The usual mantra comes in two forms:
- Blue lives matter, and there is an epidemic of people doing bad things to cops (shooting them, mostly.) This problem has gotten worse in recent years and we must do something about it.
- Being a cop is a dangerous job that has only gotten more dangerous. The usual chestnuts are that there are more guns, more goons and gangbangers, and thus it's simply a more-dangerous profession (to a large degree due to technology on all sides) than it once was.
These are lies.
What's worse is that they're not opinions, they're provable as lies.
It turns out that there is an organization called The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund that has data going back to 1791, albeit somewhat sketchy in the early years. However, there is good data since 1900, so I'm going to start from there.
This chart is the raw number of officers killed in the line of duty from all causes; shootings, traffic accidents, other forms of assault, fire, etc. You'll note that the high was set in the height of Prohibition, with a second peak in the early 1970s. There is also a big spike in 2001 (you know where that one came from.)
Today fewer than half as many cops are killed in the line of duty as in 1974 and with the exception of 9/11 the trend has been decidedly down -- yes, including recent years all the way to 2014.
But this does not tell the whole story. You see, these are raw numbers and there are a lot more people in the country now than there were in the 1920s! There are also more cops. So to determine the risk on a population-adjusted basis (the only means by which you can honestly compare) we must add population to the curves. Fortunately the US Census makes that reasonably easy to compile.
This chart is the population adjusted rate of on-duty officer deaths, in number of deaths-per-million residents per year. You can see that when adjusted for population while the early 1970s spike was bad it still was only about half of the Prohibition-era rate. 9/11 again shows up, but now it is a lot less of a distortion, isn't it?
And further, the rate in 2014, 0.37 per million, is 28% of the 1974 rate of 1.31.
Got that folks? The risk of dying as a cop from all causes, including being shot, run over by a car, being in a traffic accident (not an incident) and similar is down by nearly three quarters over the last 40 years.
Yet we're told that murders of police officers are an "epidemic", "growing", and are increasing.
This is a bald-faced lie and those who run such crap for political purpose, or worse, to attempt to justify disarming the public, need to be run out of town on a rail no matter who they are. This is especially true when such lies are used in an attempt to justify thuggish behavior by cops.
H/t to Tom McClellan, who ran a chart inspiring me to look at the data on this issue in a more-critical way.