Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is good?

This blogger was struck by a headline today 'Nearly 125 Shot Dead In Chicago Over Summer - Total Is About Double The Death Toll In Iraq' Wow, hadn't heard or read that the violence in Iraq had abated that much!

Well, a quick perusal of the article showed that it is all about civilian deaths in Chicago over summer 2008. and that other than that flaky example, Iraq really doesn't figure in the story... The article, referring to the May 26th to September 1st time period actually says "An estimated 123 people were shot and killed over the summer. That's nearly double the number of soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period...." and presumably means (without explicitly stating it) U.S. soldiers. A different narrative that makes the headline very misleading.

A more apples-to-apples comparison might be 'Chicago policeman vs. U.S. soldiers' or 'Chicago civilians vs. Iraqi civilians'. So, if approximately 55-60 U.S. troops were killed in just over three months, how many Chicago police officers were killed over the same period? The closest this blogger could find was: a. No police officers were killed in the line of duty in the state of Illinois over the first half of 2008, per the 2008 Mid Year Report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, or, b. One officer has been killed in the state of Illinois so far in 2008, per The Officer Down Memorial Page.

And if 123 civilians were killed in Chicago over the summer, how many Iraqi civilians were killed over the same time period? The answer: a lot more - a total of one thousand two hundred and twenty in just the months of July and August (source: Iraq Body Count). So, despite the impression that might be left with someone who just saw the headline, it is a lot more violent in Iraq than it is in Chicago. No big surprise there, it's still a shooting war and IEDs and VBIEDs are still in vogue.

Note: the article links to Google maps where all the deaths have been mapped (e.g. see figure at the top of this article). Another interesting use of Google. And the number of murders, 123, is a sad commentary on the levels of violence in our society...