Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Actual Numbers vs. Per Capita

I received a comment which dealt in a per capita extropolation of the murder rate in Chicago vs. American losses in Iraq. I disagree with the concept because it wasn't consistent in populations. The key here is the actual numbers and the groups to which they apply. Put simply, the comment indicated 2.9 American deaths per day in Iraq (which includes accidents & suicides). Currently Chicago has about 1.3 murders per day. Add in traffic accidents and suicides and roughly as many Americans die violently every day in Chicago as in Iraq. But at least the military deaths in Iraq are part of an effort to build something better for the future. Most Chicago murders are gangbangers offing one another. And we do not suggest giving up and exiting the city of Chicago because of the violence.
Put another way, as many Americans die violent deaths per day in Chicago (with only 1% of the total population), as the whole country loses per day in Iraq. Would the commentator figure Chicago is 100 times more dangerous than Iraq? Should we withdraw from Englewood?
Here are some per capita comparisons that are consistent.
It is about as dangerous per capita to be a gangbanger in Chicago as to be a U. S. serviceman in Iraq.
Per capita, more Chicagoans are murdered each day, than Chicago servicemen die in Iraq.
It is more dangerous to be a Chicagoan than to be an American citizen.
Edit 8/26/06 Here is a related story from the Washington Post