How many unarmed Black men do you think were shot by police in 2019, the last year available from the Washington Post, which maintains probably the best data base on this subject?
Do you think it was 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?
Have you picked a number? Do you believe your guess is influenced by your political orientation?
It is, according to a fascinating study of Americans’ attitudes by the Skeptic Research Center.
The number, reported by the liberal Washington Post, was 13. A secondary source lists the number as high as 27.
That is among the millions of police/civilian contacts each year.
Of those shot by police, the percentage of unarmed Black men is 26.7%, slightly more than one-quarter.
African-Americans account for about 13% of the population, so the number reveals a disproportionate number of Black victims, about twice as high. But there is no escaping the reality that the number is low, very low.
Reality is one thing, beliefs are another.
The Skeptic charts clearly reveal that the farther Left you are, the higher the number of victims you choose. . . Wrongly.
Nearly 60% of those calling themselves liberal or very liberal believe the number is about 1,000 — 30 times the reality of the higher number of 27. No wonder so many of them believe in defunding the police. They see an ocean of abuse when the reality is a pond.
At the other end of the scale, 90% of those calling themselves conservative or very conservative chose 10, underestimating the actual number.
Only one-third of moderates chose 10, which is the choice closest to reality. The majority picked the higher numbers.
Skeptic doesn’t speculate as to why this is true, but I will.
There is such heavy reporting on each of these cop-on-Black incidents, almost nonstop on some cable outlets, it exaggerates them. Conversely, there is a lack of reporting on whites shot by cops, which amounts to about three-quarters of the shootings.
Then there are the advocates who use each shooting to generate support or donations.
Politicians sometimes minimize (or maximize) the killings.
U.S. Rep Karen Bass (D.,CA) on Sunday told CNN’s Dana Bash that “Since George Floyd’s murder, over 100 people have been murdered or brutalized by police.”
For her own purposes, Bass conflated two different things — alleged homicide and assault — to make the number as high as possible, and to stir the maximum amount of fear. She also used the loaded word “brutalized.” Does that mean a slap, a shove up against a wall, or a felonious beatdown with blackjacks?
We don’t know and Bass is not saying. She’s happy to foment fear.
The actual numbers reported by the Washington Post are important because facts are always important.
The actual number of Blacks killed by cops — every incident is different, and all are regrettable — proves that Blacks are not being “hunted,” as we have heard some “leaders” say. Others claim “It’s open season on Blacks.”
It’s just not true. It is nonsense.
In Philadelphia, as I reported last June, “African-Americans were 80% of shooting victims, but the unarmed suspects were more likely to be white. In a majority of cases, unarmed Black suspects were shot by Black officers,” according to a Department of Justice study of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Nationally, one of the biggest lies has attained legendary status. It’s the one about Michael Brown: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Black, liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart courageously called that a flatout lie.
This isn’t to diminish Brown’s death, but we shouldn’t have people marching in the streets chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” when it is built on a lie. The chant riles them up, infuriates them, intimidates them — but it is a lie.
I have reported this kind of information in the past, not to disprove racism, as a few have said. I do it to present the facts, that the problem is nowhere near as devastating as some believe. Beliefs should be built on a platform of fact, not propaganda.
The Skeptic research showed the political persuasion of those surveyed.
Can you imagine the results had they surveyed white people and people of color?
Am I crazy to think the POC results would have dwarfed those of the “very liberal”? I base that on comments I got from Blacks on previous columns I have written, and on Facebook. It’s clear that Blacks imagine the numbers are very much worse than they are.
That is dangerous, and demoralizing.
It creates an exaggerated sense of danger for Black people, which is not good for their mental health, or for us, as a nation.