Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

I'm sitting here in the hospital and the nurse is prepping my wife to give birth to our second baby and this hospital has the greatest thing ever: free Wi-Fi. Seriously, can you ask for more than that? We may not have a 42" plasma screen or a Barcalounger, but we can check/send our e-mail, look on the internet, and enjoy the wonders of YouTube. While checking today's newspapers I came across this headline and statement in the Deseret Morning News:

90% of Provo Rapes Not Reported to Police

"More than 90 percent of rapes in the city go unreported, according to the lead rape investigator for the BYU Police Department.
BYU officer Arnie Lemmon said only 43 rapes were reported last year in Provo, leaving the actual number of rapes estimated at more than 400 during 2002."

90%? 90%? How in the world did they arrive at that number? Did he poll people and when they said they were raped, follow up by asking if they talked with police? I really want to know where this came from, because it is a ridiculous number. Some of the points he makes are good, but he ventures too far into Lionel Hutz territory (heresay and conjecture) and thereby diminishes the impact of the good things he does have to say.
Really, he should have said "a lot" or "a majority" because it looks like one of those third world dictator election numbers. You know that it's a sham, but you do wonder where he got to that conclusion.

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