Headlines are misleading things … by design.
Case in point: Bloomberg news feeds (yes, the same Bloomberg who is funding the resurgent gun control industry) issued the headline “56% Increase in Gun Fatalities Leads Rise in Police Deaths.” The associated article begins with “U.S. law-enforcement deaths rose to the highest in three years, led by a 56 percent increase in the number killed by gunfire …” and then proceeds to tie the trend to recent racial tensions.
What the article doesn’t say is that over the past decade, the number of cops being shot on the job is declining and that 2013 was a low outlier year that distorts 2014’s “increase”
The source for the data is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and I’ll assume they are reasonably meticulous in their gathering of on-the-job police fatality counts. Thankfully, they post the numbers they have gathered over the past decade and the preliminary figures for 2014. Cops do get shot, and with the exception of one year, it is the leading cause of officer fatalities. But the second most common cause is automobile accidents (they get into a lot of them) and guns outpace squad car crashes by a bit more than 25% (significant, but not unexpected).
But the “56% increase in gun fatalities” headline is misleading on two fronts.
- 2013 was an abnormally low year for cops catching bullets
- The decade-long trend is downward despite 2014 data
The fact is that the number of officers shot to death while on the job in 2014 is the same as in 2012 and 2009 and lower than 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011.
Whenever you see scary gun numbers in headlines, dig a little deeper. Especially if the story come from a Bloomberg news syndication “service”.