Fear vs. Reality, 2015 Edition
This was originally a comment on ISWPP’s page about civilian deaths at the hands of police in 2015. I’m posting it as it’s own page at her request.
Let’s start with the stats from the article she linked to:
U.S. Civilian Deaths at the Hands of Police in 2015
People killed by police: 965 (about 90 of whom were completely unarmed)
That number is mind boggling, especially if you look up other stats for the year, for example (in descending order of number of deaths):
U.S. Mass Shootings Deaths in 2015
I got the following number by downloading the spreadsheet available at the Gun Violence Archive’s “Mass Shootings” page and deleting any records prior to January 1, 2015. Their numbers include terrorist attacks as well as the shooters among those killed, so I subtracted the numbers related to the four incidents below: 367 - (16 + 6 + 3 + 9) = 333.
People killed in mass shootings: 333
U.S. Terrorism Deaths in 2015
People killed in jihadist attacks (two incidents, all three shooters killed): 19
People killed in far right-wing attacks (two incidents, zero shooters killed): 12
Source: securitydata.newamerica.net (they don’t count dead shooters)
Fear vs. Reality
It’s eye-opening to realize that police in the U.S. have killed nearly three times as many people this year as mass shooters. In turn, mass shooters have killed more than 10 times as many people as terrorists.
I didn’t even bother with the overall numbers for gun-related deaths, which are astronomical. Thanks to the media and scare mongering demagogues, the thing most Americans are so fearful of—jihadist terrorism—is actually one of the least likely to kill them. This has elevated said jihadists’ “street cred” far out of proportion to whatever actual threat they may pose to people living in the U.S. So…
The demagogues benefit
- sometimes winning elections
- always making money (donations, books, speaking engagements)
- increased power as a result of the items noted above
The media benefits
- increased TV viewership
- clickbait that drives traffic to websites
- increased ad revenue
The terrorists benefit
- increased stature/infamy
- wider dissemination of message
- increased tension/mistrust between Muslim & non-Muslim Americans(in the case of jihadist terror attacks)
The losers? The American people. I can’t think of a single thing we gain from this irrational fear. Go figure. *smh*
Why do we continue to allow them to make us dance like mindless marionettes? Cognitive bias, I suppose. We need to learn to overcome that, posthaste. If we don’t we’re going to end up in a really bad place with no one to blame ourselves.
Oh yeah—Happy New Year. // Let’s try to do better in 2016.