Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homicides Down & Cops Killed by Gunfire Lowest Since 1887

Dear Readers,

In 1887, just 18 years earlier, the Civil War had ended.

In 1887, President Cleveland ordered Civil War booty of the Union Army consisting of captured Confederate flags to be returned to the South.

That same year, Great Britain celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria at home and around the world in every common wealth.

It was the year that President Abraham Lincoln was re-buried with his wife in Springfield Illinois; Rowell Hodge patented Barbed Wire; Jake Kilrain & Jem Smith fought a 106 round bare knuckle prizefight to a draw; and the United States received rights to Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii.

In 1887, San Francisco's famed Cliff House was damaged when the schooner Parallel exploded nearby. It's cargo was gun powder.

It was the year that John Henry "Doc" Holliday dies of tuberculosis, Joseph Issac "Ike" Clanton was shot dead, and Clay Allison died in an accidental death while working on his ranch wagon.

In Eufaula. Indian Territory, that same year, Deputy Marshal William Kelly and possemen Mark Kuykendall and Henry Smith were shot and killed during a prisoner escape.

What does 1887 have to do with 2013?

Historians say, the national rate of homicides has greatly decreased over the years.

It was recently reported that the number of cops killed by gunfire in 2013 dips to 33, the lowest since 1887.

It's true, the number of law enforcement authorities killed by gunfire dipped to 33 in 2013, the lowest total since the Old West days of 1887.

The number of police officers killed by bullets in the United States has been trending downward in recent years, as reported by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  And yes, it was welcome news for the nation's peacekeepers.

Experts also noted that overall line-of-duty deaths of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers dropped to 111, the lowest total since 1959.

The annual report from NLEOMF credited an increased culture of safety among law enforcement agencies, including increased use of bulletproof vests, that followed a spike in deaths in 2011.

Since that time, officer fatalities across all categories have decreased by 34 percent, and gun deaths have fallen by 54 percent.

Among the 105 total line-of-duty deaths tallied by the website last year, 13 occurred in Texas, followed by 10 in California and 7 in Mississippi. Nine were federal law enforcement officers whose deaths occurred in various locations.

The overwhelming majority died in traffic accidents.

In 2012, 47 of the 123 line-of-duty fatalities were classified as death by gunfire, with an additional two accidental fatalities.

What about comparing these deaths another way?

In 1887, a total of 44 law enforcement officers were killed, 30 of whom succumbed to gunfire. Another two officers were killed by accidental gunfire.

So now, you may find this pretty remarkable in that we are actually at a 150 year low for deaths of law enforcement officers - but think about this for a moment:

The population of the United States in 1890 was about 63,000,000.

Last year, the U.S. Census put our population at 316,364,000.

Yes, the population is now almost 6 times larger - and yet the same amount of law
enforcement officers were killed by gun shots.

That fact in itself shows that we now live in a safer society.

How about the Murder Rate in what seems like all the murders today?

Besides low law enforcement deaths, the national homicide rate for 2011 was 4.8 per 100,000 citizens — that is less than half of what it was in the early years of the Great Depression when it peaked before falling precipitously before World War II.

The peak in modern times of 10.2 was in 1980, as recorded by national criminal statistics.

In 2011, the homicide rate was the lowest of any year since 1963 when the rate was 4.6, according to the Uniform Crime Reports compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Historians and Criminologists say the nation’s homicides, a little more than 14,000 last year, are a separate beast from these types of slayings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado.

The vast number of homicides arise from arguments, fights, drug deals and domestic disputes, most often among people who know one another.

Becky Block, vice president of the American Society of Criminology and an analyst at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, has studied a data set of 22,000 killings in Chicago from 1965 through 2000.

“My perspective is that there’s no such thing as just homicide,” she says. “What you have is a lot of different kinds of violence — robberies, child abuse, barroom brawls, intimate-partner disputes, gangs — and some of these end in homicide and some don’t.”

Mass killings, by contrast, almost always stem from one man’s pre-suicidal outburst, often directed at strangers. The perpetrators are overwhelmingly white middle-class males, who otherwise have a fairly low rate of homicide, according to federal crime statistics.

A low Homicide Rate Compared to the 1800s?

Yes, The highest murder rate in our Nation's history was between 1846 and 1887.

Not including Civil War deaths, during the Reconstruction Era there were counties in Louisiana where you had 200 people per 100,000 residents killed. In counties in Texas with 10,000 people and 500 people killed. In Los Angeles in the 1840s, one in every 46 people were murdered.

Compare that to 2011 when our Nation's homicide rate is 5 people per 100,000 citizens.

So even as images of violence on television and the movies and the news have proliferated our everyday life, and even as the number of high-profile mass killings like the ones in Newtown and Aurora has risen -- no matter what the anti-gun Liberal politicians say about Gun Control, the homicide rate has been near stagnant or fallen for 21 consecutive years.

And yes, it is certainly down since the days of Reconstruction in the South when it was the highest in our nation's history.

Yes, amid the bloodbaths like Newtown and Aurora which make the news and are talked about relentlessly, it should come as a real surprise that we are in fact not killing each other as often as we have in the past.

by Tom Correa
 


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