At Helter Skelter we strive to offer the numbers behind the stories of the day in a way no one else will. In this piece we lay out the numbers behind the recent shootings of men shot by police while Black; Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Here are some of the numbers we dug up:
Incidentally, in the case Mr. Castile, a good guy with a gun got shot.
Cabela’s Sporting Goods this week has a 100 round box of 9mm ammunition for just $3.99, or less than 4 pennies per bullet. Walter Scott was shot in the back 8 times and died for a cost of 4 pennies. Castile lost his life for under just 12 cents. In 1999 Amadou Diallo was hit 19 times of 41 bullets fired at a cost, adjusting for inflation, of about 75 cents. Laquan MacDonald died from 15 bullets fired by a white police officer as he was walking away for a cost of under 60 cents. 4 Black men, cost: $1.51.
Between 1882 and 1968, according to a study by the Tuskegee Institute recorded 3446 Lynchings of Black men and women. Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati documented 2500 between 1882 and 1930. Historians believe, owing to the nature of the crime and poor census records that the actual number likely is far higher. Most were done under the watchful eye, if not direct participation of police and public authorities. That number does not include the so-called race riots during the Red Summer of 1919 in which, conservatively, more than 200 Blacks here hunted and killed across the nation in America’s own Kristallnacht. .
Lynching requires good strong rope. Manila rope with a minimum 700 lbs strength is preferred by Lynch mobs. Current price is 9 cents per foot, or about $1.44 per Lynching. Now, considering that this passage,”Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons” remains in the US Constitution, and has not been amended, and was not specifically corrected or omitted, we must adjust our numbers to reflect that provision. Therefore we are not dividing the cost by three, but multiplying it by 3. Therefore the actual cost to the would-be mob would be, with tax, about $5 bucks.
The cost of killing a black man, as you can see, in a capitalist society, is an economical one. Lynching an innocent Black man, while a festive community event in white communities in the South and the North, was prohibitively expensive. While, for the cost of a few bullets is almost inconsequential. We always hear the refrain, follow the money.
Fear not. The deaths of Black folks rarely have any affect on the police. lawsuits by aggrieved families are not carried by cops mandated to carry malpractice insurance, like doctors, but by the very communities they abuse. Officers are tried in sham or show trials and are almost never convicted. rarely are they fired or disciplined. Never are commanders or political officials held accountable for massive payouts for endless civil rights abuses.
Here is one more figure for those counting. The state and city just approved massive property tax increases for Chicago to the tune of 3/4 of a billion dollars, supposedly because the city is broke. In the last decided police abuse settlements and payouts are running at better than $600 million, with a number of large awards still pending. No one was fired in that 10 years. That doesn’t seem to add up, but then, I ain’t a numbers guy.