The PJ Tatler

The Gaslighting of America: No, Police Shootings Are Not Way Up

The MSM would have you believe that’s true. And by “MSM” I mean, of course, the fons et origo of leftist memes, the New York Times, which uses both its news and opinion columns to push the latest PC-think whenever possible. Every now and then, though — just to preserve whatever remains of their tattered reputations for factual accuracy — they have to run a story like this:

Police Killings Rise Slightly, Though Increased Focus May Suggest Otherwise

Their names have become both a litany and rallying cry: Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Walter L. Scott. And now Freddie Gray. Since Mr. Brown was fatally shot in an encounter with a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in August, so many unarmed black males have died in police confrontations that even President Obama noted this week that “it comes up, it seems like, once a week now, or once every couple of weeks.” Calling such encounters “a slow-rolling crisis, he added, “This is not new and we should not pretend it is.”

But determining the prevalence of such killings is no easy matter. The use of force by the police — against minorities and whites alike — is so poorly monitored that there is no precise accounting of how many citizens are killed, much less their ethnicity or other crucial details.

What official data exists suggests that the number of killings by police officers has crept upward only slowly, if at all, in recent years. Since 2009, one regular if incomplete measure, the F.B.I.’s account of justifiable homicides by police officers, ranged from 397 to 426 deaths annually before jumping to 461 in 2013, the latest reporting year…

A number of criminologists believe police homicides are near their nadir. In New York City, for example, 91 people were fatally shot by police officers in 1971 — and a record-low eight in 2013, the last year for which figures are available. In Los Angeles, officers used “categorical” force — gunfire, chokings and other violence that could lead to death — in 84 of nearly 149,000 arrests in 2012, down 17 percent in seven years.

That data suggests that any perception that higher numbers of unarmed African-Americans are being killed by the police in recent months is driven by citizens’ postings of unsettling cellphone videos and pictures, like that of police officers dragging Freddie Gray, his legs apparently not working, into a van.

In this way, they can point to the morgue and say, hey, we reported that, and then go right on pushing the Narrative that the cops have declared open season on “unarmed black men” on the op-ed page. As the newspaper editor says in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”