Shooting someone in self-defense is, at best, the second-worst possible outcome in any form of confrontation.
But according to the FBI, it’s on the increase:
The number of justifiable homicides committed by police and private citizens has been rising in the past two years to their highest levels in more than a decade, reflecting a shoot-first philosophy in dealing with crime, say law enforcement analysts.
This so-called “shoot first philosophy”, on the other hand, merely reflects the media’s myopia about the issue, and their inability to find literate, much less reliable, sources on the subject.
The 391 killings by police that were ruled justifiable in 2007 were the most since 1994, FBI statistics show. The 254 killings by private individuals found to be self-defense were the most since 1997.
They are very likely underreported, as well.
Again – more later.
Some law enforcement analysts say the numbers represent changing attitudes on the streets, where police have felt more threatened by well-armed offenders, and citizens have taken greater responsibility for their own safety.
Look for the pants-wetting class on the left to see this as a bad thing.
Indeed – here it is!
Northeastern University criminal justice professor James Alan Fox describes an emerging “shoot-first” mentality by police and private citizens. For several years, police departments have armed their officers with higher-powered weapons to keep pace with criminal gangs. “Clearly there is a message out there that citizens may be able to defend themselves” as well, he says.
Alfred Blumstein, a Carnegie Mellon University criminologist, says the gun “legalization movement” also may have helped create a “greater willingness” among citizens to act in self-defense.
I’m not sure if Blumstein and Fox are being misquoted, or if this area of criminology isn’t their specialty; the “willingness” has always been there, and guns have been “legal” in most of the US all along. Unfortunately, the figures don’t show how many of the civilian shootings are in the home versus away – which would be covered by the mushrooming number of Shall Issue states which have more law-abiding citizens carrying outside the home or business).
Forty-eight states provide various rights to carry firearms. Illinois and Wisconsin do not, according to the National Rifle Association. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court in June carved out a right to individual gun ownership, ruling that the Second Amendment allows citizens to keep guns in their homes for self-defense.
Further evidence of the constitutional illiteracy of the major media; the Supreme Court “carved out” nothing. It affirmed that the right is individual.
The NRA and other analysts say most laws allowing gun possession have existed for years and would not likely account for a recent spike in self-defense killings.
Instead, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, says the Sept. 11 attacks and the widespread looting and violence after Hurricane Katrina spurred some people to take more responsibility for their own safety.
Immediately after those events, LaPierre says the group’s gun-safety trainers reported “big increases” in NRA-sponsored courses. “Americans are simply refusing to be victims,” he says.
I believe this. I’ve noticed a lot more acceptance on the left, not only of the notion of the Second Amendment as a right (and a political third rail), but the validity of and need for self-defense. Their political leadership may blanche at the thought, but there a fair number of rank and file lefties who keep guns in their homes, and pockets, too.
Interpretation of that factoid, again, would seem to depend on ones’ predisposition.
Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck says the FBI underestimates self-defense killings by citizens because the ones that are not precipitated by felony crimes may not get counted. “Less than a third of (citizen killings) are reported,” he says.
And remember – the killings are the dirt on the tip of the iceberg. The real goal is deterrence – where nobody gets shot, because nobody feels emboldened to commit a crime, because that “victim” might just blow your brains out.