Watching Violence In Black And White

A few years ago, I took a look at the most recent data on police killings in a post entitled When Arrests Go Bad. I found out a most curious thing.

Now, before I get to what I found, let me say that most of what I’ll put forward here in this post are facts. Not opinion. Facts. Here’s the first fact, as verified in the link above:

If you are getting arrested by the police for a violent crime, your chances of being killed by the cops are GREATER if you are white then if you are black.

In 2015, for every thousand white people arrested for a violent crime, four white people were killed by police.

In 2015, for every thousand black people arrested for a violent crime, two black people were killed by police.

Yes, I know that goes against conventional wisdom, but all I can do is tell you what the facts are. And this has been verified by studies like this one and this one, along with other studies that came to the same conclusion.

Intrigued, I repeated the analysis the following year in a post called Making The Shortlist, with the same result—if you get arrested, your chances of being killed are higher if you are white.

In 2016, for every thousand white people arrested for a violent crime, three white people were killed by police.

In 2016, for every thousand black people arrested for a violent crime, two black people were killed by police.

So the cops are more dangerous to you if you are white. Kinda puts a kink in the whole narrative behind the current riots …

Today, since the issue of white violence against blacks is once again in the forefront, I thought I’d take a slightly different look at the issue. The Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the US Department of Justice, conducts a huge survey each year called the National Criminal Victimization Survey (NCVS). They’ve done this since 1993. The most recent one is from 2018, available here. They asked people all over the US about their experience with violent incidents. It contains a lot of fascinating data. For example, it has the following graphic:

rate of violent victimization

Figure 1. Violent incidents 1993 to 2018, and violent incidents that were actually reported to police.

This shows that since 1993, the rate of violent incidents per 1,000 people has dropped to about a quarter of its starting value. I would not have guessed that. It also shows that over that whole time, only about half of the incidents were reported to the police.

What I was more interested in, however, were the tables showing the races of the offenders and the victims in the millions of violent incidents reported by the people polled. I wanted to see if black people were justified in their fears that white people were out to harm them. I must admit, I was surprised by the outcome.

Here are the results for the 3,228,201 violent incidents involving black people and white people, split up by the race of the offender and the race of the victim. Data is from Table 14 in the link above.

Figure 2. Violent incidents by the race of the offender and the race of the victim.

I truly did not expect that disparity. The rate of black people attacking white people almost 500 times as large as the rate of white people attacking black people. And not only that, but black people attack white people more often than they attack black people. I absolutely was surprised by that.

Let me say again, what I am putting forwards are facts. Your interpretation of them will assuredly differ from mine, but the facts remain unchanged.

So you tell me … based on the facts in Figure 2, which race should be afraid of violence from the other race?

I looked further. I considered whether people were more often victims or offenders. Here’s a look by race at offenders as a percentage of victims.

violence offenders vs victims

Figure 3. Number of offenders as a percentage of the number of victims, by race.

You can see that the number of black offenders is twice the number of black victims, while the number of white offenders is only 80% of the number of white victims.

Hmmm …

To come at this from a slightly different angle, I took a look at the FBI murder data. After all, the current issue is the apparent murder of a black man by a white man. So … here’s that data:

Figure 4. Murders by the race of the offender and the race of the victim.

Once again, we see the same pattern. The rate of black people killing white people is about ten times as large as the other way around …

I ask again … which race should be afraid of the other?

My answer to that question is simple. Neither one should be afraid of the other. Here’s why.

For each race, the odds are much larger that you’ll be killed by a member of your own race.

Which way does the danger lie?

So to shift away from undeniable facts, this is a plea for some sanity and compassion. People are always going on about “the talk” that black parents have with their sons, to keep them from getting killed by cops … funny, but my mom gave me the same talk. “If you are stopped by the police, be polite, move slowly, don’t resist, and do exactly what they ask.”

But the real danger to everyone isn’t from the police. The real danger to white people is, yep, from other white people … and the real danger to black people is, yep, from other black people. Not the cops. Other white people. Other black people.

Finally, let me be clear. There absolutely are racist cops in this country, and there are racist police departments. And in a curious development, a few of the racist cops are black and use their badges to take out their anger, just like their white counterparts. Hey, are we a country of opportunity or what? As I said, police brutality, violence, and corruption are a real issue for everyone, not just one race or another.

However, there are far, far fewer of both racist cops and racist departments than when I was a young man. And there are also far, far more black police officers, police chiefs, and police commissioners. Heck, both the Chief of Police and the Deputy Chief in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died, are black … are people seriously accusing them of racism?

But then when I was a young man, white people and black people couldn’t marry in some US states, segregation was still legal, and segregated clubs, restaurants, hotels, beaches, pools, and even drinking fountains were common across the Southern US. An older friend of mine told me back then of watching the Warden of Parchman Prison Farm and a Deputy Warden beat a black man to death with leaded canes … they told him “Say one word about the nigger and you’re next”. Hey, that’s how people talked back then, it was bad times for black people.

So I give Americans, both white and black, huge props. In my lifetime we’ve gone from the blatant legal segregation and racial division I listed above, to having black men and women as Senators and Members of Congress, black men and women mayors, police chiefs, governors, generals, police officers, and a black President who was both elected and re-elected. That is an astonishing accomplishment for such a short time.

So we’ve come a long, long way since then. And no, we are NOT now a “fundamentally racist society” as some claim. That’s a huge exaggeration. If we were, black and brown people wouldn’t be risking their lives to come here. In my wide experience of working and traveling in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific, we are one of the more racially egalitarian countries on the planet … and yes, some racism still exists.

We need to get used to the idea that both can be true at once.

As a country, we seem to have lost the ability to hold two ideas at one time—for example, the idea that America is one of the best places on earth for all races, and the idea that there is still work to be done regarding racism.

My final conclusion? Police brutality is an issue whether you are white, black, or in between. It is not an issue owned by any race. As to what we can do about that, I can do no better than to restate my ideas from my first link above, my post entitled When Arrests Go Bad, wherein I said:

Now, the numbers of deaths are low. But still, with over nine hundred citizens killed by police, surely we can do better than that. And the number of unjustified deaths should be zero. So here, in no particular order, is what I’d do:

  • Require that all police be trained in Aikido. Aikido is a martial art which is designed to NOT hurt the other person. Instead, you learn to immobilize someone, disarm them, and prevent their escape without harm to either them or yourself. During the period when I studied Aikido on Maui, the Sensei was a Maui policeman. Many of the Maui cops had spent years studying Aikido at the dojo, and they were very proficient. If they grabbed your sorry okole, or if you tried to attack them, you could count on two things—nobody got hurt, and your okole stayed grabbed.

In Aikido, you never have an opponent—instead, you have a partner. Seeing the person in front of you as your partner instead of your opponent is a very different mindset. It is a much more profitable way of approaching violent interactions. Aikido contains no kicks, no punches, nothing designed to harm the other person. Instead, it is all about disarming the other person and ending the situation with nobody getting hurt. “Ai-ki-do” means the path of harmony with energy, it is a non-confrontational martial art.

  • As much effort as we put into training police how to win violent situations, we need to put that same amount of effort into training police how to avoid, defuse, and minimize violent situations. Among other tools, Aikido is very important in this crucial aspect of police work.

  • Increase the involvement of the police with the community, particularly in less formal situations (sports, schools, big brother/big sister programs, martial arts, neighborhood watch meetings, Christmas toy drives, holidays, pancake breakfasts for charity, etc.) The only way to repair and improve the trust between the citizens and the police is for us all to get to know each other. I greatly enjoyed getting to know the police officers I trained with in the Maui dojo, it changed my whole mindset about police.

  • Increase the number of women on the police force, particularly beat cops. The cops on the beat are the backbone of the force, they are the public face of the police, and they are often the ones involved in the high-voltage interactions. We need many more female street cops.

  • Get the majority of the city police out of the cars. A good policewoman walking a beat knows every shopkeeper along the way … and what is more important, every shopkeeper knows the policewoman. A cop driving by in a car knows nobody and nobody knows them … which is a bad condition for any society. Plus walking a beat makes you fit, while sitting in a car makes you fat.

  • Body cameras are no magic bullet, but the truth is good for everyone—it protects police and citizens alike. However, there are many unanswered questions as to exactly how to implement that while protecting the privacy rights of both the police and the citizens.

  • Increase transparency regarding possible police misconduct as far as is consonant with police requirements, officer and citizen rights, and legal restrictions. In particular, it is not enough that justice be done in cases of police misconduct. The public needs to see that justice is done, even if it can not be seen until well after the occurrence when the dust has settled and all the facts are in.

Anyhow, that’s how I’d improve the situation, always bearing in mind that the number of people killed by the police will never be zero … too many armed violent nuts out there.

Let me close by pointing out the real tragedy. Everyone I know, everyone I read, black, white, and in between, was appalled by the death of George Floyd. It united more people than any single issue that I’ve seen in a long time.

But due to the protests and the riots, he’s being forgotten, and in a colossal own goal, the issue has become the looting and violence … sigh …

Meanwhile, here in the redwood forest the rains have continued until late in the year. That’s a blessing because we had zero rain in February, not one drop. Weather, not climate.

mossy forest

From the windows of the house we can see that the mothers are taking care of the newly born …

fawn and mother

fawn 20200601

And the funny bald chickens are taking care of the newly dead …

bald chicken

So life in the forest goes on. It is my great good fortune to live among giant trees and forest creatures who know nothing of COVID, riots, partisan politics, or police brutality …

My very best wishes to you all, stay well and safe in these parlous times,


98 thoughts on “Watching Violence In Black And White

  1. Pingback: Watching Violence In Black And White – Truth is difficult but essential…

    • Thanks, Lars. I read it. Not impressed. I gotta say, some things in it really bugged me. First was the endless story of “the talk” that black people give to their kids about the police.

      When are black people going to notice that just like my mom, white parents give some version of that talk as well? EVERYONE is told how to behave around the cops, and for the same reason—cops have guns. I’ve had a gun pulled on me by a cop, and I was very happy that my mom had given me the talk—move slowly, keep your hands in view, do what they ask, don’t run. So please, stop claiming this is some kind of special anguish that only black people go through.

      Second, she’s way off into the tragic victim mode, “Oh, black people have it so much worse, we’re getting KILLED by the police” … sorry, but as my posts have shown, that’s total bullshit. Look, it’s 2020. We’ve had a black President, and black people have made it to the top of every industry. I’m not buying that being black in America is some kind of terror-filled tragedy.

      Finally, she said “We’re all in this together”. That one is total bullshit. Some people still have their jobs, some people still have their businesses. And some people have lost their jobs, their homes, their businesses, and everything else. Equating those two is just elitist pissing on the people who have lost it all.


      Liked by 3 people

      • Willis, what you wrote to Lars as an answer is great, because it reveals the comfortable, everything apologetic irresponsibility towards one’s own life chosen by many people. Our democracy grants everyone the same social opportunities, our laws ensure that. That is the core of western society. But that also means being in control of your life. Whoever takes on a permanent victim role is not in control of his life. A successful and harmonious life in society, on the other hand, means getting involved, educating yourself, making an effort, challenging yourself, sometimes forgiving and ultimately: be nice to each other. This is too exhausting for many, so they choose the easier victim role and complain about everything and everyone. You have to face these people with reality: You are responsible for your life! Stop whining, do something useful!
        Thank you, Willis.


  2. #CallMeARacist
    I always thought that I have *to prove* that my life matters. Now, people insist this is axiomatic.


  3. In Fulton New York, just north of Syracuse in Upstate New York, a police officer was placed on leave for posting this on social media: “Black lives only matter to black people unless they’re killed by a white person.” Got to say that your numbers support his remark.


  4. Having recently been the victim of a violent crime back in January, perpetrated by another white person and without any provocation on my part, I have to accept the facts put forward by the very government leftists want to put in charge of everything. They will be spinning at high rpms to deny the facts THEIR government rams up their, intellect.


  5. “Now, before I get to what I found, let me say that most of what I’ll put forward here in this post are facts. Not opinion. Facts. Here’s the first fact, as verified in the link above:”

    err no. technically it is report of purported facts based on other reports of purported facts.
    none of it validated.

    That aside, the most interesting statistic would be

    rate per 1000 of UNARMED whites killed versus rate per 1000 of UNARMED black.

    Of course when you look at the data —- err “reports” this information interesting, folks armed
    with bats, cars, objects, guns, knives, vehicles.

    fascinating stuff. But the vital stat is UNARMED killed in custody


    • Steven –

      > rate per 1000 of UNARMED whites killed versus rate per 1000 of UNARMED black.

      I think you missed Willis’ point here:


      • In 2016, for every thousand white people arrested for a violent crime, three white people were killed by police.

      • In 2016, for every thousand black people arrested for a violent crime, two black people were killed by police.


      His point was that white people *arrested for a violent crime* were more likely to be armed, and less likely to resist arrest, than black people arrested for a violent crime.

      And don’t forget that “four out of five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gums for their patients who chew gum.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oops. That should be that Willis’ point was clearly that white people *arrested for a violent crime* were MORE likely to resist arrest (and more likely to be armed) than black people *arrested for a violent crime. *


      • I have no idea what Willis’ point is.

        I know the complaint on the table is that the cops are killing unarmed, non threatening,

        It might be a good idea to get a handle on the magnitude of the problem. Of course 1, is 1 too many.

        Every time I have looked at purported “data” on this I have to shake my head. I would not go anywhere
        near the data and I’m used to some effed up data.


          • I checked Joshua’s Source

            I looked up a random case.

            here is the first Unarmed victim I looked at


            “So, again, facts are only real when YOU come up with them. Got it.”


            1. Reports are not FACTS
            2. reports are REPORTS OF FACTS.

            I suggest people check the reports before they call them FACTS.

            like I did

            I took Joshua’s source.

            I looked up an “unarmed” victim.

            I then checked other reports.

            I found this


            This report says he was armed.

            The source Joshua Uses says it was Unarmed or allegedly armed.

            That is WHY I don’t trust sources..


          • Here is the second case I looked at.


            In their database he is “allegedly” armed.

            This is why I dont just accept shit people say.

            whether it is Willis or Joshua.

            Now truth be told I spent a SHITLOAD of time a few years back double checking a couple of these databases

            what did I find?

            shit data.

            where it is the FBI, or some .org, or some journalists NONE of them know how to create data sources
            that are
            1. open
            2. Transparent
            3. verifiable.


          • Here is the 3rd case

            This one is classified as “unarmed”

            Looking at it it would be hard to decide.

            But, ONE THING become clear. They have no category for “reaching for policemans weapon”


            Now, My point here is not to DECIDE whether this case is Coded properly as “unarmed”
            My point is this.

            When you look at other sources you find interesting things. How do we “code” a case where the victim
            didn’t have a weapon, but went for the cops weapon?


            Now, do you see why I am suspicious of sources ( whether its Willis’ sources or Joshua’s sources)

            Do you see why?

            I will tell you why. because I check.

            YOU swallow “facts” you like. I dont accept anything until I have done some basic double checking


          • So, on the one hand you refuse to accept facts unless they are your facts, then you cherry pick through some one else’s links to prove only your facts are the real facts, not DOJ or state level law enforcement. Got it.


          • OK, you are intentionally obtuse, we get that, so I will type very, very slowly so you can keep up. In America far more white people die in police custody than do black people, armed, unarmed, no arms, it does not change the facts. Now, spin&twirl, it is quite entertaining to watch, and you are still just wrong. Dizzy and wrong.


          • “So, on the one hand you refuse to accept facts unless they are your facts, then you cherry pick through some one else’s links to prove only your facts are the real facts, not DOJ or state level law enforcement. Got it.”


            I SUSPEND JUDGEMENT until checking.

            There is no belief or disbelief on my part.

            just a SUSPENDED JUDGEMENT until I can check.

            So Here i what I found.

            be careful about TRUSTING what people mean by UNARMED. be careful what they mean by “Killed”

            I basically took their data. Sorted the database by unarmed, and race. And then randomly picked cities.

            what did I learn

            I learned that YOU trust without checking.


          • here is case 11


            Now, Joshua just accepts this source. Willis also has his sources.

            I accept NEITHER.

            i suspend Judgement

            I check

            With joshua’s source what do I see?

            I see that “unarmed” can also mean “armed with a fake gun that fooled the police”

            So, Again.

            I think COUNTING the unarmed people killed by cops IS A HARD PROBLEM

            A) what do you mean by “unarmed”
            B) what do you mean by killed.

            lets take B. Cops use a taser and the dude DIES. happens all the time.

            Do we really want to count this as “killed” by a cop?


          • “OK, you are intentionally obtuse, we get that, so I will type very, very slowly so you can keep up. In America far more white people die in police custody than do black people, armed, unarmed, no arms, it does not change the facts. Now, spin&twirl, it is quite entertaining to watch, and you are still just wrong. Dizzy and wrong.”

            Thats so BORING I would not even call it a POINT.

            and it is off topic.

            The more interesting question is how many unarmed people ( I dont care about their race or gender)
            get wacked by the cops.

            Also, “die in custody” is an ambiguous term.


          • You can only hide from the facts, which are that more white people die in police custody than do black people. Denial, clearly not just a river in Egypt.


          • “So, on the one hand you refuse to accept facts unless they are your facts, then you cherry pick through some one else’s links to prove only your facts are the real facts, not DOJ or state level law enforcement. Got it.


            with DOJ or statelevel law enforcement I would DO THE SAME THING.

            1. how did they define unarmed?
            2. how did they determine race
            3. how did they define “die in custody”

            and then I would CHECK the data sources they provide to JUSTIFY their claims.

            So whether it is Joshua’s sources or Willis’ sources
            Whether it is the Government ( Obama’s liberal DOJ) or some journalist site,
            Whether it is the FBI or the local cops, or state law enforcement reports..
            i would do the same thing.

            Check the source. See how they classified things, see the evidence they supply for their decisions.
            you might trust government sources.. NOAA, NCDC, FBI, DOJ.. blah blah blah

            me I check. and withhold judgement until I do.


        • > Now, Joshua just accepts this source.

          What? Read harder, please. Here is what I said.


          Of course, I have no idea of the accuracy, but just sayin’


          Rather specifically, I didn’t “just accept[s] the source.”


    • Of course, I have no idea of the accuracy, but just sayin’

      > In 2019 data of all police killings in the country compiled by Mapping Police Violence, black Americans were nearly three times more likely to die from police than white Americans.


      > Black people were 24% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.

      And related to your point…

      > Other statistics showed that black Americans were nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to be unarmed before their death.

      But I thought this was perhaps most interesting:

      > Mapping Police Violence also showed that 99 percent of all officers involved in all police killings had no criminal charges pressed against them.


      • One thing usually overlooked is that deaths during encounters with police often involve violent criminals. Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex
        “Risk for all groups peaks between the ages of 20 y and 35 y and declines with age. This pattern is similar to the distribution of violent crime (35).”
        (The paper misleadingly claims it is a racial problem, but police do not create crime, they try to reduce it by arresting perpetrators so they do not continue to rob and assault.

        Side note: the paper relied heavily on media reports, believing them to be more complete than official reports. Cases highlighted by ‘a usual suspect’ in this thread show both are unreliable IMO. (The poster is known for jumping in and not making a clear point.)

        I said in another forum:
        “You can scream and yell at police, but if you comply with their instructions you will not get hurt.

        Resist arrest forcibly, as many of the dead criminals did, and you may well get hurt. Sometimes it takes three or four police officers to restrain the criminal.

        Shoot at police and they will probably shoot back if they cannot immediately take shelter.

        Harm others in the vicinity and police will try to stop you, first by verbal reasoning then by force if you do not stop yourself.

        But neoi-Marxist activists ignore that.


        • One category of deaths while interacting with police is persons with very troubled psychology.

          Yet police are blamed – one woman in Saanich BC sued police for shooting her son, who she had called police about in fear of the son harming her. The son ran towards police with a knife ready to stab an officer.

          (Some people are unstable, medicine helps but they often forget to take it thus their thinking deteriorates, sometimes they then consciously refuse to take it.
          Sometimes they are violent, sometimes they just wander away from home or a care facility and die from exposure to weather or mishap such as falling in forest.)

          Police are often injured. A female officer in Victoria BC was almost killed by an unprovoked attacker – she was standing outside the door of a business. (She was either talking to someone else or had just come out of the business, I forget.) The attacker slashed her neck, coming very close to killing her.

          In the news this week is a mention of a police officer who lost a leg in an encounter, years ago.

          Photo provided this week in an article about another officer’s cancer problem, scroll down and look for smiling young redhead on left.

          (Kitimat is on the BC coast well north of Vancouver BC.)
          Note she was trying to arrest a person suspected of initiation of force (sexual assault), who killed himself after shooting her.


  6. err Steve —- you just tossed out a word salad but you forgot to toss out “the most interesting statistic” that you find as “fascinating stuff.” Just toss us one of your drive by graphs and links.


  7. Pingback: The Coronavirus Rebellion | Me Thinks

  8. As for controlling bad police, there is another obstacle involved. Some years back while living in Colorado a friend of mine was stopped by a policewoman and her partner while he was driving home from a bar they had been watching. She immediately go him out of his car, threw him up against his car and frisked him. I’m not sure what he said but she immediately threw him down on the pavement and started working him over with her night stick. After a rather severe beating they took him to jail without first giving him an blood alcohol test. At the jail they tested him and, since he passed, released him.

    The next morning he went to the local hospital for treatment where, because to the severity of his wounds, they took x-rays and photographs at his request and gave him a prescription for pain medication. A day or two later he wrote up the incident and sent it, along with copies of the photos, to the DA. He received no answer.

    After about three months he was called into the DA’s office where the DA, the President of the local police officers association and three other people were in attendance. The DA announced that the reason they had been called into his office was to let them know that that policewoman was no longer employed by the city. When my friend asked where she had gone the head of the police association responded that she was now working in California. When he asked if her new employer knew of her firing and the reason for it, the President of the association answered: “No.” To my friend that sounded like the association was protecting her reputation, allowing her to have a clean record and get another job as policewoman.


    • Yah. The public should have access to the history of complaints made against occifers of the law. This clearly needs to be wikeds out with the unions.aune there could be a trigger – something like two complaints. The 18 complaints against the one Minny cop and the 6 against the other, are very problematic.

      As is, of course, the history of use of “neck restraints” (nice euphemism) in that police force, and the disparate use of force in association with race/ethnicity.


      • Wow, a Democrat Party run city in a Democrat Party run state using police violence against it’s black population. Glad you pointed that out!


      • But what is the correlation with criminal activity? For some reason persons with black skin are more often violent criminals.
        See statement in REF Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex , reading past the misleading conclusion. _Note that police do not create criminals._ (Note that persons of Asian and South Pacific genetics have very low rate of problems with police, yet they are usually brown and sometimes very dark brown.)

        One demographic is young black males in some cities in the US, who kill each other. IOW a cultural problem. Yet their mothers say they were a good boy, and supposed witnesses lie. (In one city of violent protests some people claimed the dead person was shot in the back – but other witnesses and independent autopsy showed otherwise. In that neighbourhood black-skinned persons helped defend a whitey store owner whose business was being attacked – are they demanding others to recognize the crime problem?)


        • The political left refuses to admit blacks are murdering each other all across America, or that Planned Parenthood was specifically created to reduce the black population in America through abortion and sterilization. There campaign to strip blacks AND whites of proper education is bearing fruit quite nicely, today. Look at the continuous lies accepted by the general public, lies which any person with a proper 8th grade level education can see through easily. Leftism is a cancer and America is turning terminal.


    • Yes, the Minneapolis PD is a union shop, in a union town, in a union state. The union protects their own. That makes it tough to fire bad cops.

      There’s a certain kind of thuggish man who is attracted to police work, because he likes pushing people around. When men like that push people around on behalf of a union, they’re called “union goons.” Union goons are a menace, but union goons in police uniforms are an even worse menace.

      In his time on the Minneapolis PD, Derek Chauvin apparently accumulated at least 18 misconduct complaints, and two reprimands, and he was involved in three police shootings. So, why was he still working there?

      It’s not because his Department is a good-old-white-boy racist clique. The Minneapolis PD is led by an African-American Police Chief. So my guess is that in a right-to-work state Derek Chauvin would have been fired long ago.


      • Two nights ago, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was on The Daily, a news program produced jointly by National Public Radio (NPR) and The New York Times (NYT).

        During the interview, Frey went to great lengths to blame the union and its leader Lt Bob Kroll for the city’s inability to get rid of problematic police officers.

        Frey made it sound like Bob Kroll has super-powers, yet all of his powers come from the labor agreement that the City Council approved.

        Jacob Frey sat on that council.

        Neither NPR nor The NYT mentioned that.

        Why would they?

        That would be news.

        Neither NPR nor The NYT actually does news.


  9. Willis,
    I think your “Figure 4. Murders by the race of the offender and the race of the victim” has problems.
    The left scale is mis-labled as “Violent Incidents”, not murders. More importantly, the sum total of murders both from the graphic and its source (FBI:UCR Expanded Homicide Data Table 6) is substantially below the total number of murders (FBI:UCR Murder: “In 2018, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 16,214”). I suspect the discrepancy is in that Table 6 is limited to “Single victim/single offender.”
    Thanks for your efforts -always interesting.


  10. Ya wanna hold a line against “protesters” ?, bring out the police dogs.
    Nobody in their right mind will even take a threatening posture, when presented with a trained police dog.
    Bring on the dogs.


  11. Salute!

    Thanks, Willis.

    Many folks here and in our country need to examine our current situtation WRT racial percentages of crimes and victims and other aspects of our society ….. should look back 70 or 80 years before the “new folks” erase history. And “they” are erasing history daily overtly or by ignoring how things were back then.

    – Hard to tell how many posters here grew up in the heart of a racist society as I did, and my home was not even in the “worst” areas of the south back then. Most treatment according to “race” ( actually skin color) was heavily biased toward blacks we called “negroes” ( never heard “african-americans” until 1969 or so). We had several dark-skinned groups that were treated differently – Haitians, Philpinos, some very dark folks from Central America, and the beat goes on. New Orleans was a true melting pot, and things were lots more “serious” just 50 miles away in Miss or ‘bama. Some fast food places would not even serve the blacks. And I saw it first when being assigned to the base at Selma, Alabama. And yes, I was there for the famous march and such in 1965.

    – How many posters here actually lived with water fountains in public places with placards – “colored”? Ditto for city buses that had doofers you could move back and forth on the seats that said “colored patrons only”.

    – How about a movie theater where the blacks had to use separate restrooms and sit in a special area?

    – Schools? “separate, but equal”. Heh heh. But they were still better thanmost these last 20 or 30 years. I was in first high school to be “integrated” back then, and it was no big deal. It is still the highest rated school in Louisiana 60 years later, and it’s not a private school.

    My point? Things have changed in many ways since the environment of the 40’s and 50’s that I experienced. They have changed for the better in terms of legal status and economic opportunity and social treatment. Much better.

    I still have trouble understanding the disparities in crime rates and such among the different racial/ethnic groups. Worth a thread on another forum, but least I can unload a few feelings here, today. There has to be some force or attitude or something ….. that results in the statistics Willis and others have presented, and that we are all having to deal with the situation today.

    Gums opines….


  12. Disclaimer: I’m an IT guy, not a cop, but I spent 10 years with the Minneapolis Police Department and 17 years with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

    I am quite familiar with BJS statistics, having built systems that feed UCR and (God help us) NIBRS.

    What you wrote is well-done and very perceptive, so I have nothing to criticize there, and yes, what you write is pertinent to the disaster that has befallen Minneapolis and much of the country.

    But let’s take race out of the equation. What interests me most and where the solution lies.. is behavior.

    I don’t give a damn about color, what I want to know is whether the guy is a criminal. If 30% of black males have felony records, that means 70% don’t.

    Say you are a cop who has just pulled over a car. The car is a dented up beater, the guy inside is black and scruffy, has shaggy dred-locks and looks to be about 30.

    What do you do? Well, the first thing you do is run his plate. In milliseconds, the results to your query are returned to your computer screen. There before you is his name, dob, address, criminal history as well as results from NCIC (FBI) and NLETS (other states), as well as warrants, orders for protection and whether the guy has a permit to carry.

    His record says he is clean and he has a permit.

    So do you go by his appearance or what the computer is telling you about his record. The odds of a 30 year old male suddenly becoming a criminal are astronomical. The fact that he has a permit means he has been vetted.

    Do you know who I am talking about here? This was an actual case. The guy’s name was Philandro Castile and he lost his life during a traffic stop.

    But here is the thing. The guy had been pulled over 47 times.

    Let that sink in 47 times.

    This guy got cited, fined, dinged and snagged with moving vehicle violations that shot his insurance through the roof.

    For what?

    One of the most effective tactics of policing is stopping people to check for warrants, guns, drugs and God know what else.

    But if you pull someone over 47 times they are going to get pissed, maybe so pissed for so long that they burn things down.

    What we need is a little box on that mobile computer screen that says, “Hey, we’ve pulled this guy over 47 times and found nothing but chicken scratch, leave him alone.”

    I know the BCA has this information the audit trail. Maybe it is time they used it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This kind of action is easy in a large metropolitan area, different cop each stop. In more open areas not so much, after the second stop the cops in the local shop know who you are, they tend to talk to each other. Here in our area the primary police entity is PA State Police, then county Sheriff’s Deputies, then Constables. Municipal police are small depts and scattered, at least till you get close to Allegheny County and Pittsburgh, Cranberry area of south Butler County, where there are many police forces overlapping. It has always amazed me how in areas with multiple depts the communication is so lacking while out here in Gawd’s Country word tends to spread rather rapidly. Funny how that works.


      • I hear what you say, but actually large metro areas have the same problem. Criminal histories in most states are limited to convicted felons, not petty misdemeanors, so an astute criminal know how to work the different agencies.

        If you get caught in one place, move five miles across the line to the next where they don’t know you.

        We set up a system called CriMNet to bring all that data together – with mixed results.

        But in my comments above what was most important is that when license plates or names are run through the law enforcement message switch (LEMS) that data is captured and can be a vital tool to prevent ordinary citizens from being harassed or turned into criminals.

        Seriously, if you live in a lousy neighborhood and are stopped for petty violations like not signally lane change or coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, you risk losing your insurance or getting dinged for fines you can’t pay.

        Sure, people need to signal lane change and come to a full stop – but if you live in the burbs or burgs, you really don’t have to worry too much about that.

        There is a thing called over-policing and while it may suppress crime in crime infested places, (a good thing), it should not be a burden for the (mostly) law-abiding.


      • Sorry 2hotel9, I read your comment too fast while juggling some other tasks.

        You are absolutely correct in rural areas, the cops know people and thus know their attitudes, reputations and behaviors. That is mostly good but has its downside too. It is sometimes hard to get back into the good graces of the community after you screw up.

        Like one of my rural neighbors said of a local kid, “He’s an ***hole now, but in a few years, he’ll be a paragon of virture.”


        • Persistent screwups tend to move away, maybe not far but away. I know several men who have done real prison time, 2 of them own their own businesses, 3 of them have full time jobs. Two of them are in the parole system and can’t move away and they keep screwing up. At some point an individual has to decide to not do criminal crap, otherwise you are in the system and will never get out.

          Over policing is a problem in some municipal depts in our region, especially in Allegheny County. Beaver County to our west has some problem spots, too. Police as a career does draw a certain personality, controlling its excesses is a good commander’s job. When that commander is one of “those” personalities then problems ensue.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Iowa. I always appreciate someone who not only can point to a problem, but also proposes a solution. Good idea, put a “recent hits” section up on the screen so cops can see his recent interactions.



    • Maybe a lot of those problems are due to missing fathers in the black community, I don’t know. When I was a teenager both my dad and my mom beat it into my head continually that “if you dress like a criminal you will be treated like a criminal.” At least where I was raised in North Carolina there were still certain dress codes and standards for grooming that you broke at your own risk, even after the sixties. The movie Easy Rider covered that quite well.

      Probably the only think that saved me several times was that the police in our small town knew my parents. The down side of that was that I couldn’t get away with much without my parents knowing about it.


      • OK, I got to be totally honest in this discussion. I was raised in an extended family which covered all the bases. County deputies, town cops, moonshiners, actual smugglers(be amazed how much crap can be hidden on a container ship much less bulk hold ships), military careerists in all branches(again, be amazed), commercial fishers in Gulf and Atlantic, trucker drivers and owners of trucking companies, blahblah, blah. The one continuous element, at least up till the ’90s, was family structure, and the fact we were all taught how to interact with law enforcement. Thats basically all out the window now, the rarity not the norm.


  13. Salute!

    I am not so sure what the point is, Iowa?

    If someone is pulled over 40 or 50 times, were most of the reasons that he had dreadlocks and had a dark skin?

    I know several folks that have more than two or three or four traffic tickets. I am not one. In fact, I have been pulled over only 5 times since 1964 – burned out tail light, expired license tag, an upside down expiration sticker on the license plate, railroad crossing gate that came down late but police saw I was stuck on the tracks and continued across, and a traffic signal that had an electrical problem causing it to go to “red” with no “yellow” between green and red ( I beat the ticket along with a half dozen other folks because I found the work order for the city to fix the thing, heh heh). . Only one ticket, and that was the expired registration plate. So maybe a million miles since 1964 and zero moving violations plus one parking lot fender bender I should have avoided.

    I have cruised above the published speed limit a time or two or three, but not 80 mph in a 65 or 70 zone. I have run stop signs a time or two because I wasn’t paying attention.

    But getting pulled over 40 or 50 times? BEAM ME UP!

    Gums sends…


    • It is called harassment. Beyond 5 pullovers without citation it is pretty obvious a certain group within that local PD community has a hardon for said pullee. Now, in a large metro area with overlapping depts/jurisdictions you actually could just get stopped a lot because of your driving, well, inability. 47? How did he still have DL if he was such a habitual offender? You would get it yanked simply on points with that many citations. If they are in fact pulling over black drivers simply for being black it is a problem, just as it would be a problem if a PD was pulling over people simply for having red hair, or squinty eyes.


    • Everyone want to get drunk drivers off the streets. That is a good thing – but imagine you worked the weekend night shift and your route to work on unavoidably passed through a section of town where there was a heavy concentration of bars. Now imagine that every Saturday night, the city heavily patrolled the area looking to stop drunks and for week after week after week, they found “some reason” to pull you over.

      Most stop would go well and you would be on your way – but there are always a few cops who are pricks, who would find “some reason” to cite you, to search your car for booze, to make you walk the line.

      But hey, it’s your fault, you choose to live there.

      Or maybe…..the cops would realize that they were pissing people off and care about that…and maybe come up with a simple system to keep from harassing the law-abiding people who live in the neighborhood and discipline the cops who were harassing people.


  14. Here.

    before anyone goes to the “data” and the “facts”


    “Social scientists and public-health researchers have begun to dig into these records and have produced more than 50 publications so far—up from a trickle of papers on the topic before 2015. They are mining the new numbers to address pressing questions, such as whether the police are disproportionately quick to shoot black civilians and those from other minority groups. But methods and interpretations vary greatly. A pair of high-profile papers published in the past few weeks come to seemingly opposite conclusions about the role of racial biases.

    Scientists are now debating which incidents to track—from deadly shootings to all interactions with the public—and which details matter most, such as whether the victim was armed or had had previous contact with the police. They are also looking for the best way to compare activities across jurisdictions and account for misreporting. “It’s really contentious because there’s no clearly right answer,” says Seth Stoughton at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, a former police officer who now studies the regulation of law enforcement.”


    Amateurs MIGHT want to hold off looking at “data” where the professionals can’t even get their act together.


    • Steven Mosher June 7, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      Scientists are now debating which incidents to track—from deadly shootings to all interactions with the public—and which details matter most, such as whether the victim was armed or had had previous contact with the police. They are also looking for the best way to compare activities across jurisdictions and account for misreporting. “It’s really contentious because there’s no clearly right answer,” says Seth Stoughton at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, a former police officer who now studies the regulation of law enforcement.”


      Amateurs MIGHT want to hold off looking at “data” where the professionals can’t even get their act together.

      I see. What you’re saying is that unless I have a PhD. in Policeshootingology, I’m unqualified to even have an opinion until such unknown future time when the professional Policeshootingologists have all gotten together and decided on the official correct answer. Then, of course, the ASP, the American Society of Policeshootingologists, needs to make an official announcement about the right way to interpret police statistics.

      Once that’s done and the official party line is established, then, and only then, can I participate in the dialogue.

      Seriously? That’s your argument?

      That sounds a whole lot like the field of climate science—lots of debate, “no clearly right answer”, no agreement on which details matter the most.

      And yet as far as I can see, in both that debate and this one, if the “professional” scientists can’t figure out the right answer, then the participation of amateur scientists like myself is even more important. Seriously, without amateur climate scientists like Steve McIntyre, everyone would have swallowed the alarmist koolaid by now.

      Finally, you really are turning into that creepy stalker guy. Whatever I write, you make sure to show up and piss on it for some imagined omission or heinous inclusion or something. It got so bad on Twitter that I had to block you, and I hated like hell to do that.

      And the bogus claim in your response to what I write is almost always the same as in this one, that somehow I’m unqualified and I should just shut up and let my betters talk. And surprisingly, you always are on your list of my betters, the ones who are qualified to have opinions on these matters …

      So stop with the stalking and the attacks on qualifications. It’s unmanly, it’s creepy as hell, and more to the point, it’s meaningless. The issue is always the ideas and the claims, not the biography of whoever posted the ideas or claims.

      Best regards,



      • Willis – I’ve been surprised by how much difference there can be between peoples’ analyses of the same data. I’ve pointed people at the tide-gauge records going back 200 years, and they still think there’s a problem with the rate of rise, there’s going to be cities underwater Real Soon Now, and of course it’s all because of that excessive CO2 in the atmosphere. It seems it all depends on what a person believes when they look at the data, and thus how they interpret what it means. Sometimes, of course, it’s just “don’t confuse me with the data, my mind’s made up!”. In the same way, I don’t see how someone can look at the graph of temperature over the last 1000 years and still think that CO2 level has any major effect, but Mosh obviously does think that.

        I figure you need to approach data without a bias, apart from working out whether the data is reliable and whether it is complete. That’s why I enjoy your analyses, after all – where the data shows something you didn’t expect, you’ve stated that.

        For this problem of racial bias, I’m still gathering data. There is a problem between different cultures, but I see no differences when it’s simply the amount of melanin in the skin. Given the problem in the UK with football hooligans (not dependent on colour there, just culture) and the violence that happened in the vicinity of the football matches, the police there would be more likely to arrest youths wearing football scarves and singing loudly. Well, you could call it singing, I suppose. Much the same for people who wear clothing and hairstyles associated with gangster culture – they are more likely to be carrying knives or otherwise armed. Quite a long time ago the same problem with teddy-boys, and carrying a razor or a carefully-sharpened steel comb for combing the hair (and cutting someone’s cheek open, of course). Point I’m making here is that it’s not so much the colour, but the assumed cultural attitudes that go with that. The assumptions may of course be mistaken.

        The question is why people use profiling, racial or otherwise. For marketing purposes, it obviously works since otherwise it would have been discarded and another method of marketing would be used. I’d expect it also works in policing, even though it is unfair on the majority of people who would keep the laws. There’s of course also racial profiling applied to Gypsies (now known as Travellers), but that was because people (and law enforcement) noticed that when they were in the area more things went missing. Put 2 and 2 together…. Similarly, the Irish navvies used to be known for getting drunk and making trouble, and when I was young there were still lodging houses with notices on the outside “No Irish, No Dogs”. Later that became “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs”, before that sort of thing became outlawed, though of course dogs never got equality.

        I think racial prejudice is largely built-in, and for a large number of people they’d prefer the people they deal with to look and act like they do. If you’ve grown up in a multi-racial society, though, where people are treated equally and the culture is pretty uniform irrespective of colour, then the colour problem goes away – they are “just like you” in all the important aspects and colour is not important. That’s a multi-generational change, though. Kids are however pretty quick to pick up on any differences, so the kid with the stutter, with red hair, or with something else obviously different tends to have a hard time at school. Since that’s been a constant thing for a very long time, I don’t expect it to be fixed anytime soon if at all. The “difference” can of course be a reason a kid is popular rather than unpopular – I had a Nigerian girl living with me for a while (temporary “adoption”), and she was very popular in the local school where she was in a very small minority.

        I’ve no idea as to whether the race-problem data from the States is complete, valid, and accurate or not. I suspect the conditions are very variable, and personal experiences in one location could be totally different from another location. It’s also been a long time since I visited there, and then the group I was in was mixed colours and I didn’t notice any difference and didn’t see any problems because of colour. Then again I wasn’t looking for them, either.

        Please keep up the analysis of the available data. The data may not be complete, and it may in places be inaccurate, but it is what it is. It is after all amazing that, as bad as the news tells us that coloured people’s lives are in the USA, the people trying to get in at the borders are largely coloured or latinos and not pure white Caucasian. It seems it’s better even living as an illegal alien in the USA than where they came from.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Willis – might I suggest a Mosher Meter for your blog …. kind of like the BULLSHIT METER I saw at WUWT last year. Actually come to think of it the two meters are identical 😉

        Anyway when Mosher gets to a certain point of nuissance / BS on the meter turn him off …. Mosher has kind of destroyed the enjoyment / learning from reading the posts as only Steven can 😦

        I know in the past u have given Steven a long leash here but sometimes I wish the leash was about half the length.


      • I see. What you’re saying is that unless I have a PhD. in Policeshootingology, I’m unqualified to even have an opinion until such unknown future time when the professional Policeshootingologists have all gotten together and decided on the official correct answer. Then, of course, the ASP, the American Society of Policeshootingologists, needs to make an official announcement about the right way to interpret police statistics.”

        No, stop putting words in my mouth Julie

        When the very people charged with collecting and distributing the data tell you that it is not up to snuff,
        THEN, you had better

        WARN YOUR READERS when you give opinions. That

        A) The data is not ready for prime time.
        B) Conclusions drawn from it are your ONLY YOUR Opinion.

        As opposed to presenting it as “facts”

        really simple. it’s not facts.

        here is another hint. When you find data you like? Digg deeper and question the data. That is how skepticism works. When the belief you question is YOUR OWN. your job is to find the things you hold
        most dear, the things you think could never be wrong. and challenge THOSE beliefs.


        • “Digg deeper and question the data.” How many lifetimes do you have? Of course the data is not 100% correct. Maybe 95% – give me your estimate. How does it change the conclusions?


    • Yet more proof white people die in police custody at a much higher rate than black people. Thanks, Steve! Glad you finally figured this out.


      • Proof?

        dude you are slow.

        1. I dont trust any of the data.
        2. Therefore, I don’t see it as proof of ANYTHING.

        the bottom line is the data collection at local state and federal levels can’t even begin to get audited.

        Willis wants to believe X.
        Joshua wants to believe Y.

        my position?


        when will you get that?

        PROOF is a hard thing to come by.


        • For you it is, everyone else can see that white people die in police custody at a much higher rate than black people, and apparently you are good with that.


        • Steven Mosher June 10, 2020 at 2:18 am

          Willis wants to believe X.
          Joshua wants to believe Y.

          Dear god, you can’t put the simplest of scientific arguments together without lashing out in some childish meaningless unverifiable ad hominem argument against the people around you. How can anyone respond to an accusation that they “want to believe”?

          Steven, I don’t “want to believe” things any more than you do. I do my utmost to follow the facts without prejudice or favor, which seems to enrage you to no end.

          When are you going to learn that your endless, futile, foolish campaign against me only hurts YOUR reputation while leaving mine untouched?

          Stick to the science and leave the personalities aside, there’s a good fellow … at least pretend to be a scientist. Toss up a couple of posts wherein you surprise us all by not attacking anyone personally, you might be surprised at how good it feels.

          Heck, you might even realize that you can actually make valid, strong, scientific points without jumping into the gutter, insulting everyone in sight, and challenging people to mud-wrestle … that’s a shocking claim, I know, but not one without adherents …



          PS—People are always asking why I put up with you. It’s because I respect intelligence regardless of the package. I’ve learned a lot from you, and I know that inter alia, you are a wicked-smart guy and an honest transparent scientist … unfortunately, one who is wasting much of his time discussing and attacking people instead of ideas.


    • “Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex” points to violent crime as a key factor.

      Police do not create violent criminals.

      If a higher proportion of black-skinned people are violent criminals there’s a cultural problem, I say. I’ve pointed to the ‘young black male’ culture in some US cities, participants in it kill each other. Why does that culture exist?

      I think the majority of black-skinned Americans and Canadians are normal people. Prosecutors think they lean toward being tougher on crime, so like to get them on juries.

      Thomas Sowell has chronicled changes in his lifetime, he observes the effect on black-skinned people of various do-gooder schemes that I lump under ‘multi-culturalism’. Walter Williams notes that as a boy in Atlanta they all had guns but there were very few shootings. (Walter, and perhaps Thomas, blame lack of religion for some of the problems, but I say there are rational alternatives, the problem is deeper than that.

      (multi-culturalism’ teaches that each individual’s value comes from being a member of a collective group, such as a tribe. Thus I point out that by definition members of other tribes must be inferior, thus it is moral to exploit them. It’s false self-esteem, rather than coming from content of character as Nathaniel Branden explained.
      That does not however explain the ‘young black male’ culture in some US cities, except where gangs are common. (The ‘young black male’ culture will leave children without fathers, because some will be killed and others are not responsible people.)


  15. Blacks are still killed at a higher rate than white people! The reasons why it may seem whites are killed more than blacks is due to demographics! Whites make up more of the population than black people. 70 to 75 percent white and 15 to 20 percent black so if you take demographics into consideration and that systemic racism is still a thing. You can see it more blacks dying of police brutality than whites. Yes police brutality is a problem for all races, you have to realize blacks have been in slavery, segregated and not given the same opportunity as whites. Many have turn to.crime to feed families or to make ends meet. So once we can get rid of the system of oppression put in places that keep blacks down and we can reform the police departments. Then we can truly say All Lives Matter. But until then

    Black Lives Matter!


    • Thanks, Frederick. I covered all of this in the first two links in the head post, When Arrests Go Bad, and Making The Shortlist.

      Let me invite you to read the arguments in those posts. Then, if you think I’ve said something untrue or made a false claim, please QUOTE MY EXACT WORDS and tell us why you think I’m wrong.

      Remember, quote what I said exactly. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend other peoples’ fantasies about what I said.



    • You. Are. Wrong. And yet you know that, spewing lies is all you on the left do.

      [2hotel9, I’ve edited out the vulgarity. Please keep it civil.]


    • Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams say otherwise, they are good economists and have black skin.

      I trust them, you are just spouting popular claims.

      In fact, reverse discrimination today gives black-skinned people an advantage in getting jobs, though it reduces self-esteem because the recipient knows they did not get the job on merit.

      I think the majority of black-skinned people here are successful, women notably are in academia.


  16. FW,

    ” … you have to realize blacks have been in slavery, segregated and not given the same opportunity as whites. …”

    Slavery ended over a century-and-a-half ago. That’s over 150 years if you need a little help. Now one sure way to gain respect is to riot, loot, maim and kill, and burn everything in sight. Yea … that’s the ticket, it gained your respect. Me, not so much. Over 40 years of affirmative action in hiring, loan, housing, college admissions, etc. You are just parroting the same old tired worn-out narrative. If someone wants respect from me they need to earn it. Demanding it gets little but scorn from me.


  17. Pingback: Losing The Race | Skating Under The Ice

  18. Hi Willis,

    When you say “ Black people attack white people almost ten times as often as white people attack black people. And not only that, but black people attack white people more often than they attack black people.”, should you not correct for the fact that there are less blacks than whites?

    Somewhere in your latest posts, you say the percentage is 6 or 7 percent. That means simply by the demographics, a perfectly colourblind man would be way less likely to do violence to a black man. I’d say that’s what you need to divide the white on black and black on black violence by to compare apples with apples.

    Not saying that that changes anything about the main argument, by the way, but it corrects for the largest skew in that argument.



    • Frank de Jong July 2, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Willis,

      When you say “ Black people attack white people almost ten times as often as white people attack black people. And not only that, but black people attack white people more often than they attack black people.”, should you not correct for the fact that there are less blacks than whites?

      That would be true if the underlying violence were randomly distributed. But it’s not. Black people in general kill black people, and white people kill white people.

      In addition, in terms of comparing offenders and victims in black|white violent interactions, there’s no reason to expect that to be connected to the sizes of the underlying populations. That’s because when a white and a black person violently intersect, the races are divided fifty-fifty — half the contestants are white and half are black.

      So if the instigation of violence were random, we’d expect both races to be victims and offenders in equal numbers.

      But we don’t see anything like that, quite the opposite.

      Best regards,



      • Hi again, and sorry for the slow reply.

        I agree with you on the comparison of white-on-black and black-on-white absolute numbers. But how about comparing black-on-white and black-on-black, (or, white-on-white and white-on-black).

        I do appreciate the fact that many violent acts happen in the close circle of family and friends. So white-on-white and black-on-black should be higher than average. However, for those acts of violence outside the close circle, statistics do come into it, if it’s much harder to find a specimen of one certain group than for an another group.

        Suppose, as a thought experiment, that a violent encounter happens when an individual in group A (size Num_A) is in a violent mood (probability P_violent_A) and goes out to a bar and hurts whomever he runs into first (be it in group A or B). Suppose colour blindness and complete mixing.

        The number of violent acts X-on-Y is Num_X * P_violent_X * P_find_Y_first.
        with P_find_Y_first = Num_Y / (Num_X + Num_Y) for a binary population.

        In this thought experiment, if the ratio of Num_A to Num_B is 16:1, then A-on-A should be 16 times A-on-B. A similar argument holds for BoW versus BoB. (And it also follows that BoW = WoB, as you said, if you assume that P_violent_A = P_violent_B).

        Of course, this is just a thought experiment and of limited practical application. But it shows that simply comparing absolute numbers can also give a skewed impression.


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