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Monday, January 31, 2005

Statistics + Innumeracy

Tom Tomorrow belittles Instapundit's misguided humor:
IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT? Our drunks are more lethal than their insurgents.

This enigmatic little entry links, in turn, to a blogger who notes:
Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)

Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)

with this:
It's been more than ten years since I got a phone call late one Friday night: my mother's car had been rear ended by a speeding drunk, sent rolling down an embankment, killing her instantly. She was 55--twelve years older than I am today.

Of course I hate cars. I hate drunk drivers even more. And I plain pity the innumerate lawyer quoting those statistics. If Tom wanted to pile on, all he would have to do is point out that Iraq's population is 22 million; to properly pro-rate the election day carnage multiply the 35 by at least 10.

Prof. Glenn Reynolds, the gun worshipper, would have to add all the daily USA gun fatalities to take up the slack. And he would still be proud.

Like I said, pitiful.


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