Cops have killed way more Americans in America than terrorists have

I understood all of it, including the implicit “Some of them had it coming.”


I think CLamb’s point, and it is a valid one, is that many of those shootings were in self defense.

YES - there certainly are cases where whether the shooting was justified or not isn’t clear, and there are certainly cases where the shootings were NOT justified. But there are also cases where the shootings were CLEARLY justified.

As much as I don’t like over zealous cops abusing power, I also don’t like the criminal element that they have to deal with. There are bad people out there who will just as soon harm you as look at you. So you need to take each of these instances in context and make judgments based on each instance.

Terrorism is very rare, so just about any thing, falling off ladders, poisoning, drowning, auto-erotic asphyxiation accidents are going to kill more Americans than terrorism.


Granted. Here’s a comparison that’s a little harder for the police apologists to dismiss (although I’m sure they’ll do their very best).


This is what I’m trying to say. While I personally doubt that the number of justified cases is enough to make up the difference, I don’t have that information and don’t feel comfortable making that assumption. Completely regardless of that, this comparison, while interesting, isn’t very compelling and doesn’t really make much sense.

To see people automatically assuming that CLamb is an authoritarian bootlicker or a racist just because he or she pointed out these obvious problems is disturbing. This is a witch hunt.

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By definition, anybody not convicted of a crime is not guilty. Which is not the same thing as innocent, but the same term should equally apply to those in the Twin Towers, &c.

No, but it might mean that it is more significant.

Who introduced “good” and “evil” into this discussion? I thought we were talking numbers.


Clearly, The cops need to get their act together and wipe out a group of about 3,000 citizens all in one go. Then people would take notice


You must be new here. It’s impossible in these forums to suggest that all police are anything less than racist abusers of power without people jumping all over you.

Looking through the comments, I don’t see anyone saying that the police are killing an acceptable amount of people. Just that the comparison of police with terrorists is inappropriate–hardly apologism at work.


There are far more effective ways of diffusing a dangerous, because (potentially) violent situation than shoot to kill. In some countries cops receive trainings in such things.

Actually, in most countries the job of a cop is to diffuse (potentially) violent situations, reacting to violence with violence is really (gang) warfare and most governments invest resources in preventing same.

Another thought, a disproportionate number of violence and criminal behaviour in the US is connected to / or cause by mental ill health. There are definitely better, because cheaper and more effective / sustainable ways of dealing with the mentally ill than to drive them to the wall of despair i.e. suicide by cop.


I think it’s fair to say that those cops who aren’t racist abusers of power are at least enablers of the ones who are. A common argument against “not all cops” is that any “good” cop would do everything in their power to root out the bad ones, instead of helping protect their own, and I still haven’t heard a valid counterargument against that. I’ve met police officers who were perfectly polite and helpful, but I still don’t trust them- are they giving me preferential treatment because I’m a white male? Maybe they really do treat everyone equally, but still help support their fellow officer who murders someone for wearing a hoodie while black because they put the needs of their fellow cops above the needs of society?

My problem here isn’t with the idea that cops are murdering people and need to be stopped, it’s that the comparison between cops and terrorists is nonsensical and you could justify anything by comparing it to terrorists because terrorists just aren’t that dangerous, relatively speaking. Yeah, you could say that we should spend less on terrorism and more on reigning in cops, but you could say we should spend that money on virtually ANYTHING besides terrorism and still be right. If anyone wants to make a real difference, they’ll need something more compelling than this.

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The implicit assumption in this comparison is that every death by cop is unjustified. Is that accurate? I think that’s the discussion to have BEFORE making the comparison.

I think it’s fair to say that those cops who aren’t racist abusers of power are at least enablers of the ones who are.

I have a bit of a problem with that argument, actually.

It’s a nice sentiment that good cops should publicly condemn bad cops, but we tend to get outraged when the same is asked of Muslims and Muslim terrorists. (How’s that for a tie-in?)

I have no doubt that there are a lot of enablers in law enforcement, though. Cop culture is to take care of your own, which at minimum involves more of a presumption of innocence than private citizens get.

Cop Culture is not the only contributing factor; American culture is not helping things, as at least one other commenter pointed out. The whole country would be better off if everyone had more of a sense of social contract–doing things that are good for society, because a good society is a nice place to live–as opposed to doing things that most immediately benefit themselves. Some of the least violent nations, with the happiest people have this sense of social contract (albeit, most of those nations don’t value individuality, and have a very homogenous society…).


I agree completely. Things need to change, I just don’t see how comparing cop-related deaths to terrorism is helpful. Though to be honest, I’m not sure what would be helpful. It seems like the best option at this point might be moving to a more civilized country and spending the rest of one’s life making sure they don’t make the same mistakes as the USA.

Aside from the fact that I do believe religions should do everything they can to shame and disempower their most hateful and destructive members (though if they’re literal terrorists, I can see how that might be difficult), Muslims and Muslim terrorists don’t work together in the same office every day doing the same job in the same town, nor do they share the responsibility to protect the public. I can see how being a good cop could be dangerous or get one fired, but if they’re willing to risk their lives for their fellow officers, shouldn’t they be willing to do so for the citizens they swore to serve and protect? If they really are a good cop, isn’t that why they signed on in the first place?

I do agree that the cops aren’t the only enablers. The justice system ensures that they never get punished even if they do get exposed, and the American public makes sure that nothing ever improves because most of them are just as racist and authoritarian as the cops and they love things the way they are. One need only look at the comments section for any article about an unjustified police killing to see this in action.

  • upholding a nation’s laws requires police that is better armed than the average citizen.
  • the number of police required to do so correlates with how much the laws differ from social reality.
  • the US is home to a most vivid form of capitalism, where business are successful in obtaining more and more legal rights over citizens in order to secure their profits.
  • in international comparison, US citizens are granted the right to a shitload of weapons, to fight natives and the king of England.
  • every police force will have incompetents, and criminals, and even gangs.
  • the number of civilians killed by police will correlate with how well they are armed.

am I dumbing things down too much?

Uh, cars have killed more people than cops and terrorists COMBINED, not sure what your point is…

Valid or not, its concerning and brings into question the techniques the police use to detain suspects/etc. Along with the fact that our police have killed more people in the past couple of years, than the entire police force since the 19th century.

Nobody is saying we don’t need the police, all we want is accountability and transparency and to make sure that when force is used its used appropriately. At the very least, you should agree that the way police do things now isn’t working.

It would be one thing if the incident in South Carolina was an isolated incident, but its only the third case that comes to mind that happened this month let alone this year.

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If you look at these instances in aggregate it’s clear that is a very real systemic problem with the American system of law enforcement. Many countries with similar cultures and comparable crime rates to the U.S. (the UK, Australia, etc.) can measure their annual police shooting deaths in single digits (as I already mentioned, England’s number for 2013 was “zero.”) Others, like Iceland, can go decades at a stretch without even one fatal police shooting.

So I’m not really on board with the idea that we have to look at each case individually to judge whether there is a problem or not. The fact that there are so many individual cases is evidence of a problem in itself.


The UK doesn’t have as many swimming pools as the US, so their police don’t need to shoot as many people to protect them.


We have all kinds of laws and regulations to try to reduce the number of people killed by cars. The automotive industry and NTSB spend billions of dollars a year trying to figure out how to reduce the number of people killed by cars. Likewise, the Department of Homeland Security and other Federal agencies have nigh-unlimited budgets to protect us from terrorists.

How do you suppose those numbers compare to the resources being spent on reducing the number of people killed by police?


The blog post headline? It was clearly authored to generate a comparison.