In the United States, the public tends to keep track of a lot of things. They have data on how many pigs and hogs are in the United States. The government has data on how many people have been victims of shark attacks that were humanly provoked in 2010. So why can the public not have data on how many people have been killed by police officers in the United States? Is the problem with society, or is it with the police force? There are many questions that need to be answered. With all of the current situations in the world, it is surprising that researchers can not completely figure out why the police agencies and government does not keep data on the number of people who die by police shootings. It is important that the public pays close attention to the number of victims of police shootings, it is essential that solid evidence is provided as proof instead of keeping all of the public in the dark about things, and it is important that the news does not overcover a topic to where it gets confusing and people really have no idea what the real issue is and they do not know what to believe!
From the early to mid1800’s, United States citizens have recorded and written down almost everything. That is initially what made our Constitution more impactful than the constitutions of other countries. The government has records on how many people live in the United States, they have records on the number of car accidents per year, they have records on the number of animals that live on farms…what is the reason that they do not have records on how many people are victims of police shootings? It does not seem like something that is very hard to keep records on. The Washington Post published an article stating, “Criminal justice experts note that, while the federal government and national research group (NRG) keeps skads of data and stats…there is no reliable national data on how many people are shot by police officers each year”(How Many Police Shootings a year? No One Knows).
One would think that since businesses and corporations have to complete certain amounts of data to meet regulations and keep the company running smoothly. It is interesting that, “The nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies are not required to compile data on officerinvolved shootings” (Bruinius). The issue of officerinvolved shootings are a huge deal in the eyes of many; so why not keep track of this stuff? The only productive thing that one could do with statistics on how many animals are living on farms, or how many shark attacks there were in 2010 is do certain studies on those topics and make scientific assumptions or create problems that deal with those topics. Since current events such as the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, or the whole situation in Baltimore, Maryland, it has been brought to the attention of the public that there could very possibly be a large issue in the nation’s police force. It could very well be the other way around too; the police officers could be doing the right thing and doing their jobs the way that they should be and the people who are getting killed are really bad people that are in gangs or terrorist groups or they are really disrespecting and assaulting a police officer and the police officer shoots them in selfdefense.
What is making most people question the honesty of our government is the fact that it seems that some of the deaths of people by police shootings are “mysteriously” disappearing. In an article written by Rob Barry and Coulter Jones, they state, “…according to national statistics intended to track police shootings, Mr. Payton’s death in August 2012 never happened” (Barry and Jones). This quote was referencing the 2012 shooting of a 24year old man in Washington state who had wielded a knife in front of the police. A good question was asked by Jeffrey Fagan, a professor of law at Columbia University, “‘When cops are killed, there is a very careful account and there’s a national database. Why not the other side of the ledger?”(Barry and Jones). Such questions are becoming more prevalent in today’s society due to the abundance of news coverage on topics such as these.