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11 April 2013

Misleading Statistics

On my Facebook feed I found this from MoveOn.org:

This is a description of my thought process:

Wow, 1.38 million dead since 1968... but aren't there roughly 10,000 gun related homicides a year in the US? So about 450,000... where are the other 2/3's?

Wait, you're twice as likely to take your own life as to be the victim of a homicide. Are they counting suicides? I mean, I know a gun makes one more likely to succeed at suicide but surely they're not counting that.

Let's check their sources. What? I have to type that crap in... ugh.

But they're misrepresenting the numbers!

I know, I know, I'm typing.

Source 1
Source 2
Source 3
Source 4 < That's my favorite

They counted suicides. I get the logic, but this is a gray area and to be fair if you're going to count suicides in that number it needs to say so. It's misleading.

Oh, and I looked up the war deaths too. Suicide was not listed as a cause of death in any of the tables cited, but it very well may be counted. The chart does appear to take into account all deaths caused by war and not just those in battle. That's good. However, they don't count Confederate soldiers' deaths from the Civil War. Which is strange because more Americans were killed during that war than every other American war combined.

Kind of disappointed MoveOn.

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