The blood had barely been washed from the streets of Dallas before the usual suspects started squawking about a “war on cops,” parroting how President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Black Lives Matter and everyone and anything liberal are to blame for this supposed spike in attacks on police.
“It’s a war on cops,” fumed William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations. Johnson slammed Obama’s “refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers… all the while blaming police for the problems in this country has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”
Milwaukee County Sheriff and Fox News favorite David Clarke accused both Obama and Clinton of “exploiting” blacks’ “misplaced anger” over police killings of unarmed black people, calling the president “the cop-hater-in-chief” during a Friday morning appearance on Fox and Friends.
Former US Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) reacted to the Dallas shootings by declaring a war of his own against Obama and Black Lives Matter, tweeting “3 Dallas Cops killed. 7 wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
But in Real America, the “War on Cops” is almost entirely a construct of the imaginations of the same sort of people who tend to believe that acknowledging the fact that pervasive racism exists in America today is, well, racist. The facts bear this out. Since Obama entered office, an average of 54 police officers have been shot and killed each year. That’s 54 too many to be sure, but it is also less than the 56 per year killed during the George W. Bush administration. The annual police death toll never fell below 70—and soared as high as 85—under Bill Clinton. An average of 70 officers were shot dead each year during George H. W. Bush’s presidency, and during that golden age when conservative hero Ronald Reagan was slashing taxes and social services, an average of 84 police officers were killed every year. The safest year for cops in the Reagan era was 1984, when 72 officers were killed—more than during the deadliest year under Obama.
Obama’s second term ranks among the safest time ever to be a cop in America. Only two years in the past century have seen fewer than 40 police officers killed—2013 and 2015, which also just so happens to coincide with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Fewer officers (33) were shot dead in 2013 than in any year since 1887.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following professions—and this is just a small sampling—have higher on-the-job mortality rates (and often exponentially so) than police officers:
- Taxi driver/chauffeur
- Construction worker
- Garbage collector
- Electric power line worker
- Recycling wholesaler
Even the more honest conservative voices acknowledge the fact that it’s never been safer to be a cop in America. In a schizophrenic and wildly misleading Hot Air posttitled “Blue Lives Matter: Police Killings Up 89% Last Year” (yes, up 89 percent from the historic low of 2013), Noah Rothman admits that “a review of the circumstances indicates that there has not been a sharp rise in the number of police deaths due to targeted attacks, but perception is everything.”
It sure is. And with the real race-baiters out there—people like Johnson, Clarke and Walsh—disseminating deliberate disinformation, it should come as no surprise that a majority of Americans believe there’s really a “War on Cops,” even as readily-available facts and statistics prove otherwise.
What there seems to be is a war on is dissent, and its as old as America itself. We see it in the right-wing demonization of peaceful Black Lives Matter as “criminals,” “thugs” and even “terrorists.” Sadly, we also see it in Hillary Clinton lamenting that activists are being “crushed by a steel vise” around the world (by brutal dictators she often supported), while shamefully suggesting that the pacifist Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against illegal and immoral Israeli occupation in Palestine is a form of antisemitic bullying. We see it in the way police in some of the most liberal cities and campuses in America ferociously attacked sitting students and old ladies and war veterans and public officials during the Occupy Wall Street uprising. We see it in too many places to count, and far more often than the handful of tragically regrettable but exceedingly rare cases in which police officers are targeted.