Patterico's Pontifications

8/27/2009

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:24 pm

Indianapolis, Indiana:

An Indianapolis man was injured early Thursday morning when he was struck by lightning outside his home.

The incident happened at about midnight in the 400 block of South Butler Avenue.

UPDATE: This is part of my new series: “Another Isolated Incident.” Hey, if it works for other bloggers . . .

UPDATE x2 8-28-09 6:30 a.m.: For the record, since I see my point is already being misread and distorted by certain opponents of no-knock raids: the point here is not to make light of, or trivialize, the damage caused by search warrants executed on the wrong house. The only point I am making is that you can take any comparatively rare event and make it seem commonplace, simply by pointing out each instance of its occurrence. The fact that one can take rare events and make them seem commonplace by using this technique does not mean they are commonplace in a statistically meaningful sense.

I have chosen people getting struck by lightning for my examples, simply because that is the quintessential example of an event that people see as “rare.”

That does not mean that I am “comparing” or “drawing an analogy between” a random natural event and a phenomenon created by humans. It does not mean that I am arguing that such raids are not a problem, or that we don’t need to do anything to minimize them. Once again, the only point I am making is that you can take any comparatively rare event and make it seem commonplace, simply by pointing out each instance of its occurrence.

UPDATE x2 8-30-09: This comment further explains my position:

I’m putting the matter in perspective. You can be as disturbed as you like about even a single wrong-house raid; you can oppose drug raids or the drug war generally; go nuts! I’m not stopping you. Nor am I arguing that we shouldn’t take measures to stop such raids.

Am I making any argument regarding how many resources or how much effort we should put into stopping them? No, but I do expect that the point I am making should be taken into account as policymakers consider the matter. Fundamentally, I think that reporting every instance of these thing occurring is rhetorically effective, and if you oppose these raids, I can see why you’d report ‘em all. But I also think that, to the extent that running these incidents constantly under the title “Another Isolated Incident” suggests that the percentage of wrong-door raids is statistically significant, that suggestion is fallacious. The percentage may indeed be statistically significant, but if it is, that fact is not proved by evidence like “Look! It happened again!”

So my only “agenda” is to put the matter in perspective. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take it seriously.

What do you want to bet that my position will be portrayed otherwise — even though I link this post in every single post in the series?

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:23 pm

Toronto, Canada:

A 5-year-old Canadian boy who was one of three people struck by lightning on a soccer field has died, a spokeswoman for a Toronto hospital says.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:23 pm

Evans County, Georgia:

A 14-year-old boy was struck by lightning and seriously injured during football practice at a private school in rural Evans County, authorities said.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a cloud of dust outside Pinewood Christian Academy when lightning struck Wednesday, sending football players scrambling from the practice field, said Claxton Fire Chief Harold Rogers.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:23 pm

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico:

Officials say at least two girls have been killed and four others seriously injured after being struck by lightning during an outdoor religious service in southern Mexico.

Chiapas state officials say two girls, ages 12 and 14, died after being struck by lightning on a soccer field in the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Winter Garden, Florida:

Two youth were struck by lightning in Winter Garden on Friday afternoon. According to Chief John Williamson, Winter Garden Fire Chief, a 12-year-old girl and her 14-year-old brother were standing underneath a tree when the lightning struck.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Surry County, North Carolina:

Two Surry County firefighters were struck by lightning Thursday night while assisting with structure fires that broke out during a severe thunderstorm in the White Plains area.

The firefighters, who have not been identified, were at separate scenes when the incidents occurred between 7:30 and 8 p.m.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Cape Coral, Florida:

Two women struck by lightning in one day in Cape Coral should be a reminder for others to take precautions, emergency officials said.

“If you can hear it, fear it,” said Don Cochran, acting deputy chief for the Cape Coral Fire Department.

The two women appeared shaken, but were able to walk and were taken to hospitals as a precaution.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: Bogus Statistics,Crime — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Farmington, New Mexico:

A fluke storm left one man in critical condition and his horse dead after the pair was struck by lightning Monday evening on County Road 5580.

UPDATE: This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.


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