War on Cops ends not with a bang, but with a whimper

The last two years we’ve been subjected to all kinds of gnashing and wailing about the “War on Cops™” that was taking the lives of our peace officers. We were led to believe that the increase in “right wing extremism” was leading to the deaths of police in blazing gun battles with the brown shirted militia members even though it was pretty clear that the people who shoot cops are almost universally prior criminals, not Tea Partiers.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted
Year Felonious Accidental Assaulted
1996 55 45 46,695
1997 65 60 49,151
1998 64 78 59,545
1999 42 65 55,026
2000 51 84 56,054
*2001 70 78 56,666
2002 56 77 58,066
2003 52 80 57,841
2004 57 82 59,373
2005 55 67 57,546
2006 48 66 58,634
2007 57 83 59,201
2008 41 68 58,792
2009 48 47 57,268
2010 56 72 53,469
Average 54 70 56,222
Median 55 72 57,546

Radley Balko, who sometimes goes a bit off the rails but is generally a voice of reason and sanity on most issues, asks us why we aren’t hearing all about this “War on Cops™” anymore.
The Media and the gun hating Left (but I repeat myself) went absolutely nuts in the first couple of months of last year because of a short run of multiple cop shootings which skewed the numbers. But the larger thing that they missed was the fact that cop murders by firearm were only up in the last two years by comparison to three years ago which was a historically low year. If you spend a month eating one meal a day and then the next month you get three meals a day, no one screams that obesity is around the corner because you’re now eating THREE TIMES AS MUCH!!!
So why aren’t we hearing about this ending of the “War on Cops™?”  Probably because it doesn’t fit anyone’s agenda. The Media and the anti-gun Left (repeating, I know) can’t use that to ban guns and attempt to drive a wedge between the police and us. The police can’t use it to insist on getting more expensive and powerful equipment. And the politicians can’t use it to pander to whichever group they feel like pandering to that day.
We, as gun owners, don’t really notice it. We aren’t the ones out murdering cops. Anyone who is honest would be able to tell that within minutes of looking at the data. That just means that anyone who is saying something else is lying.


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5 responses to “War on Cops ends not with a bang, but with a whimper

  1. Are cops killed or wounded while serving “no-knock” warrants counted in this study? I don’t consider those Felonious or Accidental.

  2. Maybe the really smart dudes like Joe Huffman or Linogge can weigh in here:

    Any measurement you make will have some degree of uncertainty. When measuring rates, a common rule of thumb is that the uncertainty is the square root of the rate. I believe this is only valid for random phenomena like radioactive decay. As an example, then, suppose you measure a radioactive sample that has 100 decays per minute. Is it 101 or 99? If someone else measures 105 in a minute, who is right? Well, all of them are right in the sense that the initial count rate is 100 +/- 10 (the square root of 100) and the 105 would be 105 +/- 10.2 (ignoring the fact that uncertainties are typically reported to 1 sig fig)

    Looking at the numbers above, and assuming that this technique is applicable here (as I believe it is-there is probably sufficient randomness in when cops get killed for this to work), then almost all of the reported numbers fall withing +/- 1 square root of the average. There is no statistically significant difference with the exception of a few outliers (high and low-41 and 70 specifically)

  3. it doesn’t look that way. Check out http://www.ODMP.com for a narrative of each death.

  4. What you are saying is basically a fancy way of describing the changes from year to year as “statistical noise.” Traffic accident rates, police shootings, and left wing politicians speaking the truth are all so rare as a percentage of the exposure that ups and downs from year to year might show large differences, but signify nothing other than sheer randomness. As a percentage of total miles driven, number of police man hours worked, and cubic feet of hot air bloviated, all three are tiny percentages.

  5. Precisely. I’d also wager that if you dumped the numbers into excel and did a least squares fit you’ll probably find that the best fit line is fairly flat showing no trend of increasing or decreasing.

    As an aside, I play this game when watching football. At the end of the 1st quarter, take each teams score and the uncertainty, and multiply by 4-theeir final score almost always falls into that range.