Deaths From Police Shootings, ‘OurTime,’ and Other Conundrums

A long-time friend recently posted the following meme on Facebook:

Economist Meme

This incredibly sagacious meme was accompanied by her comment:

“If Christians value life as created in God’s image, these are numbers we should pay attention to.”

I have no clue what that means. If you do, kindly drop me a line. Meanwhile, I will resist the temptation to divulge said friend’s name. Although she’s a liberal par excellence and we agree on practically nothing politically, we’ve been good friends since shortly after the earth’s crust cooled. (Miracles do happen.) Bedsides, if I gave you her name, you’d probably want her address, phone number, email and bank account. You might even be tempted to go over to her house and give her what for. And I wouldn’t want that on your conscience.

Let’s unpack this a bit. I tracked this graphic back to its apparent posting source. Sentiments on that page include such sage pearls of wisdom as, “Guns are a privilege not a right and require that you have to have a valid reason for owning a gun.” (I am not making this up.)

The apparent source for the meme’s stat is an August 15, 2014 story (read: Ferugson aftermath) by The Economist titled, Armed Police: Trigger Happy. The headline’s a clue, in case you missed it.

Here are some choice items that don’t appear in the Facebook meme, from the article itself:

In 2012, according to data compiled by the FBI, 410 Americans were “justifiably” killed by police—409 with guns. That figure may well be an underestimate. Not only is it limited to the number of people who were shot while committing a crime, but also, amazingly, reporting the data is voluntary. (Emphasis mine.)

In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial.

In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed*—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.

Did anyone else notice the part about, “while committing a crime?” Funny how the meme left that out. Oh, and just two words here (because they’re recent): Kevin Vickers.

If you’re looking for something to do on your lunch break or can’t locate the Sominex, check out List of Countries By Firearms-Related Death Rate Per 100,000 Population in One Year. (Be glad if you don’t live in Central or South America.)

A few more words:

Dontcha love it when some sweet pea from across the pond weighs in on America’s “colossal gun ownership” and what America should do with our “deep social problems”? Here’s an idea, Economist: Why don’t fix your own country first before telling us ex-colonials what to do? Better yet, Eco baby, why don’t you shut up?

Speaking of sources, did you notice the box in the lower left-hand corner of the meme? If you didn’t, don’t worry. I’ve gotcha covered. If you’ve never heard of OurTime.org, don’t worry again. Gotcha covered there, too. From OurTime’s website:

What is OurTime.org?

A nationwide non-profit organization that empowers and speaks for the interests of young Americans. We’ve built a membership of more than 1,000,000 people by organizing campaigns that register and educate voters, advocate for economic opportunity, and convert political news into relevant languageshort explanation videos, and shareable memes.  

Key issues are “voting reform, college affordability, equal rights, and job opportunities, to name a few.”

OurTime is a “bunch of millenials,” and was founded by Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno. Responding to the question on its About page, “Are you liberal or conservative,” OurTime says, “We like to call ourselves “pro-generational,” meaning that we carefully consider the majority views of our generation and do our best to represent those positions without shilling for political parties.”

Nice dodge. But it doesn’t answer the question. Just for fun, click on the links OurTime provides for Matthew and Jarrett. See what happens when it redirects to their Twitter feeds. Here’s the infomercial:

Check out OurTime’s News page.

Back to the meme. The piece de resistance regarding my friend’s “If Christians value life as created in God’s image, these are numbers we should pay attention to” comment? She’s a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. You know, the party of Planned Parenthood and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.

Count the conundrums. That’s okay. I’ll wait.

* No source is cited. However, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the number of officers killed in the line of duty in 2013 is 105. (The average age is 42. The average tour of duty is 13 years, 9 months.) In 2014 (at the time of writing), that number rose to 118. The numbers according to NBC are a bit different, but the news outlet reports that police officer shooting deaths are up 56% in 2014.

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