Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bowling for misleading information

First off I did like the movie and agreed with much of what Michael Moore had to say.

I do have one criticism. Moore said several times that the United States has this huge crime rate. I don't recall at any time during the movie him ever giving the RATE. He gave hard data but that is meaningless unless it is plugged into the larger context.

He said Canada had, oh what was it, we'll say 65 killlings a year compared to our 12,000. That seems outrageous but Canada has only 32 million compared to the U.S.'s almost 400 million. So murders by guns in the U.S. account for .003 of a percent of the population. Canada calculated to .00020 of a percent, roughly.

This shows that Michael Moore was right. We do have a higher crime rate. But it is a more accurate representation. The way Moore presented it, Americans all run around killing 185 times more people than Canada. When the reality is when you compare our populations the U.S. kills 15 times more people by guns. This number is still outreageously high but it is much better than what origionally appeared to be 185 times higher.

If he is going to go on a rant about higher crime RATES I think he should at least give the rate. It would have remained true that we have a much higher crime rate just not as high as the other numbers showed.

Statistics can be a big problem in journalism. Depending on how they are framed a journalist can slant the stats however they want and people will buy it. Moore's numbers were correct, but did they paint the real picture?

4 comments:

dairy_angel said...

That is a good point. Moore made an impact by stating that the U.S. had more killings by guns than Canada. It is true that if he had stated the population comparison that possibly the impact would not have been so real.

However you look at the numbers does not change that a lot of people die by guns in this country. Moore definitely made his point. I also enjoyed the movie from an educational point. I did not a lot of that information.

I thought it was fascinating when the NRA appeared after two horrible gun deaths, Columbine and the six-year-old girl. I thought that was insensitive and unnecessary. It was fascinating when Moore went to visit Charles Heston. He was really stumped.

Parts of the "documentary" made me almost want to cry. It was really hard to watch the Columbine footage. I can't even image the horror.

Just an interesting side note: How that two-year-old shot herself in the head last night and lived. Is that amazing or what? It just shows that the problem still exists.

Moore made the problem quite clear but my biggest concern with the show is that he did not really help in solving it. It is true that with K-Mart removing their ammunition is a start but not every store will do that. People will continue to kill each other with guns.

I am now interested if there will ever be a way for gun lovers and anti-gun people to ever solve this problem. Will America continue to kill each other with guns?

Bittymiah said...

I really don't know that the problem is guns.

Never will I own a gun. I really don't like them. But I am a firm activist that it is a constitutional right to own them.

If people don't have guns they will find other ways to kill people in my opinion. There will be kids with bombs in schools, or stabbings or what have you.

I think the background issues need to be dealt with. The cause of the violence not the violence itself.

dairy_angel said...

I agree with the problem not being guns. I also believe people have the right to bear arms.

But what are the background issues?

Is it the violence in video games and movies? Are people today more angry at one another and less caring? Are children not taught how to deal with their emotions in constructive ways?

I don't think we can really solve the problem for awhile. In order to solve something, everyone needs to agree upon it. Apparently people don't agree to the cause so it will continue to be a problem.

JollyRoger said...

As far as the point about rates, I would have to agree with you. I wasn't aware of the difference in the proposed rate on the movie and the actual rate. That is important information that should be reported more accurately, but is Moore a reporter? I don't really know. He seems to be in between a reporter and a movie maker.

The other issue here is guns. I also don't think that they are the problem, and the film didn't make them out to be, but rather left it a questoin for us to solve. Would limiting gun purchases help with the problem? I don't believe so. People keep talking about fixing the problems with guns, but what about the problems with the troubled people who are using them? Can't we do something to help them? It is such a huge task, that nobody wants to try and address it. It's so much easier to blame it all on the guns. But I'll tell you what I believe, if the guns go away, then more people will be stabbed, that's all. If we can find some way in all this mess to get to the violent individuals and help them, we won't need to worry a whit about guns.