[Insert intro about Alton Sterling]
All anybody needs to know about the latest police violence controversy is here in Breitbart’s succinct report on the Washington Post investigation into the matter.
In an entire year, less than 40 unarmed Black men were gunned down by police, in spite of the facts that
- This happened in roughly similar numbers to all races, with over 50 unarmed Whites, Asians, and Hispanics killed by the police,
- Blacks are more likely to commit violent crime in general,
- Partially thanks to point #2, Blacks are arrested more often, and
- Blacks are more likely to resist arrest. (2, 3)
Given the probable hundreds of incidences per year wherein a police officer thinks that a suspect may be armed, and isn’t sure whether to shoot, I really don’t think that we can call the officers trigger happy. Most of those 40 were probably cases where an officer wasn’t sure what to do and acted impulsively under a fight or flight response. In many of them, a suspect would be resisting arrest, and in others the suspect would be mentally troubled and difficult to talk down.
Let’s assume, for the sake of generosity, that 10 of those were extremely racist secret KKK members with a fetish for watching Black people die- that of all the hundreds of thousands of police officers in the U.S., a few dozen of them are as extremely, irrationally racist and violent as the media would have you believe most of them are, and that they murder 10 Blacks per year. Let’s assume that maybe 7 of the killers each year are White. Even in that case, most to all of them would be prosecuted for their crimes, and therefore the system as a whole (American law enforcement) is still not broken, and is not engaged in a bizarre conspiracy to protect officers when they murder random ghetto wastrels.
If the police shot way more Blacks than crime rates would predict, or if most of them were unarmed, or if they shot ten times more Blacks than anybody else, it’d raise legitimate concerns. In 2010, police arrested nearly 3,700,000 Blacks. Assuming that the 3.6 million plus figure (total Black arrests) is similar to the total for other years and assuming the same for the 40 minus figure (unarmed Black deaths), 0.001% or less of all Blacks who are arrested end up being killed even though unarmed, with even less of those being intentional murder. People literally believe that a Black can simply walk down the street and be murdered by a White officer even though the odds of that happening are less than 1 in 100,000 even after the Black has become a crime suspect.
In other words, Blacks have about as much to fear from toasters or lightning. They should be more concerned with drinking deaths, heart attacks, or car accidents, you know, shit that makes people die.
Why do people fall for this? Because they don’t care about numbers, they care about stories. Narratives. Their brains are built to understand things in terms of “so and so did such and such,” not “observed across the entire population, the odds of x unfortunate event happening to a given person are extremely low, and we can therefore conclude that there are bigger problems to solve.” I encourage all of you to pursue the latter method of thinking.