Re: META: would prefer much less political debating

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 12 Dec 1998 17:25:04 -0500

Han Huang wrote:

> Damien writes,
> >>1 in 160 --
> >>the average US risk of being a victim of violent crime in 1997. Using
> >>the 1 in 160 figure, over the next 50 years, one has a 27% chance of
> >>being a victim of a violent crime.
> >
> >Hardly (as Mike would say). Unless there's a rule in the USA that people
> >who've been assaulted once are left alone thereafter, your chances remain
> >1/160 to the end of time (all demographics being equal).
> Suppose your risk was average -- 1 in 160 per year-- and this
> risk remains constant over the next 50 years (a ridiculous assumption,
> of course, but let's run with it). The chance you escape violent
> crime this year is 159/160. The chance you escape it for 2 year
> straight is 159/160 * 159/160, because we're assuming every year's
> risk is independent of the past. The chance you escape for 50 years
> is:
> 159
> --- to the 50th power = 0.7309 or 73%
> 160
> 100% - 73% = 27%.
> (Note, you are more likely to get in a serious car accident.)

Also note: a 'violent crime' includes everything from murder to being threatened with a weapon, to being beaten up by your spouse, or in any other physical argument.

Note also: if you are the criminal, and you get killed in the commission of your crime, you are now classified as a death in a violent crime. I doubt very much that other countries count their crime stats that way.

The majority of people in the US who die from guns are either commiting suicide (which shouldn't be a crime anyways), or are criminals who are killed during the commission of their crimes.

> Given the 240-to-1 murders-to-executions ratio in 1997, you
> and I were more likely to be a victims of a violent crime, than a
> murderer is of being executed.
> That's how frivolous I think most arguments over the death
> penalty are, pro- or con- or whatever.

Oh, I agree with you absolutely. As I said before, the the death penalty, AS PRACTICED TODAY IN THE US, has little to not effect on violent crime, according to Prof. John Lott. Logically, we might as well have no death penalty as have the one we have now, it is wholly inadequate for the job. Now that we have good forensic technologies which are very accurate in determining guilt or innocence, we should drastically reduce the appeals that death row inmates are allowed, but I also think that defense lawyers should be able to introduce a lot more evidence than is typically allowed. Additionally, prosecutors who convict a person who is later found innocent, but is executed before acquitted, should themselves be prosecuted, especially if any evidence which would have exculpted the suspect was witheld.

Mike Lorrey