Starting on Thursday, US Police killed 3 people, Friday that number doubled at 6 people killed, and at least 3 more were confirmed over Saturday and into Sunday morning.
By contrast, China, whose population is 4 and 1/2 times the size of the United States, recorded 12 killings by law enforcement officers in 2014.
More people were killed by American police in just the last three days than were killed in 2014 in Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, and Iceland — combined.
Anyone see a problem with this?
Police killings have gotten so out of control that they have gained the attention of those in the mainstream. While there have been the hardcore activists at sites like KilledByPolice keeping count for almost 2 years, The Guardian has also thrown their hat into the ring of police accountability.
They have just built a comprehensive and interactive database of US police killings.
According to the Guardian:
It’s rather difficult to compare data from different time periods, according to different methodologies, across different parts of the world, and still come to definitive conclusions.
But now that we have built The Counted, a definitive record of people killed by police in the US this year, at least there is some accountability in America – even if data from the rest of the world is still catching up.
It is undeniable that police in the US often contend with much more violent situations and more heavily armed individuals than police in other developed democratic societies. Still, looking at our data for the US against admittedly less reliable information on police killings elsewhere paints a dramatic portrait, and one that resonates with protests that have gone global since a killing last year in Ferguson, Missouri: the US is not just some outlier in terms of police violence when compared with countries of similar economic and political standing.
America is the outlier – and this is what a crisis looks like.
In the United States, the overall homicide rate is 5 per 100,000 among the citizens.
According to Edward Stringham, although official statistics have historically been scant, we now know that police killed 1,100 Americans in 2014 and 476 Americans in the first five months of 2015. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.
No one here is claiming that police shouldn’t defend themselves if someone is attempting to cause them harm. However, when compared to the rest of the world, American police seemingly defend themselves in the most deadly manner possible and far more often.
The overwhelming majority of police brutality cases stem from the war on drugs. When so many people are tasked with finding and prosecuting those in possession of a substance deemed illegal, the interactions become more frequent and less cordial. If we end that, we get the state out of the private lives of most individuals. This will only serve to lessen the scope of police harassment, in turn lessening the instance of brutality and killings.
We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a result.
Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs. However, the illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems.
This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
The War on Drugs creates criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is setup in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.
When drugs are legalized, gang violence drops — drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too.
Until Americans educate themselves on the cause of this violence, uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms.
We will see more senseless killings and more innocent lives stripped of opportunity by getting entangled in the system. It is high time we #End the Drug War
The time for peaceful action is now.