Thursday, November 10, 2005

Great site for debunking myths

I often see statistics about "X children die every hour from guns," etc., etc. Many of these statistics are very misleading. For example, how would you define "children" for the purposes of these statistics? Under 10? Under 12? Under 16? The folks that put out these alarmist statistics on children/guns are almost always defining children as "19 and under." Well, of course the gun deaths are going to be high -- these people are no more children than Henry Fonda is.

Anyway this site is the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. You can use all sorts of criteria to determine how many people of certain ages died from whatever causes.

The most recent data is from 2002, but I think that's still useful.

I did a search to find out how many children ages 4 and under died from an accidental gunshot wound in 2002. What's your guess? 3 a day? 1 a day? 1 every other day?

How about 12 ALL YEAR! That's just one a month!

Now, you might say: Even 12 is too high.

But if we're going to prioritize safety for infants and toddlers, you'd be much better served going after swimming pools and bodies of water, since almost 50 TIMES the number 4 and unders died of drowning (570) than accidental shootings.

You might also want to think more about keeping 4 and unders closer to the ground since 67 died from falls, more than 5 times the accidental gun deaths.

Anyway, maybe you have your own myths you'd like to debunk -- I think this site will help.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The next Prohibition -- smoking?

This story from the Seattle paper shows that the clear aim for the "behavior police" is to prevent people from smoking, anywhere or anytime. I detest smoking. But there are a lot of things I don't like that I wouldn't ban people from doing if they want to. This slope is so slippery, it might as well be a cliff.