Lies, damned lies, and statistics

As popularized here by Mark Twain, the saying goes, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

And the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) are a prime example in this latest report

WASHINGTON — Nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines and were used in crimes in 2009 were sold in just 10 states, according to a report being released Monday by a mayors’ group.

Forty-nine percent of those guns were sold in Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California or Arizona.

Wait a minute, let’s look at that list of states again:

Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California and Arizona…

California – #1 state by population – Leans BLUE
Texas – #2 state by population – Leans RED
Florida – #4 state by population – PURPLE
Pennsylvania – #6 state by population – Leans BLUE
Ohio – #7 state by population – PURPLE
Georgia – #9 state by population – Leans RED
North Carolina – #10 state by population – Leans RED

  • These seven states alone have a population of approximately 124 million people.
  • The entire list has a population of 145 million people.
  • With a population of 307 million (US estimate 2009)…

…that means these 10 states on the list has 47% of the population.

This is a great example of torturing numbers long and hard enough to force the confession you want to hear.  Forty-seven percent (47%) of the population in the United States lives in 10 states, and 49% of the illegal guns purchased come from that 47% of the population.

There is no real story here.

This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue in this case either as there are blue, red, and states that straddle political lines.

No kidding, MAIG?  Ten (10) states in the Union are responsible for 49% of the guns, and 47% of the population happens to live in those 10 states?



No controlling authority

Who says THIS just 8 days after 9/11/2001?

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity.

Full text is here.  I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count…