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December 19, 2002

Innumeracy in Action Ok, so

Innumeracy in Action

Ok, so Hundreds of Muslim Immigrants have been rounded up and put in jail in California. Gosh, that's awful. How many Muslims live in Southern California?

News of the mass arrests came first in southern California, which is home to more than 600,000 Iranian exiles and their families.

Lets be generous with the numbers and assume that all the Muslims in SoCal are part of that 600,000. That means that out of the entire population, 0.16% of them are being held. For every 100,000 Muslims in Southern California, about 116 got arrested. That number is....shockingly low. For the year 2000, the average rate of arrests per 100,000 total population was 3,427.5

So, in reality, SoCal Muslims are exemplary citizens, or the INS is shockingly inept. I'll take both choices, thank you. What I do expect, frankly, is for Muslim spokesman to quote these numbers with pride, pointing out that the American Muslim community is among the most law-abiding in the nation.

Yea, right. One victim complex, coming right up!

"It is a shock. You don't expect this to happen. It is really putting fright and apprehension in the community. People who come from these countries -- this is what they expect from their government. Not from America," said Sabiha Khan of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

You're blowing your chance here, Sabiha. Not that you're the only idiot involved in the process. Here's one from the ACLU.

The head of the southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union compared the arrests to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War.

"I think it is shocking what is happening. It is reminiscent of what happened in the past with the internment of Japanese Americans. We are getting a lot of telephone calls from people. We are hearing that people went down wanting to cooperate and then they were detained," said Ramona Ripston, the ACLU's executive director.

Not, it's not, Ramona. You know why? Because if it was, every single one of those 600,000, and more besides, would already be in camps, and they're not. And frankly, in World War 2 a huge number of Nisei volunteered to fight for the US, in order to prove their loyalty to their adopted country. Does anyone even have anecdotal evidence that Muslim-Americans are doing the same?

I thought not.

Even after we put them in concentration camps, 87% of Japanese-Americans were able to give an unqualified "yes" to this question;

Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power or organization?

I'd love to see what the percentage of Muslims answering yes to a similar question would be.

And if there's an ACLU idiot on one side, you can be sure there's a matching one on the government's side.

"We are not releasing any numbers," said Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) spokesman Francisco Arcaute.

You are a government employee, Francisco, and if a citizen asks you for something, you better hop, asswipe. You should be crowing about the numbers for the same reasons as Sabiha. You're clueless, of course, and tone-deaf, and probably don't know the arrest totals to begin with because the INS is the poster child for unaccountable bureaucracies. There likely are terrorists in those 700 being held, or terrorist supporters, and they'll probably be released after the press discovers what a thorough cock-up your agency has made of the whole process. And they will discover this, because whatever the INS does is a cock-up. Thanks to INS employees just like you, 3000 died in New York and Washington. You know why they didn't target they INS, Francisco, if that is your real name? They didn't target you, because the INS is the best damn friend AL-Qaeda has in the U.S. Thanks to your complete ineptitude, you just radicalized the SoCal Muslim population a little bit more.

I'm sure the L.A. population will find some reason to give you a bitter thanks one day soon.

Update:The Taco Shop Psychic says my numbers are soft. He's probably right. Here's the post, because his archives are screwed too.

237.Fun with numbers...
InstaPundit has a post regarding a post elsewhere about the math behind the incarceration of many, many Muslims in Southern California.

Specifically, Bigwig links to this article and through some arcane figuring on his part arrives at the number of arrested Muslims in Southern California at 116 per hundred thousand or .16%, while the national average of arrests is 3427.5 per hundred thousand.

Well, first things first -- 116/100k = .116% not .16%.

Second, from that article on Yahoo! I was unable to determine where Bigwig had gotten the number of 116. Extrapolated over six hundred thousand, 116 per 100,000 is 696. The Yahoo! article never quotes 700, but a LA Times article where the government lays out it's case does -- it estimates 500 to 700 were arrested and per 100k people, that's 83 to 116 respectively. I'm just hacking off remainders, btw.

That's all well and good, but the third thing here is that Bigwig is mixing yearly with daily stats. Using the 700 arrested in one day number, 116 arrests extrapolated over 365 days is 42,340 arrests, or 42.34%. Even the low government figure of 500 arrests on that day yields an extrapolated figure of 30,295 (30.295%). Now, I don't believe that one-third of all SoCal Muslims are arrested per annum, so that number is obviously bogus (especially considering the 600,000 Muslims we've been working with are actually 600,000 Iranians), but it shows how using flawed statistics can haunt you. A leftist with a calculator could have had a field day here.

If you look at the Yahoo article now, I look like a complete idiot. The arrest numbers aren't 700, they're over 1000. Now look at the timestamp on my post and the news story. It's 6 hours after my original post. Reuters or Yahoo one updated the original article some hours after I linked to it, but didn't point out that they did. Gotta love the old media.

As for my calculations, here they are, as best as I can reconstruct them

600,000 Iranians, which I let stand for all the Muslims in SoCal. That's incorrect, as not only is the number almost certainly low, the Feds weren't interested in a person's religion, but their country of origin. I plead guilty to using it as shorthand, as did the original article. I'll also plead to losing a decimal place (116/100k = .116% not .16%.), but it made my arrest rate higher than it should have been, and my point was that it was already shockingly low.

As an aside here, whenever I could, I took the number that would make the most favorable case for the Muslim argument. 600,000 for the total population, and 700, which at the time was the highest number in the arrest estimate. The California arrest rate is the Adult arrest rate. The overall arrest rate includes juvenile arrests as well. I wasn't trying to cook the numbers for a predetermined position. What I did was run the numbers, then write based on what I saw them saying.

As to the daily versus yearly arrest rate, I must admit I didn't even think about it. The question I had in mind when I went hunting for California's overall crime rate was "Out of 100,000 Californians, how many of them are going to be arrested? The number I used was 3,427.5. Out of each 100,000 Iranians/Muslims in the 600,000, about 116 were arrested. I'm dropping remainders and rounding as well.

And now I must run to the daughter's Christmas pageant. I'll return anon.

Update: I realized during "Angels We Have Heard on High" that, while my numbers may eventually be wrong, they are not wrong right now. The Taco Shop Psychic is looking at the arrest rate of a certain population over time, in this case a couple of days, whereas I wasn't concerned with time, but just the overall arrest rate of a given population. My "shockingly low" arrest rate percentage statement may turn out to be wrong, eventually. Right now it's still shockingly low for the given population. You could also argue that the INS is cramming a year's work into a few days. In any case, until the number of detentions climbs into at least the 3000 - 5000 range, I don't think a case can be made that the number of arrests is out of the ordinary.

Posted by Bigwig at December 19, 2002 12:57 PM | TrackBack
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