Were Police Targeted in 2016? - The Inconvenient Truth

The question everyone is asking and no one seems to be answering is: Are officers being killed because of the current racially-charged narrative about the police? Claims of a race war, officers under siege, and a war on cops are abundant, but no one seems to be looking at the statistics that matter.

Crime rates and officer fatalities have been on a steady decrease in the long term. 2016 was a step in the wrong direction.

Crime rates and officer fatalities have been on a steady decrease in the long term. 2016 was a step in the wrong direction.

135 officers died in the line of duty in 2016, the highest we've seen since 2011. Total officer deaths are irrelevant, however, when talking about the effect of racially fueled hatred for America's police. Every year officers are shot, run over, beaten, stabbed or die in incidents that are a tragic but normal part of police work. These risks come with the job and fluctuate greatly from year to year. The one statistic that most clearly identifies the danger of the current media narrative is the number of police officers killed in unprovoked, ambush attacks. 

For the sake of intellectual honesty, even this statistic, which is alarming for 2016, clearly has limits. Attributing a motive is not always easy, and the motive is what counts here. Why did the suspect attack and kill the officer(s)? For example, Officer Justin Martin and Sgt. Anthony Beminio were gunned down in Des Moines, Iowa on November 2nd. The shooter's motive is still unclear. It may have been related to the racial tension in America right now, but to what degree we cannot be certain. 

Sometimes the motive is clear, however. Baton Rouge shooter Gavin Long (AKA Cosmo) made his intentions and motivations plain for everyone to see: Kill as many cops as possible in retaliation for police "murder" victims like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The Dallas shooter, Micah Johnson, also motivated by the Sterling and Castile incidents, killed five officers and wounded nine others. In these two incidents, eight officers were killed by assailants directly motivated by false narratives from the media, SJWs, and even President Obama himself. One can assume, based on the killers' own statements, that those eight officers would still be alive today were it not for the current narrative in America's media cesspool. 

But assumptions are not what Police Academy is about. This is a quest for truth; and the simple (i.e. statistical) truth is 21 officers were killed in ambushes in 2016, a 163% increase over 2015. This is the highest number of officers killed in ambushes in 20 years. In total, there were 8 incidents where multiple officers were killed by gunfire, which is the highest we've seen in 84 years (tied with 1971, 1932 being the last time there were more than 8). Although not every one of these ambushes was motivated directly by a belief that the police are racists and targeting young black men, some of them clearly were, which answers the question posed in the first paragraph. Yes, officers are being targeted because of the racially charged narrative of 2016. 

As with any one statistic, this spike in police ambushes doesn't tell the whole story. But we should all be concerned when the discussion about police in America is based on sensation and emotion rather than actual knowledge, facts, and evidence. Even if ambushes had been down in 2016, the rhetoric directed at America's police officers was frightening to say the least. Here's hoping 2017 will be a year of truth, of healing, of progress and peace. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing