More on the Non-Existent “War on Cops”

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

In my Monday column debunking the “war on cops” meme currently working its way through the media, I noted that fatal attacks on police officer deaths have dropped pretty dramatically over the last 25-30 years. Yesterday a reader sent me a link to this mostly unfortunate discussion of the column at an online forum for police officers. The thread itself gets pretty vicious. But one poster in that thread points out that if you look at numbers from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted database, non-fatal assaults on police officers are in decline as well.

A couple points. First, these figures are reported assaults, not convictions. Second, in my column I wrote that there are 850,000 cops on the beat. I got that figure from the Fraternal Order of Police. I suspect the variation is due to differing interpretations of who qualifies as a police officer. But if the figure for officers emloyed is actually higher than what you see in the table, then the percentage of police officers assaulted will be lower.

Overall, though, non-fatal assaults against law enforcement officers are in decline. Which means the downward trend in fatalities isn’t necessarily due to better body armor, bulletproof vests or other police equipment.

The Internet, cell phone cameras, and video have made police more accountable and brought more exposure to bad cops. I don’t doubt that this has fostered more skepticism of police authority, and even resentment at how infrequently bad actors held accountable. But there’s just no evidence that more criticism of law enforcement, less respect for authority, or rising anti-government sentiment are manifesting as increased violence against police officers.

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49 Responses to “More on the Non-Existent “War on Cops””

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    Don’t forget also, that many of those ‘assaults’ are not what any reasonable person would consider an ‘assault’. Any disrespecting the AUTHORITAH of the police can be considered an ‘assault’ by officers.

  2. #2 |  Dante | 

    When searching for an explanation as to the declining number of assaults on police officers (even as there are more and more police officers in our world), one explanation could be that, due to the ever-increasing number of innocent people who are wrongly assaulted and killed by police, the average citizen now strives to avoid the police at all costs.

  3. #3 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I have several friends and relatives who are either cops or married to cops, and when you first posted about the non-existent War on Cops I thought about posting it on Facebook saying, “Good news! You don’t have to worry that things are getting worse!” However, I was afraid I’d get negative feedback so I refrained. Then I thought about it . . . Why should such a story stir up anger among police officers? Isn’t the fact that violence against cops isn’t rising a GOOD thing? Honestly, the only explanation I can come up with is that cops on the whole (I recognize there are exceptions) have some kind of insecurity where they NEED to be viewed as the heroes sacrificing themselves for the greater good. It’s the same reason my one cop buddy has to post about how he’s working, keeping everybody safe while the rest of the city is shut down due to a blizzard. As such, to suggest that they’re not in increased danger is to diminish their sense of self-worth. I’m not a psychologist but it’s the best I can do to make sense of it.

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Need brain bleach after reading cop posts.

  5. #5 |  Jesse | 

    @ClubMedSux:

    The other reason they need to paint themselves as the thin blue line between order and chaos, selflessly risking their lives on a daily basis, is because it justifies their heavy-handed actions when dealing with citizens, whether criminals or not.

    If police are not being assaulted or killed all the time, if every citizen contact is not a life-threatening situation, then police tactics and attitudes obviously demonstrate little more than a bully on a power trip.

    If the comments by the cops on that other board don’t show the us vs. them mentality of the cops, and their immense sense of self-importance, I don’t know what does. The vitriol flung in the face of objective fact was as bad as I’ve seen on the internet. One cannot criticize police behavior and culture without being seen as a long-haired anarchist dirtbag, and police are never to be second-guessed. Every person that gets tazed or beaten obviously deserved, and the fact that they got beaten or tazed (or even shot) is prima facie evidence of this. Those guys seem to believe that they are not only police but the judge and the jury.

  6. #6 |  Tim | 

    Makes perfect sense, actually. The “War on Cops” has the only net-positive result of any “War on Whatever” in the last 50 years in America, and it’s not a government funded program.

  7. #7 |  goober1223 | 

    I read the whole thread over there, and they finally came around on their “brother” eventually… after he groveled and licked their boots.

    They call Radley “anti-cop” or “cop hater”, but Radley hates on the trends of general police action as well as condemning the specific actions of cops involved in those actions. They get pissed off thinking that they are talking about them, but that’s the case with any generalization. If you take offense but think that you are being mischaracterized as part of a bad bunch, then just say that you aren’t one of them and simply don’t take offense. Don’t lump yourself in with them (by taking offense) and then say that you aren’t one of them!

    Oh, and then it’s really funny when one of them says that they “uphold the constitution”… What about the fourth amendment? Merely asking if you can search is destroying the spirit of the fourth amendment, especially from a position of authority where it can seem like you have no choice but to oblige.

  8. #8 |  Dante | 

    After foolishly perusing the “GlockTalk” site and reading the comments, one central theme emerges:

    (Most of) The police absolutely, positively hate anyone who disagrees with them even if you have the data to back it up. Just like the high school bully, their ability to hurl insults and inflict physical pain trumps any and all logic you may bring to the discussion.

    I don’t know if I should fear them or feel sorry for them. Perhaps both.

    Respect? Not so much.

  9. #9 |  M. Steve | 

    If other Wars on X are any indication, I fully expect the cop population to increase fourfold over the next few months. I certainly hope I don’t wake up a cop tomorrow.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    It’s obvious that there is no war on cops.

    In fact, as availability of video evidence becomes more common, I suspect that reports of assaults on cops will continue to diminish.

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  12. #12 |  SJE | 

    The statistics don’t even show how many assaults were on cops, only how many cops accused someone of assault, which is entirely determined by the cops. The entire survey is flawed. It would be as if I conducted an “awesomeness” survey that consisted of me saying how awesome I was. Would you trust it? (PS: its awesome).

  13. #13 |  shg | 

    While the number speak for themselves, I’m hesitant to suggest that anti-police sentiment stemming from disclosure of police misconduct by video, even if there was a causal connection (there’s not, but even if there was), constitutes a legitimate rationale.

    When someone is castigated for engaing in improper behavior, the solution isn’t to end the castigation, but to end the improper behavior. Or, as prosecutors like to tell criminals upon conviction, the problem isn’t that they were caught or the system sucks, but that they committed a crime. It’s a two way street.

  14. #14 |  Mannie | 

    The reason the cop community is incensed by the debunking of the “war on cops” meme, is that it demonstrates their institutional cowardice. They do not have a dangerous job, but they keep thumping their chests proclaiming how dangerous it is. They’re nothing but a street gang.

  15. #15 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    I have been banned by both the CopTalk section of GlockTalk and Mr. Balko, but I have been banned to a lesser extent by Mr. Balko.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  16. #16 |  nospam | 

    I’ve known a few people I grew up around who became cops. You want to know who they are? Remember the assholes on your high school wrestling team? You know, the ones who got off picking on people who couldn’t defend themselves. The ones who were held back in the 4th grade. The same thick-headed, buzz cut pricks who would take ex-lax so they could shit enough water to get into a lower weight class at their next wrestling meet.

  17. #17 |  Whim | 

    By adopting highly aggressive police tactics, like Tasering non-violent suspects, the police have managed to transfer almost all risk of physical harm during a police encounter over to the public.

    When the police highest priority is to go home uninjured at the end of their shift, that means they are not taking ANY risks.

    However, the public is absorbing the risk in its entirety.

    There is no War on Cops. There is however a War on America being perpetrated by the police incidental to the War on Drugs.

  18. #18 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Good post, Whim. I have never quite been able to say what you said that well.

  19. #19 |  Dave | 

    The important issue, to me at least, is not the increase or lack of it, but rather the relative dangers of the job to other occupations.
    Police officer barely makes the top twenty, and the police officers are including heart attacks and traffic accidents.
    The police may well be seeing an increase in resentment, but they don’t see how they feed in to this loop by treating all people with suspicion and contempt.
    They are a cloistered group with an us versus them mentality, a paranoid and distorted view of the dangers of their job that is constantly reinforced by their own group and unions.

  20. #20 |  Kukulkan | 

    Hopefully this works:

     
    Population
    Firearm
    Fatalities
    Fatalities
    per 100,000
    Justifiable
    Homicides (firearm)
    Justifiable
    Homicides (other)

    Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (2006)
    624,380
    36
    5.7657196
    386
    0

    United States Total Population (2006)
    299,398,484
    12509
    4.1780439
    192
    46

    Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (2007)
    625,880
    53
    8.4680769
    395
    3

    United States Total Population (2007)
    301,621,157
    12,632
    4.1880351
    202
    55

    Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (2008)
    633,710
    32
    5.0496284
    373
    5

    United States Total Population (2008)
    304,059,724
    12,209
    4.0153296
    219
    46

    Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (2009)
    641,590
    42
    6.5462367
    403
    3

    United States Total Population (2009)
    307,006,550
    not yet available
     
    215
    46

    Sources:
    http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0219.pdf
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/2006/may/oes_nat.htm
    http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2006-01.xls
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_16.pdf
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/2007/may/oes_nat.htm#b33-0000
    http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0228.pdf
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf
    http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0237.pdf
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/2008/may/oes_nat.htm
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_02.pdf
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm 2009 number of police
    http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0246.pdf 2009 police firearm fatalities
    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html
    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html

  21. #21 |  Steve Verdon | 

    SJE,

    I beg to differ with you in regards to the validity of the statistics. All they show and appear designed to show are the number of reported assaults. Whether the reports are valid or not was not the point of gathering the data, and it does show a decline. Both in terms of absolute numbers as well as a ratio of cops on duty. This is unmitigated good news, IMO. First, an assault, whether on a cop or non-cop, are not good things so less of them is better. Second it shows that the claims about the “War on Cops” just don’t hold up when looking at the most generous piece of data (reported vs. actual–i.e. with a conviction) assaults.

    If you throw this data out then neither you nor they have anything upon which to determine the validity of the claim. Thus, this data helps “us” and hurts “them”. Of course, since data and reason often have little to no impact on legislation and policy making this isn’t fantastic news. What those of us who don’t want the “War on Cops” meme to spread should do is always and politely point out that there is no data supporting the claim. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero.

  22. #22 |  Jesse | 

    Even though a reduced number of assaults is a good thing in and of itself, I think SJE makes a good point. Since it is police that determine when an assualt on themselves occurs, one might make the case that even these progressively shrinking numbers of assaults on cops are still inflated.

    We all know that assault on a police officer is often used as a cover charge for contempt of cop, along with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, etc. We’ve seen plenty of examples of incidental contact with a police officer, or defending oneself from a police beating, being used as justification for assault charges or similar. They like yelling “stop resisting” between blows from their batons or between tazer shocks to cover themselves.

  23. #23 |  SJE | 

    The data only shows the number of reported assaults. In theory, this should be an accurate proxy for actual assaults, assuming that cops apply a uniform standard across time. For example, perhaps a decline reflects increased wariness of reporting bogus assaults, rather than an actual decline.

    I agree with Verndon that the data can help our position. However, we can go a lot further by showing that the data is also full of holes, and demand better quality data, which is a lot of what Radley’s work seems to be about: document, verify, etc.

  24. #24 |  JOR | 

    #3,

    You hint at one reason they’d dislike the news. After all, everyone would like to believe they’re Super Important and necessary to the functioning of society – the politician, the smarmy CEO with a Galt Complex, the brown-nosed journalist, the scientist, the engineer, the state-retained hitman (er, soldier) – even school teachers and novelists and film producers and professional athletes like to imagine that they actually matter in the big picture. (Hint: none of them do; nobody does).

    Other posters have hinted at other likely reasons cops would find the case against the War on Cops objectionable. I only have one additional simple suggestion: everybody loves to take comfort in a persecution mentality. Everyone from Christians to Muslims to Atheists, from Republicans to Liberals to Libertarians, any ethnic or racial interest group you could imagine, likes to imagine they’re the persecuted beacon of reason and goodness in a mad, evil world. Why should an insular little gangster culture like LEOs be any different?

  25. #25 |  ktc2 | 

    Some interesting stats on cops involved in crime vs. general public in crime:

    http://www.copblock.org/1595/making-the-case-for-more-police-accountability/

  26. #26 |  Whim | 

    Radley has really done excellent work over the years concerning the increasing militarization of the police.

    Look at the wholesale adoption of the Los Angeles Police Dept. pioneered SWAT team model by virtually every medium and large police department in the U.S.

    SWAT teams originally designed to resolve (through either the threat of violence or actual violence) hostage situations like bank robberies gone awry.

    Once a good idea is adopted, isn’t there a tendency to be overused until it becomes a BAD idea?

    Now, I’ve seen estimates hereabouts that hundreds of SWAT team raids a DAY occur across the U.S., with the majority focused on serving Drug Warrants.

    Late Night, No-Knock warrants are Death Warrants signed by judges, and enforced by very heavily armed, militarized police carrying automatic rifles, body armor, armored shields, and DRAWN weapons.

    Like the Ogden Utah police shooting where the leader of the merry band of SWAT members shot a homeowner 3X about 2 seconds after the door was battered down during a night-time no-knock raid.

    Because the PRETEXT of the entire raid is that the police have to make split second decisions on conflicting or confusing data, here was another case where a drug suspect was shot to death.

    In this case, clutching a golf club in front of him. Not SWINGING a golf club, which probably wouldn’t have even been felt by the heavily armored police wearing Kevlar helmets, face shields, armored vests, knee pads, gloves, etc.

  27. #27 |  nospam | 

    “In this case, clutching a golf club in front of him. Not SWINGING a golf club, which probably wouldn’t have even been felt by the heavily armored police wearing Kevlar helmets, face shields, armored vests, knee pads, gloves, etc.”

    Lets just call the thugs in costume what they are…a bunch of fucking pussies. “Thug” might be too manly of a term to use for them. They have to sneak up to someone’s home while they are asleep and pull off a Pearl Harbor style sneak attack where they have the person they are attacking out numbered more than 10 to 1. These are not the actions of brave men. They are the actions of cowardly pussies. I won’t insult pack animals like jackals by making a comparison to them.

  28. #28 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Jesse and SJE,

    Even if the reported assualts are biased upwards the point is that they still do no support the contention of a war on cops. As such, the data are “good” not bad. Pissing on the good is not a wise move. Or to put it differently, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Especially in this case, if you succeed then you have nothing to hang your argument on…at all. That puts you at a distinct disadvantage given that most people will tend to reflexively side with the cops and their narrative will sound better than yours.

  29. #29 |  Kevin Carson | 

    “…cops on the whole… have some kind of insecurity where they NEED to be viewed as the heroes sacrificing themselves for the greater good. It’s the same reason my one cop buddy has to post about how he’s working, keeping everybody safe while the rest of the city is shut down due to a blizzard. As such, to suggest that they’re not in increased danger is to diminish their sense of self-worth.”
    –ClubMedSux

    Cf. Bounderby of Coketown, the “bully of humility” in Dickens’ “Hard Times,” who was constantly bragging about being a self-made man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, etc., etc., and denouncing workers for their sense of entitlement and demands to be coddled. He claimed he’d been abandoned by his vicious mother and raised by his grandmother. “Do they want to be fed turtle soup with a silver spoon?” was his favorite rhetorical ploy.

    He was utterly destroyed when his mother, a destitute woman whom he had abandoned and who received no support from him, appeared and revealed that he’d been coddled and spoiled as a child and –ahem–eaten turtle soup with a silver spoon.

  30. #30 |  SJE | 

    Steve Verndon: I am trying to show that the cops penchant for lousy data is not confined to the Mississippi forensic labs, but goes all the way to politics.

  31. #31 |  Hartmann | 

    From post #61, page 3 of the GlockTalk site –

    “Radly Balko is a died in the wool POS cop hater. And NOTHING that jerkoff has to say is worth discussing.”

    This from a “Platinum Member,” no less. It seems the cream rises to the top even in virtual cop circles…

    In all seriousness, it’s precisely this ignorant, arrogant attitude that is turning more and more people against cops. If they post this way on the Internet, then they almost certainly act this way when dealing with suspects. We’ve all seen it here in numerous videos, and many of us have experienced it first-hand.

    Too many cops are government-sanctioned bullies…nothing more. As more people realize this fact through news reports and first-hand experience, it stands to reason that more people will want them to get their comeuppance. Some will be crazy enough to do it, too. And though the data currently indicates that there is NO “war on cops” (and I don’t condone one) I’m not holding my breath that this trend will continue for long. You can only push free people so far.

    I’ve never seen Radley say “I hate cops.” Likewise, I’ve been reading TheAg for years, and have found his arguments soundly reasoned and supported by actual evidence. I’m sure he would allow the police the same chance to speak that cops like the one who posted the above drivel would clearly deny him…but there won’t be one word spoken. There never is.

  32. #32 |  Windy | 

    Jesse #5, “Those guys seem to believe that they are not only police but the judge and the jury.”
    And in far too many cases they also believe they are authorized executioners, too.

  33. #33 |  nemo | 

    I can foresee an increase in purchases of extremely small, portable video cams in largely urban areas in the very near future. Concealed in hats, on clothing, etc. they’d be almost invisible, and would serve to make the police even more honest in their dealings with their paymasters.

  34. #34 |  PW | 

    Has anyone ever looked at how cop fatality statistics stack up against the post office?

    Postal workers spend just as much of their job behind the wheel, yet I bet their automobile accident rate is far less than cops.

    Postal workers go “into the ghetto” every single day of the week and personally visit every single house in those exact same “bad” neighborhoods that cops are always whining about, yet you never hear about them being attacked or shot.

    Postal workers probably encounter more dogs on any given day of the week than cops, yet you never hear about shooting the animals in “self defense.”

    It’s not at all a far leap to conclude from this comparison that (1) cops are more reckless drivers than the rest of us, (2) cops encounter trouble in certain neighborhoods because they seek it out and create it themselves, and (3) cops are trigger happy when there’s no legitimate justification to be

  35. #35 |  PW | 

    #25 -

    The most interesting stat on that link is far and away the disparity between cops and the general public on sexual assault. The others are fairly close, or only slightly skewed to the cops or the general public. But for sexual assaults, cops show up at more than twice as likely than the general public.

    This speaks to a deep-seated psychological problem with the way police are trained, think, and operate. While most other crimes are motivated by property (theft) or anger (assault and murder), sexual assaults are motivated by a desire to force oneself upon another – a desire for control, which we know is a prominent feature of the police psyche.

    I hate to put it so bluntly, but cops have a lot in common with serial rapists on a psychological level. It really is that simple, and it manifests in the fact that they are more than twice as likely than the rest of us to become rapists themselves.

  36. #36 |  Lucy | 

    So, just to be clear, when they say assaults on police, do they mean what they initially tried to charge Jordan Miles with?

    Basically, actual assaults or the suspect flinched while being beaten?

  37. #37 |  marco73 | 

    First, I’ll say I have a lot of sympathy for the families of the 2 St Pete policemen killed last week.
    Second, I’d really wonder if the number of assaults going down is a change in the collection and manipulation of the data. I’ve seen stories on this site and others where crime reports are going down not because of actual crime going down, but because of layers of bureaucrats trying to massage the data so that crime in a particular area appears to be going down.
    It could be that reported assaults on police officers, since that gets kicked up to the FBI, gets high visibility in a department, and better investigation from ranking officers. Some contempt of cop reports, that previously would have been laughed at and then dropped by the DA, may be just tossed into the circular file and not even getting sent to the FBI. I think the real assaults are probably being reported pretty accurately. Its just that a whole pile of questionable/backside covering reports never see the light of day.
    What police commissioner or chief wants to be in charge of the “assaulted police” capitol of the country?
    And if there really was some sort of upswing on attacks on police, as reported breathlessly by the major media, where is the upswing on attacks on DMV clerks, firemen, meter maids, garbage men, and other uniformed government workers who interact with the public?

  38. #38 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #34 PW: ” Postal workers go ‘into the ghetto’ every single day of the week and personally visit every single house in those exact same ‘bad’ neighborhoods that cops are always whining about, yet you never hear about them being attacked or shot.”

    Don’t be so sure about that, PW. When I was completing an internship with a midsize PD during my last year of college, I was with an officer that was assigned to a “postal service protection detail” in a ghetto (I don’t use quotation marks because it WAS a ghetto. It met all commonly accepted standards.) neighborhood of the city. Postal workers had been harassed in the area. One had a gun stuck in his face. I don’t recall if shots were fired or not. One thing I have learned about the ghetto is EVERYONE is a possible target, especially if you look like you aren’t from the hood.

    “It’s not at all a far leap to conclude from this comparison that (1) cops are more reckless drivers than the rest of us, (2) cops encounter trouble in certain neighborhoods because they seek it out and create it themselves, and (3) cops are trigger happy when there’s no legitimate justification to be”

    Yes, some cops are crappy drivers and feel that they can get away with it. However, they are also expected to respond to critical incidents at relatively high speeds. Many motorists are clueless about how to respond to an emergency vehicle and can cause accidents. Also, some officers get “tunnel vision” and occasionally run into each other responding officers. Finally, some officers (particulalrly newer officers) en-route to trouble calls may push their abilities to the very limit and crash. This happened in my area a few years ago when a rookie driving to back up an officer in trouble lost control while turning. The crash killed his training officer. It was a sad case, but the guy just wasn’t prepared to drive like that yet. If officers don’t respond fast enough, Agitator readers will be eager to mock them for being lazy or incompetent. If they drive fast and crash, they are reckless. Alas, damned if you do…

    Regarding point #2, that may be the case at times, but you are being a bit harsh. After all, the police are expected to be there to deal with “trouble.” Are police starting trouble when they stop a person with warrants? Of course not. After all, a warrant says that officers “shall” take the subject of that warrant into custody. Are officers starting “trouble” if they stop to investigate a fight in progress? What about a possible burglary? Look, in some ways I appreciate your point. Drug war policing is overly aggressive an provocative, so some of those tactics are pretty much like starting trouble. But there is real crime occurring out there, PW, and the police have to address it, whether you think it looks like starting “trouble” or not.

  39. #39 |  PW | 

    #38 – Your anecdote reminds me of a conversation I once heard between a friend and his off-duty cop friend…

    Off-duty Cop: It’s really bad on the streets out there, man.
    Civilian: Oh really?
    Cop: Yeah, I can’t even begin to describe how bad it is the ghetto. Criminals, gangs, and drug dealers everywhere. Just last week a got his brains blown out in a robbery/drug deal gone wrong.
    Civilian: Wow, that bad?
    Cop: I’m telling you, some of the stuff I’ve seen out there on our own streets. Indescribable. It’s basically a war zone.
    Civilian: Like Iraq?
    Cop: Worse than Iraq.
    Civilian: Wow, I guess I’ll have to watch what part of towns I go into.
    Cop: Yeah. You wouldn’t last a minute out there. They’d gun a white kid like you down just for showing his face. There are even cops who are afraid to patrol there. Not me – I accept danger as part of my job. But I’m telling you, even some of our bravest officers are afraid.
    Civilian: Where is it again you patrol?
    Cop: The east side ghetto. Corner of 23rd and Washington. I’d rather they just wall off that entire neighborhood, but somebody’s gotta patrol it. But if I were a civilian I wouldn’t go anywhere near it.
    Civilian: (chuckles)
    Cop: Wh…what?
    Civilian: (laughing loudly) Dude, that’s your idea of a ghetto? I live 3 blocks from there and walk through that intersection every day on my way to the bus stop!

  40. #40 |  Justthisguy | 

    There are very good legal and practical reasons not to assault policemen.

    Policemen, as are we all, are subject to Sturgeon’s Law.

  41. #41 |  Justthisguy | 

    My Dad was a cop. By that, I don’t mean that he was a government employee who wore a badge, but that he had a personality disorder. He could not bear the slightest contradiction from me or anyone he perceived as a lesser person, but shamefully sucked up to people he perceived as superior. He confabulated stories to make himself look good after having been caught in lies. He had a good reputation in the business community, taking out his copness only upon his own family, who were least likely to go against him.

    Now that the shrinks are revising the DSM, I would like to propose a new category of mental disorder.

    I would call it vigilism, by analogy with autism. People who suffer from vigilism seem to have this desire to mind other people’s business and tell them what to do, and fly into a rage if they are not obeyed.

    I suspect, like autism, that vigilism is genetically transmitted. Fortunately, it seems to have skipped my generation. I seem to have a touch of the family autism gene instead, which makes me just hoppin’ (quite literally) mad when I hear or read about any injustice.

    I think that if I ever get a good sword, I’ll name it “Vigilicide.”

    You young doodahs like Radley who don’t have any Latin will just have to look things up to figure out what I am saying here.

  42. #42 |  Justthisguy | 

    I see that my last comment was deleted. Never mind, I saved a local copy.

    Apparently Radley has more Latin than I gave him credit for.

    I kinda see his point, that we should not use inflammational language, and all that. I reckon I’m just feeling right grumpy in my old age, remembering as I do that this was a much freer country when I was young.

  43. #43 |  Justthisguy | 

    Wait! My previous comment is back up! Huh?

  44. #44 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #39 PW:

    Thanks for the amusing story, but I don’t think you really read what I wrote in #38. If your mind is made up, far be it from to bother you with real life issues. Maybe if we all just took up Sea Steading it would all be better.

  45. #45 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    There is no war on cops although some people I know think that there should be.

    But hey… if we can make the sheeple believe that there IS a war on cops then that provides justification for increased police staffing, equipping and spending.

    Coming soon to your house: A SWAT raid because you didn’t pay your water bill.

    Fuck the police.

  46. #46 |  PW | 

    Helmut – My point is that most cops have a habit of severely overstating the dangers of their job, and in particular the parts of town they patrol. There are some true “ghettos” out there in the absolute worst areas of the large cities, but most of what cops call the “ghetto” are really just perfectly normal albeit poor neighborhoods.

    There are indeed parts of Baltimore and Detroit where I certainly wouldn’t go walking around at 2 am. And I’m certain that somewhere you can find a case of some mailman being roughed up by thugs in a bad part of town. But they are the exception, even in most big cities.

  47. #47 |  Radley Balko: Despite ‘War On Cops’ Talk, Police Officer Fatalities Drop Dramatically In 2012 | Le monde de l'information | 

    [...] the rate of assaults against police officers also has been dropping since the late 1980s, so the drop in fatalities cannot be attributed only to better police armor, tactics, or weaponry. [...]

  48. #48 |  Radley Balko: Despite ‘War On Cops’ Talk, Police Officer Fatalities Drop Dramatically In 2012 « CrimeAlertBlog.Com | 

    [...] the rate of assaults against police officers also has been dropping since the late 1980s, so the drop in fatalities cannot be attributed only to better police armor, tactics, or weaponry. [...]

  49. #49 |  Police Officer Safety At Generational Highs Despite Claims to the Contrary « Spatial Orientation | 

    [...] the rate of assaults against police officers also has been droppingsince the late 1980s, so the drop in fatalities cannot be attributed only to better police armor, tactics, or weaponry. [...]

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