Officer Alex explains the concept of comparing apples to oranges
As I’ve matured on the job (a.k.a. “gotten older”), I’ve learned to not take the bait for the sake of taking the bait when dealing with agenda-driven folks. It used to be a novelty. I admit it; I liked it. Once folks started going for my job like a piñata, though, it stopped being so amusing.
Lose an argument these days? Go for the career. It’s funny because I’ve had clients convicted of child abuse and I didn’t go for their jobs, but cat ladies on the Internet will go for mine for calling someone a “coward.” It’s magical.
That said, once again the age-old argument of just how non-dangerous my job is came up, and I decided to bathe in the shallow end of the gene pool again. (As I said, I like it.)
“Linemen have a more dangerous job than police officers. So do truck drivers and construction workers. What are you always whining about? You don’t even make the top 10 list.” And so, my eyes begin to roll.
The fatality/mortality rate of police officers (and firefighters for that matter) is indeed quite low. It’s math. I don’t deny it. But the selective takeaway is “it’s not dangerous work.” To those wishing to compare the hazards of a police officer with a fisherman, I welcome the challenge.
Let’s try some context: How many linemen (#9) wear body armor? How many longshoreman (#2) wear body armor? How many crab fisherman (#2) wear body armor? How many lumberjacks (#1) wear body armor?
Sensing a pattern here? Now wait.
They don’t wear body armor because when they are killed it is through “industrial accidents.”
When a police officer is killed, it is because he/she was murdered. Lumberjacks and crab fishermen are not professionally subject to homicide. They don’t even have to arm themselves with projectile weapons to defend themselves or others. Yet, a cop’s job isn’t deemed “dangerous” to folks citing these mortality indexes. You do know these jobs are different, right?
(Fun Fact: Car crashes are the number-one cause of cop deaths, actually, which makes statistical sense because they spend about 30 hours a week driving a car in conditions dangerous enough they have to be exempt from certain safety laws to get to you when you’re down.)
At any rate, you are judging the danger by the frequency of death of the professional. As it happens, people have been trying to kill cops for years (as opposed to mining machine operators, #6) hence the development of Kevlar body armor, improved firearms, less lethal weapons to subdue people without killing them, and training, training, and training.
We also now hire college graduates when possible (compare those wages to that of a lineman’s) and even boast a few doctorates in my department. Do you have a lot of folks with doctorates working a refuse truck (#5)? Framing a house (#10)? Roofing a house (#4)?
In other words, when you factor in training and equipment and hiring practices, we have gotten smarter about how we do business and the tools with which we do it. We are killed less as a result.
So are you really saying policing in America is less dangerous “these days”? That people have fewer guns than ever? That people are more sensitized then they were a few years ago all of a sudden?
Do you have people shooting crab fisherman in the back of the head because of the flotation device they wear (a clever analogous comparison to a policeman and his uniform)? Exactly.
But you want numbers. OK, here are a few more from your own list: Sixteen mining machine operators (#6) were killed in 2013, compared to the 76 cops that were killed, therefore their job is more dangerous. (Cops made the top 10 in 2010 with 146 killed when miners didn’t crack it at all, but it’s still a stupid comparison.)
More numbers: An officer is killed every 53 hours, but it’s not dangerous. In fact, there were 49,851 officers assaulted on-duty last year. Compared to…well, damn. They don’t keep those statistics for airline pilots, farmers or roofers on the list.
Why is that, I wonder?
By this logic, being U.S. president is possibly the most dangerous job in the country. Four out of 44 have been killed, or 9 percent, compared to police officers and construction workers.
In short, you’re comparing people who are subject to being murdered to the point of having to wear cloth that keeps bullets out to people who are subject to falling out of a tree or off a boat and saying, “Yeah! That’s perfectly reasonable!”
Classy. Completely subjective and possibly inappropriate, but very classy.
Let the self-serving mockery continue. I have a defensive tactics class to take for no apparent reason.