[ExI] Meta was LA Times: Unlimited space for untold sorrow

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Feb 8 06:04:15 UTC 2008

Keith writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> Second, those communities contain
>> many many thousands of people, and the deaths of a few hundred
>> are indeed demographically and economically insignificant. In
>> other words, do (the rest of) the people living there believe that
>> their communities are sinking?   I don't think that they are
>> sinking in any real historical, demographic, or economic sense.
> That's not exactly true.  Gang related killings happen frequently 
> enough in some neighborhoods to make a serious impact.

I still doubt that there is any such "serious impact".  The article said

     This newspaper typically covers about 10% of the homicides in Los
     Angeles County each year. They are often the most sensational or
     shocking: a baby hit by a stray bullet, or a celebrity murder.
     But for the last year, the paper's website, latimes.com, has recorded
     every homicide. It was my idea. I reported on crime for the paper, and
     I wanted readers to see all the killings -- roughly 1,000 violent
     deaths each year, mostly of young Latinos and, most
     disproportionately, of young black men.

Okay, that's 1000 deaths each year for Los Angeles county. Here is
something to compare that to:

In the 1960s there were about 50,000 deaths annually from automobile
accidents. So that would be about 5000 deaths annually for California,
and I would suppose that perhaps LA county was one-fifth of California.
So we have approximately 1000 deaths annually in LA county in the
1960's (when the country probably had somewhat less population)
just like 1000 deaths annually now among latino and black males.

I think that anyone would have been staggered at the suggestion that
demographic or economic disturbances were caused by automobile
deaths. Surely that would be off by a factor of at least 10, probably

> This is all on a gradient from your peaceful middle middle to places 
> where 60% of the males die violently.

What?  Where does the figure of an entire 60% of the males
dying violently come from?  What if I were to suggest that 
100% of the males die anyway? (eventually). It doesn't really
change anything unless you notice a population *decline* in
the population under investigation.  Now yes, blacks have been,
I believe, leaving LA or leaving California.  But that's hardly true
of the hispanic numbers, which have been greatly rising. So this
too makes it extremely suspect to claim that the communities are
in any tangible way "being destroyed" by these deaths.


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