Comparing Shootings by German and U.S. Police

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According to Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s premier political magazines, German policemen fired 85 bullets in 2011. 49 of those were warning shots. 36 were aimed at humans. From those shots, 15 people were injured and six died. Germany has 80 million people, which is about a quarter of the population of the United States (317 million people in 2014).

In comparison, in April of 2011 in the U.S., police fired 84 shots at one murder suspect in Harlem. In another case, they fired 90 shots at one fleeing unarmed man in Los Angeles. I am not sure it is even possible to find out how many bullets American policemen fired in one year. Please comment if you know.

In this country, we associate guns with freedom and safety. How did that happen?

German citizens are allowed to have guns, under certain conditions. Germans actually have more guns than any European nation. However, gun registration laws are extremely strict and background checks apply.

The firearm related death rate per 100,000 population in the U.S. (in 2011) was 10.3. For Germany, the rate (in 2010) was 1.24.

Which country is safer? The one with strict gun laws, or the United States?

Empirical evidence comparing statistics with just one other modern country suggests that strict gun laws result in a much lower death rate due to guns.

I do not see how stricter laws, registration requirements and background checks adversely affect our freedom or our rights.

Come and check me out!

2 thoughts on “Comparing Shootings by German and U.S. Police

  1. I’m confused how shots fired by the law enforcement — people immune to most gun control laws by the way — is related to my rights.

    I am constantly amazed at the tendency to focus on a single issue as if that was the cause of all related problems.

    Ethnic Diversity- Germany
    German 91.5%,
    Turkish 2.4%,
    other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)

    Ethnic Diversity – America
    white 79.96%,
    black 12.85%,
    Asian 4.43%,
    Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%,
    native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%,
    two or more races 1.61%

    How about immigration — people bring in different cultural values?
    Germany – 0.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    America – 3.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population

    4 times the immigration rate – now I’m not blaming immigrants or saying they are criminals. I am saying that the clash of cultures and values can create problems.

    How about unemployment?
    Germany – 5.5% (2012 est.)
    America – 8.1% (2012 est.)

    Education? Family structure, population density, drug use? Thousands of factors determine why one place or country is violent and another isn’t. Heck, even in our own country; there are counties with little or no crime. And then there are counties where there is a high crime rate but it is localized to a very small area.

    In this country, we associate guns with freedom and safety. How did that happen?,/i>

    Because we had a government that tried to take away our firearms. Because we had immigrants from nearly every country in the world; many of which have experienced tyranny and are determined not to repeat that.

    Because the average response time for a 911 call is 6 minutes nationwide…and the courts have routinely determined the police do not have a responsibility to protect individuals. Maybe that is at the base of the issue; because we see ourselves as individuals first and foremost to a greater degree than other nations.

    After all, the smallest minority is the individual.

    Bob S.

    1. I am not sure that my point of shots fired by law enforcement has anything to do with anyone’s rights. I juxtaposed two societies that I happen to have insight into. I could have picked many others, too. What I did want to say is that guns and bullets are much more widely spread and accepted by our society in the US than in one other country, and presumably in many others. Food for thought.

      I certainly did not attempt to create a treatise on all issues related to a violent society. A blog post is a good way to make a single point and stimulate thoughts.

      Thanks for the insightful comments. I am sure my readers will benefit from your thoughts, and each one of them deserves treatment of its own.

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