Poor Michael Brown was videotaped by a surveillance camera robbing a convenience store, shortly before he was shot by police.
Armed & Dangerous agrees with the general narrative contending that events in Ferguson, Missouri show that American police use too much military equipment and are ill-advisedly trained to employ military tactics, but –beyond all that– he feels obliged to defend police against knee-jerk accusations of racism.
[The] 2% [of the US population composed of black males aged 15 to 25] is responsible for almost all of 52% of U.S. homicides. Or, to put it differently, by these figures a young black or â€œmixedâ€ male is roughly 26 times more likely to be a homicidal threat than a random person outside that category â€“ older or younger blacks, whites, hispanics, females, whatever. If the young male is unambiguously black that figure goes up, about doubling.
26 times more likely. Thatâ€™s a lot. It means that even given very forgiving assumptions about differential rates of conviction and other factors we probably still have a difference in propensity to homicide (and other violent crimes for which its rates are an index, including rape, armed robbery, and hot burglary) of around 20:1. Thatâ€™s being very generous, assuming that cumulative errors have thrown my calculations are off by up to a factor of 6 in the direction unfavorable to my argument.
Now suppose youâ€™re a cop. Your job rubs your nose in the reality behind crime statistics. What youâ€™re going to see on the streets every day is that random black male youths are roughly 20 times more likely to be dangerous to you â€“ and to other civilians â€“ than anyone who isnâ€™t a random black male youth.
Any cop who treated members of a group with a factor 20 greater threat level than population baseline â€œequallyâ€ would be crazy. He wouldnâ€™t be doing his job; heâ€™d be jeopardizing the civil peace by inaction.
Yeah, my all means letâ€™s demilitarize the police. But letâ€™s also stop screaming â€œracismâ€ when, by the numbers, the bad shit that goes down with black male youths reflects a copâ€™s rational fear of that particular demographic â€“ and not racism against blacks in general.
Hat tip to Vanderleun.