Supplemental: The Washington Post seems to be doing something right!


Real journalism seems to be happening:
We’ve been struck by an ongoing project at the Washington Post.

On its face, it’s a journalistic project. The Post is attempting to compile a record of all police killings-by-gunshot in the United States this year.

To visit the project, click here.

The statistics compiled at that site are, of course, gloomy statistics. It’s worth noting that most police officers never shoot and kill anyone. Beyond that, in a society which is famously “awash in guns,” we would assume that most police shootings are probably “justified.”

That said, our society produces a lot of police shootings, especially as compared to other developed nations. Did we mention the fact that we’re “awash in guns?”

This phenomenon has received a lot of attention in the past year or so, sometimes from advocates of X, Y or Z whose claims may be a bit tendentious. In the midst of all this discussion, a peculiar state of affairs has sometimes been noted—the federal government produces no complete, official record of such shootings.

Into that breach steps the Post. The paper is employing a methodology borrowed from several smaller orgs. This is the paper’s description of its approach:
THE WASHINGTON POST: The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015.

The Post is tracking more than a dozen details about each killing—including the race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, and whether the person was armed—by culling local news reports and monitoring independent databases such as Killed by Police and Fatal Encounters. In some cases, The Post conducted additional reporting.

The Post is documenting only shootings in which a police officer, while on duty, shot and killed a civilian— circumstances that most closely parallel the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The Post is not tracking deaths of people in custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or deaths in which police gunfire did not kill the individual.

The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention log fatal shootings by police, but officials acknowledge that their data is incomplete.
For better or worse, the Post adjusts its numbers on an almost daily basis. As of today, the Post is reporting 518 killings so far this year.

Once again, we want to stress a basic fact. The Post is not attempting to say how many of these killings have been “unjustified.”

We stress that fact because many people in our own liberal tribe have been somewhat promiscuous of late in their claims about police conduct. In that environment, it’s easy to assume that the Post is discussing police misconduct. In fact, the Post is making no attempt to determine the frequency with which misconduct may have occurred.

The Post shows the number of shootings by race—and by age, and by gender. It shows how many of the people who died were armed/unarmed.

You can even review the statistics for each individual state. So far, only four of the fifty states are without a fatal shooting this year.

It seems to us that the Post’s statistics offer a starting point for a better-informed discussion of police shootings. Some of the data seem surprising to us. Your results may differ.

To see the data in full detail, click here for the Post site, then click again where it says CLICK HERE TO EXPLORE THE DATA.

You'll see some very basic statistics. Your reactions may differ from ours.


  1. WaPo also covered fatal shootings where the perpetrator obtained weapons as the result of federal employee incompetence.

    "Francisco Sanchez used the stolen firearm in the shooting death of Steinle. The firearm in question was issued to a Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Ranger. The Ranger was on official government travel when his vehicle was broken into and the theft occurred. The theft was immediately reported to the San Francisco Police Department."

    "FBI: Breakdown in background check system allowed Dylann Roof to buy gun"

    1. How is a vehicle that was broken into an example of employee incompetence?

    2. You don't get it, it's chic in right wing circles to denigrate working people, especially those who work for the Federal govt. It's all in keeping with their let corporations rule philosophy.

    3. @ 7:25

      The firearm was in plain sight. That is why the vehicle was broken into. Is that your notion of federal law enforcement guile? Would you also consider it merely absent mindedness regarding the many incidents of K9 deaths from overheating in a closed law enforcement vehicle because the LEO left the dog behind.

    4. @ 8:08

      Don't worry. POTUS Obama shares your benighted view of corrupt bureaucrats. He still believes IRS head Lois "slow" Lerner wasn't engaged in even a "smidgeon of corruption."

    5. Cicero, you raise a good point about government employees making mistakes. Another example is invading Iraq because of their weapons of mass destruction - which didn't exist, resulting in 3,000+ US soldiers' deaths, countless others with permanent injuries, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, US spending over 2 trillion, and opening up the Pandora's box leading to the current mess. ... I would say another example you could have mentioned

    6. AC/MA - chronic troll feeder.

    7. @ AC/MA

      Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.N. pointing photos of trucks that he insisted had WOMDs.

      HRC & Joe Biden voting to give Bush 43 authority to invade Iraq.

      Considering POTUS Obama recalled all U.S. forces out of Iraq and then re-invaded Iraq with combat ground troops gains him admission to the club of Presidents creating the "current mess."

    8. Bush and his cronies (including Powell) created the mess but you blame HRC and Biden because they wanted the president to have the latitude to do their job? HRC and Biden vote to invade Iraq -- Bush did that and Obama has been stuck with the resulting mess in that region.

    9. Powell voted for Obama, twice.

      Interesting how both HRC and Biden became part of Obama's Administration.

      Obama is stuck with the mess he created all by himself. Or do you believe 6 1/2 years into his Presidency is too soon for him to accept responsibility for his own foreign policy?

    10. If you'll remember, cicero. We told you it would take a generation (roughly three decades) to get out of the mess GWB created.
      BTW, three decades is more than 6 1/2 years. I only state that because I've seen conservatives try math. It's ugly.

    11. @ 1:49

      Interesting. VP Biden must not have received the Howler libs memo regarding this GWB mess requiring 30 years to fix. Perhaps math is not Biden nor his boss' strength.

      Vice President Joe Biden hailing that country as one of President Obama's "great achievements" in a 2010 interview with then CNN host Larry King:

      "I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government." VP Biden

    12. Biden's boss is a conservative who admires Ronald Reagan. It's not a leap to think he doesn't understand.

    13. @2:17

      Biden's boss, i.e. POTUS Obama, is a conservative? You may wish to rethink the practice of huffing spray paint while simultaneously posting.

    14. And you may wish to state real facts at some point in your posts here. I won't hold my spray-painted breath.

    15. @ 3:13

      By all means please contradict the facts I posted. Is it your contention the video of Joe Biden is nor really Joe Biden and while you are at it provide any evidence of your assertion that POTUS Obama has fooled everyone is actually a conservative. How much time will you require?

    16. Cicero, i apologize, i forgot that everything no matter what is the fault of liberals, and it certainly isn't Bush's fault for getting us into Iraq - it was Barney Frank's.

    17. @AC/MA

      Has Bush 43 ever denied he got us in Iraq? Has any conservative denied that fact? Now all you have to do is prove Bush 43 intentionally lied about WOMDs in Iraq and you will be the toast of libs everywhere.

    18. Cicedo, I can imagine what you would say if it were a democrat who got us into something like this colossal mess over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. It would be ridiculous for Bush and his crew of lying neocons to deny he got us into the situation. The weapons of mass destruction was a pretext for getting us in. There were inspectors who looked everywhere and couldn't find anything. The evidence was weak to nonexistent and was extremely spinned. it was a terrible idea from the start. We were going to be showered with flowers by the joyous and grateful citizenry. It was going to be a cake walk. Planning for it was pathetic. You don't mind calling HRC a "liar" over things like she was named for Edmund Hillary - how do you know she intentionally lied. As you always do, you swerve from the issue - I didn't say he "intentionally lied," I said he got us into it. Did he lie intentionally specifically about WMDs? - I can't read his mind, but it was an incredibly awful decision.

    19. AC/MA

      You do not have to imagine what happens when Democrat Presidents commit the American military in a colossal meat grinder that costs the lives of 58,000. There is actually a monument* to this debacle that fractured a nation and caused a POTUS not run for his second term.


      HRC lies about being the target of sniper fire, a youtube video responsible for Benghazi, her association with Sidney Blumenthal , her daughter jogging around Twin Towers on 9/11, having only one device and only one email account while at Foggy Bottom and you only remember her lying about being named after Sir Edmond? How do we know she intentionally lies? Are you making a case for HRC 's diminished capacity?

    20. Cicero, again you are ignoring bulk of my comment, with more nonsensical propaganda. I assume you agree with my characterization of the deceit that got us into the Iraq mess. The Vietnam war was also a comparable fiasco, although once we got out, were weren't left with the prospect of interminable chaos that we now have in the Middle East. Remember also that it was liberal democrats who led the protest of the democratic POTUS. Conservatives and Republicans (except the now virtually extinct liberal republicans) all supported the war whole hog. How can one person spin everything the way you do?

    21. @ AC/MA

      When did historical facts become "nonsensical propaganda?" How is the Iraq War comparable to Vietnam? 58,000+ American dead vs 4493 American dead. POTUS Obama lost all the gains that the surge produced when he pulled out combat forces only to put them back in again making it Iraq War III.

      How is it that VP Biden hailed the Iraq War as "one of the greatest achievements of the Obama Administration " if it is actually "interminable chaos" as you claim?

      The U.N., Colin Powell, Prime Minister Blair, and the entire intelligence community must have been in on this "deceit" about WOMD in Iraq. Why wouldn't Bush 43 have planted WOMDs in Iraq after the invasion if "deceit" was his intention?

      Of course the Tonkin Gulf incident better fits your scenario of a POTUS manufacturing an excuse to send more troops to Southeast Asia.

      Since POTUS Obama takes credit for ending the Iraq War (although it hasn't ended) you surely credit the Republican POTUS who ended the Vietnam War through Linebacker 1 and 2. Saigon did not fall until two years after U.S. combat forces left South Vietnam.

  2. The word "justified" doesn't mean "the perp was armed." For someone who preaches love and nonviolence, it's a wonder you admit shooting someone is justified when talking to them also works.

    There are tactics to gain trust that stop violence. These have been successively used recently by the citizen therapy group "Cure Violence." Some police also used them. In Studs Terkel's history of the WW2 era, he covers a New York officer who to disrupt armed hostage situations.

  3. According to Digby, Sanders biggest problem is that he is unknown. With this statement, she blows right past the fact that despite being less well known, his unfavorable ratings are considerably higher than those of Clinton:

    "Overall, 82 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of Clinton, while 15 percent are unfavorable (a scant 3 percent have no opinion). Sanders's favorable rating is 36 percent among Democrats, with even more offering no opinion of him. Nearly a quarter -- 23 percent -- give Sanders negative marks. "

    I think his unfavorable ratings may be higher because of a backlash against him for declaring a candidacy at all. Why is he running? There aren't good answers to that question.

    Digby goes on to point out that Obama overcame the handicap of being unknown. She does not want to contemplate that those who do know Sanders don't particularly like him, except in certain specific demographics.

    1. Sorry. Left out the link myself. The post in question is currently the lead posting on Hullabaloo.

    2. Thank you for adding the link. It is perhaps a mistake to assume that all liberals know and regularly read Digby.

    3. Hold off your thanks @ 11:08. My post @ 10:51 was a reply to a comment I myself posted which appeared then disappeared. I'll try again.

      @10:09's comment is more than just off-topic, it is full of false information which has become all too typical in these parts.

      "According to Digby...." starts things off on an erroneous foot. The post was written by Tom Sullivan, not Digby. He is one of six people who regularly post as Hullabaloo, the blog founded by Digby.

      "....Sanders biggest problem is ...." The post expresses no opinion of any problem Sanders has, not the size.

      "With this statement, she..." the statement is not by a she not is it even by the "he" that is Tom Sullivan. It is a quote from the Wa-Po article by Scott Clement about a Washington Post-ABC poll.

      "...blows right past the fact that despite being less well known, his unfavorable ratings are considerably higher than those of Clinton:" Here 10:09 goes from glaring error to outright mendacity. The Wa-Po quote is cut short in order to create the "blow by." The final line, included in the Hullabaloo post is: "That's notable because, despite being better-known than Clinton, his negatives are eight percentage points higher than Clinton."

      "Digby goes on to point out that Obama overcame the handicap of being unknown. She does not want to contemplate....

      @ 10:09 has not means of knowing what Digby is contemplating than I or other Howler readers have of knowing why 10:09 interjected this off topic demonstration of stupidity and dishonesty.

    4. There is a more thorough analysis up now, drawing upon Nate Silver's work. It contradicts my suggestion that there is a Sanders backlash but supports my view that Sanders popularity is limited to a specific demographic within the Democratic party. Silver points out that Sanders negatives stay constant as his name recognition increases but Silver agrees that he is only popular among one segment of Democrats -- an anyone but Hillary group.

      I omitted that line about the negatives from my quote of Digby's post because it contains an error and refers to Sanders as "better known" than Clinton. I thought it would be too confusing to have to repeat the error and then explain that it is an error, since Sanders is not better known than Clinton. Digby then ignores the fact of those negatives as she goes on to explain that Sanders can overcome his handicap of being unknown, just as Obama did. That IS blowing past the existence of some pretty high negatives (nearly equal to his positives). You can quibble with the rest of my language all you want but why call me names? Are you incapable of civil discussion?

      If Digby does not discuss something, you can safely assume it is because she does not want to discuss it, since it is her blog and her post and she can presumably write whatever she does or does not want to write in it. If she doesn't consider Sanders negatives worth writing about, that is revealing of a favorable bias towards Sanders because negatives almost equal to one's positives are pretty obvious to everyone not in the bag for Sanders. Nate Silver says his negatives don't increase as he gains name recognition. That suggests that new people are liking what he tells them about himself. That may change as the election goes on because a real election in which there is debate may raise questions about some of his positives. In other words, those new voters may hear some criticisms of him that can change their minds.

      Gaius Publius quotes Silver as saying that Sanders is popular with the more liberal Democrats. What will those liberal Democrats think when they find out that Sanders is not among the most liberal Senators (30-35th ranked in liberal voting, not among the top 15 most liberal). What will they think when they learn that Sanders and Hillary have nearly identical rankings in terms of liberal voting in the Senate, that their programs and ideas are closely similar, not different, except that Hillary favors gun control and Sanders has voted with the NRA more often than Clinton? Will they care about that? What will happen when they start thinking about Sanders total lack of foreign relations expertise and experience? OK in a liberal senator but not a good qualification for president. I think these new voters will change their minds about Sanders with a bit more information about him.

    5. "I am shocked,.shocked to find dissembling about Digby is going on in here!"

      "Here is another off-topic comment, sir."

      "Everyone go away at once!"

    6. Digby's blog this morning also describes a draft-Biden movement. Biden may have problems with women voters when his habit of laying hands on women without their permission is made obvious. People are giving him a pass on it now because he is Obama's VP but it goes a bit beyond just being a warm person and will be a liability with female voters. There are quite a few photos of him doing it in public ceremonies with the evident discomfort of those touched obvious on their faces and in their body language. It is like the photo of Angela Merkel when Bush gave her the shoulder rub, except there are lots of photos of Biden doing this and more.

    7. @ 10:09/11:34 Let's see what you blow by in your response.

      1) The comment had nothing to do with the substance of this post.

      2) Digby didn't write it. You compound the mistake again in this post.

      3) You attributed the quote and thus the "blow by" to Digby not the Wa-Po.

      4) You invent thoughts in the head of someone who had nothing to do with the article which provoked your comment.

      Have you contemplated professional help?

    8. If the point of a Sanders candidacy is not to pull Clinton to the right, but to weaken her in the general election so that a Republican candidate can win, then Democrats are playing into Republican hands by supporting Sanders. He is their ideal candidate -- an old Socialist with no chance of winning in the Fall but who will weaken Clinton's popularity with Democratic voters. The numbers cited on Digby's blog seem like that is happening already. Sanders doesn't seem to have any real chance of winning anything except NH and Iowa, but that may be enough to weaken Clinton and make her less formidable in the General election. How is that not what the polling is saying?

      Has anyone looked at where Sanders is getting his money? How much of it is coming from corporations or conservative donors as opposed to enthusiastic Democrats?

    9. Sorry -- typo. It should say "pull Clinton to the left" not right.

    10. @11:51 Digby chose not to comment on Sanders unfavorables in the portion of the post that SHE wrote. She focused exclusively on his ability to gain name recognition without discussing what was said in the Wapo quote about his unfavorable. I am commenting on what Digby said, not on what the Wapo said.

      I am ignoring your dig about professional help -- it confirms that you are not capable of civil discussion. I will not be replying to any further comments you make. You are repeating yourself and you are saying inaccurate things that anyone reading here can verify for themselves by looking at Digby's posts, assuming they care.

    11. 10:09/11:34/11:59

      "According to Digby.... With this statement, she blows right past the fact....Digby goes on to point out .... She does not want to contemplate" 10:09

      "I omitted that line about the negatives from my quote of Digby's post because.....Digby then ignores the fact of those negatives as she goes on to explain...If Digby does not discuss something, you can safely assume it is because she does not want to discuss it... " 11:34

      "Digby chose not to comment on Sanders unfavorables in the portion of the post that SHE wrote.... She focused exclusively....I am commenting on what Digby said...." 11:59

      "I will not be replying to any further comments you make. You are repeating yourself and you are saying inaccurate things."


    12. "If the point of a Sanders candidacy is not to pull Clinton to the right, but to weaken her in the general election so that a Republican candidate can win, then Democrats are playing into Republican hands by supporting Sanders."

      If your point is to demonstrate that Somerby guessed right when he guessed some of Hillary Clinton's supporters were her biggest problem you are doing an excellent job @ 11:59.

    13. You use this out of context Somerby quote the way conservatives use Hillary's remark about being broke.

      Somerby doesn't seem to care whether Hillary is elected or not so why should his opinion about Hillary supporters matter to those who do favor het?

    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    15. @ 12:57

      How have conservatives taken HRC's quote:

      "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy" HRC

      out of context? Could you put it into some context where HRC doesn't look utterly absurd?

      HRC continues with her characterization of her economic status with The Guardian in a June, 2014 interview:

      'But they don't see me as part of the problem because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work." HRC

      HRC makes $300K an hour but she doesn't consider herself as "truly well off." Of course she does take advantage of all the tax loop holes available to wealthy folks.

      "Wealthy Clintons Use Trusts to Limit Estate Tax They Back "

    16. cicero, so that I will never be accused of not aiding the intellectually halt and lame, let me say in defense of @ 12:57 that her reference "out of context" was aimed at use of the Somerby guess about Hillary supporters. By equating it to conservative use of the "dead broke" remark she could be equating the frequency of use, That said, she could be equating both as intending to harm Clinton. She cannot envision both to be intended to refer to something said which was not altogether bright.

      I offer this clarification because you seem to take her remark as an attack on conservatives, and indicator you share in the paranoid view of things that exemplifies @ 12:57 who mistakenly feels my criticism and Somerby's was aimed at Hillary.