The Washington Post (Again) Omits Its Least Favorite Statistic


Last weekend, the Washington Post published its annual misrepresentation of police uses of lethal force around the country. “Fatal Force” is the round-up the Post has published for each of the last three years, analyzing data it started collecting after the 2014 Ferguson incident. The Post discovered that the FBI’s data on such incidents was capturing barely half of them, and decided to do the job themselves. The fact that local police are not beholden to Federal masters is lost on the statists at the Post, but the database does an admirable job of informing the national conversation on this local issue.

The 2017 data showed that police use of lethal force continues to be very consistent. For each of the last three years, police have killed between 963 and 996 suspects (a variance of barely three percent), almost all of them unquestionably justified. While yaktivists would like you to believe that most police killings are murders, they are distinctly not. And while the Shaun Kings of the world will immediately try to present the subjects of such sad events (like last weekend’s shooting in North Little Rock, AR) as good students who were the victims of racial profiling, it is almost inevitable that the evidence, such as this video, shows the subject did something like try to shoot two police officers who had just told him not to worry about having “a little weed.”

But, I digress.

Back in 2014, the Post’s theory was that the police were out of control, killing innocent young black men like Michael Brown of Ferguson, shot in the back with his hands up. Well, ok, he wasn’t, but they weren’t going to let facts get in the way of the narrative.

Body-worn cameras, we were told, would show us the truth. And they were right. While BWCs are showing us the truth, it isn’t what the Post tried to tell us. That’s why there hasn’t been a commensurate drop in uses of lethal force while the uses of cameras have rapidly expanded. Quite the opposite, actually.

But, that doesn’t suit the needs of the fictional narrative. So the Post’s reporters have to weave the data into half-truths devoid of context.

How can they show cops are racist? By reporting that one demographic is subject to lethal force much more than their representation in the population. The Post’s go-to this year is that people killed by police officers again were 22 percent Black males, even though Black males are just 6 percent of the population.

Now, this is simply a silly statement. It would be just as silly, but more obviously so, to note that police officers killed women over the age of 50 at a rate much lower than their share of the population. It is no truer to argue that cops discriminate in favor of older women than that they discriminate against black men.

If you follow the Post’s logic completely down the rabbit hole, cops should go out and find some older white women to kill whenever they kill a Black male. Or, maybe, they should not shoot someone who is shooting at them, depending on his race.

Obviously, this is nonsense. But, what are you gonna do when you have a narrative to spin?

Of course, to determine if cops are shooting people for good reason on a macro scale, we need some measure of the context of the situation. And, oddly enough that data is published every year, with almost no mention by the Post.

Back in October, the FBI released its annual extremely detailed report on Law Enforcement Officers Killed And Assaulted (LEOKA). What the data showed was that in 2016, Black males accounted for about 25 percent of all cop killers. Which is to say, cops kill Black men at almost exactly the same rate Black men kill cops.

And, isn’t that the way it ought to be? Don’t we want cops to use force in proportion to the context of the threat they face?

And, actually, the truth, taken in context, is even more in the favor of law enforcement. You see, 2016 was an outlier. On average, over the last 10 years, black men have been 40 percent of the cop killers, and as much as 50 percent. But the 25- to 30-percent rate has been consistent on the other side of the gun.

These are facts you simply will not learn by reading America’s most influential newspaper.

Now, this is not, by any means, meant to justify any individual use of force. Any cop who shoots another human being because “40 percent of cop killers are Black” is a racist. That’s the definition of judging a person by the color of their skin.

But, for a conversation about national trends and macro statistics, context is as vital as are circumstances and facts in the case of an individual incident. But, for some reason, the Post would prefer you not know the facts and context of the narrative they spin for you.

Democracy dies in darkness. Indeed.

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots

    Good info. Thanks for researching and presenting it. This is what we see in flyover country every day. We know that in states with a predominantly Caucasian population the murderers will be also. I’m thinking of Utah or Montana.  The statistics lie when they use a % of population number that includes the suburbs. Our big cities drive the data so a spike there drives the numbers.

    I read that if you excluded US large cities from the murder statistics our murder rate would actually be lower than the best  country in Europe. Of course you’d have to remove their cities from their stats too for a proper comparison…

    • #1
  2. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup

    Buried in the most recent WaPo opinion piece on this subject was the fact that mental illness is a factor in many (even most, depending on how it is defined)  of these fatal-force encounters. So addressing mental illness —IMHO, having somewhere for the seriously mentally ill to go for combined housing & treatment…that is, a funny farm—-might make a bigger difference than making cops watch powerpoints about how not to be racist? (Also sexist, but they always overlook the wildly disproportionate umber of men who are shot by the police or, for that matter, receive harsh sentences and get imprisoned).

    • #2
  3. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot

    Mr. Parry, thank you for this excellent article and information. Keep up the good work.

    • #3
  4. Typical Anomaly Inactive
    Typical Anomaly

    So while crime is a problem, our conversation about crime is also a problem fueled by two things:

    1. A persistently dishonest presentation of the available information on crime which employs logical fallacies and does not present all the relevant data.
    2. A populace unable/unwilling to discover the real causes of the information from #1. As a group, we want to hold opinions that make us feel good, not opinions that might be uncomfortable.

    What do we do when the truth is no longer important to the majority? Oh yeah, let government handle everything since they have such a great track record.

    • #4
  5. tigerlily Member

    Very informative article. Thanks Mr. Parry.

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    The problem with focusing on numbers rather than specific shooting incidents is that it leads to generalizations. Each shooting incident has specific circumstances that involves specific actions, and specific individuals.

    Advocacy groups, to include the Washington Post ignore the specific to enhance a narrative. For example if someone pulls into a school parking lot at 2 AM to commit suicide with a firearm will that be classified as a school shooting?

    The number of interactions that police officers have everyday with the public across the United States that do not result in violence far outweigh violent interactions. The WaPo’s stats of 963 to 996 suspects killed by police in a country with a population of 350 million+ and the thousands upon thousands of police interactions with the public that occur everyday of the year to include arrests should tell the Washington Post they are pushing a false narrative.

    • #6
  7. Barry Jones Thatcher
    Barry Jones

    So the video shows the little creep with not one but two attempts to shoot the weapon he has (weapon malfunctioned on each attempt or he would have shot one of his buddies) and at the end shows him with a gun in his hand prior to being shot and killed by the police. The Post is clearly trying to insinuate a non justified shoot when the police were clearly and unambiguously justified. Statistically, an unarmed black man is slightly more likely to get struck by lightning than killed by the police at least according to this National Review article from November of 2017:

    “Last year, according to the Washington Post’s tally, just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million, were killed by the police. The year before, the number was 36. These figures are likely close to the number of black men struck by lightning in a given year, considering that happens to about 300 Americans annually and black men are 7 percent of the population. And they include cases where the shooting was justified, even if the person killed was unarmed.

    Read more at:

    But this particular view doesn’t fit the narrative…

    • #7
  8. DocJay Inactive

    The modern day slave masters, with their victim narrative, on parade at the Post.

    • #8
  9. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner

    The stoking of interracial hostility has been a go-to election day turnout tactic of Democrats since 1860.

    • #9
  10. Spin Coolidge

    Slightly off the topic, but I want to point out again:  the folks that tell us the cops are racist and are shooting innocent young black men are the same people who tell us only cops should have guns.

    • #10

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