---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 2:05 PM


An interesting letter in the Australian Shooter Magazine this week, which is quoted as follows:

"If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

"The firearm death rate in Washington , DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period.

That means you are about 25 percent more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S., than you are in Iraq."

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington .


Anonymous said...

The first action to take whenever a right-wing forward starts quoting statistics, do a google search:


Summary of the eRumor:
An eRumor comparing the number of gun-related deaths among soldiers killed in action in IRAQ with the number of gun related deaths in Washington DC . It concludes that the ratio of deaths per 100.000 in Washington DC was worse than the same ratio in Iraq and closes by saying that the US should pull out of Washington!

The Truth:
This eRumor has circulated for several years and is meant more to be a joke than a serious assessment of statistics.
In addition to Washington DC , TruthorFiction.com has received various versions naming different cities including Philadelphia , New York, and Chicago .

Sometimes the eRumor claims that the text is from a magazine article.

It is not clear what date the eRumor was first circulated so it’s hard to know what actual figures, if any, the writer was using for the 22-month comparison but here is the best we can come up with:

The total U.S. war casualties referenced in the eRumor is 2112.

That would mean that the probable date of those figures would be November, 2005 when, according to month-by-month figures the casualties in Iraq reached 2113.

We’re not sure why the writer chose to refer to that as a 22 month count because from the beginning of the war in March, 2003 to November, 2005, was actually about 30 months and that’s the period of time it took to reach a casualty count of 2113.

For approximately the same period, the number of gun-related deaths in Washington DC was 464. The population of Washington DC during that same period averaged about 560,000, for a rate of deaths per 100,000 of about 82.

The eRumor’s calculation of the death rate in Iraq , however, is incorrect. It’s not 60 per 100,000. It’s 1,320 per 100,000.

Additionally, the death rate of U.S. soldiers in Iraq has not been just "gun related." Many have been killed in other ways such as through roadside bombs.

So the whole point of the email falls to the floor

gruaud said...

Yes, but the RW doesn't do humor very well
(as evidenced here at this site on a daily basis),
so they take these 'jokes' as gospel.

Also, the trope 'violence in DC' is more racist
dog whistle.

ferschitz said...

Thanks for the correct info, Anon.

Agree w/Gruaud: the intent is to be a nastily racist as possible, as most know that the preponderance of Wash DC residents are AA (and need I mention one somewhat famous AA who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave)....

However, it is likely that dumb teabaggers would take this as "gospel" truthiness.

Thomas said...

They lied. That's not interesting at all.

Jack said...

When my dad sent me this the other day, I wrote and replied with the following debunking (sorry about the formatting, and it's split into two parts because of blogger's limitations):

So, do all engineers suck at basic math, or just ones who send right-wing forwards?

"If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers."

So 2112 deaths per 160,000 soldiers means 60 firearm deaths per 100,000 soldiers? Sorry, I don't follow -- is that Republican math? Out of the way, numbnuts. (2,112/160,000)*100,000 = 1,320 deaths per 100,000 soldiers. About 80% of those where from hostile causes. Only 60 of those were from firearms? Try 431 hostile firearms deaths per 100,000 troops in the period in question -- approximately a third of all troop deaths. See: http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index20051121.pdf (This covers the first 32 months, not the first 22. The email forward got that number wrong, too. It took 32 months to get to that many troop deaths.) This number doesn't even include rockets, mortars, RPGs or IEDs. Nor does it include suicides, accidental shootings, or friendly fire -- all big problems. 29.3% of deaths were from IEDs. What percentage of deaths in DC were from IEDs?

But there's a larger issue here. Comparing the death rates between the population of DC and the troops in Iraq is invalid. A better comparison would be the homicide rate of DC's population vs. the "violent death" rate of Iraq's population.

First the DC numbers. DC had 30.8 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2007. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Washington,_D.C.). Obviously the firearm homicide rate would be lower, since not all homicides were from firearms.

Now Iraq. Let's look at one casualty count that conveniently covers only one year. The United Nations reported that 34,452 violent deaths occurred in 2006, based on data from morgues, hospitals, and municipal authorities across Iraq. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War)

According to the CIA, Iraq's population in 2006 was about 27,000,000. Dividing that by 100,000 gives us 270, which we need to divide into 34,452. Using this casualty count, the violent death rate in Iraq was 127.6 per 100,000 civilians in 2006 -- more than four times higher than DC.

(continued next post)

Jack said...

(continued from previous post)

But this casualty count was rather limited since it only polled morgues, hospitals and municipalities; many deaths go unreported. Nor does it break out firearm deaths. Happily, there were at least a couple casualty surveys with sophisticated sampling methods, which even broke out firearm deaths.

Allow me to quote at length from Wikipedia:

The Lancet study's figure of 654,965 excess deaths through the end of June 2006 is based on household survey data. The estimate is for all excess violent and nonviolent deaths. That also includes those due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poorer healthcare, etc.. 601,027 deaths (range of 426,369 to 793,663 using a 95% confidence interval) were estimated to be due to violence. 31% of those were attributed to the Coalition, 24% to others, 46% unknown. The causes of violent deaths were gunshot (56%), car bomb (13%), other explosion/ordnance (14%), air strike (13%), accident (2%), unknown (2%). A copy of a death certificate was available for a high proportion of the reported deaths (92 per cent of those households asked to produce one).[20][21][22] Iraq's Health Minister]

I'm not going to be precise here, but I'm going to be close. Let's divide 601,027 by 3.25 (The number of years) to get 184,931. That divided by 270 (our divisor from the previous example) is about 685 violent deaths per 100,000 civilians. Now times that by .56, the percentage of violent deaths caused by gunshots. Using this estimate, the annual firearm death rate in Iraq was 384 per 100,000 civilians -- at least 12.5 times higher than DC.

Another survey:

Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll conducted August 12-19, 2007 estimated 1,033,000 violent deaths due to the Iraq War. The range given was 946,000 to 1,120,000 deaths. A nationally representative sample of approximately 2000 Iraqi adults answered whether any members of their household (living under their roof) were killed due to the Iraq War. 22% of the respondents had lost one or more household members. ORB reported that "48% died from a gunshot wound, 20% from the impact of a car bomb, 9% from aerial bombardment, 6% as a result of an accident and 6% from another blast/ordnance."[14][15][16][17][18]

Divide 1,033,000 by 4.4 (number of years) to get 234,773. That divided by 270 is 870 war-caused deaths per 100,000 civilians. Now times that by .48. Using this estimate, the annual war-caused firearm death rate in Iraq was 417 per 100,000 civilians -- at least 13.5 times higher than DC.

- Civilians in Iraq are as much as 28 times more likely to die violently than civilians in DC.
- The troops in Iraq are at least 14 times more likely to die from gunfire than civilians in DC.
Of course, these are averages. They rise dramatically in some parts of both DC and Iraq, and fall dramatically in others.
- All right-wing forwards are worthless, wrong, lying propaganda. But we knew that already.

ferschitz said...

Good luck w/your dad, Jack. Not sure if it'll work, but it's always worth the effort to debunk the b.s., lies, outright racism and stupidity.

I gave up on my family a long time ago bc whenever I presented them with the facts (such as what you list), they just put their hands over their ears and went: LALALALALALALA, can't hear you!

Hope your dad is more open to learning than to clinging to his current viewpoints. Changing one's long-standing belief system can be quite scary.

Again: good luck! And thanks for the info here. It's good to see a really in-depth analysis of the situation, rather than a few sentence simplistic statement that really is crap on toast.

Bebe 99 said...

I keep trying to debunk these forwards my RWD sends with logic and facts, and of course I win on those counts. But I find my RWD's focus is about how he appreciates the sentiment of a writer, constantly using phrases like "this rings true" or "this feels right" There is a complete lack of interest in facts. RWingers already know the truth and the truth is based on nothing but their own feelings. I grew up with these people--they would much rather change reality however they can than change their own minds.

ferschitz said...

Hey Bebe, I think you hit on something there: these people desparately want to see this as "true" bc it matches up with the reality that they want to believe. No amount of facts makes much difference to them.

Not to diss your family (mine is probably much worse), but the sad fact is that most RWingers these days are sadly racist & wish to see brown folks as disgustingly not worth the time of day, as well as being the root of all evil, shiftless, lazy, incompetent, well you get the picture.

Changing that attitude is really difficult. But one can try. Good luck with that.

ferschitz said...

As a P.S. to my most recent comment: I see this attitude being pumped out by RW media (ala Rush, Hannity, Beck, etc), as well as many churches. It is a tool used to "excuse" RWingers from feeling any compassion OR responsibility for those well off.

It comes out in the shiftless, lazy meme, as well as: oh the wealthy work so haaaaaaard, and it's un-fay-yer to make them pay taxes bc they worked so darn hard, while all these lazy brown folk are sucking off the system and running it into the ground.

YOU know it's not true, and at the end of the day wingnuts (if they ever could be really honest with themselves) know it's not true, but hey: it's lets the off the hook for being unmitigated racists, it allows them to be lazy and selfish with no guilt.

Simplistic, but close to the truth.

Andy said...

Actually,this is very-well written deception, distracting the reader with compelling numbers and preventing them from thinking about the prevailing causes of casualties in the war.

Sure, it's tongue-in-cheek; but, underneath there is some nicely-crafted propaganda, textbook Pravda 101.

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