Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easier.

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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby crayzz » Fri May 01, 2015 11:11 pm

Ok, what WOULD be a reasonable proportional rate then?


Did... did you forget what you wrote?

"Police-shootings tend to make the news a lot, and losing someone is a personal tragedy, but in a country where on an average day 2,500 people will die of one cause or another, death-by-cop doesn't even register as a blip on the radar. For a murder-oriented-profession, the majority of cops spend an awful lot of time not shooting people."

Except that is abjectly false. The police commit homicide at a rate of 20 times more than the US homicide rate, which itself is really high compared to other developed nations (3 times greater than Canada's, for instance).

Now if you'd like to defend said homicides another way, then by all means.
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby Deepbluediver » Sat May 02, 2015 2:49 am

crayzz wrote:
Ok, what WOULD be a reasonable proportional rate then?

Did... did you forget what you wrote?
"Police-shootings tend to make the news a lot, and losing someone is a personal tragedy, but in a country where on an average day 2,500 people will die of one cause or another, death-by-cop doesn't even register as a blip on the radar. For a murder-oriented-profession, the majority of cops spend an awful lot of time not shooting people."
Except that is abjectly false. The police commit homicide at a rate of 20 times more than the US homicide rate, which itself is really high compared to other developed nations (3 times greater than Canada's, for instance).
Now if you'd like to defend said homicides another way, then by all means.

It's not false. The definition of "majority" is a number greater than half. When a city like new York, with ~35,000 cops, kills only 9 people a year, the odds are the MOST cops will go their entire career (20-40 years I assume) and never kill anyone. In fact, even if we assume that most cops have long 40-year careers, I need to multiply that by the number of firearms incidents in the highest years (992 and 880) to get close to the total number of cops. If we use more recent numbers, around 100 per year, then the majority (meaning more than half) of new cops will probably go their entire careers without ever firing their gun at a person.
So by the literal definition of the words, what I said is perfectly true.

Yes, cops shoot people at a far higher rate than civilians. However even if every copy waited until a person was in the act of shooting or otherwise attacking them or other people I would expect them to shoot at a higher rate than the average civilian. If you exclude the deaths due to things like car accidents and heart attacks, cops are beaten, shot, and stabbed to death a rate roughly the same as civilian homicides- approx. 50 per million people per year: http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fat ... auses.html
So even if you held cops to the restriction that they could only use lethal force against people who had used lethal force directly against them (ignoring lethal force being used against civilians in the presence of a cop) then they would be using it about as often as the same-size civilian population would.

As vvn pointed out- the police deal with the segment of the population that is far more likely to be armed and/or dangerous on a far more frequent basis than the rest of the civilian population by definition of their job. Most of us will never interact with a cop beyond getting a speeding ticket. Many of us will also never have to interact with another person who threatens our life or the life of other people near us. Cops and violent/dangerous people come into conflict all the time.
So while cops only represent 1/3rd of 1% of the total population, they are interacting with virtually 100% of the 20 million or so felons in the country (your number). In other words, there may only be a million cops, but they are dealing with 300 million people's worth of crime.

If you want to envision a truly ludicrous scenario in which cops are judge, jury, and executioner, and the killed everyone who they knew killed someone else, then they would kill people at a rate of 8 times what they currently do. (approx. 15,000 homicides per year, minus the 1000 by cops and the 6000 that go unsolved). If each cop only killed one person, then the majority of the roughly 1,000,000 cops in the U.S. would STILL go their entire career without killing anyone.

Now, you pointed out that cops in America shoot people a higher rate than other countries. However you also pointed out America has a higher rate of violent crime than other countries. I would be interested in seeing if the proportion between the rate at which cops shoot people and violent crime occurs remains constant; i.e. if Canadian cops shoot people at a rate of 20 times as many as the general civilian population.
The population of Canada is about 35 million, they have about 70,000 cops, and the homicide rate is 1.6 per 100,000, or about 560 total per year. I am having trouble tracking down rates of shootings by Canadian police though. Maybe you can help me out here- I'm writing this post at 4:30 a.m. because apparently I'm suffering from insomnia, so my Google-fu is not at it's best right now.

Does all this mean the rate of cop-on-civilian violence in the United States to high? I DON'T KNOW because I don't know what the appropriate rate is supposed to be. I feel (admitting 100% that this is my opinion) that saying cops are only allowed to employ lethal force when another cop has been killed seems like a ridiculously stringent standard though.
Do we need better data on cop-related violence? Yes, definitely.
Do we need more accountability for cops in America? Sure, I can get behind that.
Do we need a separate system for investigating and when necessary prosecuting cop violence? The historical evidence would seem to indicate yes.
Do our prisons need a reform to refocus them on rehabilitation instead of punishment? I'd prefer it that way.
Does our justice system need an overhaul to be more fair? Probably, we just need to work out a reasonable way to do so.

But I have issues with the claim that cops kill to many people, until you can tell me how many they SHOULD be killing and how you arrived at that conclusion.
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby vvn » Sat May 02, 2015 2:13 pm

Another thought about the 20-1 ratio. That compares cops to all civilians. How many civilians carry a gun on a regular basis? According to the web 11.1 million out of 318 million people have a concealed carry permit. Which means that 1 of 29 people has a permit to carry a gun. If we only consider people that actually carry guns, that means the civilians are shooting more people by a factor of 3-2.

Not sure if this makes me want to carry a gun more or less.

Trivia: The state with the highest number of carry permits is Florida. 1.5 million permits for 20 million people. (Bet you thought it would be Texas.)

Canadian trivia: Apparently the number of concealed carry permits in Canada is about 1 per million people. According to one source "You have to be able to show proof of competence with the firearm. You have to have 3+ attempts on your life, AND be able to show that police protection is not adequate for your protection. To top it off you need the local police department to sign off on it." I think it's safe to say that I don't want to even QUALIFY to carry in Canada.
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby Defnestor » Mon May 04, 2015 7:11 am

Canadian trivia: Apparently the number of concealed carry permits in Canada is about 1 per million people. According to one source "You have to be able to show proof of competence with the firearm. You have to have 3+ attempts on your life, AND be able to show that police protection is not adequate for your protection. To top it off you need the local police department to sign off on it." I think it's safe to say that I don't want to even QUALIFY to carry in Canada.
-vvn

Wow, so if the third time someone tries to murder you succeeds, you won't get the permit? Bummer!
/sarc
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby Deepbluediver » Mon May 04, 2015 9:27 am

I'm still searching to find good data on police-shootings in other countries.

This page says that 14 people where killed in Canada by police in 2014, and I've seen that number elsewhere as well. Yet the Wikipedia page names 20 individuals shot by police in 2014.

This article, which is also critical of police-shootings in American, described Canada as "a country with...no great aversion to firearms", yet the information from vvn regarding concealed carry seems to highlight at least some differences. There are cities in the U.S. with firearms-laws every bit as strict as Canada's, I believe, and yet it is in cities where the majority of crime (and I believe police shootings) take place.

The article goes on to say "I realize that the great majority of police officers never fire their weapons in the line of duty. Most cops perform capably and honorably in a stressful, dangerous job; 27 were killed in 2013, according to the FBI. Easy availability of guns means that U.S. police officers — unlike their counterparts in Britain, Japan or other countries where there is appropriate gun control — must keep in mind the possibility that almost any suspect might be packing heat."

Another webpage, which I can't find the link for again atm, said that there where more police-shootings in the U.S. than in China, but I'm reluctant to rely on comparisons to a country with such an extensive history of human-rights abuses.


Some other statistics seems difficult to derive information from as well. This page says that Canada has 2.52 million crimes a year compared to 11.88 million for the USA, or about 1/5th as many, but it's got only 11.3% as many people (35 million to 310 million).
And there is this quote to go along with it: "Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence."

Also, the United States apparently ranks top in police efficiency, which is described as "Proportion of people in international Crime Victims Survey 2000 who say police do a good job in controlling crime in their area."
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby crayzz » Tue May 19, 2015 9:25 pm

Deepbluediver wrote:It's not false. The definition of "majority" is a number greater than half.


You're gonna have to clarify for me whether you're making a potentially significant point by being rhetorical, or a trivial literal point. The former is ill supported. The latter places cops in the same category as soldiers on the battlefield and professional murderers, all of whom spend the majority of their time not killing anyone.

I initially took it as being rhetorical and thus potentially significant. If that was a mistake, I apologize.
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Re: Guns don't kill people but they sure make it a lot easie

Postby Deepbluediver » Wed May 20, 2015 5:58 pm

crayzz wrote:You're gonna have to clarify for me whether you're making a potentially significant point by being rhetorical, or a trivial literal point. The former is ill supported. The latter places cops in the same category as soldiers on the battlefield and professional murderers, all of whom spend the majority of their time not killing anyone.

I initially took it as being rhetorical and thus potentially significant. If that was a mistake, I apologize.

I'm not really sure what you're asking, please excuse my lack of mastery over the terms you used. I was just trying to point out that on an absolute basis it seemed like very few cops ever actually shot someone. If you say "that number is useless without comparing it to something" then what exactly are we comparing?

Despite the fact that Americans own firearms at a rate significantly higher than anywhere else in the world still less than half of all Americans actually own a firearm. It is impossible for these non-gun-possesors to shoot someone. Furthermore very few people are regularly required as a function of their job to interact with, confront, and pursue potentially violent people. When acting in the capacity of law-enforcement agents, cops are so unlike normal civilians that comparing the two seems almost pointless.
Why not instead compare cops to a civilian population that regularly goes armed and frequently gets into violent confrontation, like maybe biker gangs.

What about cops in other countries? Yes american cops shoot civilians at a higher rate than they do in other countries (based on per-capita statistics), but american civilians also shoot cops at a higher rate than in other countries. As several articles have mentioned, cops in England frequently do not carry guns. It is likewise impossible for them to shoot people.
The U.S. falls about in the middle of the pack when it comes to homicide rates (compared to other countries, not going by number of deaths); maybe we should be comparing shootings by the police to overall violent crime rates.

Claiming that cops kill to many people because they shoot other people more often than civilians do (per capita) feels like drawing the conclusion that medicine is the least ethical profession just because doctors get sued more than anyone else. There are (IMO) significant extenuating circumstances.


Edit: The only things that I can really conclude are that gun-ownership (per capita) seems to have declined, and despite the fact that modern weapons can fire more bullets faster and with more accuracy we seem to be a far less violent society than we used to be.
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