Freedomnomics

Article published Friday, July 8, 2016, at New York Post.

Obama’s false racism claims are putting cops’ lives in danger

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Hours before the murders of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, President Obama was again spouting false claims about racism by the police. He sees racism whenever there is any disparity in outcomes, no matter what the cause.

Obama and others inflame passions, but take no responsibility, and instead use events to push for more gun control. Yet, shouting racism can endanger the lives of police officers. The Dallas police chief tells us one of the shooters “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

After the Trayvon Martin case, there were numerous cases around the country of blacks attacking whites and invoking Martin’s name.

Let’s not forget that NYPD cops Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were executed by a black man who was angry about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Obama and his administration spoke out repeatedly on the Martin and Brown cases. They repeatedly claimed racism was involved, but in fact there’s no evidence of that in either case.

Obama is also wrong, as he was on Thursday, to infer racism from higher arrest rates or prison-sentence lengths. “African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites,” he said. What he failed to note is that blacks commit murder at almost six times the rate whites do.

“African-American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population,” he added. But Obama ignores the facts put out by his own Department of Justice. The FBI claims that gangs commit 80 percent of crimes in the US, and the National Gang Center estimates that 82 percent of gang members are black or Hispanic.

Obama claimed: “[Blacks] receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.” Putting aside questions as to how comparable the crimes are or the criminals’ past histories, Obama again leaves out crucial details. Whites are more likely to face other penalties — fines and restitution, loss of professional licenses, and a greater drop in legitimate earnings upon returning to the labor force after prison.

Will Obama be complaining about the “racist” aspects of these other penalties?

Of course, Obama isn’t alone in pushing these misleading claims. For example, the left-leaning ProPublica attracted massive news attention for its false allegation that 15-to-19-year-old black males die at the hands of the police 21 times as often as do white males of the same age.

ProPublica never made it clear that its claim was based on an unrepresentative 1.2 percent of all departments in the country. Or that the University of Missouri-St. Louis professor it claimed to rely on, David Klinger, reportedly warned ProPublica that the FBI Uniform Crime Report data on justifiable police homicide is “absolute garbage” — a common view among those who work with the data.

Blacks, being the most likely victims of violent crime, are also the most likely beneficiaries of police protection. This makes it especially sad that recent polls show a sharp turn for the worse in relations between blacks and police.

If black victims really believe police are so racist, why would they even bother reporting crimes? If blacks think that police are by and large incompetent, dishonest or apathetic, there would be little reason to turn to them for help.

But blacks don’t shy away from reporting crimes to the police. Data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics from 2008 to 2012 show blacks are actually more likely than whites to report violent crimes to the police (54 percent to 45 percent).

Blacks consistently report violent crime at a higher rate than whites do. This is true of all income groups and of both suburban and urban areas. This higher rate of reporting is true in areas where blacks face higher violent-crime rates than whites and also when the reverse is true.

If black victims do become more reticent to report crime, criminals will find crime less risky and we will see more of it.

Inflammatory, false claims about police racism not only endanger the lives of police officers, they can also lead to higher crime rates — especially in heavily black areas. If Obama really cares about poor blacks, he should be more careful getting his facts right.

Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Home

Johnlott.org (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

---------------------------------
List of my Op-eds
---------------------------------

Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article

Links

Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper