Wednesday, January 16, 2008
TRAIL OF DEATH II
A platoon of Times reporters “found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war.”
The Times didn’t try to establish a causal relationship between war service and homicide. It didn’t even try to establish a correlation. The 7,000-word article contained no statistics on the size of the veteran population, or on the prevalence of homicide either in the general population or among young men, who are disproportionately represented among active-duty and recently discharged service members.
Various commentators performed their own back-of-the-envelope calculations, including Ralph Peters of the New York Post, who estimates that if the Times figures are accurate, recent war vets are only about one-fifth as likely to be implicated in a homicide as the average 18- to 34-year-old.
Which leads to a fine suggestion from John Hinderaker:
Next time, why don’t they undertake a research project to identify all murders and other forms of homicide committed (or allegedly committed—no finding of guilt necessary!) by people who are, or recently have been, employed by newspaper companies?