DC as Violent as Iraq?

My buddy forwarded me this e-mail, which really got my blood boiling:


Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, here’s a sobering statistic:

There has been a monthly average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of operations during the last 22 months and a total of 2,112 deaths. That gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period.
That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capital than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington

People like Trent Lott have made similar claims, further entrenching my conviction that conservatives care for facts only insofar as they support their dogma. Here is my response:

Right away you look at this and it sounds obviously wrong, and is just a reflection of how people will believe things that dont make any sense without investigating them. DC has 580,000 residents (although this is very misleading because the population effectively swells to several million every day, and has an immense number of hotels, etc, but I’ll throw them a bone and use that number). In 2005 there were 195 murders in the city, which is 16.25 murders per month. This is 2.8 murders per 100,000 per month. In contrast, in 4 years in Iraq with 3,267 deaths and 140,000 troop average, this is 49 per 100,000 per month. This means the death rate of US troops in Iraq is at least 17 times that of citizens of DC. When you factor in that DC effectively has a population of several million most of the time, and the fact that the troops dying in Iraq are in body armor and in armored HUM-V’s, whereas the people dying in DC are walking around totally vulnerable, it is clear that Iraq is obscenely more dangerous than DC.

Feel free to forward this e-mail to others so they aren’t tempted to believe this sort of nonsense.

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