How to read the news to know what the true danger is.
The goal of this article, is to help you be safer and know what the real (not imagined) or most likely to happen dangers are.
A very real danger is thinking the wrong thing is the main danger. This keeps you from being prepared and aware enough to avoid the real or most common danger.
If you read the recent news, you would see the headlines announcing “Chicago Hits 500 Murders Today”. Does this mean the world is becoming more unsafe for you in your own town or for those who live in Chicago? Should you buy a gun to protect yourself or work harder to ban guns? Well for most it isn’t as bad as it seems. For every headline or news story you have to ask yourself some questions. Here are some general and specific ones to this particular article.
- Why is this news? Keep in mind that the goal of news organizations is sell ads and not so much to report news. They need to get more people to pay attention to them so they can make more money on ads. Presently the focus is on guns and the recent school shooting out East. So let's see how we can be lead by the nose. The Chicago article has to do with murder and murder means guns. They want you to think that because of guns things are getting worse. This article gives ammunition (pun intended) to opposite audiences: Those who want to ban guns to stop more murders (See- "Most murders are done with guns. No guns less murders.") and those that feel concealed carry is the way to stop those who want to murder (See- "Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow concealed carry. More 'hidden guns' need to stop murders.")
- What does the number 500 murders mean? It's big news because it's a new record. Now let's check the numbers. The last few years it’s only been a few less (around 460 per year). And this is around 400 less murders per year than in the 90‘s. Opps things are getting better? So depending on what you compare it to, things could be much better or just a little worse.
- Or is it just because warm weather came a month or two early this year? They mostly happened in the warm weather months. If you are in law enforcment you know that warm weather brings more murder.
- What should I "really" be afraid of? Right here you can diffuse a lot with good statistics and knowledge of the situation. So don't throw on the iron bars quite yet. Are you or your family most likely to be murdered? Let's check the facts and statistics.
I'll use the numbers the Chicago Police Department have for 2010. See the facts your self at the Chicago Police Department graph. (Or see a copy of it at the bottom of this page.) Here is what I observed about the 460 murders in Chicago in 2010:
- 40% of victims were between age 17 and 25
- Over 50% of the murders were committed between 10pm and 4am
- 78% of murders were outdoors
- 0 murders in district 19
- 80% committed by firearms (remember about the only way to stop a person with a gun is to call someone with a gun)
- About 40% by someone they knew
- Only about 5% of victims and offenders were white (best is to be classified as “other” as they were virtually 0% :-)
- 80% of victims had prior Chicago police records and 87% of offenders had records
- Comparing these statistics with other crimes I saw that the biggest risk was theft (80,000 reported) or motor vehicle theft (15,000 reported).
Moral of the story (not the news story. They wanted you to think something else): Your chances of being murdered in Chicago (and most anyplace in USA) are very slim if you are a white woman (the majority of murders in USA are by males against males), stay indoors between 10pm and 4am, have nothing to do with gangs, or non white males, and have no prior personal police record or contact with those who do. . Remember this is in reference to this particular article and the goal is to help you to bring it home and take what's worth keeping and leave the rest behind. Those fear chemicals are too valuable to waste.
All Chicago districts have detailed maps reporting crime. If your interested in seeing a map of all reported crime in lets say the 19th district of Chicago click here.