A Bloody Pause In The Non-War On Cops

 

shutterstock_241549918This morning brought the sad news that a Deputy US Marshall was murdered in the line of duty during a gun fight in Southeastern Georgia. Deputy Commander Patrick Carothers was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a suspect wanted for the attempted murder of police officers in South Carolina.

Carothers’ death marks the 10th intentional killing (you might say “murder”) of a law enforcement officer in the United States in the Month of November this year. Nine of the 10 have been shot, while the 10th, a young Salt Lake City area officer, was intentionally run over during a pursuit. This already makes the bloodiest month of Thanksgiving for American cops since 1988 (page 24 of this link), when 11 officers were slain, and it is barely half over.

Sadly, this is not, by all evidence, an anomaly. In October nine officers were murdered on duty, including eight shot and a veteran Detroit officer who was run over. That marked the bloodiest October for law enforcement since 1999, a number that has only been eclipsed twice in 30 years. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 57 officers shot to death this year, a 68% spike over 2015. Sixteen of those slayings were in mass, targeted killings of officers.

For comparison, the last 20 years, there have only been five other months with 10 or more officers killed (not counting 9/11). One of them was May of 2015, and one was this past July when the Dallas and Baton Rouge massacres pushed the count to 12, tying a 30-year record.

With Carothers’ death comes an indisputable and bloody pause in non-war on cops. What non-war on cops? Well, every anti-police activist and author has been quite insistent that there is no war on cops. Days after the massacre of Dallas and Baton Rouge killings, Reason Magazine went on a diatribe about the non-war on cops. Predictably, self-annointed police expert Radley Balko also proclaimed “there is no war on cops” last year. A cursory review of his Twitter feed and Washington Post archive reveals no mention of any recent police officer deaths, aside from the Dallas Massacre in July.

Days before that tragedy, Balko (who has no policing experience) opined that the shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police officers was unnecessary because a man “who has a gun in his pocket is not a threat, particularly if he isn’t reaching for it.” Obviously Balko is unfamiliar with the case of Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster. As the video of Webster’s murder last year demonstrates, Balko has no idea what he’s talking about. Which is interesting, since Albuquerque has been mentioned by Balko 38 times in the last three years, but not once in reference to Webster.

Balko and the Reason crowd will tell you that there is no war on cops because policing is safer than it has been in decades. In some respects, that is true. Evolutions in tactics, technology and equipment have cut deaths of police officers by about half in the last 30 years. The number of officers shot to death has plunged from over 100 as recently as 1980 to just 39 last year.

But there is something rather unique about this accomplishment. The results of improved safety practices have resulted in police work being deemed not truly dangerous by anti-police activists such as Balko. They won’t come out and say it’s not dangerous. They’ll even pay it lip service. But what they will do is demand a rollback of the equipment and tactics that have reduced the effects of the dangerous situations cops face. No one would think to say “firemen aren’t getting burned as often as the 1980s, they oughtta take those jackets off.” Yet, that is exactly the attitude of many police reformers.

Of course, cops are not the only ones paying the price for the non-war on cops. The city of Chicago yesterday recorded its 700th homicide of the year, a spike of more than 50 percent over the 448 Chicagoans killed at this time last year. Despite the activists obsession with reforming the “violent” Chicago Police Department, less than one percent of those homicides were by the police, almost all of them unquestionably justified.

The last time Chicago saw more than 700 murders in a year was 1998, a the city exited a decade of enduring 700-900 murders per year.

Let us hope that this is a tragic blip for both cops and citizens alike, and not a return to bloody and sad days of decades past.

There are 22 comments.

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  1. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Robert C. J. Parry:Sadly, this is not, by all evidence, an anomaly. In October nine officers were murdered on duty, including eight shot and a veteran Detroit officer who was run over. That marked the bloodiest October for law enforcement since 1999, a number that has only been eclipsed twice in 30 years. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 57 officers shot to death this year, a 68% spike over 2015. Sixteen of those slayings were in mass, targeted killings of officers. […] Evolutions in tactics, technology and equipment have cut deaths of police officers by about half in the last 30 years. The number of officers shot to death has plunged from over 100 as recently as 1980 to just 39 last year.

    So, would it be correct to say that the difference is those 16 targeted, mass murders of police officers? I don’t mean to dismiss it — those were rightly headlines for days — but we’re talking relatively small numbers.

    • #1
  2. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Robert C. J. Parry:But what [police reformers] will do is demand a rollback of the equipment and tactics that have reduced the effects of the dangerous situations cops face. No one would think to say “firemen aren’t getting burned as often as the 1980s, they oughtta take those jackets off.” Yet, that is exactly the attitude of many police reformers.

    Specifically, what equipment and tactics are we analogizing to? My guess is that there’s a lot of stuff adopted in the last 30 years that we would agree on and (possibly) some we might not.

     

    • #2
  3. CM Member
    CM
    @CM

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Specifically, what equipment and tactics are we analogizing to? My guess is that there’s a lot of stuff adopted in the last 30 years that we would agree on and (possibly) some we might not.

    Yeah… Balko seems to talk a lot about the military grade accoutrements that became a part of police force arsenals with the rise of the Drug War.

    I do know that bullet proof vests are a huge benefit, but I don’t think anyone really questions their use.

    Training, I’m not certain of. My sister talks a lot about how dispatch needs to be trained not to need play-by-play commentary after a cop says they are moving in. She says raising her arm up to press the walkie button leaves her under-arm vulnerable to catch a well placed bullet. Her area is also one of the best trained areas in the country.

    • #3
  4. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    The non-death penalty is also a factor. Executing a few cop killers would be a salutary exercise.

    The lawsuit by a cop’s family in Dallas against BLM will being some needed discovery to the story. I would like to know who is funding this stuff.

    • #4
  5. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    CM: I do know that bullet proof vests are a huge benefit, but I don’t think anyone really questions their use.

    Body armor is a huge benefit—and people do question their use, at least when external carriers are worn. Basically, the complaint is that these look too much like military “flak jackets.”

    My agency wears external carriers, and it is a huge improvement. First, because you can take it off when you’ve stopped off at home to eat your lunch, or at the regional headquarters to do paperwork. If you happen to fall into deep water (not an uncommon event for game wardens) you can get the thing off so it doesn’t drag you down and drown you. If it’s hot out, you can take it off just to dry your shirt out a bit, then put it back on without disrobing. All of this makes the officer’s life easier, and thus makes it more likely that he will wear his body armor as prescribed (that is, all the time).

    A police officer who is wearing body armor —or, for that matter, is in an armored vehicle—is less vulnerable and therefore has just a little bit more time to assess a situation before opening (or returning) fire. Those itty-bitty tanks that you sometimes see at riots and whatnot are used to evacuate the injured from hot zones; this is a good and lifesaving thing.

    I wish police cruisers came with bullet-proof windshields.

     

    • #5
  6. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Mike-K:The non-death penalty is also a factor. Executing a few cop killers would be a salutary exercise.

    The lawsuit by a cop’s family in Dallas against BLM will being some needed discovery to the story. I would like to know who is funding this stuff.

    Really? I hadn’t heard about this—that’s great. I’d love to see them held to account.

    • #6
  7. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Thank you, Robert. By the way—I read Balko’s book, which contains a bit toward the end about the interdepartmental drug unit that my late husband work with back in the ’90s. Balko has that story completely wrong: so much so, that I regarded the rest of his reporting with about four cups of salt.

    • #7
  8. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    We just had another cop shot in NYC last week.  Don’t know if he was included in your statistics.

    I don’t think it’s the lack of using the death penalty that’s causing this.  There is a sub cultural animosity toward law enforcement that has entered the nation’s blood stream the last few years.  I can’t help feeling that Obama as president has something to do with it.  I don’t mean to say he’s instigating it.  It’s just that his brand of Liberalism is a bit close to anti civil protest and there may be a psychological connection with his persona.

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Note:

    Thank you; fixed.

    Robert C. J. Parry: Of course, cops are the only ones paying the price for the non-war on cops. The city of Chicago yesterday recorded its 700th homicide of the year, a spike of more than 50 percent over the 448 Chicagoans killed at this time last year.

    I think you may be missing a “not” in that first sentence given the follow-up within the paragraph.

    • #9
  10. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Mike-K:The non-death penalty is also a factor. Executing a few cop killers would be a salutary exercise.

    The lawsuit by a cop’s family in Dallas against BLM will being some needed discovery to the story. I would like to know who is funding this stuff.

    The Ford Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy and George Soros are goin’ about $100 million into “funding this stuff.”

    • #10
  11. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The only Reason to be found in Reason Magazine is in the title. Mr. Balko is just one more person who should put his money where his mouth is. I suggest he notify his local police department and request a pager so he can be contacted to effect a non-violent arrest of a resisting violent felon. I’m sure they would welcome his help.

    • #11
  12. Trinity Waters Member
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Doug Watt:The only Reason to be found in Reason Magazine is in the title. Mr. Balko is just one more person who should put his money where his mouth is. I suggest he notify his local police department and request a pager so he can be contacted to effect a non-violent arrest of a resisting violent felon. I’m sure they would welcome his help.

    Vehement agreement, Doug.  Talk is cheap.

    • #12
  13. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    Manny:There is a sub cultural animosity toward law enforcement that has entered the nation’s blood stream the last few years. I can’t help feeling that Obama as president has something to do with it. I don’t mean to say he’s instigating it. It’s just that his brand of Liberalism is a bit close to anti civil protest and there may be a psychological connection with his persona.

    I think he absolutely has something to do with it.  Very early in his first term, he declared that the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” in arresting Henry Gates, setting up a narrative that any time the police interact with a black person, the police is presumed to be in the wrong.

    Obama is still more of a community organizer than a president, stirring up resentment among “his people” (as his first Attorney General put it) for political gain, consequences be damned.  It’s who he is and what he does.  He’s just perfected the rhetoric for phrasing it more in sorrow than in anger, giving plausible deniability for his allies in the press to latch on to.

    • #13
  14. Travis McKee Member
    Travis McKee
    @Typewriterking

    The “militarized police” thing with Reason Magazine, I think, is a sad symptom of the political triangulation the libertarian movement tries to do. Because they have this sincere belief that they ought to appeal equally to the left as they do the right, they try to carve out common ground with the left in these odd, almost artificial, ways.

    In trying to gin up anti-statist common ground with ideologies that are almost fully statists, some cosmopolitan libertarians notice that police are a part of the State that lefties don’t like. Oh, you don’t like cops? I don’t like they’re employer. Let’s be friends!”

    The need for libertarians to contort themselves into buddies with lefties begets some offspring that aren’t pleasing to look at, like some of the absurdities with the Johnson-Weld ticket. And often unsound reasoning about military and police issues.

    This is not to say that they are always wrong in pointing out abuses, or alarming trends. Balko himself has points about no-knock raids. Reason is good on asset forfeiture issues. And reasonable people can wonder why SWAT teams must shoot so many dogs.

    • #14
  15. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    The person now occupying the White House and his “justice department” (intentionally not capitalized) are absolutely at the heart of the current disintegration in “race relations” in this country.  This administration has provided me any number of, “oh, wow, what have we done?” moments.  One of the first is when they opted not to prosecute the New Black Panthers who were engaging in overt and public voter intimidation.  Oh, the investigation went on for a while, but the end was obvious almost immediately.  That was at least one of the first “go-ahead” signals to all the radical racists that they were free to act with impunity.  And they have.

    Really, “militarization” of law enforcement is a misnomer.  Given the changed nature of the threat, some tactics that resemble military operations are perfectly reasonable.  And to any military person, the resemblance is mostly superficial anyway.

    And by the way, I’m not aware of any law enforcement agency that has received a tank of any sort.  They have received some light armored vehicles, perfectly reasonable for the missions for which they’re used – close approach to barricaded individuals, either to remove the wounded, or to stop the threat.  That’s a need that is hardly limited to the military.

     

    • #15
  16. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Quietpi:The person now occupying the White House and his “justice department” (intentionally not capitalized) are absolutely at the heart of the current disintegration in “race relations” in this country. This administration has provided me any number of, “oh, wow, what have we done?” moments. One of the first is when they opted not to prosecute the New Black Panthers who were engaging in overt and public voter intimidation. Oh, the investigation went on for a while, but the end was obvious almost immediately. That was at least one of the first “go-ahead” signals to all the radical racists that they were free to act with impunity. And they have.

    Really, “militarization” of law enforcement is a misnomer. Given the changed nature of the threat, some tactics that resemble military operations are perfectly reasonable. And to any military person, the resemblance is mostly superficial anyway.

    And by the way, I’m not aware of any law enforcement agency that has received a tank of any sort. They have received some light armored vehicles, perfectly reasonable for the missions for which they’re used – close approach to barricaded individuals, either to remove the wounded, or to stop the threat. That’s a need that is hardly limited to the military.

    Well if my department had issued rocket propelled grenades I would have had a launcher in the trunk of my police car.

     

    • #16
  17. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Manny: I can’t help feeling that Obama as president has something to do with it.

    He definitely has something to do with it, @Manny. So did Hillary. I say this as someone who voted twice for Obama, and who kept this photo, from Obama’s first visit to the British PM,  on my bulletin board for months because I thought it was so cool.

     

    obamabobby

    It makes me angry to look at it now. A calculated decision was made that maintaining support for the Democratic party by a fearful and angry black voting block was more important than the lives of either police offers or the people they serve.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thank you for this post, Robert. It angers me so to see these attacks on some of our most dedicated citizens who put their lives on the line every day.

    • #18
  19. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Looks like the non-war on cops took another pause today.

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/article/SAPD-officer-shot-killed-near-police-HQ-downtown-10626488.php

    • #19
  20. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Hopefully come January the police will have an ally instead of an adversary in DOJ.  That will be a huge change.

    • #20
  21. Viator Member
    Viator
    @Viator

    Two police officers ambushed and killed yesterday, Nov. 20th. One in St. Louis and one in San Antonio.

    Correction, St Louis policeman was not killed but wounded.

    • #21
  22. Viator Member
    Viator
    @Viator

    Two more police shot, one in Gladstone, Missouri and one in Sanibel, Florida.

    • #22

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