Fuzzy math?


April 7, 2005, 08:03 AM
Sent to me by a friend. I'd like to believe it but can anyone make this math work? I can't but that doesn't mean anything. I've included a link to something I found on Snopes that is somewhat related AND INTERESTING while I was looking around trying to check it out. We all trust Snopes, Correct?

"Something to ponder......

If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in Iraq
during the last 22 months, which gives a firearm death rate of 60 per
100,000. The rate in DC is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are more
likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the
strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of WASHINGTON, DC!"


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April 7, 2005, 09:06 AM
It's missing the death rate per 160,000 in iraq, that's all. There's not enough info in the quote to make a mathematical conclusion.

April 7, 2005, 10:10 AM
Well, I figure we've lost ~1600 in Iraq by now? Is this correct? How do they come up with 60 per 100,000? I come up with 100 per 100,000 or am I fouled up?

And, is the death rate in DC really 80 per 100,000?

I tried to find it but have limited time right now.

April 7, 2005, 11:35 AM
We all trust Snopes, Correct?

not really.

April 7, 2005, 12:06 PM
Math never was my strong point, but yeah...you are safer in Baghdad than DC

Or Emperor "DICK" Daley II's Fifedom of CRook COunty, ILL.

Red Tornado
April 7, 2005, 12:20 PM
If you find the total deaths in Iraq, you'll also have to standardize for time. The given death rate in D.C. is "probably" per year. You'd have to figure the death rate in Iraq per year for a valid comparison. With no time component, the death rate everywhere eventually comes out to 100%.

Life...no one gets out alive. :neener:

April 7, 2005, 12:31 PM
"Life...no one gets out alive. "

Didn't a man in the middle east about ~1970 years ago try and blow the curve on that?

(sorry for the tangent)

Double Maduro
April 7, 2005, 12:40 PM
You also have to remember that the figure of 160,000 troops is for any given day and the figure of 1600 dead, God bless them, is the total for the entire span of the war. Many of them died from causes other than gun shots.

There have been many more than 160,000 troops total in Iraq.


April 7, 2005, 12:51 PM
here's what I came up with:

(100 per 100,000 / 22 months) x 12 months = 54.54 per 100,00 per year.

Close enough?


Do we know DC's? Is 80 a reliable number?

Andrew Rothman
April 7, 2005, 01:00 PM
Cute but false. The 2003 total murder rate in DC was 44/100,000, and that includes guns, cars, knives, bricks, baseball bats and hands and feet.

If DC Is anywhere near typical, about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the murders were done with firearms. So figure at most 30/100,000.

(FBI - http://www.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=/ucr/cius_03/xl/03tbl06.xls)

As near as I can tell, 1312 US troops have died under enemy fire in about two years. This includes explosives, which caused 342.

(http://icasualties.org/oif/ -- certainly a site with an agenda, but probably accurate enough.)

Assuming that all non-explosive enemy fire deaths were gunshots yields an annual gun death rate of 485 deaths per 100,000. If the 160,000 average troop deployment is accurate, that's 303 per 100,000, or about 10x the DC rate.

I wouldn't like to be in either place, but given a choice (shudder), I'd have to choose DC.

April 7, 2005, 01:02 PM
I do believe the majority of deaths in Iraq are caused by IED's, landmines, and other cowardly methods. I imagine this would put the gunshot rate at a lower number.

April 7, 2005, 01:32 PM
I figured as much. It's much too vague in it's statistics to stand up to scrutiny. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something in the math. It never was my best subject...

It's just an example of how our side at times uses the same tactics as the other side.

I got a PM off to an aussie I've been yakking with to see what HE thinks of the Snopes take. Is it TRUE that noone had a firearm before the 1997 legislation?

Coincidentally, I emailed a blurb to my local (D) rep voicing my disapproval of the latest anti gun state legislation proposal.

In what is beginning to appear as typical Democratic style she has yet to reply. :scrutiny:

Yes the statement does conveniently leave out the part about IEDs etc. as well.

April 8, 2005, 09:21 AM
The article on the Australian gun laws tends to play down the number of firearms in the community before the legislation, and also the requirement to "justify" firearms ownership after the '96 legislation.

Australian homicides involving a firearm have trended down since 1969, and the '96 and subsequent legislation have had no discernable impact upon that trend.

Home invasions have risen as a percentage of burglary since the new anti-gun laws, and perhaps the fact that far fewer homes are likely to have a LEGAL firearm has influenced that trend.

I think Snopes is more-or-less correct about the number of legal handguns before the legislation...there weren't that many and they were not approved for self-defence use.

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