BLM: Net benefit or net loss?

The article above has some interesting stats related to the whole ‘BLM protest’ vs. decreased policing. I’ll attempt to do a fair analysis of it.

I think both stats are for a 5-year window, but that may only apply to the decrease in deaths related to policing. The homicide increase may be 1 year or may be over 5 years; it isn’t clear. I’ll assume both are 5-year numbers.

Basically, the author is saying that the protests may lead to a decrease in police killings of civilians by 300 over 5 years. Ok, so that is 60 per year.

OTOH, the increase in homicides in cites where there is a related decrease in policing is ‘1000 to 6000’. Again, I’ll assume that is over 5 years, not one. It is a big range, so we’ll go with something in the middle to lower range, say 3000. That breaks down to 600 per year, then.

That says, to me, that the net result of the protests is 10x more deaths. If this is in cities, and given statistical demographics, this likely affects black citizens disproportionality on both indices. So you’ve caused 10x more deaths on average than you’ve prevented. To me, if you believe that ‘Black Lives Matter’ (or even that lives in general matter), you’ve just taken an enormous step backwards.

The author argues that it may not be right to do the above sort of comparison because police-initiated deaths are ‘worse’ than civilian-on-civilian deaths, etc. That’s a discussion worth having, to a point. Government-sanctioned killings of civilians *is* a ‘different’ problem, and one that society should work to minimize. However, if you’re one of the dead, I’m not sure how much that different makes to you or your family and friends.

Wouldn’t it be better, on net, to work on reasonable police reforms while not radically scaling back the type of policing that keeps civilian murder rates in check? You can do both. If you, instead, think that what’s been and continued to go on per the above study is a good thing, then my conclusion would be that black lives really DON’T matter that much to you, as your policies are ending a lot more of them.



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