job is to do exactly what their overseers want, and to stand in for symbols when they need. When Black and Brown people are not obedient to their White upper class masters, they become ‘porch monkeys” and “uncle Tom’s” and disobedient women deserve to have their vaginas taken away. Police are solidly working class, and so are automatically in contempt (on top of the other biases). Many are not White- it’s a great job if you come from a working class or impoverished background as you don’t necessarily even need college and it has great benefits. – but that doesn’t matter once they join the force; they either become ‘White’ (eg a Hispanic officer turns White when he is involved in a shooting), or they are invisible (eg in my school district,I’d say a majority are Black and many are from the city itself; no newspaper ever reports that).

            This contempt now feeds into their historical antipathy for the police as agents of ‘capitalism” even though in a socialist state, the police arguably have even more power, but what’s reality when you have a fictional narrative you want to believe in.

        • True Wolff says

          I don’t know how many years of personal experience with this you have, but I can tell you that, after working in an urban high school for twelve years, I completely agree with your analysis. The white allies of the anti-racist Black spokespeople, such as Coates, are promoting a co-dependency which supports the status quo; it helps the rich white elite and also the rich Black elite, but it does nothing for the students you and I have taught. It is what Adolph Reed calls “race-reductionist.”
          I have appreciated your views on several topics. The first was your comments about cognitively disabled kids and how they are not well served by “inclusion.” My own thirty-two- year-old son suffered greatly under that misguided method. The second, which you have alluded to in your reference to Linda Sarsour’s “taking away their vaginas” comment on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is your perspective on the Arab/Israeli conflict.
          I wish to thank you for all of this. I fear that we are in for very dark times and it is a slight comfort to come upon rational thought such as yours.

    • Stephanie says

      @d, excellent comment, thank you for sharing and for working on the front lines.

      I have little to add except that exercise has limited impact on weight. Your kids are out of shape because their parents (or more likely, their single mother) is feeding them garbage.

    • d

      This is definitely a real post. You can tell because of all the times he sites black people from that neighborhood talking about how grateful they are for the police involvement in their lives. Of course, when I’ve seen black people talk about what it was like to grow up in West Baltimore or other similar environments, they describe the police as an occupying force they in almost all circumstances wouldn’t call for help. How that squares with what you wrote is a mystery you are going to have to solve if you’re going to accuse people like me of stepping over the carcasses of black bodies littering these neighborhoods for power.

      This is in fact pure right wing ideological propaganda at its most base,

      "Their goal is to have ideological and real power, and urban Black people are great tools for
      them to use–as long as their actual lives aren’t looked at too closely, and as long as no solutions
      are offered. They want them to remain hapless fearful victims — this is the best way to get them
      to vote for them and keep their own power."

      Why is it 90% of black voters vote for the liberal party then? Why is that? How do you explain despite the deep callousness that people like me obviously feel for the suffering of black people that black people vote for the same ideological interests that I do? You of course have no answer to this obvious hole in your stupid theory about my callousness. You of course can’t answer why black people think my politics would aid their communities more than the conservative option, whose leader just called West Baltimore a rat infested city no human would want to live in.

      A dishonest huckster like you of course can’t answer these criticisms of your claims. The simple truth is this, there is a party who has no interest in investing in black neighborhoods to deal with problems in them. It’s not the one liberals vote for which is why 90% of black people vote for the liberal party. But thanks for writing the heartfelt, deeply concerned post above about that details so well that despite people with my politics actually being able to win the votes of black people, we have no interest in them and in fact want to see them dead in the street to magically increase our political power. It’s a really, really, really authentic and intelligent narrative.

      What is it, one dead black man equals +4 political powers. Is it like basketball where the further the gun shot that killed the black man came from, the higher the political points that are scored by liberals? Perhaps you can continue my education by explaining to me how dead black men leads to more political power, because I’m to invested in reality to understand this incredibly stupid argument.

  7. If you cross reference the Washington Post and UCR data you’ll find that non Hispanic whites are 4 times more likely to be shot and killed by police during violent crime arrests than African Americans. (2017)

    The AA police fatality rate calculated solely by population numbers is as deceiving as the univariate analysis used to assess the gender pay gap.

    The poverty and historical disenfranchisement of blacks in America are certainly lingering and relevant. Wave a magic wand over the US and erase racism though, what other problems would remain? Considering those problems, would racism in any current non legitimized form be among the top 10 of those problems?

    Psychologically, maybe. Statistically speaking in terms of life expectancy, crime rates, health outcomes…probably not

      • Samedi says


        Donut Operator is indeed a great resource for understanding the police perspective. His YouTube channel is an effective antidote to the false narratives that are so commonly spread in social media. Some of the police in these videos seem to have the patience of saints.

  8. Geary Johansen says

    I recently watched two talks on the St. Olaf College YouTube site, one by George L. Kelling, one of the original authors of ‘Broken Windows’ in the Atlantic all those years ago, and the other Victor Rios an articulate, evidence-based detractor. They both made some very valid points, but the most interesting concession was by George L. Kelling himself, in stating that ‘Broken Windows’ or pro-active policing can work extraordinarily well, or extraordinarily badly, depending on the intent behind the policy and the levels of training of officers on the ground.

    To begin with pro-active policing was never intended to be run in association with zero-tolerance in any way, shape or form, but rather as a particular tactic within a broader strategy of community policing. It is supposed to use police intervention techniques, working with partners within communities, social workers and metal health professional, to prevent crime and ultimately reduce it through the mechanism of diversion. Needless to say police retain the power of ‘… or else’, because otherwise it would be unlikely that these diversion program would be attended by teenage boys and young men that it was designed to push into more productive uses of their time.

    Amazingly, wherever this ‘softer’ has been tried it has worked, especially in conjunction with the ‘violence interrupter’ program designed by the epidemiologist Gary Slutkin in the early 2000’s. He noticed that violence outbreaks behaved in ways very similar to those of the disease outbreaks he had been studying in the developing world. In Scotland this dual approach to proactive policing paired with local government partners and community resourcing, took Glasgow from being the Knife Crime Capital of Europe, to all of Scotland having the lowest incidence of violent crime in the whole of Europe, as the successful approach was rolled out throughout Scotland.

    It should be noted that police still lock up violent offenders, sexual predators and persistent property criminals. But the key difference is this approach prevents crime by diverting minor offenders, before they escalate into becoming more serious criminals. Of course it doesn’t always work on an individual basis, but in the long run it saves more that it costs, in that it reduces crime without significantly increasing prison populations.

    Apart from anything else, the targeted use of police, dissuades offenders from committing more serious crimes, because increasing the risk of getting caught has been proven to deter criminals far more effectively than longer sentences- presumably because it disabuses them of the assumption that they are smarter than the police and will never get caught. It also frees up much needed prison space, for dangerous criminals to serve longer sentences. A Texas politician summed it up as dividing offenders into those you are scared of, or just plain mad at.

    But with recent developments in the US and UK, all this is under threat. Liberals always believe that society has changed when crime goes down, instead of understanding that it is finely-tuned law enforcement technologies that have reduced crime across the Western world (either that or they blame lead poisoning, which simply doesn’t fit the timeline, or the inconvenient fact that crime always rises when pro-active policing is impeded or withdrawn). And of course, with the advent of social media and phone-based cameras providing an extremely prejudicial, not to mention falsely anecdotal, view of policing dismantling proven policing techniques is again on the agenda.

    Now, there are problems with policing, for sure. Sometimes fines and summons can account for up to 40% of municipal funding- a policy which consistently rates in the top 4 of things police officers hate themselves. The fact that so many officers report headaches and back pain, is a clear indicator of the underlying physiological stresses officers they are under, and is neither conducive to empathy, nor rational decision-making in life-threatening situations. George L. Kelling admits in his presentation, that he used to dread when a police chief would ring him, tell him how much he loved his book and that he was introducing ‘Broken Windows’ tomorrow. Because with the wrong approach, based on zero-tolerance and a punitive approach to policing communities, pro-active policing can not only alienate the community, but also, as Victor Rios claims, push young men further into criminality.

    But the bulk of the criticisms of pro-active policing are fundamentally misplaced. Because it is prosecutors that decide charges and judges that set sentences, enforcing sentencing requirements set down by legislators. If the prison population has drastically grown then it is because society called for it, and if ‘Broken Windows’ has become distorted from its original purpose, then it’s because politicians pick the appointees that drive the agenda from the top. It should also be noted that other than at the federal level, no serious attempt has been made to place open-ended fines above the heads of drug dealers like ‘Swords of Damocles’ as an alternative to incarceration- because, if you can’t keep the money you make from dealing, or even own property without a legitimate income to justify your ownership, it considerably reduces to incentives for crime.

    Two things need to happen to fix broken windows. First, the original prescription needs to be rediscovered in places that it has been lost. Second, the partners need to be restored to the equation, because no police officer wants to be a social worker, become a makeshift psychiatric nurse or run diversion programs that should be a part of the community, as the situation demands. In a recent example of how pro-active policing can work in detail, a major American city recently compiled a list of the 200 homeless people with the greatest contact with police and arrested them all- crime from the homeless dropped to a tiny fraction of what it was. Needless to say this is very much at the ‘… or else’ end of the spectrum.

    • Shamrock says


      Good comments. You stated “A Texas politician summed it up as dividing offenders into those you are scared of, or just plain mad at.” That reminds me of a retired prison officer who had served for 20 years. He said that in his opinion, half of the people in prison shouldn’t be there, and the other half should never get out.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Shamrock

        Thanks for that. I like your comment as well- might well use that line in future.

  9. NashTiger says

    The death of Freddie Gray was neither “shocking” nor “unconscionable”, all evidence, including statements from other prisoners, leads to the conclusion that he set out to injure himself in order to file a complaint against the city.

    A black resident called the black mayor’s office and complained about petty criminals like Mr Gray loitering on the street corners in her neighborhood, and the black DA called the black Police Commissioner who told the black shift supervisor to do something about it. 4 of the 6 officers charged by the same DA who sent them to arrest Mr Gray and his ilk were black, the 2 white officers had no direct contact with him. The reporting on the Freddie Gray case has been beyond stilted and irresponsible.

    • JoeLunchbucket says

      Clearly, St Freddie’s death was the fault of White Privilege, but only that of cis-het XYs.

    • Richard Aubrey says

      The cops were all charged. They got a bench trial, tried individually. A black judge threw out the first three, iirc, and the city dropped the other three.

  10. David Barnett says

    “Black people who lie about cops killing blacks”. I suspect there are a lot of them. But there are also those blacks who genuinely believe that what’s going on is racism among cops. I think these statistics help put the lie to the myth that blacks are somehow more “qualified” than whites to detect whether there is a racist element in any event or situation, that if they call “racism” it must be true.

  11. Morgan Foster says

    “Of the 505 fatal police shootings cataloged in 2019 as of this writing, only 20 involved a victim who was unarmed (although 12 of the victims carried toy weapons).”

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to count the 12 “toy weapon” cases together with the other eight cases to make a single category of “unarmed” cases.

    In the 12 toy weapon cases, offices were not dealing with obvious toys. They would have looked like real guns and should – logically – be considered as part of the “armed” cases when questioning the judgment of the officers who killed those who were carrying them.

    • David of Kirkland says

      How does having a gun mean you should be shot? When you shoot a kid with a toy gun without ever seeing him actually shoot it or be a threat, you show timidity that suggests you should not be a police officer.

      • Shamrock says


        “When you shoot a kid with a toy gun without ever seeing him actually shoot it or be a threat” Do you know that that is what happened in these cases?

        I would agree that a child carrying, say, an obvious water pistol should not be at risk of being shot. But what if an adult is carrying an imitation firearm and holding it in his hand when confronted by an officer? By the time an officer has seen him shoot it, he could be shot himself/herself.

      • So you have to wait for him to shoot it, possibly killing someone else? Define being a threat.

  12. lsmith76 says

    Impulse control by some individuals and/or groups of individuals varies across a bell shaped curve. Impulse control deficiencies are correlated with violence and the instinct to flee instead of complying with police orders. Go figure

  13. codadmin says

    At the height of the fascist lefts lies and hysteria a few years ago, the Guardian newspaper did a daily update on police killings in the US that they called ‘The Counted’.

    ‘The Counter’ was commissioned because it was supposed to show that 1 trillion percent of people killed by police were unarmed non-whites.

    Unfortunately for them, their own evidence painted a dramatically different they quietly dropped ‘The Counted’ and scurried back under their rock.

      • Gringo says

        From The Counted database from The Guardian, we find that police kill 6.66 blacks per million, and 2.9 whites per million. (By the numbers: 574 whites, 266 blacks). Blacks get killed by cops at a rate 2.3 times greater than whites.

        Compare murder rates for blacks and whites.
        2.9 murder rate for non-Hispanic whites (per 100,000)
        22.8 murder rate for non-Hispanic blacks (per 100,000)
        2.3 murder rate for Hispanics
        The non-Hispanic black murder rate is 7.9 times greater than the non-Hispanic white murder rate.
        Which tells me that cops, when dealing with a subset of the population that, judging by murder rates, is 7.9 times more violent than whites, are acting with due restraint to have a kill rate only 2.3 times that for whites.

        • Gringo says

          Correction: 5.3/100,000 murder rate for Hispanics.

        • codadmin says

          When you look at the figures and compare them to crime rates, it’s impossible to conclude the police are racist.

          Or, the police are actually Asian supremacists who hate white people?

          But, what are facts to fascists who hate America and are trying, metronome like, to insight violent revolution.

          Their lies are all about whipping up minorities, and blacks especially, into revolutionary rage. And they’ll keep trying, and trying, until it happens…or, unless we defeat them first.

  14. Daniel Hochberg says

    Great article. I love Quillette, which I would label as
    “moderate, thoughtful conservative”. I am glad the article includes nods to progressive talking points where such nods are justifiied. Comments are often as good as the article, thanks to “d” and “Geary Johnson” among others.

  15. Good read, until I get to this patently false statement:

    “Progressives are quick to (correctly) note that the roots of crime are socially and culturally constructed.”

    First, any conclusion that progressives are “quick” to reach is almost always an ideologically motivated distortion of this thing called reality.

    Second, “the roots of crime” are a complex combination of many factors, most of which are NOT mere social and cultural constructs, as if we could magically reconstruct our socio-cultural world to emancipate ourselves from the ancient problem of criminality.

    Third, look hard enough and you will find that these so-called cultural and social constructs are just post-hoc justifications for the reality of higher violent crime among certain groups relative to whites and Asians. The particular sources of these glaring discrepancies in violent crime across racial groups can be debated, but they simply cannot be swept under the rug as ‘constructs.’ Admittedly, this is a difficult reality to face; but responses to it are going to become increasingly pathological and anti-productive so long as it is not faced.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO AA

      Yep! Leftists love to point to “how violent” America is…
      …until you separate out the most violent cities
      (which – color no one surprised – have high black/hispanic populations)
      and – LO AND BEHOLD! – America drops to roughly
      the same percentage as the most peaceful countries in the rest of the world.

      But, to NOTICE – much less mention! – THAT is “racist.” rolls eyes

      • ga gamba says

        If you could write your sentences in a less overly dramatic fashion, avoid unnecessary capitalisation, and use correct syntax it would help make your point. Often you’re correct, or at least there’s validity in your words, but it’s presented in a way that undermines yourself and makes you appear unhinged.

        • Barney Doran says

          Thank you, ga gamba. Syntactic behavior such as KB’s translated into physical behavior is just the sort of thing that gets one shot by police – of any color.

        • Agreed. It’s a certain style one sees in reddit and elsewhere. I would wager Kauf Buch is young. But yes, he/she appears unhinged by writing this way. It doesn’t help that he also has poor reading comprehension, eg he responded to one of my posts in a way that showed he had no idea what he was reading.

      • DNY says

        @AA @Kauf Buch

        It is a dismaying fact that if one disaggregates homicide rates in the U.S. by the ethnicity of perpetrator, the rates parallel those in the countries/regions from which the perpetrator’s ancestors came.

  16. Marty says

    The rise in crime in Baltimore can be attributed to one thing – the politically-motivated malicious prosecution of police officers in the Freddie Gray case who had done NOTHING wrong.

    Police officers in Baltimore now operate on the assumption that if they don’t get involved, they can’t be accused of doing anything wrong. Most are simply putting in time until they can pension out. The attrition rate is rising and the hiring standards are lowering. How do you think that will play out in the long term?

    • One of the things I found interesting, was that around 2016, not sure exactly when, the University of Minnesota instructed its police department to stop including the subjects race when giving out descriptions to the public in “to be on the lookout for” announcements. This was supposed to reduce the trauma felt by minorities when the suspects were not Caucasian and to combat perceived ethnic profiling by Caucasians. I never heard how it turned out.

  17. I have a few points to make. First unarmed doesn’t mean not dangerous or even life threatening. The Ferguson case shows that the police officer was assaulted and that rather than running away with his hands up like the media stated, the victim was running back towards the cop. False narratives are destructive and only feed into distrust and tribalism.
    Second: police officers are not soldiers, we need to stop thinking of them like that. We need to re-examine tactics such as no-knock raids and the overuse of SWAT teams. We also need to deemphasize the idea that police are in danger all the time. Fear often leads to bad outcomes.
    Third: one of New York cities best reforms was forcing their officers out of their cruisers and back to walking a beat. This improves both their understanding of the community and their relationship with it. Chicago on the other hand tends to act like an occupying force, rarely getting out of their cruisers with little to no ties with the community.
    Fourth: we need to examine the role of police unions and prosecutorial protection in defending bad cops.
    Fifth: we need to stop examining everything based upon race.
    Sixth: we need to re-examine our over criminalization. No there doesn’t need to be a law that covers everything.
    Seventh: the 4, 5, 6 and 7 amendments need to be honored and protected by laws that go after cops and prosecutors who abuse them. Double jeopardy needs to definitely be enforced much stricter.
    Eighth: we need to decide if our aim is rehabilitation or revenge.
    Ninth: stacking charges to force plea bargains is not defensible in a liberal society (small l).
    Tenth: war on drugs. Is it useful? But legalization would probably not be fully successful at decreasing violence.
    Eleventh: minority communities need to take some responsibility for doing away with some of the culture that promotes violence and lawlessness. Most minorities are the most impacted by these things.
    Twelfth: school choice.
    Thirteenth: nanny goverernment at least contributes some to perpetual poverty and needs to be reformed or done away with.
    Fourteenth: everyone, no matter skin color, political affiliation, office, career etc deserves the presumption of innocence.
    Fifteenth: we need to re-evaluate the disparity between the DA office and public defenders office in many urban centers.
    Sixteenth: restoration of felon rights, especially employment rights and yes voting rights, once the sentence is finished, needs to be broadened.
    Seventeenth: more sentencing discretion and more diversionary programs when warranted. However, forced drug and alcohol counseling is stupid and rarely works. A first time DUI does not necessarily have an alcohol problem and forcing them to take time off to go to AA accomplishes nothing.
    Nineteenth: if you’re old enough to vote, serve in the military etc you should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities of all adults.
    Twentieth: why are personal choices (when actually made rather than forced) such as prostitution illegal? Victimless crimes seems like an oxymoron.
    Twenty-first (and last for now): treat each case as an individual, not as part of a larger group.

  18. Morgan Foster says

    @Jeffrey C

    “Eleventh: minority communities need to take some responsibility for doing away with some of the culture that promotes violence and lawlessness.”

    Snitching in these minority communities needs to be the rule rather than the exception.

    • Cooperating with police investigations, snitching, is far more common in New York City then in Chicago. I think the difference is the difference in policing styles. As I alluded to, getting out of the cruiser and walking the beats creates familiarity and trust. Similar results were found in Iraq after Petraeus took over and focused on community building and anti-insurgency. Though, I don’t like using military analogies with police practices.

  19. Jim says

    Could people fuck off when they act like all police shootings of unarmed people aren’t justified?

    Most are easily justified.

    Golly gee that cop should have engaged in hand to hand combat with that huge black dude that was attacking him! How dare he shoot that poor innocent black man! It’s not like the cop could have been knocked out or anything. Nope!

    How dare a cop shoot a black dude that wouldn’t comply with orders. All he did was quickly pull his hand out his coat pocket! The cop totally had time to check to see if a gun was being pulled out before shooting him! Another UNARMED black shot for nothing!

    If you don’t comply with police orders, you’re playing a very risky game. Close to zero people get shot that comply.

  20. James says

    Cops are not targeting blacks for death. The whole premise is insipid and the data thoroughly proves it.

  21. Denny Sinnoh says

    Robocop was the right idea. When drawing his gun, he was programmed to protect the innocent and only shoot the guilty. His analysis, targeting and shooting were all programmed for the exact amount of force needed in each situation.

    Unfortunately his programming would not allow him to shoot executives in the company which created him, even if they were committing a crime.

    So some people had privilege.

  22. I agree with the article and most of the comments here. However, an experience in a bar here in LA a few years ago gave me some perspective. A group of off duty police officers sat next to me and they seemed to accept me as one of them for the evening due to military stuff. They were a mixed race group. One of the officer’s wife had just delivered a baby that day and he said she was at the hospital asleep on narcotics after the c-section, so he had come out to celebrate with his brothers. Among the varied conversations they occasionally disparaged the black people they had to deal with on a day to day basis…which I found uncomfortably close to racism if not racism. I quickly understood how they had come to acquire those attitudes, but… They then invited me to a strip club, telling me they could get me through the DUI checkpoints. I declined and we parted ways.

    So while I don’t think racism is a causal factor in crime or officer involved shootings, I think there is some form of racism in the police force; possibly created on the job. To me it seems there is a problem with the culture of big city police officers that exists in some kind of feedback with the communities they police.

    • dirk says

      Exactly this, J, is now our national outcry of the week here in the NLs, with head officers in talkshows, head down under the indictments of committed insults and offences (see also my earlier comment). The nation is perplex, racism is something for the US, not in our neat and tolerant country, so it is felt! Bút may one expect no traces of racism at all in a corps of 10.000s of officers, of which very few are voting on leftist parties, and are mostly right wing leaning. And where, for reasons of diversity quota, some whites feel bypassed where colleagues , even if less qualified, get the promotion?

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ J

      Great comment. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot myself. We know that anecdotal evidence deeply informs the human experience- indeed, it’s the reason why this article was written and cops are unfairly depicted by the media- because why let statistics get in the way of a good story? But I think you are right- there might be some pathology happening because cops have to disproportionately deal with the worst in high crime communities. Plus, over time you are hardly likely to find yourself endeared to the local community, if every incident results in you being called a racist and, on occasion, punched, spat at or scratched.

      And I think that implicit bias training doesn’t help- because it implicitly infers that unconscious biases are racist, even if those biases are based on the summation of years of negative experiences. High empathy articulation training, establishing authoritative persuasion as a baseline for encounters is a far better policy. Plus, psychology 101 training designed to help self-diagnose the beginnings of psychological problems, along with information about how experiences can lead to biases over time.

      A bit of history on the socio-economics of historical populations might be in order as well- as many American immigrants with proud heritages don’t realise that their parents and grandparents rose through the mechanism of strong families and the ability to parley long hours of low skilled labour into a better life for your kids, the latter of which, no longer exists in most Western countries.

      • @geary johansen

        I base my thoughts on an anecdote and the sample size is too small, but It so aligns with other stories that I suspect something is there; a culture in some police forces that is unbecoming. I don’t even know if I would call it racism. I think it has components of power, jaded attitudes, bro culture, self-pitty, … there is a lot in the stew, including all the virtues we find in police officers.

        I agree the solution isn’t implicit bias training because this is about explicit bias learned from interaction with part of the real world (but applicable only to that part). I would think training should be about professionalism, standards of behavior and the context that surrounds police work.

    • Morgan Foster says


      “So while I don’t think racism is a causal factor in crime or officer involved shootings, I think there is some form of racism in the police force; possibly created on the job.”

      Some of this is a result of the divisions where white cops work.

      You say your experience happened in an L.A. bar. I think it’s understandable that a white cop who spends his career in Beverly Hills is going to have a different experience with the black community than another white cop who works in a poor neighborhood where more than 50% of the violent criminals he has to deal with over the course of his working life are black.

      Never mind the overall racial makeup of L.A. or any other city. If most of the violent crime in a white officer’s personal experience is being committed by black people, then the language he uses in his down-time – that time spent in a bar where he and his peers are decompressing from the stresses of their work – is going to be a reflection of that.

      You see this in other professions. Listen in, some time, on a group of hospital nurses discussing their patients.

      • @ Morgan Foster

        I don’t deny that some of their talk is just decompression. However the conversation also demonstrated an abuse of power (getting through DUI checkpoints) and an inability to recognize their own moral shortcomings (partying with your bros the day you wife delivered a child) while they were eager to point out the moral shortcomings of others. The later smacks of privilege (and I don’t mean to use that word in its politicized sense). There are enough ingredients in the story for me to realize something isn’t right and it probably influences their day jobs.

        Your right that plenty of other professions see people at their worst on a routine basis; such as nurses and I think that aides my point. I have heard nurses talk about their patients with disdain, but nurses aren’t given the power of a police officer, they have more accountability and that bro-culture (for lack of better words) is missing.

    • I will say when I was a nurse I definitely developed a jaded view of a number of people. Also, growing up on a reservation (and living next to one now) certainly jaded me to. If you had had drinks with me and my nursing friends after a hard shift, you’d probably be appalled by our conversations. But we worked just as hard the next day. Judging people by them blowing off steam, especially in a high pressure job where you rarely work with people in their best circumstances, certainly does create some callousness, even crassness. What is they say? Familiarity breeds contempt?
      The most worrying part of your story was them offering to get you around the DUI checkpoint. It is that above the law mentality I think is more problematic.

      • As a teacher in an urban nearly all black district, I have sat in on any number of jaded, sarcastic or borderline racist discussions about our population. Half our teachers are Black, too, but they participate just as much, sometimes more.

        It’s something no ‘outsider’ can understand. It’s a sort of gallows humor. If you didn’t have that outlet, you’d go crazy and quit. You need the dark humor.

        This is true of all high risk or high stress jobs. No one talks about this, but it’s very widespread. For instance, my friend owns a pharmacy and on off hours talks about crazy clients. When you serve enough, you do start to see patterns–eg older people tend to behave in one way, Russian immigrants in another. IT’s not something you would be proud to say in a general discussion; it is meant to be only for those in that experience, because they know how to frame the discussion.

        Now I wasn’t in that LA bar and maybe those particular officers were racist and out of line. But for a random civilian to go in there without any comprehension of what the officers face every single day, and then judge them ( especially when they treated him kindly, as their own), strikes me as naive at the very least. Walk in their shoes for a month, then return to the bar.

        • It is like how after awhile you can walk into a trauma room and know (with fairly high accuracy) the drug seekers. I know to some degree though, I subconsciously treated fellow veterans differently, with more empathy. I like to think, and I was told multiple times, that I was overall sympathetic and professional. But you’d not want to hear us discussing some of the patients at the nurses station. Especially the “migraine” patient who chewed me out because I took so long to discharge her because I was busy coding a heart attack victim. Despite her being a frequent flyer, whose migraine magically disappeared as soon as she got her desired drugs and the unreasonable complaint, I professionally discharged her and gave her a complaint form to fill out and directed her how to fill it out. This is a further factor I learned in my years as a nurse, the ones most likely to file a complaint were the ones who were the least unreasonable and often had done it to themselves. The drug addict and alcoholic, the wife beater, the Prisoner from the county jail, the patient who refuses their meds and has a bad outcome as a result. Etc.

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ d

          Have you seen any of the interviews of Katherine Birbalsingh? Her Michaela Community School seems to be achieving incredible results, three years ahead of the UK average, in a community that is poor, multi-ethnic and high crime. Plus, there isn’t any of the narrative of firing teachers, that usually comes out of the high-performing charter schools in the US. Just goes to show- sometimes it’s better to change the people, than change the people.

          It seems they’ve binned a lot of the bureaucracy and used that time to share best practice. I also like the idea of setting homework that marks itself automatically- plus, the idea of using pairs to answer questions to develop confidence, 20+ times a lesson seems revolutionary, but a great way to check the knowledge is going in.

  23. Farris says

    So wait you’re telling me that Colin Kaepernick and his corporate sponsors are incorrect. Sorry too much money invested in the other narrative for that to be true.

  24. As has been pointed out by someone else, somewhere else, if white policemen just wanted to kill black people because of inherent racism, why would they do it, in uniform, using their service weapon, in the presence of other people, in day time, wearing a bodycam? Wouldn’t it just make more sense for them to go out on some dark night with their own private firearm and waste a few black guys just for the sociopathic hell of it? Much easier surely?

  25. Naeco says

    Every year, more unarmed white people are shot by police than black. This year, for instance, 12 unarmed whites have been killed and 7 blacks. According to the left in our country, whites cannot be the victim of racism. Therefore it stands to reason that all unarmed whites shot by police have been the victims some mix of incompetence and sadism (look up Daniel Shaver for a particularly egregious example). Surely, some percentage of unarmed blacks have also been killed for the same reasons. Some have are probably also the victims of racist cops. What percentage? No one knows. But, to our mainstream media, every single shooting of an unarmed black person is evidence of our racist justice system. And they have been flogging this for years. This BS narrative basically undermines any faith in that system. And if the system is that broken, why not burn it down?

    • cthoms says

      look up Daniel Shaver for a particularly egregious example

      For anyone who isn’t familiar with the name (or the name Philip Brailsford), you can review the Wikipedia entry here ( I’m not sure if the body cam footage is still available (I watched it once, which was enough, it’s basically a snuff film). I recommend it, if for no other reason than there has been a recent (this month) update: Brailsford was also given a pension of $2,500 per month. The fact that Brailsford was ultimately medically retired instead of remaining fired was only revealed to the public in July 2019.

      There is absolutely no question whatever that if Daniel Shaver had been African-American the after-shooting story would have unfolded very differently.

    • I am sure it wasn’t his idea originally, but his writing was the first time I came across it, but Sir Terry Pratchett discussed the crab bucket theory of poverty. The idea is that you can put a bunch of crabs in a bucket and not cover it with a lid. No crabs will escape because as one starts to climb out, the others will pull them back in. The idea is that this is like chronic poverty, where social pressure denigrates those who attempt to better themselves.
      I have had several of my American Indian friends experience similar. They often called apples (red on the outside and white on the inside) by other Natives because they went to school and got advanced degrees. They no longer live in the perpetual victim and poverty cycle of the reservations. They own houses, have stable marriages. One, a former meth addict pulled herself up by her bootstraps, escaped an abusive relationship, bought a house got her bachelor’s degree and masters in drug counseling. She is now working on a PhD. She married a white guy, owns a house, goes into work every day on time (usually far earlier). She has developed a certain disdain for the perpetual victim mentality of many on the reservation. Another left the reservation and has been told that she isn’t a true Indian anymore. She also has a Master’s in social work and married a white guy. Both had had kids out of wedlock, the latter one had her mother killed in a bar brawl. But because they refused to let their circumstances define them, they are ostracized by their community. This happens in poor white communities to, not just minority communities. I saw it when I worked in a rural logging town in the Bitterroot mountains. I saw it in the morning community my folks grew up in. When the mines died, and everyone was suddenly without work, those who chose to move and find a better job (like my folks) were seen as outsiders when they went home to visit. They were accused of putting on airs. I saw it with people I served with, who joined the military to escape poverty or bad situations.

      • Jerjapan says

        Jeffrey C, you’ve got some excellent, personal posts throughout this thread. Thanks for the thoughtful commentary.

      • tarstarkas says

        Jeffrey C, this is exactly what happened to my grandfather in West Virginia. Hard-working man, always tried to provide for his family, even after being blackballed for being a union man. But his family was not only large but extended, up to 10-12 in the household with brothers, nieces, and nephews adding to his own seven. Whenever he got more money in, he ended up with more dependents. He never was able to escape the poverty trap.

        My father and his brothers in contrast were able to get out of WV partly thanks to WWII and the GI bill. Their sisters didn’t. Similar to what happened to the Irish after the Hunger.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Jeffrey C

        Great comment. Barrack Obama did mention ‘acting white’ on CNN, just as he mentioned the importance of fathers on separate occasions- but frustratingly, this was almost as an aside, and as a preamble to the conventional narrative. In the UK we have ‘coconut’, which is analogous to the US ‘oreo’. When will people realise just how harmful such ideas are to young minds? At high school, I quickly learned to disguise my intelligence to avoid standing out, and in may ways became a ‘class clown’- and I didn’t have the poisonous idea planted in my head, that by behaving atypically, I was somehow betraying my community.

  26. True Wolff says


    “They literally only care about them as figureheads and symbols for their own egos, and to make ideological points.”

    This is very much the point made by Adolph Reed in his essay “The Trouble With Uplift” (

    I, too, have taught in an urban high school and the experiences you relate are exactly mine. Very few politicians of any ideological stripe are listening to voices of reason such as yours. Thank you for this cogent comment; it is always a pleasure to read your valuable contributions.

  27. islamaphooey says

    I have a nephew who is a cop in Fort Worth. Whenever I see him I end up irritating him with constant questions about his work. A few observations I’ve gleaned from him; the Ferguson Effect is real. Period. Cops are more hesitant to get involved. Especially when they are in communities that despise them. You can rant and rave and say the cops shouldn’t be like that, and they’re being unprofessional and they have to put aside their personal feelings, etc. You can say that all day long but it doesn’t change the reality of how cops feel on the ground and in the trenches. My nephew says when the call comes in and the destination is a bad neighborhood, every cop, white or brown or black or yellow, dreads it. They don’t dread it because they’re racists. They dread it because of behavior.
    The other Ferguson Effect is the changing quality of the applicants to be cops. The quality is going down. This is so predictable when cops are painted as trigger happy racists just itching to shoot. How many men and women who would have been great cops decided it’s just not worth it?
    I’ve also asked my nephew if within his department there are the “loose cannons” or the ones who he pictures cracking under pressure, and he says of course. In any group of people there are going to be those who barely squeaked into that group. Unfortunately there are going to be more of those types the more cops are denigrated.

    • ms100 says


      Your comments regarding the lessening quality of police officers are all too true but it has been going on for a lot longer than you think. It started with affirmative action to diversify the police ranks. Much lower passing scores on tests. Here’s one prime example from Washington, DC.

      The article avoids talking about it but the problem hires were minorities.

      Here’s a more current example from LA that should make everyone nervous. Deputies who belong in gangs.

      I’m sure that the quality of whites has gone down as well as who wants that job in the crime heavy minority communities that denigrates whites? We should all be very concerned that our police may go the way of Brazilian or Mexican police. Very corrupt and lawless, asking for bribes or working with cartels.

  28. Lightning Rose says

    This whole thing is a media narrative, for the greater glory of the Democratic party which has no platform outside of ginning up new race conflict. 3 shootings in 3 years out of 330 million people? That’s a joke! I would think guns going off accidentally in a cop’s holster would kill more!

    The larger issue than no one discusses, and which cuts across all races and social classes these days, is the evident lack of even a normal 5-year-old’s level of self-control capability in supposedly mature adults, as well as the epidemic of depression, anxiety disorders, and concommittent violent outbreaks. I have seen convincing evidence that this is in great measure the result of a generation raised on processed, denatured refined carbohydrates and sugars and artificial vegetable oils. Lacking a sufficient level of the natural, animal-derived fats and sufficient protein that are the human ancestral diet, the brain chemistry goes “off” and I think we are seeing the
    symptoms of this on a wholesale level now. Call it “bodega syndrome,” and no the answer is NOT “leafy greens.” The important part is what NOT to eat, which is mostly what people DO eat, especially the urban poor.

    As violent as it was in the 1960’s, with the real race riots, Vietnam protests, Kent State and all, we didn’t see people regressing to infantile lack of self-control (subway masturbators, unprovoked random assaults, defecating in the streets) as we have in major US cities today. There is more to this than economics or addiction; this breakdown in mental health is because our brains literally have nothing to work with thanks to the USDA’s misguided “healthy eating” guidlines since 1980.

    I refer you to the work of Dr. Georgia Ede, nutritional psychiatrist. This is emerging research.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Lightning Rose

      Great comment. I have been watching my carb and sugar intake for a while now, and have felt my mental energy grow quite considerably. There is a great study out there from Guatemala, that used supplements of similar calorific content, but widely different food types, and the results were amazing- in terms of cognitive development, life outcomes and community wealth and income.

      I think safety culture, self esteem dogma and social media have also had hugely negative impacts on young minds as well. Both Jonathan Haidt and Simon Sinek have pointed this out.

  29. Morgan Foster says

    There are a few simple rules – guidelines, really – for any black man who doesn’t want to be shot dead by a police officer.

    Do not try to kill the police officer.
    Drop whatever it is in your hand – gun or cell phone – immediately, when the police officer tells you to drop it.
    Watch Chris Rock’s YouTube video “How To Not Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police.”

    These three rules are based on simple, basic common sense.

    (Actually, everyone should watch the Chris Rock video, not just black men.)

  30. Gordon Fiala says

    Well no: you’d blame pornography.

    Except that the white Aristocracy controls all land and resources in America, they have been prejudice to the parents of the current collegiate, we live due to them in a limit labour market that they collect Business Expense Tax Rebates and all in a culture which compliments the white ethnicities but not the black, Indian or Asians or anyone else.

    We aren’t a Communism. The police are Feudalist Mercenaries: Fact. We certainly can blame Police Racism for American Violence.

    The blacks are subject to Caste society due to a little thing known as Criminal Interest , regarding white financial prominence.

    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

      That’s some nice word salad, Gordon. Coherent thinking is overrated.

    • Explain that to the number of very successful blacks, Indians and Hispanics I’ve known in my life. Most would reject that out of hand. And most came from humble backgrounds. I described above a few experiences of personal friends of mine who grew up on the same reservation that I did. Your statement is one of the most racist things I’ve ever seen. It is the racism if low expectations, that minorities have no agency of their own and everything is the fault of whitey, therefore only whitey can fix it. It seemed to be most espoused by white, upper class urbanites who often have little to no experience dealing with minorities on a personal level. They feel they are being empathetic and sympathetic, but instead they are being parentalistic. You can’t save them, they don’t need a great white savior.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Gordon Fiala

      “… a culture which compliments the white ethnicities but not the black, Indian or Asians or anyone else.”

      You may be right about Asian-Americans. Elite universities such as Harvard are using de facto racial quotas to keep many of them out.

    • Stephen Pierson says

      @Gordon Fiala:

      What white, disgruntled, guilt-ridden sociology instructor taught you to repeat those sentences your freshman year in college?

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Stephen Pierson

        You ignore the fact that these days most student are far more likely to be indoctrinated into the divisive doctrine of intersectional feminism, than taught to dwell on the systemic racism many Asian cultures routinely experience in college admissions.

  31. “… only 20 involved a victim who was unarmed (although 12 of the victims carried toy weapons).”

    Most of these “toy” weapons are highly realistic Airsoft bb guns with only an orange muzzle — easily removed or over-painted — to distinguish them from the real thing.

    The gun Tamir Rice (5’7″, 195lbs) was aiming at passersby was a replica 1911 pistol with the orange muzzle removed. I just bought one a few weeks ago for $6.

  32. Jerjapan says

    Lots of very thoughtful and interesting posts in this thread – this is precisely what I like about Quillette, it offers me a chance to hear an informed conservative discussion. Several of these posts resonate strongly with me as someone who also works with a very diverse population.

    I don’t know what to make of these ‘left wing conspiracy / media narrative / fascist lefts lies’ type posts though – I live in Toronto, and therefore know more people on the left of the spectrum than the right, and it is, in my opinion, very difficult to get agreement on the left. Conservatives, again in my opinion, seem more consistent in their views as a whole.

    I genuinely think this is a problem with left wing discourse overall – it can focus on relatively minor issues at the expense of the bigger picture. No way is their enough unanimity for some sort of misinformation campaign.

    • codadmin says

      So, what leftist media outlets pushed back against the hysterical lies about racist police brutality?

      • Jerjapan says

        codadmin, ‘hysterical lies’ is hyperbolic, no? I feel like my posts in this thread have been thoughtful and nuanced, so why should I bother to provide evidence to someone who can’t even be bothered to acknowledge what I’ve written?

        Honestly, I fear the moment a few posters here perceive someone as an ‘SJW’ all nuance goes out the window.

        • codadmin says


          No, it’s not a hyperbolic statement.

          It was a full blown hysteria a few years ago. And it was lying hysteria the evidence was always there that the narrative was bullshit.

          You said, there’s no consensus amongst leftists in media, so I asked you to give me evidence of one leftist media outlet that pushed back? One will do.

          • Jerjapan says

            codadmin, took me less than a minute, going by memory, to come up with this Toronto Star article (I live in the city, so Canadian news is most familiar). The Star would be our most prominent newspaper Canada-wide with a ‘left-leaning’ editorial base. Rosie Dimanno is not my favourite reporter, but she is popular, sometimes front-page popular, and has expressed similar dissenting views before.

            ‘lying hysteria’ is, once again, hyperbole. Also, I did not say there is no consensus in leftist media – just that there is not enough consensus for some sort of overarching conspiracy.


          • codadmin says

            No, once again, ‘lying hysteria’ is a factual statement because it was hysteria and it was lies.

            Your denials are hyperbolic. Calling a mass media hysteria ‘not hyperbolic’, is hyperbolic is it’s absurdity.

            After you used Google, you’ve give me the most obscure op-ed piece imaginable.

            During the height of the lying hysteria, even Iran’s Khamenei was using it to pint fingers at America.

            You’re clueless. These are consistent lies, that all have one thing in common. Pathological hatred of America.

          • Jerjapan says

            Codamin, I seem to not quite the reply format here, but to your last response, the Toronto Star is not obscure by any means, and as I already stated, DiManno is widely read.

            So I met your request and provided an example, perhaps you could demonstrate your evidence for this ‘mass media hysteria’?

            And I quite like the United States, and most of the many Americans that I now, including my extended family.

    • @Jerjapan,
      Growing up in rural Idaho, and living in rural Montana now (as well as 10 years in the Army and also living in Alaska), I would say conservatives are not very monolithic either. We run the gambit from social conservatives, to libertarian-ish, to strict Constitutionalist, to individualist, to die-hard free marketers, so nationalist (I don’t consider nationalism necessarily an evil thing) to some forms of theological authoritarians to traditional social authoritarians. There tends to be overlap and often one is a mixture of all to a greater or lesser degree. I tend to be libertarian, and strict-Constitutionalist, I prefer social conservative ideals, but am to pragmatic to want the goverernment to have enough power to enforce my views on others. I do tend to see the media generally as opposed to conservative thoughts and beliefs, especially I dislike the media’s portrayal of rural Americans as backwards and uneducated. I tend to also believe at least some of this dehumanises rural and conservative people (though they aren’t necessarily the same). This is in part because I’ve seen it first hand. The misreporting on gun related issues and the overrepresentation of undesirable elements are a couple examples that come to mind. I remember when I was a kid the Aryan Nation’s had a small compound in Kootenai County, the neighboring county to my own. There were only 25 people ever on the compound (the county had a population of around 100,000 people including the southern portion being on the reservation). Every year these yahoos threw a parade (the courts ordered Coeur d’Alene to give them a parade certificate). About 200, mostly out of staters, would show up for their parade. The locals came out to protest it. The national media always turned out and taped the crowds without the caveats that the locals were protesting the parade and most the parade participants were from out of state. I still run into people my age who the first thing they ask me is “so your from where all those skinheads live right?” I have even been accused of having no experience with minorities and therefore being ignorant and once of being sympathetic to the Aryan Nation’s. Another example is I attended the first TEA party rally in Anchorage. The Anchorage Daily News (owned by the same parent company as the NYT) ran a story in which the emphasized the whiteness of the crowd and focused on one individuals placard on the front page that had a somewhat controversial statement on it. My experience was completely different, I was standing next to an Alaskan Native family and an Asian family. The biggest hit, the one who everyone was wanting to shake hands with, was the African-American protestor dressed as Uncle Sam. The crowd was quite diverse and there was many different views being offered and supported, but the overall theme was people were tired of government interference in their lives. They were fed up with ineffective and corrupt government. They felt their liberties were being sacrificed and taken away by the government. This may be some forms of personal bias, as I have personal experience with these things (I won’t get into how Hollywood misrepresents soldiers).

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Jeffrey C

        I love you posts, mate. But can you please use paragraph breaks, because seeing all that text together, makes my head hurt…

        • My apologies. I won’t try and pretend that grammar is my strong suit. In my professional work I edit multiple times and have others edit it as well. I do tend to mesh paragraphs together, and knowing exactly when to end a paragraph is a weakness of mine.

          Additionally, I often not solely fixated on my posts, and rarely re-read them or edit before posting. Finally, I find posting using my phone, my most common method, increases my mistakes and poor grammar.
          An additional problem is I can rarely type as fast as my mind is forming ideas, and I will sometimes draw a blank as to what I meant to type halfway through a sentence because I am already thinking three sentences ahead or three points ahead (three is just an example). This could be in part due to being on the Autism spectrum or it could be because I rarely found English/grammar interesting (except for diagraming sentences) and much preferred history, math and science. So, I am admittedly lazy when it comes to my writing.

          • dirk says

            That sounds very much like Kerouac, author of On the Road, the difference between writing and typing,so, a late hereditary, nice!

      • Jerjapan says

        Jeffrey C, another great post. I’m also from a conservative / rural town, and I share your distaste for the way these people are too often viewed in the media and by leftists in general. My post was not intended to suggest that all conservatives are the same in their thinking, and the grassroots examples you provide are the clearest evidence of that. At a party level, I think my initial point is most clearly illustrated – Republicans are more publicly united and on-message than Dems to my eye, and this holds true for Canada, most noticeably in my home province of Ontario where the ruling Conservative party have actually lost young, newly-elected conservatives for daring to break from party talking points.

        A lot of the academic left have, again to my eye, lost the ability to engage the rural / conservative demographic in a meaningful way by succumbing to overuse of ‘academese’, even on issues in which they may have some ideological common ground. I have an academic background myself, and I see some value in some of the rhetoric, but many truly do live in an ‘ivory tower’ environment and have lost the ability to communicate with people that, in theory, they are advocating for.

        You mention the dehumanising of rural and conservative people, and I think it’s worth noting that the ‘woke’ left, which ultimately I guess I am a part of, don’t seem to have a problem with terms like ‘wife-beater’ for a tank top, or sometimes even ‘redneck’, or ‘white trash’ for rural / poor whites. I do believe in using respectful language, and think these exceptions are hypocritical of some lefties.

        I also find major fault with how some leftists characterize religious peoples as naive, or religion as a problem overall. I am not religious myself, and am aware of many of the failings of religious institutions (residential schools here in Canada are an obvious example) but I know too many wonderful people who derive moral strength and resilience from their faith, and the majority of these people are rural / conservative.

        I do still disagree that the media have an obvious leftist bias, but I do think much of the polarization of people has to do with the 24 hour, clickbait reality of news in general, with social media like FB, and with outright false / unsubstantiated news being propagated by parties with worrisome ulterior motives.

        I found the discussions throughout this thread on public views of police vs. soldiers, and the restraint shown by military personnel in highly tense situations of conflict really interesting, and I’d guess that I might share some of your concerns there.

        • It may not be bias, at least consciously. It rather is that the media is increasingly centralized and isolated. Additionally, they often seem to have shared values and a view of themselves as crusaders. They suffer from laziness and group think, largely. They also believe they are being objective and to often are reporting on stuff they know nothing about. I see this often in science reporting and agricultural reporting (especially animal agriculture) as an Animal Scientist and ag professor (when I left nursing I used my GI bill to go back to school and study animal science) I often find that the premise of their stories often are mistaken at best or based upon decades old understanding of the industry.
          While this isn’t conscious bias, it does appear like it to many.

  33. S. Cheung says

    Caveat that I haven’t read Johnson’s source article on FOIS (since it’s behind a paywall), and only have the abstract to go by, as well as Jilani’s narrative here. I also looked at the WaPo link, as well as its methodology. It appears their stats are not based on police reports per se, so there will be some fuzziness wrt the precision of their numbers.

    By Johnson’s metric, which appears to equate “police racism” in the realm of FOIS to mean cross-racial killing, he appears to sustain his hypothesis that no such racism exists. However, a statement like ““as the percentage of black officers who shot in a FOIS increased, a person fatally shot was more likely to be black…than white.” would need some clarification, since the relative change in percentage of black officers involved vs that of black shooting victims could still span the gamut of no white-officer-on-black racism, all the way to significant levels of such racism in existence (eg. black officer ratio went from 10 to 20 percent, and black victim ratio went from 10 to 20 percent, vs going from 10 to 50 percent).

    Further, the implication that there may be same-race “racism” is seemingly dismissed by saying it merely reflects the composition of the local population. Which may be true….if for instance in county X, 10% of population is hispanic, 10% of police are hispanic, and 10% of FOIS victims are Hispanic. However, it would really depend if that data can sustain such an assumption, in order that it may justify the author’s assertion.

    All that said, I am not one to believe that there is systemic racism in police of a widespread nature. For starters, it would behoove someone making such an assertion to sustain it, and i am not aware of any such data. But I think the issue is bad apples…and particularly the slap-on-wrist lack of commensurate consequences befalling such bad apples.

    Which loops back to the limitation of the FOIS dataset to begin with. Racial correlation for all shooting deaths is of limited value. But unjustified shootings which might suggest something more nefarious going on, that’s a different ball of wax. I don’t think a black man being shot and killed during a bank robbery by police of any color would evoke much consternation about police behavior. An unarmed black guy walking down the street should be a far different matter.

    All of which leads to the WaPo data, and the 2019 stat of 20 unarmed victims of FOIS. Its a small N, and as with all small sample sizes, generalizability will be severely limited. Perhaps a look at multi-year numbers in this category may be more robust. But rather than raising questions and/or doubts about the value of racial integration in our police forces, I think the issue and the focus should be on the arguably unjustified examples of FOIS, as well as on how such instances are investigated, prosecuted, and adjudicated.

    • S. Cheung,

      Very well said. I would state I think the idea of racial diversity as some form of cure-all is not warranted. I also would disagree with the idea of diversity for diversities sake, if this means a lowering of standards for certain classes (not saying this is or isn’t the case, though the NY Fire Department and some urban police forces have been accused of doing exactly this). The problem I think is that the hyperbole has made it more difficult to address the problems that do exist because it has become a partisan issue. And binary thinking has set in. You either are for the cops or you view the cops as some malovalent force. This is also the case with immigration. The media, and I deplore both sideism generally speaking, but both sides, largely plays into this hardening of positions. The media, especially American Hollywood and many news rooms, suffer from group think. I don’t see the situation improving, unfortunately.

      • S. Cheung says

        agreed. It’s again equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome, where “diversity for diversity’s sake” is the latter. I share your disdain for that.

        I would only say that equality of opportunity to me means more than simply that “all whites, blacks, and Hispanics can apply”. It has to acknowledge the myriad upstream socioeconomic factors that culminate in producing a qualified applicant of any race.

        And yeah, the binary, false-dichotomy, 2-sided tribalism prevalent with media today is eye-roll inducing.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Jeffrey C

        Great comment and I totally agree with S. Cheung. Any more nuanced look at policing techniques shows that there are many different version of ‘broken windows’ or pro-active policing out there, but in a binary sense, most are either for it or against it. But the far smarter move would be to concede that even if you dislike it, it is very much the lesser of two evils, given the massive violent crime spikes that occur in it’s absence, and instead focus on what particular version you want to run in your community.

        Over time, if you had 50 states running 50 different experiments of how to run pro-active policing, with an eye towards building trust with communities, you could come up with a brand of pro-active policing that is far more optimal than anything in existence today. But like many matters of policy today, the choices are binary and polarised. Oftentimes politicians will switch their position on a particular issue, simply to oppose the opposition. A case in point being the Democratic Party’s massive swing on immigration.

  34. Sarah says

    ‘The majority of African-Americans never commit any violent crime whatsoever, and homicides in the United States are highly concentrated among a few communities with high poverty, high levels of segregation, and inadequate policing (all of which are, of course, indirectly or even directly related to the country’s history of racism).’

    These are some serious assumptions. Some other ideas are population density, or ghettos created by well meaning liberals (projects). Urbanization. Cultural isolation. Low expectations. Broken families. All possible explanations of high crime rates in certain areas other than race itself.. and I don’t think the author is talking about segregated white areas either.

    I also find it somewhat racist to assume African American communities need integration with other races to lower crime rates. Does he assume this about any other community? Do we need to import Appalachia’s white communities with blacks to improve crime?

    ‘Of course’ lip service is expected to past racism to relieve the burden of blame the modern liberal is all to happy to shrug off – despite uninterrupted or almost uninterrupted political control of the most violent urban centers for 60 or more years.

    Every time the author says ‘of course’ I roll my eyes at the lip service. It’s as if he’s thrown his hands up and says ‘don’t shoot, I’m one of the good ones.’

  35. Peter from Oz says

    The sad thing is that the BLM movement leads to more black deaths. But at least those deaths aren’t at the hands of the police, but other black criminals. Obviously it is far better that racism is erradicated than the streets are made safe.
    Of course, the leftoids will find some reason to show that the increase in crime is really the fault of white people.
    And so the wheel goes round.

    • @Oz,

      It is interesting to me (not surprising but interesting) that the worst race riots in the 60s and 70s were in Northern and western urban areas without a history of codified segregation or even a strong history of slavery (when it was still legal). I am just finishing Charles Mann’s book 1493. It is extremely interesting and his take on slavery is very eye opening. I was afraid when I first started reading 1491 it was going to be another blame Europe for all the evils and the Americas were a garden of Eden before Columbus. Instead I couldn’t put it down. While I didn’t agree with all his hypothesis, it certainly seemed very balanced and non-judgemental as has 1493. I highly recommend them to anyone who is open to a critical examination of many of our most commonly held beliefs about history of the Americas pre and post Columbus. Another book I recently read was Ambrose’s book on Custer and Crazy Horse. It gives a much deeper examination of these two then the usual cookie cutter one you usually get. One of our biggest hurdles is a misunderstanding of history. A need to judge past events by modern morals and to want to take sides, to assign good and evil.
      I also read a biography of Patrick Henry, and it is amazing how much they struggled with the morality of slavery and how many slave owners even wanted to end it but couldn’t agree as to how to do so. They had hoped that the ban on importation of slaves would allow slavery to die out on its own. And this likely would have happened if the cotton gin hadn’t been invented. One of Mann’s most interesting hypothesis is how the introduction of malaria and yellow fever contributed to the rise of slavery above indentured servitude in the southern colonies (and South America, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico). He makes a very convincing case. He even admits this is not the whole story. Also, he makes a good case for the concept of race was different back then. That racism wasn’t as much a factor as we consider it, because race wasn’t viewed the same way.

  36. Filipa says

    Setting aside the religious babbling, I agree up to a point. In Brazil, where the police kills as much the US police (and, of course, the victims are mostly non-white), the context is always of extreme violence. So, yes, I agree violence might lead to violent policing, which, in turn, leads to more violence from the population, etc.

    But the fact is the US police seems not to kill armed white people so much as it kills armed and unarmed black people.

    That’s what spiked BLM and you know that.

    Somehow, in most developed countries, though there are criminals everywhere, the police doesn’t act as if it’s in the Wild West. Nor it behaves hysterically every time it sees a toy gun.

    • Except the stats show that more whites are killed by police then blacks. When you adjust for rates of violent crime and population, whites and blacks are killed at nearly the same rate. The buzzfeed article simplifies all of the shootings and doesn’t compare the number of unarmed whites who were killed during the same time period. It is a biased, onesided narrative that is inaccurate as a result of its bias. Michael Brown was killed while assaulting the cop. Tamir Rice was carrying (and pointing at people) a very realistic looking air soft gun, he also pulled it out of his pants in a threatening manner, as recorded by the dashcam. Eric Garner’s case was a tragedy and the cops should have been charged. In several of the other stories the shootings occurred after the victims engaged in an altercation with the police officer. In one case, the police told the suspect to stay in the vehicle but instead he exited, after being told to stay in the vehicle multiple times. He then proceeded towards the officers with his hands extended in front of him (a classic shooting stance when using pistols). It was dark and the officers had stated, before he exited, that they saw a gun in the glove box. He then exited the vehicle with his hands extended in front of him. In at least three of the cases the police were charged (and some subsequently have been convicted) of either murder or manslaughter. At about the same time as the Michael Brown shooting, a white kid in Salt Lake City was shot by a black cop. The kid was handcuffed at the time. This didn’t make the national news. Your post contains a number of inaccuracy. The first being your assumption that police kill less armed whites then armed and unarmed blacks. This simply isn’t true. Whites killed by police account for over half of all police involved shootings. Blacks account for only 43% (the author gave these numbers and links to where he got them). Blacks also account for about 50% of violent crime in the US but are only 13% of the population. We can argue as to why this disparity, but the author addresses that when adjusted for police encounters, blacks are not shot more often then whites. And even looking at just gross numbers this isn’t even the case.

    • Gringo says

      But the fact is the US police seems not to kill armed white people so much as it kills armed and unarmed black people.
      That is NOT what the facts say. Commenter codadmin provided us with a link from The Guardian (The Counted: People killed by police in the US.). I accessed the link, and made a comment which points out, according to The Counteddatabase from The Guardian, police in the U.S. killed 266 blacks and 574 whites in 2016.

      You might try reading the comments before making a poorly-informed comment of your own.

    • Gringo says

      <b/ockquote>In Brazil, where the police kills as much the US police .
      As much as the U.S. police? No, Brazilian police kill a LOT MORE than U.S. police.

      Most of the articles I have seen deal with only Rio de Janeiro state. HuffPo provides us with some country-wide data. Brazilian Cops Are Killing More People Than Ever. Somebody Tell Madonna.

      Brazil suffered 61,600 homicides in 2016,….
      Brazilian police killed 4,224 people in 2016, 26 percent more than in 2015, according to the 11th Annual Brazilian Yearbook of Public Security. By comparison, there were roughly 17,000 homicides in the United States in 2016. Police shot and killed at least 963 people, according to The Washington Post’s database on police shootings. The U.S. population outnumbers the Brazilian population by about 110 million people.

      More than one-fifth of Brazil’s 2016 police killings occurred in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the Summer Olympics last year. Police in the state killed 925 people,,

      With population of 323 vs.208 million in 2016, Brazilian police kill at 7 times the per capita rate of US police.

      So, yes, I agree violence might lead to violent policing, which, in turn, leads to more violence from the population, etc.

      I would also agree ,given the differences in murder rates and police killings in the two countries. I recently read somewhere, maybe here, that police killings in NYC have gone down drastically in the last 30 years or so- paralleling the drop in the NYC murder rate.

      Speaking of Brazilian police killings, there was a commenter in The Guardian who,in defense of Chavismo, claimed that Brazilian police killed more people than Venezuelan police. When adjusted to per capita kills, Venezuelan police killed a lot more.

      Note that the WaPo and The Guardian have different data for police killings.

  37. This is some very clear-headed analysis, Zaid. Definitely agree with some of the other commenters that cops far too often get away with killing people in cold blood and need more accountability. But otherwise your article puts worth a really important point – that the hyper focus on race and racism as an explanation for police-involved killings is not productive and foments unnecessary tension and animus. The mainstream media has definitely latched on to this narrative and contributes to its perpetuation. But quiet as its kept left wing writers like Adolph Reed are also questioning the dominant narrative:

  38. Just take the guns away from the cops’ standard loadout and put the guns back in the armoury where they used to be, back in the earlier days of policing. If a cop wants a gun, he has to get special permission from the chief inspector to have the armoury unlocked, everything is tracked with extensive paperwork, etc. If you need lots of guns for whenever those rare, Hollywood-inspired heists occur, there’s always the ETF/SWAT. They’ll get the job done when the going gets rough.

    Doing this might force the police to actually de-escalate properly and effectively, rather than pointing a loaded gun in people’s faces and shouting GET THE FUCK DOWN GET THE FUCK DOWN GET THE FUCK DOWN like a goddamn asshole. “Hey look, he complied! I just de-escalated the situation!” Uh, no, you didn’t, but hey, you survived… somehow. As an aside, does anyone else find it amusingly ironic how profanity-laden cops can be in their speech while they’re “de-escalating”?

    Cops have more tools on their utility belts than The Batman. Draw your taser, your flashlight, your extendo-baton or use your bare hands considering you’ve been given martial arts training. Cops are supposed to be above criminals, it doesn’t make sense that they need to carry an “equalizer” with them everywhere they go that brings them down to the same level as common thugs. I’m so sick of seeing cops just casually standing around with one hand leaning on their gun, even at festivals where kids are around.

    I’m certain that a lot of otherwise reasonable people shoot police because they’re afraid the cops will shoot them first, especially with what’s been emphasized on the news lately. Even if it is sensationalized (which I’m not fully convinced it is,) if you find yourself in a situation where an shouty, power-tripping cop is intimidating you, you just might react instinctively in order to save your life, even if you have to answer for what you’ve done in court later on, especially if you know that the cop isn’t going to get in any serious trouble if he kills you. All they have to do is invent a narrative that sounds half-plausible, develop a case of selective amnesia to cover for the lies and inconsistencies, and they walk free. Happens nearly every time.

    Yes, more cops will be shot by people who can’t be reasoned with if we take their guns away. Well, there’s a reason why we give them body armour and combat training, pay them lots of money to create an incentive for facing danger, and make their families rich whenever they die in the line of duty. In other words, if you’re a cop, death is part of the job. Don’t like it, don’t be a cop! There’s other, safer jobs out there! Sorry if being a cop is the best paying job you can get with only a high school diploma, maybe you should have studied harder.

    Did you know that in most places it’s illegal for civilians to own body armour? What the hell is the point of that, other than to make it easier for cops to kill us? I don’t like guns, but if I’m going to ever buy illegal “combat gear” and carry it concealed everywhere I go, a flak jacket sounds pretty nice right about now.

    • Another point I wanted to make is that perhaps less people would shoot police if prisons weren’t such hotbeds of abuse, torture and rape.

      Prison is never a nice place to go, even in the most reformed of countries such as Norway, because it severely restricts your freedom and your connection with the outside world. Social isolation is heavier than one would think, and even a hermit will feel the desire to connect with another person given enough time and isolation. However, it is the excessively cruel conditions of prison that are, I believe, what most people are afraid of when they’re facing jail time. It’s not the bars that you’re behind that are the worst, it’s the guy behind you making you bite the pillow that will form your most vivid memories of your time there.

      Imagine you have committed a crime. Not a huge massacre or anything, but a crime nonetheless, one that would land you in jail for a couple of years. Now, imagine a cop has arrived at your doorstep to arrest you for the crime you’ve committed.

      Situation A: You’ll be arrested and put in a cell where you’ll be unable to leave the facility for two years.

      Situation B: You’ll be arrested and put in a cell where you’ll be beaten, robbed and raped repeatedly in a facility you can’t leave for two years.

      Between situations A and B, which would you feel more compelled and perhaps even a little morally justified in shooting your way out of?

      • Morgan Foster says


        There is no moral justification for shooting and killing a police officer simply because you don’t want to go to prison for a serious felony-level crime that you have committed.

        And as a practical matter, you are certain to increase your experience of anal rape from your suggested 2 years to 40, so there’s a good reason not to shoot the police officer.

    • Lightning Rose says

      One thing I NEVER hear entering into these conversations is the fact that all participants in a police interaction (even a traffic stop) are likely to be adrenalized, meaning their sympathetic nervous system enabling fight, flight or freeze is fully activated hormonally. The first thing to go is your fine motor control, which is why cops sometimes are found to have squeezed off 7 shots when they thought it was 2. It’s often impossible even to speed-dial a cell phone. Suspects are likely to bolt or freeze irrationally instead of following the cop’s orders, not because they are necessarily intending that reaction, but because often pure visceral panic has taken over. They may literally not be capable at that moment of understanding a command like “Drop It!”

      A number of years ago Lt. Col. David Grossman wrote an excellent book, “ON COMBAT,” intended for cops, military, and civilians who think they’re equal to the responsibility of carrying deadly force. It’s a real eye-opener. I’d recommend EVERYONE read that book. It goes into great depth about the strange psychological landscape of life-and-death contest. Humans often act completely irrationally in emergency situations of any kind–car wrecks, fires, robberies, riots. Cops especially MUST understand this, and have trained in realistic live-fire simulations to learn to function in spite of the adrenaline rush. Civilians MUST understand that the cop is probably more adrenalized than you are–because he has NO IDEA what you’re about to pull, literally.

      Hindsight as in departmental trials, etc. is always 20/20, but the truth is that NO individual can EVER know how they’d respond in these situations, until they’ve been there. That reaction may be so unexpected you don’t even realize it’s happened until it’s all over. Unless you are a firefighter or EMT, or one who’s experienced military combat, IMO you have ZERO right to sit in Monday-morning QB judgment over police actions taken when gripped by the dark side of the human brain stem. You’re not thinking “racist!” then. Just about staying ALIVE. This needs to be made far more common knowledge.

  39. Richard Aubrey says

    Saw some body cam of a black guy, hands up, shirtless, cops telling him to stand still. Then he shot his right hand down toward his waist. The cops shot him. You have to wonder.
    When I first heard of Tamir Rice, I wondered if somebody had set the poor kid up. The toy he had was indistinguishable from the iconic 1911 Colt 45 which had been the US military side arm for seventy-five years. Federal law requires a distinguishing orange tip. Some helpful person had taken it off. Nobody told him not to go to a park and waive what looks like a serious pistol around as if you’re a crazed shooter.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Richard Aubrey

      Regarding those replica handguns, I consider these to be armed, not unarmed, confrontations.

      • Richard Aubrey says

        You do. “BUT IT WAS A TOY!” , is what the activists say.

  40. asdf says

    One thing I don’t like about these articles is the assumption that racism is systematic. That it’s responsible for poverty and ghettos. Etc. So yeah maybe its not the fault of these particular officers, but its still white peoples fault, so pay up!

    Black crime, income, etc is exactly in line with what you would expect from black IQ. Particular areas of certain cities are worse partly because of density, but mostly because they concentrate the below average of an already below average group into a small area. There is nothing abnormal going on here, it’s basic math.

    Since there is no evidence racism causes any of this, I would like people to stop mentioning it in articles like this. Black crime and poverty is likely to be with us forever. We just need to accept this and stop blaming people.

    You know what it would take to clean up the ghettos, and there is no way you’re willing to pay that price.

  41. Gandolff says

    Traditionally, cops have had the benefit of the doubt, mostly by virtue of the recognition of the dangerous nature of what they do, as well as what they have to deal with in doing it. And though there is a small minority of bad cops out there, just as there’s a minority of bad anything in any profession, I think that, for political reasons, these numbers have been greatly exaggerated.

    Also, often times cops will make mistakes based on learned presuppositions – and this is a mitigating factor. For, when you have a relatively small segment of the population committing a relatively huge number of crimes, it is expected that cops (hell, anyone) will sometimes “jump the gun”, not because they “hate” blacks (many cops who’ve jumped the gun have been black themselves!), but because they expect, in some cases, something much worse than what might have otherwise transpired. This is simply human nature ; just ask Jesse Jackson, who, when asked what he feared more – being followed by a white person or a black person in a dark ally – he stated the latter.

    I think it’s best we get off this false, media-driven narrative of cops – more generally, white people – being “racist”. It’s false and serves no non-Marxist purpose whatsoever.

  42. Malcolm says

    Great article, and great comments.

    A similar study, conducted by a black professor at Harvard, found similar conclusions:

    The importance of the topic, disproportionate black crime rates, cannot be overstated – nor its intractability. It may, in fact, be the primary driver of Trump’s election and the sharply widening political divide. On one side are those who believe white / racist society is the root cause of black economic failure and high crime, and those on the other who believe that the black community must accept responsibility for its behavior. One’s political affiliation can be predicted neatly by one’s reaction to the events in Ferguson MO etc.

    The destructiveness of the false “racism” narrative (shamelessly amplified by the news media and liberal politicians) also cannot be overstated. In addition to growing political divisiveness, we are forced to continue to rely on expensive and ineffective policies, while the body count increases. Our police force, among the best in the world, are becoming demoralized and undermanned. As we are forced to accept weaker officer candidates, the incidence of poor policing, corruption and FOIS increases. This creates a vicious cycle of weak/corrupt law enforcement and increasing violent crime. Welcome to Chicago.

  43. Paolo says

    Great article – and I swear I read the whole of it – but wrong title. There has been no ‘epidemic’ of violence in the last years! Please Quillette, don’t fall prey to this check clickbaiting sensationalism in titles.

  44. JC Young says

    I would be curious to know what the make up is for officers of color working in predominantly hispanic or black neighborhoods vs white officers in those studies.

    Stats can be affected if more officers of color work those neighborhoods and that could simply be a matter of chance or the decision to use officers of color more in the those neighborhoods to stem criticism etc.

  45. Jack B. Nimble writes:
    “it bothers me a lot that on Quillette academics in higher ed are routinely smeared as communist, Marxist, evil scum, etc. with little push back from other commenters”

    Many of the liberal-left’s critics are just as prone to being clobbered by cognitive biases, in-group virtue signalling, ideological groupthink and “making shit up” as the people they are criticizing. The political left and the political right both encompass a wide spectrum of thought, only a sliver of which gets regularly exposed to mainstream media attention. So anyone who frames their ideological adversaries as simply “the left” or “the right” is probably going to be a lazy thinker. Ditto if they label their political opposites “cultural Marxist scum” or “fascist white supremacists”.

    But the the most glaring “tell” that someone prioritizes ideology or tribal considerations over facts and the quest for truth is an inability on their part to critique their preferred side. For example, denying that massive income inequality and reorganizing all aspects of western society to run on market logic, i.e. neoliberalism, might play a roll in liberal democracy’s current crisis of legitimacy and the rise of extremist factions on the left and on the right. The Quillette/Areo “world view” often seems like a defense of the status quo in which all problems begin and end with SJWism.

    There are a lot of ideological fault lines splintering the west at the moment and curious manifestations like a mainstream liberal-left (e.g. the Guardian newspaper, the Democratic Party) that embraces “far-right” Thatcherite capitalism and “right-wing” pro-war imperialism with factions on the right, e.g. candidate Trump, The American Conservative magazine, taking a stance that was not so long ago deeply associated with the political left. This phenomenon, and the many other weird ideological hybrids that are popping up across the political landscape, do not seem to interest many commentators here, if they even notice them at all.

    All of which makes this place kinda boring and predictable…reading the headline pretty much tells you exactly what an article is going to say. Sure, much of the criticism is valid but the same core points are repeated over and over and over again. It seems to suggest a lack of curiosity on the part of the regulars and an overestimation of their own importance.

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