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Two Thoughts on Ferguson

I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading, and mostly trying to just listen. But there were two points I wanted to put out there in response to people complaining that all of the anger in Ferguson and throughout the country is somehow misplaced.Comparison of People Killed by Law Enforcement


Statistics on “justifiable police homicides” in the U.S. (chart 1) are far from perfect. But when police are three times more likely to kill a black person than a white person, then we have a serious, widespread, and ongoing problem.

Of course, if you grew up black in this country, you probably knew that already…

Graph 1 Data:

Reported Number of Civilians Shot and Killed in 2011
# Killed Total Pop. Percentage
USA 404 311,582,564 0.00013%
Australia 6 22,340,000 0.00003%
Germany 6 81,797,673 0.00001%
England & Wales 2 56,600,000 0.00000%


Graph 2 Data:

People Shot and Killed by Police in the US, from 1999-2011, by Race
# Killed Total #s from 2010 Census Percentage
White 2,151 223,553,265 0.00096%
Black 1,130 38,929,319 0.00290%

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
True. And in the UK there is strong evidence that ethnic minorities are more likely to be stopped by police. The difference is - next to nobody in the UK carries a gun. Our police officers do not, habitually, carry a gun. Guns are carried very rarely, and only be a very small pool of highly trained officers.

And the incidence of gun crime in the UK is very, very small.

Australian stats will be affected by the fact they banned guns. Outright. So it CAN be done, America.

I know nothing about Germany!
Nov. 26th, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
Our police is armed, but the guidelines when to use a weapon are probably much stricter than in the US, and the few times a suspected criminal is shot always leads to an investigation. So the cops are more cautious.

Civilians are not allowed to carry arms. You can keep shooting weapons at home for hunting and sport purposes, but it takes a damn lot of training and theory lessons (including law texts), and a practical and theoretical examination to get a permit to keep weapons at home. My father has one, but that only allows him to take the weapons to the shooting range and back. Whenever you buy weapons or ammunition, you must show the permit.

Of course, there are illegal weapons around, and criminals may be armed, but there is much less in the way of amok shootings and that sort of spontaneous killing that may happen if people got guns in their living room as a normal thing.
Nov. 26th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
Police instructions for using their service weapon is to use them as the last remaining option; however if this is always practiced, cannot say.
Private gunownership is allowed, but for no fully automatic guns (counts as "weapons of war"). And it is always tied to a certain purpose, like your job, like shooting sport - you cannot go and get yourself a license for a certain gun because you "think so".
Carrying around guns in public also is not allowed, if not for the respective group of profession where a gun belongs to the tools they need to use (policemen).

Importantly to add, during the last years there's been strong focus on crimes and murder where guns of legal owners have been used. Notably to add is that numbers still seem very low, but media exaggerates them to countless and politicians, as they are, show a tendency of waging the intention to completely make private gunownership illegal.
(Remember the Winnenden incident; after it they were acting like everyone who owns a gun potentially wants to kill you on the next day.)
(no subject) - aulus_poliutos - Nov. 26th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - matrixmann - Nov. 26th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ms_cataclysm - Nov. 26th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - matrixmann - Nov. 27th, 2014 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 26th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
having grown up white, I have always been told that the major cause of death among blacks is other blacks. Curiously, what are the stats on that?
Nov. 26th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
Working on finding the stats, but yes, most blacks are killed by other blacks - and most whites are killed by other whites - for the simple reason that we interact most with (and are thus most likely to kill) the people we live near. Because of the politics and economics that segregated Black people into undesirable housing, there's not a whole lot of racial mixing in most US communities.

This is not a problem of "black on black" violence. This is a problem of systemic racism.

Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about the history of what led to this kind of segregation.

If you're genuinely curious about Black history, do check out Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eloquent writer, and well-informed.
(no subject) - martianmooncrab - Nov. 26th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baker_kitty - Nov. 27th, 2014 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - martianmooncrab - Nov. 27th, 2014 09:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 26th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, a black is more likely to be killed by another black person(91%*) But also white people get killed by whites(83%*). This can almost entirely be explained on patterns of demography.

*Figures from the US Dept of Justice, as quoted on The Young Turks Youtube show.
(no subject) - adrian_turtle - Nov. 27th, 2014 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 26th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC)
I live in the St. Louis metro area, about 30-40 minutes drive from Ferguson. I spend a goodly amount of time in and around the city, and have numerous friends and family members who live and work in the areas around Ferguson. I understand being angry about the results of the grand jury. I'm sure everyone can think of at least one court decision that they disagreed with, that they were angry and outraged by. It is perfectly acceptable to be angry. What is NOT acceptable is the way this anger has been expressed. Looting and burning businesses, destroying people's livelihoods, denying others living in Ferguson the jobs, goods, and services those businesses were providing? What has been accomplished by this?
Nov. 26th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
I don't live in St. Louis now, but I lived there for the first twenty-seven years of my life, and visit at least once a year. I don't think you understand the ANGER that black people feel, and the fear. That's what prompts their violent reaction. How would you feel if time and again, white people were denied justice and routinely murdered by black police? How would you feel if your people had been lynched by black people for scores of years? Think about it.
(no subject) - auroradawnstar - Nov. 27th, 2014 12:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lynn9mckenzie - Nov. 27th, 2014 11:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sephystabbity - Nov. 26th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auroradawnstar - Nov. 27th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sephystabbity - Nov. 27th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lenora_rose - Nov. 27th, 2014 05:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Roger Christie - Nov. 27th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auroradawnstar - Nov. 27th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lenora_rose - Nov. 27th, 2014 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - akiko - Nov. 27th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 26th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
The meme that it only happens to black people is counter-productive -- the white people neglect reforming the police because they think "It can't happen to me."

I've seen statistics both ways, posted some links at my LJ. Apparently it varies by location: Memphis is bad, northern states have more equal numbers.
Nov. 26th, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
I don't think anyone here has been saying it only happens to black people. But the idea that this sort of violence affects all of us equally is also harmful.
Nov. 28th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
The meme that it only happens to black people is counter-productive -- the white people neglect reforming the police because they think "It can't happen to me."

Even if it were true that it only happened to black people, white people not caring because "It can't happen to me" would still be racist. Which, no shit that attitude's counterproductive.
(no subject) - houseboatonstyx - Nov. 28th, 2014 10:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ethelmay - Nov. 28th, 2014 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - houseboatonstyx - Nov. 29th, 2014 06:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 26th, 2014 09:52 pm (UTC)
Well, the first graph is not really useful. It reflects rather amount of weapon held by civil population than brutality of police. In US it is not unusual to see weapons, and it is in use, so that police has to deal with it. In Australia, there is a lot of weapons in rural areas. In Germany or UK there is about no weapons on the streets, the police is not in danger at all an has no need of defence.

The second graph is ok.
Nov. 27th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
It's a shame that Canada isn't one of the comparison countries for your graphs. Our police carry guns and while guns haven't been outright banned, they aren't as prevalent as they are in the US and the assault type weapons that are the subject of a lot of debate are banned.
Nov. 30th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
Coming to this a bit late (happy Thanksgiving, all) but I'm looking at that first graph and wondering:

If you combine the square acreage of Germany, England & Wales, and the inhabited parts of Australia (Miles nad Miles of desert = not many people?) then do you get an equal amount of land as the continental USA? And assume that the populations are proportionate. Then combine their population graphs, and while the USA is still unfortunately the 'winner' of death-by-police, it's not quite as staggering.

The second graph... Now that's scary. Because if they come for , they can come for me when I am sufficiently .
Dec. 1st, 2014 09:27 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for your insightful post, Jim. Much appreciated.This needed to be said.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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