Because the 2nd Amendment and gun violence are among the most hotly debated topics in America, let’s look today at some real data surrounding firearms and answer the question of how many people die from guns in the U.S. each year?
The surprising answer is not as many as you might think. According to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System, in 2014 there were 10,945 homicides by firearms. In other words, with a total death rate of 2,626,418, less than 1/2 of 1% of all deaths in the U.S. are caused by guns… there’s a lot of other ways to die than being shot.
And frankly using the CDC’s data is being generous to gun control advocates. Instead we should be comparing deaths to the firearm data provided by the agency which collects criminal (i.e. homicide) data, the F.B.I.; they’re widely held to have the most accurate data of that type.
In their report, Crime In The United States 2014, the F.B.I. reports just 8,124 murders by firearm, almost 3,000 fewer than the CDC’s. More specifically, those assault-styled rifles everyone is frantic and enraged about? They caused a whopping 248 deaths in 2014, and that’s ALL types of rifles, so really only a fraction of those were even “assault-styled” rifles. How many people die from firearms?
Barely over 3/10 of 1% of all deaths are caused by a firearm.
It’s amazing when you see the numbers for yourself rather than being “told” what to think by the media. Here’s the FBI’s data sheet.
Also, look at the data above and see why it’s to Obama and Clinton’s dismay that…
the number of deaths by guns in the U.S. have been dropping at “exactly” the time when more and more Americans are buying and carrying firearms… by the millions!
Imagine that, if you can. But to hear progressives tell it, ‘Armageddon is upon us, ban them guns!’ Yes, we have a lot of firearms in this country. In fact, the number of guns in America is over 300 million privately owned firearms. Yet our murder rate per capita is actually pretty low, as you’ll see later. Let’s keep digging into this question of ‘how many people die from guns’.
Number of People Killed By Guns
As already mentioned, according to the FBI it’s just over .03% of all deaths that are caused by murder using a firearm. But when we’re talking millions of deaths each year, that seems awfully small. So what is the number one killer in America and what is the most common way to die?
Deaths By Cause
Here’s a look at the top 15 causes of death (and their number) according to the CDC:
- Diseases of heart – 614,348
- Malignant neoplasms – 591,699
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases – 147,101
- Accidents (unintentional injuries) – 136,053
- Cerebrovascular diseases – 133,103
- Alzheimer’s disease – 93,541
- Diabetes mellitus – 76,488
- Influenza and pneumonia – 55,227
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis – 48,146
- Intentional self-harm (suicide) – 42,773
- Septicemia – 38,940
- Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis – 38,170
- Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease – 30,221
- Parkinson’s disease – 26,150
- Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids – 18,792
Whoa, that is a whole lot of room to reduce death if we’re really concerned about preventing death in America as the power-hungry progressives “claim”. So we see first that the most likely way to die, the number one killer in America, is Heart Disease. Not surprisingly.
Oh, what’s that? Suicides come in at the 10th leading cause of death. Keep that in mind, we’ll address it in a few moments.
What other ways are there to die in America, other than guns and being murdered by firearms? Let’s look at some of those numbers.
Keep in mind that any one classification above could contain multiple sub-classifications. For example, Accidents includes falling and drowning and much more. So looking at them individually below also provides a greater comparison specifically to gun deaths.
I don’t count suicide among firearm deaths because frankly our suicide rate in the U.S. is below many other comparable western nations who do not have access to firearms… someone bent on suicide has a right to and will find a way to complete their goal.
As you can see in the chart below, countries like Austria, France, Finland, Belgium and Japan, all of which have VERY strict gun control laws, have a higher rate of suicide than we do. So it is completely unfair and uninformed to include suicides when discussing gun control, because we know conclusively that people bent on taking their own lives will do so, and by natural law have that right.
Well more than 60% of ALL firearm deaths are suicide. Period. Drop the mic!
So when you hear a progressive talking about “30+ thousand firearm deaths” blah, blah, blah… you can 100% rest assured that you, unlike them, are truly informed and know the facts. It’s not ‘how many people die from guns’ but rather it should be how many homicides are the result of firearms, and that’s what I hope to shed some light on with this article.
Deaths By Cause Other Than Guns
To keep it at the top of your mind, there were 8,124 murders by firearm, of which only 248 were rifles; even a smaller portion of those were assault-styled rifles.
Accidental Poisoning & Exposure to Noxious Substances – 42,032 Deaths – This is surprising, actually. We could easily save an additional 8,124 lives per year (the number of murders by firearm) with enhanced education and chemical product instruction, yet some people feel compelled to attack the Constitution. Barely 1/2 of 1% of the number of poisonings equaled the total number of rifle-related deaths… woo hoo, we have to get on top of those outlandish death tolls at the hands of firearms.
Transportation Deaths – 37,939 Deaths– You’re more than 4 times as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle crash than by a firearm. Do you get squeamish every time you leave the house?
Falls – 31,959 Deaths – You’re still almost 4 times as likely to die from falling off your roof or down your stairs as you are from any type of gun. I’ll never walk down the stairs again.
Drowning – 3,406 Deaths – That’s over 13 times the number of deaths caused by rifles. You’re 13 times more likely to die in your pool or bathtub than by a rifle? Dry shower anyone?
Boating Deaths – 610 Deaths – In 2014, the Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. And we don’t even have a Constitutional right to boating. So you’re over 3 times as likely to die while boating than by a scary assault rifle. To take this further as it relates to preventing unnecessary deaths, the Coast Guards reports that “Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 84% were not wearing a life jacket.” So we could’ve saved twice the number of lives that are taken by rifles, 496, by just requiring and enforcing the use of life jackets while on the water. Amazing. Let’s attack the Constitution, by all means.
Choking – 480 Deaths – Twice the number of people killed by rifles, died by choking. Are you afraid of that steak now? Better keep an eye on the shifty filet mignon!
Burning / Fire Deaths – 3,196 Deaths – Another area where education and safety training could significantly save lives, as these deaths are nearing half of the number of firearm murders per year in our country.
Suffocation – 18,646 Deaths – Over twice the number of people killed by guns died as a result of suffocation in America. Suffocation is a greater killer than any gun in the United States? By two fold? Wow. I may not sleep tonight.
Pedestrians Killed – 6,258 Deaths – This number surprised even me, but only further highlights how ridiculous the firearm threat is being blown out of proportion in America. Almost as many people died while walking or running as died from a stinking gun.
Cut / Pierced – 2,609 Deaths – You have nearly a 10 times greater likelihood of being killed by a knife as you do a rifle… come on man, really? We’re still having this conversation?
More Likely To Die From These Than A Rifle
Since we know that in 2014 the number of people killed by all types of rifles is 248 ( that 248 includes hunting rifles, target practice and squirrel rifles, etc…. which means very, very few were even the “assault-styled” kind of rifle that leftist dummies love to attack), we can look at it like this for clarity.
The percentage of deaths from all types of rifles in 2014 was… .009%
For the mathy, need-proof kind of people, that percentage is extrapolated from the total 2014 deaths (2,624,418) and the number of rifle related homicides (248). Guns are not the most common way to die in America, not even close, and not even close to close.
So with that in mind, what other ways are you more likely to die from than being shot by one of those scary assault-style-looking rifles (but not really functionally an assault rifle, anymore than your child’s phaser gun is really a phaser gun) or any other kind of rifle known to man? How many people died from guns compared to these types of deaths?
Bicycling – 902 Deaths – Now, when was the last time you stopped and thought to yourself, hey, let’s disassemble the Constitution because I’m afraid of riding my bicycle? I mean, you’re over 3 times as likely to die on your bicycle as you are being shot by a rifle in America.
Walking – 6,258 Deaths – As mentioned previously, the total number of people killed by any type of rifle in America equals a tiny 3.96% of the total number of people killed while walking or running. Now I know for a fact you didn’t shutter yourself inside your home yesterday with fear of taking a little walk because you might be killed. Now how much more silly is this gun-grab when only 3.96% as many people are killed by rifles as being a pedestrian?
Machinery Related – 602 Deaths – You’re almost 3 times as likely to die from your lawn mower rolling over you or your tiller going berserk on your head than you are being shot by a rifle. I knew I hated mowing the lawn for a reason!
House Fires – 2,400 Deaths – Only 10% of this number died as a result of a rifle in the entire nation in 2014.
Adverse Effects Of Medical Care – 2,156 Deaths – Rifles killed only 11.5% the number of people that “life-saving” medical care did in 2014.
Environmental Exposure (Heat, Cold, Water, etc…) – 1,625 Deaths – Only 15% as many died from those terrible rifles that progressives can’t wait to confiscate.
Riding In Someone Else’s Car – 8,098 Deaths – Let’s take a deeper look at this little jewel of information. Only 3% of that number were killed by ALL types of rifles.
Almost exactly as many people died from just riding in some ones car, as died from ALL firearm deaths in the country?!
Holy crap, are you serious, and so we’re going to fundamentally change our nation, the greatest on the planet, for this? We’re going to risk civil war for this? We’re going to give up our right to self-defense for this? Seriously, fellow Americans? A firearm isn’t the most likely way to die in the U.S., and it’s not even close or on the same map.
Yet power-grabbing politicians want to disarm the nation and start whittling away at the Bill of Rights, your rights (you think about it and come to your own conclusion on why).
Why Do People Have Such A Need For Self Defense?
In 2008, according to the Bureau of Justice, females age 12 or older experienced about 552,000 nonfatal violent victimizations (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated or simple assault). Imagine your mother or sister or daughter being violently and horrendously raped and abused… should she not have the right to defend herself? Can you imagine how many girls and women 552,000 equals?
Imagine every man, woman and child in Albuquerque or Tuscon being raped, sexually assaulted or violently robbed in 1 year… is your stomach turning yet? It should be, because that’s how many innocent WOMEN are victims of violent, non-fatal crimes EVERY YEAR in America.
The government’s report, Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (Page 12) and published in May 2013, concludes that between 2007 – 2011…
victims of violent crime successfully defended themselves 235,700 times with guns, either by discharging the firearm or threatening to.
If your mom or wife or daughter or sister was one of those 1/2 million + being assaulted and having her most personal self being horrendously violated, would you really not agree that she ought to have the right to stop the rapist? To defend herself? If you believe that then you’ve gone completely mad with the disease of progressivism?
In an in-depth 1997 report Violence and Victims, Volume 12, Number 4, under the heading “Estimating intruder-related firearm retrievals in U.S. households“, it was estimated that every year almost 1/2 million Americans used a firearm to deter a home invasion (498,000 times)… and that in the 1990’s, imagine how much larger that number is today.
So guns saved over over 1/4 million victims of violent crime in this data and guns provided another 1/2 million defensive uses in home invasions (way back in the 1990’s), and of course many other instances of self-defense thanks to an armed citizen… and progressives want to disarm us because their power hungry, dicator-wanna-be’s say so? It must feel awkward to be a progressive in the face of more and more emerging evidence of just how stupid they really are.
So take the crime you see reported on the news, and imagine it ALSO including the crimes, the rapes and robberies and invasions that were “prevented” or stopped because of a firearm, and then you begin to see a different reality than the one being fed to you day in and day out by the liberal media. Take the guns away = exponentially increasing gun violence, just like the availability of drugs on every corner of America, even yours.
John Locke (1632-1704) – A great American and a founding father who was instrumental in forming the checks and balances of our nation, wrote that the right to self-defense is the very first and most important law of nature. Not law of man or government, of nature. It’s not negotiable anymore than a Gazelle has a right to defend itself with horns.
If you don’t believe that you or someone you like or love has the right to defend themselves then you have been beaten down so far that you don’t even resemble a free-thinking, rebellious American.
It’s not white rednecks or hunters or whoever, that have a right or need to own a gun. It’s black men and women, Hispanics, Asians, Europeans, city dwellers, single moms and dads, vulnerable students in strange cities, business owners, the elderly or defenseless, etc… EVERY American has a right to own a firearm, to defend themselves. Yet the progressives use race or any other tool to cause divide, even resorting to outright lies (See this article on Katie Couric’s lies if you don’t believe me).
Now watch what Zo, Shawn, Eli and K.Martin of 20 lb Sledge have to say about liberals using race and lies to manipulate America and to purposely create racial divide.
As a former law enforcement officer I’m suggesting that you take into account the information above, and couple it with the crime and danger in the U.S. as shown in the F.B.I.’s Crime Clock below (2014 is the latest complete data year as of writing), and then understand and have the backbone to uphold the 2nd Amendment… you (and your friends and family) have a right to defend yourself, period. Do guns save lives? See this article and find out.
How Many People Die From Guns – The Myth
People have to be good consumers and research things for themselves before they make buying decisions, we all know it and most of us do it. But when it comes to something as vital and important and contentious as gun ownership, millions of people are so included to just watch MSNBC and believe any and every thing they say, without checking or verifying that information.
Well, here’s an inside look at the real data to make it more clear and give you something to think about as you reconsider your belief in the progressive nonsense plaguing the nation. How many people die from guns in America versus other nations? We’re number 1 with a bullet…
If you’re still wondering how we can save many more lives than all of this fighting over firearms ever could, take a few minutes to watch Dr. Greger’s amazing video on how our food is killing us. It has nothing to do with guns and everything to do with actually saving lives, even our own. If saving lives is, truly, our goal with this whole gun control debate.
It’s not voodoo, its common sense really.
If you want to save lives in America, Like and Share this post.
You’re now a well-informed citizen and know how many people die from guns and how many more can be saved by simple common sense actions by our government and ourselves. Enjoy this video by Dr. Greger, I think you’ll find it eye-opening. Note: I’ve been asked and yes, adding this video by Dr. Greger is sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it does point out how many lives we can really, truly save if we only make health awareness a real thing and not an election-year campaign slogan, and quit propagating the lie that so many people die from guns.
1 Ted Cruz Booed For RNC Speech
It’s official. Ted Cruz Booed as he shows that he cares more about himself and his ego and his career than he does for the United Sates of America, and certainly more than he cares about the 2nd Amendment.
The outrageous and embarrassing Ted Cruz speech at the RNC tonight did more than get him and his wife Heidi Cruz booed (security had to escort her out of the convention), he mistakenly let his own ego and pride and wallet ruin his career and simultaneously he left the 2nd Amendment hanging in the wind like a jackass’s tail following his convention antics.
I was one of the earliest opponents of Donald Trump for President; it didn’t seem right because of the preconceived ideas I had of him. Now I know Trump better, and his ideals (especially about the 2nd Amendment) and I love his candidacy. He’s been endorsed by the NRA much earlier than any Republican candidate in a long, long time… that says something if you care about the 2nd Amendment.
Of course, I’ve always had Ted Cruz at the bottom of my list (anyone who knows me can verify it), because he just comes across as arrogant and flippant, both of which he confirmed tonight. He cocks those eyebrows “at will” to convey his innocence and sincerity… yet he’s totally shallow.
If you didn’t see the Ted Cruz Republican Convention speech I have it at the bottom of this post so you can check it out.
And Cruz has PROVEN that he’ll throw your right to defend yourself, the 2nd Amendment, out the window for the sake of his petty ego! If Hillary wins this election I don’t see how he can show his face in Texas, let alone hold another office there.
Washington Establishment Fears Donald Trump
Cruz made his name on the back of his “outsider” claims and “anti-establishment” banter. In truth, Cruz is a bought shill no different from any of the other big-name, established candidates, and it’s EXACTLY that, which Cruz proved himself tonight, that will get Trump elected and which will ensure that Cruz will NEVER hold the title of President in this country… maybe Canada?
Donald Trump is the only candidate we have who is truly non-establishment and who truly isn’t afraid to stand on principle and fight for our Constitution. People may not agree on everything with Trump, but name one politician who ever had that honor, ever.
But what people can do is believe what he says and trust him when he speaks. He has far more class than any of the staged politicians fronted by the wealthy elite who want Washington power and favor.
Did you know that within minutes of it becoming clear that Trump was going to win the nomination, that Ted Cruz’s financial donors (not the little guys, the one’s dropping MILLIONS), that they immediately began dumping millions in Hillary’s campaign? And we should be surprised at the Ted Cruz RNC speech?
Some political shopper and hedge fund schmo named James Simons dumped millions into Cruz’s campaign, and now all of a sudden is dumping millions into Clinton’s election? Anyone besides me see the real issue here? This guy is trying to buy power, or influence, or favors from whoever he can buy.
In the words of the Observer as to why donors buy candidates like Cruz:
Wealthy individuals contribute to campaigns because they know that, in order to keep large donations pouring in every year, candidates like Ms. Clinton and Mr. Cruz will return the favor. This cycle enables massive corporations and wealthy one-percenters to maximize their profits through tax evasion, outsourcing and government subsidies and tax breaks.
How does that make you feel about Cruz now? That his donors consider Hillary Clinton his “next best”, or “similar to” candidate?
The same with the Bush donors… they’re dropping MILLIONS to Hillary’s campaign because they fear that Trump won’t “play politics” with them and I can only assume that means they fear they’ll lose their favors and sweet government deals. Oh I hope they do.
What does this all mean?
It means these schmucks think they can keep buying this country and they’re pouting that their “guy” didn’t win and that Trump won’t “play ball” with them.
Screw Mitt Romney, the Bushes and any of the other power-elites who are whining about their loss of influence. Their refusal to show up at the RNC or to endorse Trump says it all and they’ve lost a ton of respect for their petty actions.
They would rather have Hillary as President, the person who left Americans to die, lied about issue after issue, risked national security via her careless email practices, supports the killing of law enforcement by radical anarchists, and on and on… they would rather see her win at the cost of the party values they allege to hold, rather than seeing someone win who is much more closely aligned to their party’s “stated” values?
Hmmm, I think even the simplest minded among us can see what’s going on, and just who is part of the “bought and paid for” D.C. crowd.
Party doesn’t matter, only that you play along. Guess what? I don’t think Trump will and that’s why even now billionaire power-mongers are cuddling up to ensure that Clinton wins… they don’t want to upset their control.
I didn’t expect to see Ted Cruz at convention parties, but I did expect his to show more respect and class for the conservative values and the millions and millions of Americans who are voting for Trump.
Cruz complains about his wife being attacked and uses it as his “reason” for not endorsing Trump, yet Trump and others are fairly certain that at the very least Cruz knew about and allowed Trump’s wife to be exploited and abused for political gain.
The Super PAC Make America Awesome published this little gem, which resulted in Trump’s attack on Cruz’s wife.
If you follow this site then you know I’m a registered democrat. I’m a moderate. I vote for America every time, not party lines. I love the old democratic platform and still believe in it, but the progressives and corrupt Washington elites are killing this country and robbing our youth of any tomorrow. They’re willing to start dismantling our Bill of Rights, too.
And no right I have, no passion I have, is more dear to me than my 2nd Amendment right. No party, no candidate, no amount of “coolness” is able to sway me to participate in destroying this country, period.
If you love America then get out and vote for it. Vote for Trump and for a fresh start, and not a Clinton “restart”.
You can read the article about Cruz’s donors at the link below, but first, please leave a comment and let me know how you feel with Ted Cruz booed by the RNC convention crowd after he revealed his true colors via his speech and failure to keep his signed pledge and word to voters and party officials and candidates.
99 Concealed Carry At Work | Corporate Culpability
For most people concealed carry at work isn’t an option unless they want to risk being fired thanks to corporate cowardice, and thanks to the too silent majority in America who let the fringe left run amok in this country.
If a business forbids employees from carrying firearms at work or visitors from carrying concealed on their property (despite them having a CCW), without then providing proper security and personal defense for those employees and visitors, is the company liable for injury or death that results from someone not being able to defend themselves?
In a sense, what these policies are saying is that you don’t have a right to protect yourself on their premises and the business won’t do it, either. So ultimately these “we are defenseless” laws are creating a sort of smorgasbord of helpless victims for any would be criminal.
Unfortunately, many of these victims are women who find themselves helpless to violent men. Which is why many people support the bring your gun to work laws.
According to the AFLCIO, 12.7% of ALL female violent crimes occurred at the workplace. Over 30% of women who are killed at work die as a result of a violent crime. In fact, Homicide is the second leading cause of death for women at work, behind only traffic accidents.
Think that this is mere hyperbole? Think again.
Could Concealed Carry At Work Save Lives?
In February 17, 2017, a helpless victim named Joyce D. Fox (50) was stalked and killed as she sat in her car, at work in the Far West Side UPS Distribution Center parking lot.
Danny R. Fabro, 54, who was her estranged ex-boyfriend, approached Fox’s parked car and shot her in the head. The maniac fled the scene in his pickup, and following a police pursuit ultimately attempted to commit suicide, unfortunately failing.
Charles Pepper, Joyce’s father, had urged her just a couple of weeks prior to buy a handgun because he feared her ex-boyfriend would hurt her. Fabro had beaten her a month prior to the point that she needed hospitalization.
It’s possible that had Joyce been lawfully armed this incident would’ve resulted in a minor obituary which mentioned in passing the death of JAT (or Just Another Turd for our progressive readers).
Ohio’s gun laws didn’t prevent Fabro from unlawfully acquiring a handgun (so throw out the “need more laws” argument), nor did UPS’s flippant anti self-defense policy help save another helpless woman’s life.
Concealed Carry Policy For Employees
When it comes to concealed carry at work Florida laws are CCW friendly. The Florida Governor, Charlie Christ, signed the first Bring Your Gun To Work law in 2008.
Titled the “Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008”, signed into law on April 15, 2008, the law mandates that employers permit employees who are licensed to carry concealed weapons to keep firearms in their locked vehicles at work. The law applies to any employee, customer or “invitee” with a concealed weapon permit.
A few other states have followed suit, but not nearly enough. Now I hear a few progressives snorts out there, and that’s fine. But just like outlawing drugs didn’t solve the drug problem, outlawing guns won’t solve the gun violence problem.
According to the FBI, a full 60% of active shooter incidents ended before the police ever got there (the suspect committed suicide or fled the scene). So much for letting the government protect you.
In fact, as a long-time law enforcement officer I can say that it’s very rare that law enforcement prevents a violent crime at all, instead officers usually arrive after the crime occurred.
States With Bring Your Gun To Work Laws
When it comes to guns in the workplace state laws differ, a lot. According to ConcealedNation.org, the so-called “parking lot laws” are so confusing (because they vary so widely from state to state) that you’re better served diving into your specific state’s laws to determine exactly what it is that you’re permitted to do in your state.
Your local NRA office or state legislator can help you interpret your state’s law. Whether that be keep your firearm inside a locked vehicle or actually taking your firearm in to work (which isn’t likely). Some places like government buildings, schools, chemical and nuclear facilities, etc… have exceptions and exemptions to any right to carry law.
And quite a few states are offering immunity to those businesses who do allow concealed carry at work. That is, if a business allows its employees to carry at work, and then an employee commits a crime with that weapon at work, the business isn’t guilty of failing to provide a safe working environment as a result of its concealed carry policy for employees.
In my state, Kansas, for example, the state extends immunity from liability to 1) businesses which allow concealed handguns in the workplace and 2) those that don’t, except that an employer that prohibits weapons is only immune if it “provides adequate security measures.” Kan. Stat. Ann. §75-7c10(c)(1).
Specifically, if employers want to prevent firearms on their premises then they need to pony up the money to provide for the physical security of their employees, customers and visitors. No exception.
Among the states that do have some type of concealed carry at work laws include Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arizona and Utah. There are others and I’ll update this list when I’ve conclusively identified the states and their laws. If you know of any please let me know in the comments.
Concealed Carry At Work – Conclusion
Concealed carry in the workplace is a much debated topic and one that we’re not going to see resolved anytime soon. However, for those who support the 2nd Amendment and it’s implications then you need to make yourself aware of and familiar with the laws in your state. And also with your employer’s policies regarding firearms at work.
If your state allows you may be able to work with your company and help them to draft a ‘weapons in the workplace policy’ that helps protect your rights as well as alleviates their requirement to protect their premises from violent crime. Working together is our best hope at crafting reasonable laws.
I’d be interested to hear about your state’s “concealed carry at work” laws and also what you think about this issue, and any experiences you’ve had regarding it. Even if you disagree, let us know why and perhaps you can offer some intelligent information to the discussion.
Officer Involved Shooting | Officer Shoots Air Force Airman
Officer Involved Shooting On Video
On a crisp evening on March 6, 2014, driving along Alabama’s I-85, active duty Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Davidson had no idea he was about to be the target of an officer involved shooting.
The young man was on his way to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina after having finished training at Sheppard Air Force Base (F-15 Avionics) in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The then 20-year-old Davidson was a 2012 graduate of Beckville High School in Texas.
While driving along I-85 and through the jurisdiction of the Opelika Police Department, Davidson’s SUV lightly sideswiped a tractor-trailer (semi) and so dutifully both drivers pulled over to report the accident. The semi driver, Samuel Thomas Sanders II, was a witness to what would unfold.
Prior to this accident the Opelika Police Department had received a phone call about a SUV driving erratically along I-85 (Airman Davidson was driving an SUV), and so the on-duty officer, Phillip Hancock, was in the area trying to observe the reported vehicle.
When the call came in of the SUV / tractor-trailer accident, the officer was practically right there already. The officer’s dash-cam shows that he was pulling up behind the two vehicles as they were both still pulling off of the roadway.
The officer in question, Phillip Hancock (pictured below), began working as a Police Officer in 2006 for the same department.
Airman Davidson, displaying amazing consideration for the officer’s safety, pulls way off to the edge of the shoulder so that the officer isn’t forced to stand in traffic as he works the accident. It was this consideration that ultimately led to the chain of events that would result in the officer involved shooting.
Because Davidson pulled over to the edge of the shoulder, and onto the grassy area, his SUV was leaning to the right which meant that as he tried to open his door it would keep trying to shut on him; probably every one of us has had it happen to us while parking.
This is a traffic accident investigation, not a narcotics intervention or the tail end of a police pursuit. So keep that “setting” in mind when understanding the actions of both the victim and the officer.
Officer Involved Shooting Unfolds
Next, in the video you can see that the driver of the semi-truck (Mr. Sanders) is walking back to talk to the officer and SUV driver. After all, no one outside of Hancock, not even the semi driver, thought this was a “dangerous situation”. When Sanders reaches the back of his truck and Davidson sees him, Davidson also begins to exit his SUV. You know, exchanging information, whatever, it’s a fender bender.
Airman Davidson is exiting the vehicle with his hands visible and extended towards the officer for visibility, and his wallet (again, being considerate) in his hand. When the weight of the angled door tries to shut back onto Davidson it sets off what Officer Hancock allegedly mistook to be a “life-threatening” door shutting event.
Specifically, the door was shutting back on him preventing his from getting out, so he put his hands to the door to push it open. This was the fatal incident that specifically led to the officer involved shooting.
Officer Hancock yells at Davidson to “Let me see your hands” twice before firing. Not ‘Stop or I’ll shoot’ or ‘Let me see your hands or I’ll shoot’. Davidson got no fair warning that he was about to be shot if he failed to comply.
Ironically (in a twisted way) as Officer Hancock approaches the scene of the accident you can hear that his radio is playing the song “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Officer Hancock fired two rounds. One of those struck Airman Davidson in the lower stomach area severing an artery and severely damaging his colon. Davidson can be seen laying on the ground and bleeding profusely as officers walk around him and ponder his condition. The second bullet apparently struck the ground.
Thankfully Officer Hancock wasn’t a good shot.
Remember, Officer Hancock was BEHIND his vehicle when the officer involved shooting occurred, so he had metal cover for protection. He had his headlights AND spotlight on Airman Davidson, so even if Davidson had wanted to shoot the officer with his wallet he couldn’t 1) see him and 2) have much of an opportunity to hit him (small target behind cover) before being shot himself.
Too Many Officer Involved Shootings
I was a law enforcement officer for many years (including as a county Deputy working alone in a remote area, so I’ve had the fear factor) and later served as an elected County Sheriff, and if this scenario in which Officer Hancock shoots Mr. Davidson qualifies as a reasonable standard for law enforcement use of deadly force then yes, we have a problem.
If an officer is so afraid that he shoots someone simply because a door is shutting on them, then we have a problem. There simply has to be a better way of vetting law enforcement candidates so that we’re not getting the types of officers who can’t adequately analyze proper ‘shoot’, ‘don’t shoot’ situations.
There are too many officer involved shootings, and the poor judgement calls are making it bad for those officers who genuinely needed to use deadly force.
And that’s my point entirely, that officers shouldn’t have to be criticized for saving their own lives while on duty and citizens shouldn’t lose their lives negligently to those sworn to serve them. We must get better and get this right, for everyone’s sake.
As Sheriff I had a deputy under my command lawfully use lethal force on a suspect who died of those injuries; I understand the peril that law enforcement officers face every day and I know first hand the effect it has on officers who are forced to use deadly force.
It’s never easy and the ramifications are often lifelong for the officer, too.
Police Shooting Video – Split Second Witness
If the situation preceding this officer involved shooting were a police chase, or something with violent activity or potential, then perhaps we’re having a different conversation based on what could loosely be called a resemblance of a weapon (the wallet).
But on an accident investigation the shooting is way beyond a reasonable response by an officer.
I’m not saying that the officer should be held criminally liable… I doubt that Officer Hancock had criminal or ill-intent. He was just poorly prepared to be in that situation, either because of training (or lack thereof) or he was simply mentally incapable of responding correctly in that type of split second situation (again, due to lack of training and readiness).
Hancock may be the nicest, sweetest, gentlest man to ever walk the streets of Opelika. But in this case he made a mistake. He’s not a demon or a bad guy. He made a mistake. And it’s one serious enough that there has to be consequences.
And because law enforcement officers face these situations frequently they must get them right, period. Failing to “get it right” in these situations means that we’re going to accept a certain number of innocent officer involved shootings and deaths of citizens, and that’s just not alright.
Anyone who knows me (you can read my opinions on this site) can attest, I’m a 100% hard-core law enforcement supporter. I hate crime and thugs. But sensible men and women cannot turn a blind eye to bad actions and then wonder when citizens start to doubt the police.
To my fellow law enforcement officers reading this, you cannot blindly support any and every officer involved shooting another cop is involved in regardless of the facts. If you love this country and her people, and our laws which provide us a veil of security and safety, then you must also condemn wrong acts by other officers, even if it’s simply an unfortunate event.
Otherwise we won’t have learned from it and a patriotic American suffers without compensation because of it. Airman Davidson shouldn’t be walking around with a Colostomy bag that he had to pay for, among what must be an enormous amount of other medical bills.
When turds pull weapons on cops, or threaten them in some physical way, and later get shot in the act of being stupid, then there’s no pity. Law and order means law and order. If you obey the laws, you shouldn’t get hurt.
When you do get hurt wrongfully, as did Airman Davidson, then there must be consequences.
And by that I mean at the least that the officer be removed from deadly-force capable positions (I said at the very least, because Hancock wasn’t), and the victim must be compensated and have their injuries and expenses covered, and in fatal cases their families need to be provided for.
I hope that this case is appealed to the Supreme Court and that the sensible men and women of the court can listen to the evidence and watch this case unfold for themselves, and see that this was a negligent act, plain and simple.
Officer Involved Shooting – Officer Hancock vs Wallet
Here’s the dash cam so that you can watch the officer involved shooting unfold for yourself.
What stands out after watching it? First, when I see this is just pisses me off. That could be you or I, or our family. Getting awkwardly out of the car now warrants deadly force… wow.
Over 5 minutes went by as this American citizen and U.S. serviceman laid on the ground bleeding (an artery was severed by Hancock’s bullet, as witnessed by the growing pool of blood) and not one police officer put on rubber gloves and tried to render medical aid (stop the bleeding, etc…), 5 flipping minutes! They walked around him like it was a side-show. How would you feel if it was your brother or son, or you?
Yes, law enforcement did later recover opened packets of the synthetic drug Spice (synthetic marijuana) from inside of Davidson’s SUV, but that’s really irrelevant because Davidson didn’t do or say anything inappropriate that would lead a reasonable officer to shoot him and the officer had no knowledge of it when the shooting occurred.
Davidson was in a fender bender and pulled over to report it. He went out of his way to be polite and cooperative. Click here to see the full front page of this police report.
Hancock Cleared In Officer Involved Shooting
Davidson rightfully filed a lawsuit against the officer and the city, which you can read here.
The 3 Judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower courts ruling, in favor of the police officer, by stating:
“After careful consideration and review of a video recording of the shooting, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Davidson, we conclude that a reasonable officer in Hancock’s position would have feared for his life.“
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Eastern Division, which issued the original decision on the lawsuit in December 2016, also ordered Davidson to pay $15,354.82 for legal costs to the city of Opelika, Hancock and McEachern.
Can the B.S. get any deeper in this case?
People say “you don’t know what it’s like to be a cop” or “you do that job“. Well, yes I do. And I have.
Cops don’t get to shoot innocent people and get away with it. Even if they did it on accident or they “thought” they were acting properly but were later shown to “not” have been. There has to be consequences like getting fired, or at the very least the employer having to pay for damages.
Officer involved shootings are a fact of life in our hip hop and Hollywood fueled violent culture, but we must strive for better.
If you had a CCW and made a similar mistake you would almost certainly be in trouble.
Concluding This Opinion Piece
My parting words are this. If anyone pulls a knife or gun on a cop, or is reasonably believed to have a knife or gun, or otherwise shows the intent and capability to harm a law enforcement officer then those officers have every right (and I expect them to) shoot those suspects. Most police shootings fall into those categories.
Those people who threaten and do harm to law enforcement, what do you suppose they would do to you and your family in a confrontation? Exactly… they’re bad people and when those criminals are killed or injured by law enforcement in a justifiable way then it’s one less turd on the street.
We can’t let officers who wrongfully shoot a citizen cloud our judgement against the men and women who do the dirty work of keeping us safe. Clearly there is an overwhelmingly larger percentage of good cops and great law enforcement happening in our communities, than there are officer involved shootings like the one with Airman Davidson here.
In fact, so many people fueled by ignorance or hate (often both) forget how much these men and women give for us and our families every day. Let’s never forget the price so many have to pay doing it.
However, we live in a society of laws and moral decency, and we expect it from every citizen and even more so from the men and women who wear the badges of honor that we bestow upon them.
In my opinion officers get into situations like this if they’re always looking for the bad guys and fail to see the good ones, that’s why it all becomes a blur and this shit happens.
Likewise, when the media and political scumbags use these rare police shooting instances as a platform for creating more divide for dollars (see my article on mass shooting statistics to see what I mean), then good citizens need to call then out.
Law-abiding citizens should be safe from negligent officer involved shootings, and there should be consequences when citizens are harmed by their protectors.
I hope the Davidsons pursue this appeal and perhaps even start a GoFundMe.com page.
And I hope Americans start having the back of good law enforcement officers. They need us as much as we need them, and officer involved shootings are truly a minor fraction of all police contacts. Don’t you agree?
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