Spinning Gun Violence Numbers

Police Gun Deaths

I really hate people with agendas, although it’s something that you see every day and many are so used to it that they don’t recognize that it’s happening at all.  This is an image that popped up on Facebook and has spread around the Interwebtubes, but which is exactly the kind of thing that I’m talking about.

It tries to compare police shootings from the U.S., Germany, Great Britain and Japan and attempts to shock people at how many police shootings there were in the U.S. Sorry, it’s all bullshit.

First off, both Great Britain and Japan’s police officers do not carry firearms on a regular basis, hence there are very few police-involved shootings.  Note the infographic specifies shootings, not police-involved deaths.  This makes it inherently dishonest to compare the United States, a nation where police carry guns, with two nations where their police do not.

Secondly, while German police do carry firearms, the incidence of gun ownership in Germany is extremely low.  Guns are not commonly available, hence the police rarely run into a suspect armed with a gun.  Because German authorities don’t have to worry about the safety of the public from gun-wielding criminals, or their own safety, they don’t have to shoot criminals often. In Germany, they have had a total of 109 police officer gun related fatalities since 1998.  Again, this is not an analogous situation to the United States, it’s like comparing snowmobiling deaths in Scandinavia with those in Panama.  Clearly, the writer just took the lowest three nations and threw them on the list without considering the truth of the situation.  As I said before, an agenda.

Third, they are comparing pure numbers without regard for population.  The United States had about 316 million people in 2013.  With 409 shootings, that works out to 1.29  shootings per MILLION PEOPLE!  Germany had 3 shootings in a nation of 80 million people, which works out to 0.04 shootings per million people, but the real data there is an absurdly low number of shootings in both cases, adjusted for population.  Your chances of being killed in a police shooting in the United States are literally one in a million.  If there was a disease that affected that many people, drug companies wouldn’t even bother developing a vaccine.  It just wouldn’t be worth it.

Finally, and this largely goes along with my second point, they are entirely ignoring countries where police-related gun violence is epidemic.  Why?  Because they don’t really  care about anyone else, they’re just trying to push their anti-gun agenda.  Take Kenya, for example, where large swaths of the police force are corrupt and shoot people with impunity.  Does that get any attention in the infographic?  Not a bit.  Why would it, it gets in the way of the agenda!

So please, before you fall for any of this absurd crap, at least think about what they’re saying and if what they’re saying makes any sort of sense.  Just buying into things on face value isn’t rational, it’s just following an agenda.


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