Monday, December 07, 2015

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Why Sharing Stats on Social Media is Almost Always Pointless

Taken from a Facebook post and my edited/slightly rewritten response to it.

I'm not even so concerned about the pro-gun source or the fact that it's capped from fox news. Here's a WSJ (a conservative publication) article on a similar stat (The headline on the article is talking about raw numbers only, not per capita). A quick read through of the article will tell you that the issue is more complicated than the stat implies. The other point, and the bigger one I would argue, is that this stat is ONLY focusing on deaths, and ONLY focusing on the relative handful of those deaths caused by "mass shootings", completely ignoring the other 30,000 deaths caused by firearms. If you look at those deaths per capita, we're #1 in industrialized nations. To be fair, reading the article, it isn't as if the researchers set out to make a point about Scandinavia, they were just compiling statistics. 

Those stats are looking at only a small slice of the problem and ignoring the bigger one. Fox news then cherry picked it, put it on the air, and delusional gun owners ran with it on social media without checking up on the context of it like I just did.

Friday, December 04, 2015


If only there were some way to ban analogies when discussing political or social issues.
Ok, so I'm not actually suggesting that we literally ban some form of speech. Rather, I'm tired of "We can't do X because in situation Y we don't do Z!". I'm interested in having a conversation about if X is a good idea or not. Bringing up Y and Z that you've awkwardly shoehorned in to the argument is largely irrelevant.
If there's ACTUALLY a DIRECT analog between the 2, then fine...let us use history to inform our choices going forward. Problem is when you change even the smallest variables of a social issue the scenario becomes completely different and the analogy is no longer useful.