It's not even close. Of course you know the answer- but you may not realize the scope of it.
Earlier this week, I posted an article entitled "I Cop" on the libertarian website "The Daily Paul." My reason for doing this quite frankly, is that I am fed up with sites such as the DP who continually post every anti-cop piece of propaganda that they can get their hands on. It's like a hate filled vacuum where like minded souls congregate to find some common enemy. At the DP, it's cops.
So yea, I've been a member of the DP for nearly 4 years. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have read well over 200 various hate cop rants and videos posted there. I have read thousands of anti-cop comments posted beneath those articles and videos. I haven't posted one thing in defense of cops, which as you all know, I spent 25 years of my life doing. I'd like to think I didn't waste those years. My patience, as I waited for some modicum of moderation at the DP, finally ran out.
I caved in. It wasn't my best effort but I made my points. To call the subsequent comments to that piece vitriolic- is an understatement. I am not sure I can adequately describe it. I don't really want to drive any traffic to the DP so I am not going to link it and yesterday, I erased my post anyway. The comments, including a few of my own, were well north of 100. The commenters attacked virtually everything that I wrote including my style of writing and me personally. Despite all of that...here's the good part...
I am glad I wrote it. Why? Because the commenters clearly believed they were not just entitled to say nasty things and cast aside any molecule of civility (except for a few) but it became clear to me that they actually believe cops are horrible human beings. What happened next was- I began to ask myself- how could all of those people have become so hopelessly jaded that they would stereotype an entire segment of our workforce based on the actions of a very few? Clearly they believed what they had posted. I am not here to question the veracity of what they believe- rather I am more interested in how and why they came to believe it. Like them, I hold similar beliefs about lawyers. So I am just as guilty of stereotyping a class of people as they are and therefore what is wrong with them must be wrong with me. An illustration is in order.
My father is an adamant, dyed in the wool, republican/conservative. The only news channel he will watch is Fox News. Feeding yourself a daily diet of all of the liberal deceptions, chicanery, and outright lies, will produce a profound sense of hatred. It is consumption in extremis. That is Fox's echo chamber. Huffington Post has the liberal echo chamber, Ace of Spades has the conservative echo chamber, and Zerohedge and "naked capitalism" have found their niche culling all of the deceptions and greed of Wall St and inevitably, the government. Their respective target audiences then become people who refuse to get both sides of the story. They are not interested in objectivity or fair play. They adamantly resist that. They are only interested in whatever pre-conceived and erroneous beliefs they hold and they migrate toward kindred spirits, people sharing the same beliefs. If an invader comes in, such as my foray onto the DP, they simply see you as an enemy troll and summarily isolate and out you- because they don't go to the DP for civility, rational thought, or to hear the other side of an issue that they have decided long ago. They don't go there to give equal time to the enemy camp. They go there for familiarity. They go there to get their emotional needs and beliefs fed and bolstered by people who hate cops like themselves.
I understand all of that. I call Zerohedge my online therapist. I don't go to Zerohedge to read from authors that want to tell me that the FED is good, that stocks are undervalued, and that bankers are really great people- just a little misunderstood. I go there expecting to see like minded individuals ranting and raving about the same things that drive me nuts. Manipulated BLS figures, a GDP re-configured and massaged for maximum effect, a government so completely nuts that they have forgotten why we formed them in the first place.
The problem of course is that we as human beings lose perspective and engage in extremism. When we adamantly want to believe something we lose all sense of moderation. If our experiences have been bad, pretty soon we start believing all cops are bad or all lawyers are bad and we seek out our own kind. We want people to validate us. To agree with us.
Cognitive dissonance is not what any of us want. And when somebody offers up a big dose of that on a venue like the DP- they get bullied and ostracized en masse.
We tend to lose any sense of a moderate perspective. Deep down, we know those extreme beliefs we hold are probably bullshit. We desperately hang onto our beliefs, our truths, and we don't want any doubt that we are wrong to creep inside our skulls. My post on the DP was a very pure and perfect example of cognitive dissonance. It was something to behold. Which leads me back to the subject question- a question that virtually everyone here knows the answer to. However, you probably had no idea how disproportionate the answer really is.
So who kills more people each year? Doctors or cops?
Let's give the doctors every advantage. Let's remove people who would most likely die anyway, let's remove people who pick up secondary infections in the hospital. Let's reduce it to people who are killed as a direct result of a malpractice or negligence. They are called preventable, adverse events or PAE's.
The best, most highly trained and educated people in the United States are responsible for 210,000 deaths per year. Source http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx
How many people do cops kill each year? (Omitting traffic accidents, etc.)
Oddly enough, there is not one single database or source for that answer. I scoured the internet for a few hours before I came up with this answer. There were about 1100 shootings, and about 700 killed. (2011) Source http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/2012/01/police-involved-shootings-2011-annual.html
So doctors in the United States kill 300 times more people than law enforcement does- yet where is that outrage? Where are the videos of that on the DP?
Both professions are highly skilled, practiced professionals who try and prevent deaths- yet it appears neither profession is doing that well. Or are they?
Therein lies the truth. Doctors and cops are doing the very best that they can under extremely trying circumstances with a very diverse population with varying factors. At least doctors aren't working under the additional pressure of being killed themselves. So we find at the end of the day, it's not really a big conspiracy to execute American citizens as the extremists would have us believe.
It's just people doing what people do. Trying hard to do the right thing and failing sometimes. It's been going on forever. As the population increases and absent technological miracles- I don't see that changing anytime soon. The point being- you need to get used to it and accept it. That's the way it is.
In the meantime, I think the answer is consumption in moderation. A little critical thinking would be nice and maybe a little respect, discipline, and restraint. As I was mulling all of this over, and all of the bad experiences I have had with lawyers, I remembered this week how fair and decent my last lawyer was. He settled my divorce amicably and returned my 3000 dollar retainer. I know another attorney who fought a tremendous battle for indigent financial aid up until his client died needing a lifesaving operation that our county refused to fund. I know an attorney who works pro bono for people who are indigent and that would otherwise have no means to afford effective representation.
So the truth is, when I examine the extreme and often erroneous positions taken by DP readers, I must first examine my own extreme and erroneous positions. Maybe someday, I will consume things in moderation and seek to understand others first. I shall leave you with a parable I first heard from a State Police Colonel, now deceased, God rest his soul.
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...
"A fight is going on inside me," the Chief said to his grandson.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
"One is evil - he is angry, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
"Which wolf will win?"
The old chief simply replied,
"The one you feed."