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America is safer than ever—and yet, it’s still ugly and unjust.

America isn’t falling apart. It’s never been safer to be black in America. But it’s still far more dangerous than being white.


 
Members of the congregation pray during a vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 7, 2016. (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Members of the congregation pray during a vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 7, 2016. (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

It was a bad week south of the 49th parallel. The repetitive reports of shootings, cop killings and protests just kept coming, each more depressing than the last.

On July 5, a video of police shooting a black man named Alton Sterling exploded on social media. The next night, another video was streamed live on Facebook; a black woman looked calmly into the camera and explained her boyfriend, Philando Castile, had been shot by the police after being pulled over for a broken tail light. She then panned over to show him bleeding to death next to her while a hysterical police officer screamed in the background, demanding she keep her hands where he could see them. “Yes I will, sir,” she replied, looking straight into her camera and straight into the eyes of America.

The next day, in Dallas, a lone gunman killed five police officers in the midst of a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Next, in Baton Rouge, La., the media filmed police arriving in armoured cars to arrest peaceful protesters before they, too, were handcuffed. A few days after that, two bailiffs were killed in a Michigan courthouse after an inmate grabbed a gun.

On cable news, some pundits are suggesting the country has reached a critical mass of guns and hate, and race riots are inevitable. Others assure us the country is already on fire, and that everything has already fallen apart.

But, like most things, when you step back and look at the wider picture, a different narrative reveals itself.

To begin with, violence is not rising. In fact, America has not been this safe for more than a generation. According to FBI data, the rate of violent crime has dropped by half since 1993. The murder rate has fallen by a similar percentage. Even property crime has plummeted by 40 per cent. All forms of crime and violence have declined from a peak in the 1980s. You need to go back to when John F. Kennedy was president to find an equally peaceful time.

It is hard to reconcile the idea that America is safer with the daily stories of gun violence and mass shootings. Some of the numbers are genuinely horrifying: for example, on average, 36 people are killed every day in the United States by a gun. And since 2013, every city with a population greater than 400,000 has endured at least one mass shooting.

But the front-page coverage of these shooting sprees obscures the true nature of gun violence. Only two per cent of gun deaths are from mass shootings. It is actually suicides that account for the overwhelming majority—a number that has risen by more than 40 per cent in the past 20 years.

The shooting of cops is surely on the rise, though, isn’t it? Not so. The FBI reports that in 1972, 132 police officers were killed in the line of duty. That number has declined steadily ever since, and last year was down to 47, far lower than it was even in the 1960s. When you account for the growth in the number of police officers, it is now only one-quarter the level it was just 25 years ago.

The news, quite rightly, has been focused more than ever before on the number of African Americans who die at the hands of police. But this too is much better than it was. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the rate of police killings by race, and finds that 50 years ago, African Americans under the age of 25 were five times more likely to die from a police bullet than they are now.

Nonetheless, even if being black in America is safer than ever, it’s still far more dangerous than being white. More than half of all gun victims are black, even though they represent only 13 per cent of the population. If you’re an African American under the age of 25, you’re six times more likely to be killed by police compared to other races, according to the CDC. And, according to a Harvard study released this month, Hispanic and black Americans are far more likely to be the victims of police brutality than white suspects. (That same study found no racial bias when it comes to police shootings, however. In that sense, at least, American cops are colour-blind.)

The distorting lens of social media is both a blessing and a curse. It pushes a relentless stream of violence and hate into our view. We can’t look away, and we are misled into believing everything is getting worse and coming undone. But, ironically, that shock and outrage is exactly what is needed to get us out of our chairs and onto the streets. The world may not be falling apart, but it’s still ugly and unjust. And the more we see that, the more we should be demanding change and justice. In other words, don’t let the news depress you—let it enrage you.

DALLAS SHOOTING


 

America is safer than ever—and yet, it’s still ugly and unjust.

  1. If you’re an African American under the age of 25, you’re six times more likely to be killed by police compared to other races,

    Now what do you suppose the rate of African Americans under age 25 to be killed by other African American’s under the age of 25?

    I suspect it is far higher than the chances of being killed by a cop.

    If the BLM’s “movement” really wants to prevent blacks from dying…..perhaps they should start doing a better job raising their kids.

    • Most blacks are killed by other blacks. Most whites are killed by other whites.

      Bringing up so-called “black-on-black” crime in this context is, and always has been, a preposterous and dishonest deflection. There is no dispute in society that gang violence, or what have you, constitutes murder. BLM is focused on police brutality, a very serious problem when the people who are meant to be the impartial and helpful enforcers of the law instead act as agents of oppression of marginalized groups.

      Dealing with other types of crime is important too. But the people who raise this issue in this way are not interested in doing so, they simply don’t want to talk about police brutality.

      • “Preposterous and dishonest deflection”? I disagree. There’s this whole narrative being pushed in the leftist media about how white cops are systematically killing black people. It’s being hammered into us constantly. This article is about how dangerous it is to be black in America……but doesn’t really touch on black on black violence at all. The closest they come to it is a sentence about how “More than half of all gun victims are black, even though they represent only 13 per cent of the population.” Well, who is the one pulling the trigger in the overwhelming majority of those gun deaths?

        There is a major problem in black communities in the US – and all around the world, quite frankly – with violence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out instances of police brutality and call for further accountability for officers. But to rage on about such a small amount of deaths (the ones where blacks die at the hands of police) and remain virtually silent about a ridiculously high amount (where blacks die at the hands of other blacks) like our leftist media and their ever growing army of brainwashed SJWs do, it’s a little hard to swallow. It’s like having cancer, and the doctor only wants to talk about your sprained ankle.

        The 2 issues are intertwined. Black communities have staggering levels of violent crime, which brings residents into frequent contact with police. Usually in these cases where a black man is killed by the police (and then glorified by BLM and black people at large) they were resisting arrest and fighting with the police. Whenever you see police start to reduce their presence in these neighbourhoods, they explode with more violence and crime – see Baltimore (which btw has a majority black police force and city council, as well as a black mayor and police chief) for a current example if you want, but this dynamic has been played out before with other cities. Look, the weekend is coming up, and you know as well as I do that double-digit shooting deaths of black men in Chicago will come with it, so let’s just cut the crap.

      • Sean,

        The problem is the bad cops taking out innocent people simply because they are black.
        I get that.

        But, most blacks killed by white cops were killed because they were violent thugs who deserved to be taken out. If you are raised (should say, “grew up” ) to place little value on real work, honour, or honesty, and don’t consider a life to be sacred….then you get the kind of stats we see in the black communities in Chicago.

        Again, the biggest problem in the black community, is coming from the black community itself. Whitey didn’t create the mess…….the black community and their complete lack of standards and decency have done it for them. Black culture needs to seriously look inward and fix the mess they have created. Cops killing innocent blacks is a travesty to be sure, but if parents in the black community actually started to take an interest in their own kids…..it would do a lot more than any protest against the cops.

        But then again, placing the blame for this mess on the White cops……..is certainly one way to avoid stating the obvious.

  2. Brilliant article using accurate statistics. We need more reporting like this.

  3. What % of people who are known to have murdered police are black? 42%.
    What % of people shot and killed by the police are black? 28%.

    Could it be that the police (black, white or whatever) are nervous around black suspects for a reason?

    • The best source to use on this is the one that came out of Harvard:

      ” And, according to a Harvard study released this month, Hispanic and black Americans are far more likely to be the victims of police brutality than white suspects. (That same study found no racial bias when it comes to police shootings, however.”

      This quote from the above article is accurate and I source checked the study…a good study by all merits. Also, black on black crime is a huge problem. That being said….the use of non-lethal force is greatly disproportionate amongst the different races. Both are true, and both are problems that need to be solved (black on black violence does not downplay the disproportionate use of force by police and vice versa).

      • “the use of non-lethal force is greatly disproportionate amongst the different races.”

        It might be if the differences were “per encounter”. If it’s just as a % of the population then it’s meaningless.

        From crime stats it would appear that blacks are far more likely to commit violent crimes. It would be logical then that they would be arrested proportionately more often and some would resist arrest which then would lead to more abuses by the police.

        We should also check figures for the rates of black police being accused of abuse of black and white suspects to compare with white officers abuse of blacks or whites in the same locale. “Systematic racism” might be just what happens when you police a highly violent area.

  4. Again, Gilmore, your criticism lacks context. To leave out the fact that the worst places for blacks to live in the USA- the places with the highest rates of unemployment, family breakdown, and black-on-black violence- are also the places that have been run by Democrats for most of the post-WWII era is a glaring and odious omission.
    Interestingly, the socio-economic policies that have brought misery to America’s blacks (according to Thomas Sowell, a higher percentage of black families sent their kids off to higher education in the 1930’s than did white Americans, a situation that LBJ’s Great Society quickly reversed) are the kinds of socio-economic policies advocated by the Lib’s and the Dippers. If only there were a technology whereby it were easier for our elected leaders to access these kinds of important information…

  5. I wonder how the author feels about the latest attacks against police in the US. Surely he can see how the rhetoric that him and other mainstream, leftist media sources have been pushing have played a role in all this. Keep bombarding black people with the message that the police are hunting them for sport, killing them in cold blood for the colour of their skin. Tell them in mainstream publications like this, on social media, at the Superbowl half-time show, at the BET award show. And then we see riots, traffic being blocked (including ambulances), police officers being assaulted during the riots in Minnesota (where one officer had several vertebrae broken from rocks being thrown by BLM rioters – we don’t seem to be hearing a lot about that in the leftist media, eh?), untold amounts of property damage. And worst of all now, we’re seeing some mentally unbalanced black men who, gassed up by the rhetoric from the media, BLM and even the POTUS, are going on suicide missions to kill police officers. This is like what we see from ISIS sympathizers. But they have to actually search out ISIS propaganda online to get radicalized – the Dallas or Baton Rouge shooters only needed to turn on their tv or log onto a website and read an opinion piece like this one. Shameful. “In other words, don’t let the news depress you—let it enrage you.”

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