Friday, August 31, 2018


Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

by Bob Walsh

Mark Twain opined, at one time, that there were three sorts of prevarication, those being lies, damned lies and statistics. NPR may have dug up an interesting case in point.

A commonly quoted statistic among the anti-gun media is the "fact" that in year 2015-2016 there were 235 school shootings in the U. S. They decided to do some actual honest-to-god research to see if this assertion was accurate.

They contacted each school district named. About 75% responded. Of those 235 districts only 11 replied that there had in fact been a school shooting. Cleveland reported in the initial survey from which the dubious statistic was taken that they had 35 shootings in that year. When specifically queried about it, they said they had zero school shootings in that period of time. They said they believed the inaccurate response was a coding error, or maybe somebody just put the wrong number on the wrong line of the survey.

Another district, when contacted about their four shootings that year responded that the collective staff memory in the district office went back over 20 years and that, they were certain, there were NO shooting incidents at any of their schools in 20 years. They did assert that one student had been jacked for brandishing a pair of scissors once.

The point is you should be VERY DUBIOUS about statistics being pimped by people who have a large stake in the statistics going in their direction. (I have often thought that the oft-quoted statistic of 10% of the general population being homosexual was overly generous by a large degree, being pushed mostly by people who had a stake in the normalization and mainstream acceptance of homosexuality.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Actually British PM Benjamin Disraeli is credited with originating the 'lies, damned lies and statistics' saying.

No comments: