You’re five times more likely to get murdered by an American than an illegal immigrant

We need a wall because I’m afeared and cain’t do numbers.

Build the Wall TrumpSometimes all ya need to counter silly to outright dangerous fear mongering is whip out a little basic arithmetic and some common sense. Every now and then we hear how we’re supposed to be afraid of something when some new bad thing happens and it fits the fear mongering narrative. Know what that isolated incident represents? For all practical intents and purposes, not a damned thing.

What matters far more, especially if you want to whip up some legitimate fear, is the context. It’s not that this is yet another huge example of The Official Fear. It’s that, each year, we get this many Fear. That’s happening at a rate of so many Fears per so many people in the population. Fear! Fear!

But that still shops short. ZOMG, I’m ingesting 64 oz of dihydrogen monoxodide…per DAY! FoodBabe and David Wolfe are probably making big bank on that kind of thinking, because they’re counting on people stopping short. Well, okay, that’s the ol’ water joke there. We all know that its harmless, except for when it isn’t. So how about cyanide? I get how much from the Next Food to Be Banned? ZOMG! And there’s no denying that cyanide is bad for you, so there. ZOMG!

Except you still need a bit more context. What does that translate into as a component of your diet. How much would you really need to eat to get the toxic effect. Are you already ingesting far more of it from completely non-scary things with no ill effects, because the danger-zone is far higher than the scare-zone? Does the risk merit the degree of alarm compared to the degree of alarm received for things with far greater risk and higher odds of harm?

Probably not.

And if it doesn’t? You know someone’s yanking your chain. If there’s money involved, you’ll know why immediately. It’s pretty simple.

So I hear about a murder. ZOMG, I’m supposed to be afraid of murderers! Well, duh. But no, it’s a special kind of murderer, because it’s prone to come from a particular type of group, and that group isn’t us, and we don’t like that group, so it’s a special extra bad murder, and you should be terrified, not by the murder, but by the notion that having people like that around causes murder.

Be. Very. Afraid. Act, spend, and vote accordingly. Good job.

Well, like I said before about murder, duh. Of course that’s bad and to be feared. Reasonably. It’s one of the classic Bad Things. But why should I be especially afeared? Because it’s that kind of murder. I see. Well, how many of that kind of murder are there, then? Yeah, yeah, one is too many, but bullshit. We need to know how many there are. And we at least want to know how often it happens in the context of that group if we’re going to blame that group, instead of individuals, for causing murders. And that might sound scary. Holy crap. 10 murders in 2014! Well, if that’s nationally, woohoo, great year. Almost none. But if it’s here in Small Town, 10? Somebody get a book deal, because that’s going to be a movie. That’s an atrocity. What the hell is going on?

See what I mean? Scale makes the difference.

So I recently saw more fearmongering “news” about a murder. Some illegal alien had been deported a bunch of times and he got back in again, and yup, killed a person. See? Build a wall.

Well, for starters, anybody that gets back in that many times probably isn’t going to let a wall stop them. Wall proponents don’t seem to remember to connect the dots to other modes of travel, like aereo planes. But I digress.

Yes, that murder is horrible. But really, how many illegal alien murderers are there? Sloppy napkin math time. Simple search turns up 208 in whatever year that was. ZOMG! 208? That’s horrible! Um, that’s bad, right?

Well, more sloppy search & math, I count 20,000,000 illegal aliens. Murder convicts are a whopping…0.001%. 1 out of every 100,000 illegal aliens is convicted of murder.

That’s um, horrible? I mean, as an absolutist, any is bad, so that’s pretty horrible. I think. Compared to what?

Well, in the US, for the year I saw, there were 16,238 murders. Think about that. The illegal alien murderers were barely a rounding error. You could subtract them from the total number, and not drop a thousands digit. But still. What’s the rate here? With 319,000,000 Americans? For the sake of argument, for the biggest, scariest possible number, let’s assume there’s only one murder per murderer. That gives us the most murderers. If they’re doubling or tripling up (or more, busy devils), that reduces the number of murderers, and that’s not scary at all. So we’ve got 16,238 murderers for 319,000,000 people. 0.005% of the US population is murderers in a given year. That’s 5 in 100,000.

Wait a minute. You’re walking down a dark city street alone at night. It’s a weird part of town where the Mexicans are all on one side of the street and the Americans are all on the other, keepin’ to their own. Up ahead, you see someone on the Mexican side, and you see someone up ahead on the American side. Your hackles are up. You’re not liking this.

Which side of the street do you walk on?

Well, you’re five times more likely to get killed on the American side. And why should you be surprised when Americans are responsible for more than 98% of murders in the country.

So yeah, build a wall, because that makes any damned sense. Better yet, build it to protect the aliens from people who won’t do basic math.