Monday, August 18, 2014



THE shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, is a reminder that civilians—innocent or guilty—are far more likely to be shot by police in America than in any other rich country. In 2012, according to data compiled by the FBI, 410 Americans were “justifiably” killed by police—409 with guns. That figure may well be an underestimate. Not only is it limited to the number of people who were shot while committing a crime, but also, amazingly, reporting the data is voluntary.

Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans.


The Economist blames the easy access to guns in the US for this gap. In Britain, it's really hard for civilians to get guns, so almost nobody has them, so the cops aren't afraid for their lives. But let's not discount racism, police militarization, and the fact that the cops all know they can get away with it (especially when shooting black people) because so many cops have gotten away with it.

The US is so broken.

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