Perspective alert -

Perspective alert


Chris Selley runs the numbers on homicide.

Statistics Canada data show that in 2009, just 18.1% of “solved” homicides — meaning those in which a suspect was identified — were committed by someone unknown to the victim. That’s 82 murders, total. (If the same rate held true among unsolved homicides as well, the total number would be 110.) … There were 515 homicides in Canada in 2007. More likely ways to die included not just the traditional heart disease (50,499 deaths), suicide (3,611) and motor vehicle accidents (2,882) but such un-newsworthy occurrences as pneumonia (5,272), renal failure (3,664) falling down (2,677), poisoning (1,347) and skin cancer (875).


Perspective alert

  1. Cheffy pick alert

    Homocides are always the most uncommon of crimes.

    No word yet on entire areas decimated by home break ins, gang style assaults, drug related crimes ect.

  2. Hmmm.

    Yes those statistics provide a partial perspective.

    But let's say you are young or middle-aged, or in advanced years but healthy, and are reasonably well-adjusted. You can take many of those causes of death out of the equation.

    Then let's also take out those causes of death for which we have no or little control over, because what is the use of worrying about the unavoidable?

    Once you have done all of that, it is reasonable to be concerned about eating and excercise, motor vehicle safety, food safety, and yes criminal law policy.

    In other words, concerning yourself with matters of crime, rehabilitation, and punishment does not necessarily mean you have lost perspective.

  3. I agree chet. We should do something to address the major cause of most of those kinds of crimes – criminalization of drug use.

  4. People aren't killed by strangers, but by those they know and trust.

  5. In that case, you would also have to factor out certain elements that make you less likely to be a homicide victim. Not a gang member? Not in an abusive relationship? Your chances of not being killed probably go up.

    Not that one murder isn't one too many, of course, and that we shouldn't always be carefully examining crime policy. But the CPC's constant misrepresentation about the nature of the problem is perhaps even worse than the measures they focus on to "fix" it.

  6. I'm always fascinated by those in this country who seem desperate to minimize crime, especially since so many of them would be quick to jump up and spew venom at any one of a hundred other less damaging social problems.

    The reason people fear murder isn't the frequency of it, Mr. Selley. It's the horror of it.

  7. Much of that is true, but there is of course more to it than simple statisical analysis.

    There is our sense of justice.

    We naturally feel a sense of outrage at a murder at the hands of another human being, but perhaps less so about natural afflictions that will kill us all eventually.

    That's why quoting stats doesn't really provide a full perspective, which is my main point. But I agree with Selley's point that we should not fear a random attack.

  8. Why won't this government get tough on falling down? I'm tired of this bleeding heart hug-a-slip crowd.

  9. Well to cut it down further requires cultural change. The very kind of cultural change you oppose.

  10. I've mentioned the Global War on Gravity in the past. It's high time we do something about it. 16 billion for fighter jets could go a very long way towards padding a large number of sidewalks in Canada for instance.

  11. C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.

    Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

  12. All Canadians deserve a Gravity Free Home Retrofit Program, featuring a $1,350.00 tax rebate and Canadian Tire discounts on all foam rubber and anti-slip products.

  13. I'm always fascinated by those in this country who seem desperate to minimize crime.

    See, that's interesting. What fascinates me is the people in this country who seem desperate to maximize crime.

  14. Hey, fighter jets for everybody would mean we win the war on gravity.

  15. F-35s though? If we're going to fight a war on gravity, then I DEFINITELY think that we should go with a dual engine plane!

  16. Emily, you kill me.

  17. An interesting tid bit about our national mortality data is the exclusion of data on deaths from adverse drug reactions, medical malpratice and medical misadventure. The ICD codes (international classicfication of disease) for these categories are excluded from the data sets because "they are not amenable to standard risk mitigation techniques".

    More than 10 years ago JAMA published the Starfield report which showed 106,000 US deaths just from properly administered, in hospital drug treatments. BTW ADRs are the leading cause of death for young people in Canada.

  18. Except for the 18.1% who are killed by strangers

  19. I think it would be a reasonable assumption that the rate of stranger murders is higher for unsolved murders.

  20. I'm in favour of sidewalks with handrails.

    But seriously, I thought our MPs had already won the War on Gravity. QP is hilarious.

  21. Ah, the real reason behind Harper's unsolicited 'request' to kill the census…

  22. Interesting.

    If you spend any time on right-wing boards you find much the same argmument being made about the left`s supposed maximization of threat posed by AIDS.

    Everyone has their sacred cows, I suppose.

  23. Screw them… statistically insignificant.

  24. Thank you for a sensible comment. It apparently doesn't occur to these statistical bright-lights that the who-dunnits don't fit the data. So in the interest of efficiency, we'll just ignore them.

  25. You have a cite for that? I haven't heard anyone talking about AIDS – at least not domestically – in a very long time.

  26. This doesn't take into account unreported stranger murders!

  27. It's absolutely true that the issue is fading, perhaps because we seem to be turning the corner on the disease, at least in western countries. The news in the last 24 hours is remarkable.

    George Bush's impressive funding of Aids programs in Africa also reduced the partisanship concerning the issue.


  28. Was this supposed to make me feel more secure about the unlikeliness of being murdered by a stranger? All it did was make me terrified of falling down. Thanks a lot, Wherry.