A country that doesn’t even know how many times police fire their weapons or under what circumstances is one in which every local department is a law unto itself, a self-contained barony with its own special rules and customs. “It’s a national embarrassment,” Geoffrey P. Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminology professor, told The New York Times. “Right now, all you know is what gets on YouTube.” What does a lack of knowledge have to do with ultra-high levels of brutality? The answer is simple: absence of knowledge means an absence of control, which means that local departments behave with relative impunity. If local cops seem out of control, it’s because the only controls come from local politicians who are often corrupt and racist and therefore tolerant of such behavior on the part of the officers they employ.