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Still Relevant / Cops and Guns

I discontinued the syndication of my political drawings some 30 years ago .... however, it's surprising (and depressing) to me to see how many of those images remain relevant. So, as a signpost to the future, here's a bit of the past ..

Actually, this illustration was not part of my syndication, instead it was my first illustration for the Texas Observer in 1974. This less-than-subtle drawing was about Texas police using maximum damage "dum-dum"* bullets. Even though it isn't perfectly obvious, the relationship between the situation at that time and the situation today with so many controversial police shootings and "Black Lives Matter" seems, in fact, to be quite clear. If you prepare and equip a police people for war, you'll get war. If the approach is fear based, then people overreact. If one wants responsible policing, then the police need to be part of the community, not just the jail keepers of the community.

Interesting Gun Violence Statistics

- In 2015, 1140 people in the United States were killed by U.S. police officer shootings.

- The police killings by handgun rates - by race - were: 1.34 Asian/Other, 2.92 (Whites), 3.5 (Hispanic), 7.2 (Black) per million.

- Of the total, 1086 of the killed were male and 853 were armed.

- The top seven states that had the most police killings (per capita): District of Columbia, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada & West Virginia ... Texas was 18th, California was 11th.

- The states that had the fewest police killings (per capita): Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

- The states with the highest gun killing rates (not just police related) were: Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, Montana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and South Carolina ... Texas is 29th and California is 42nd.

- The states with the fewest gun killings (per capita): Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa, California and New Hampshire.

The Takeaway

Police Shootings

- New England, as a region, has fewer police gun killings than any other region in America.

- The states with the highest rates of police killings are almost identical to the list of states with the most gun killings

in general. Surprisingly, these states are relatively small, by population, and more rural.

Gun Killings from All Sources

- The states with smallest number of gun killings, in the general population, have some of largest and most crowded urban environments in the country (including: Boston, New York, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Oakland).

- Gun control laws matter: of the 10 states with the most gun homicides, ALL either have Republican governments or mixed party control. (no Democratic party controlled states are on the list).

- On the other hand, of the 10 states that have the fewest gun homicides, ALL are either mixed government or fully Democratic. This isn't likely an accident; Republican governments push to reduce gun controls, Democratic states tend to want more gun control.

- Of the four most populated states, the two that are or trend Democratic (California & New York) are among the least gun violent in the country and have more restrictive gun laws. On the other hand, the two that are Republican-dominated (Texas & Florida) have much higher rates of gun violence. Both Texas and Florida have a "Stand your Ground" law and Texas has legalized "Open Carry".

* Expanding bullets were given the name Dum-dum, or dumdum, after an early British example produced in the Dum Dum Arsenal, near Calcutta, India by Captain Neville Bertie-Clay. There were several expanding bullets produced by this arsenal for the .303 British cartridge, including soft point and hollow point designs.

All statistics are from The Guardian, CBS News and Al Jazeera.


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