Friday, December 19, 2008

And the winner of today's murder publicity is...

...someone who is already in Broadmoor. Oh.

There are about 750 murders in the UK every year. 2 a day. 1 every 12 hours. One killed deliberately (more or less) for every four killed accidentally (more or less) by motorists.

Of these 750, the media pick up maybe 2 or 3 and pump them up into a major news story. We have to presume that it helps to sell newspapers, which puts advertising under peoples' noses, which makes the go out and buy things, thus keeping the consumptive economy running. I don't know, I'm speculating. Like proper journalists when they don't know any facts.

So murder stories are what people want. "I'm going to make your flesh creep", as the Fat Boy in Pickwick used to say. This is in the field of rubbernecking at road accidents, the crowds who used to turn out for a hanging, and of course, the crowds who went to see the gladiators at the Coliseum.

Of course, people should know what is going on; but let's have the whole truth. Let's put the story into its context.

We get to hear about this one murder, but that is one of 750 a year. And in the Land of the Freedom to Carry Hand Guns, that figure is 16,000.

Which means that when you meet an American (by which I mean North American But Not Canadian) you are meeting someone who is four times more likely to kill you than a Brit.

Or, if you prefer, someone who is just as likely to kill you as a motorist.

Now there's a fact that will not make the headlines.


Anonymous said...

Errrrr - but surely the propensity to kill is not shared out equally among the American citizenry, so if you are meeting an American...

Or am I missing your point?Or tone of voice (if you see what I mean)?

DocRichard said...

The propensity to kill is not shared out equally, you are quite right JMac. All motorists have the propensity to kill. Some have it more, being more distractable, more emotional, or more likely to drink-drive.

I was playing around with statistics a bit. Like the old thing about the average couple having 2.4 children.