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February 26, 2004

Interesting factoid.

From David's MedientKritik:

Duty in the US Army in Iraq presents a lower suicide risk (13,5 per annum per 100,000 ) than service in the German Bundeswehr (17 per annum per 100,000)…

Alright then Bundeswehr: Time to hurry on down to Iraq!

BTW: a suicide rate of 13,5 per annum per 100,000 is within the bottom third of the European countries! Very remarkable: France's average is 19,25...

Not denigrating the impact of suicide in the force, just offering up some context.

I just do prefer 'controlled numbers' rather than raw numbers. I.e., 'rate per hundred thousand' because then you are comparing apples to apples. Both sides of any debate cheat in this fashion, especially when large numbers are involved, because large numbers sound better/worse than truly comparative numbers.

That's why, for example, I am never impressed with a number like (made up ffor this example), 25,000 gun deaths a year in the US, 350 gun deaths per year in Germany, until they've been controlled by conversion to a common factor. That would convert to 8.9 per hundred thousand in the US (using 280mil as the population figure) to 0.3 per hundred thousand (using 82.4mil) in Germany. So, while in the example it's still a large difference, it doesn't have the same visual/visceral impact. And you can further subdivide from there. So, a pro-gun control person is going to use the 25,000 figure, an anti-gun control person is going to use the controlled figure, saying the same thing, but camouflaging their data relative to each other for maximum advantage to the audience.

There's more, but: [/Lecture]