Friday, September 28, 2007

There are Lies, and then there are Statistics

Statistics are almost invariably the other man's argument.

They are numeric fibs set in a row to sell more snake oil.

We must always ask ourselves, in the face of these teasers, who is to profit? What is at stake? What is to gain?

Statistics Canada - now there's a billion dollar expense that we really need and really asked for, NOT - will have us believe that we are tougher on crime here in B.C. than our fellow Canadians are elsewhere in the dominion.

But , as the Indian Chief replied to Columbus, "No. We discover you. All is relative."

StatsCan claims that we have the lowest rate of jailing drunk drivers at 6.4%, compared to the national average of 12.4%.

But what does this tell you?

It tells me that, after all the carnage,, after all the years and tears, we still believe that it is a right to be stupid drunk, drive a car and kill people. Why isn't the national average for jailing the murderous bastards who drive drunk more like 96%? I'm happy to pay for the jail costs, aren't you?

And what are these stories that appear day after day in our newspapers and newscasts about criminals getting off Scott free or with inappropriately small sentences? Are they fantasies? Are they the exception?

Why do police and librarians and doctors and mothers all believe that we are soft on crime?

Because we are, StatsCan be damned.

A horrible asshole who lives across the street from me attacked a school boy last month, absolutely unprovoked. Asshole was drunk and high on drugs. He smashed all the boy's teeth with a rock. Four police cars were on the scene.

Guess where this violent, out-of-control pig is living these days?

That's right. Across the street from me.

May he move into a house across the street from Stats Canada.

Colliding Values

Do I have to respect the social values of an entire nation, when I believe that those values are retrograde?

On the one hand (as Tevye, the Milkman, would say), it is my tendency to respect the ways of other countries and other cultures. On the other hand, I believe in the equalities of rights, privileges and responsibilities of people regardless of the usual package of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and economic status.

So, what to do about Saudi Arabia where women cannot drive a car or travel abroad without their husband's permission and where there are no movie houses?

I don't respect those values in the same way that I don't respect the so-called "values" of men like Warren Jeffs who screw hundreds of teen-age girls, make hundreds of babies and call themselves direct descendants of Jesus.

Read this morning's NY Times story here, and decide for yourself.