Tag Archives: journalists

Murder – A Depressing Subject

I’m feeling very right wing today.

The murder rate in London is, I’m told, higher than the murder rate in New York. Of course, that’s just according to some papers; other papers actually looked at the figures.

It seems that the two cities are very close in total murders, with New York actually two ahead. However, it also seems that this is just based on the first few months of this year. This is not, as anyone with half a brain will tell you, statistically significant. So, if you can’t draw any useful conclusions from the figures what can you do?

Well, I suspect you can draw some useful conclusions about journalists and their approach to statistics when pursuing a story.

You can probably also draw some conclusions about a rise in the London murder rate and the necessity to do something about it.

There are plenty of statistics out there if you want them. I could discuss them at length, but if I did I might send people to sleep.

However, you might like to think about a few facts.

 

London is quite a safe city.

New York, after much work from the police, is also quite a safe city.

Teenagers are not the only victims, so talk of better youth facilities, whilst well-meant, won’t solve the problem.There are no easy answers.

Everybody has a choice – they are not forced to pick up a gun or knife before they leave the house.

Punishment doesn’t reduce crime, though hanging clearly prevents re-offending. Assuming you hang the right people.

You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

You definitely can’t believe anything in this blog, which is just the view of one grumpy old man with firm ideas about personal responsibility and the decline of modern society.

Every murder is a tragedy for someone and, if that person was going to grow up to cure cancer or stop Global Warming, it’s a tragedy for us all.¬†Any man’s death diminishes me, as Donne says.

And finally, a quote from the Office of National Statistics. “Over one-third of adult male victims…were killed by a friend or acquaintance”.

I don’t know about you, but my definition of “friend” tends to exclude the likelihood of murder.

 

Waiting for the Snow

As I sat and wrote about my new job and Peter Rabbit (two separate posts, in no way linked, even in my imagination) I was expecting snow. It didn’t happen.

We were then supposed to wake up to find we had between four and seven inches of snow this morning. Now that we’re awake, and snowless, the forecast has been modified to show it starting at 7 am. As I sit and type, having dropped Julia off at work, there is still 37 minutes for this prediction to come true.

According to one on-line map we are already under snow. Other sites predict an almost 100% chance of some snow (between two and ten inches) between now and 8 pm with the possibility of disruption, the likelihood of travel problems and the chance of some rural areas being cut off. They further qualify it with “in some places”. Am I alone in finding that a little vague?

Much of the vagueness, of course, comes from journalists trying to sell newspapers. The Met Office is generally quite good at this sort of thing. It is, after all, what they do.

If you live in a country that has proper snow and are wondering what all the fuss is about, look at it this way. If you live in a small town somewhere snowy you probably have more snowploughs, more winter tyres and more snow shoes in town than we have the whole of England. In fact you probably have more snow shoes in your garage than we have in the whole of England. Scotland and Wales, having mountains, take it a bit more seriously and I’m not sure about Northern Ireland. I never think of it as overly snowy, but then again, I do think of it as rainy, and if it’s cold I suppose the rain has to come down as something.

If I was in charge I’d keep us in the European Union and close the country down from December to March while we all went on holiday somewhere warm.