The data used to make the case, and the data cited in the Facebook post are clearly manipulated to elicit fear. There’s no questioning that whatsoever. Numbers are carefully managed, contorted, and presented sans caveat in order to give every parent in Westchester and Rockland the idea that, at any moment, their children are in imminent danger from a pedophile lurking in the shadows. Carlucci and his colleagues then offer the solution, in the form of legislation, and a panicked populace votes for them on that basis. The cycle is complete, and in the end there’s another new piece of legislation on the books that addresses a minor situation in a spectacular way that garners headlines galore.
One way to counter this is with increased numeracy: literacy of numbers. When percentages are used instead of actual numbers, it’s important to understand why. It’s even more important to get educated and find the numbers for ourselves and understand that manipulation of numbers can lead us to make bad conclusions about all kinds of things
As with everything else education is key.
That summarizes the article nicely but do read the whole thing.
Numbers, like words, have real meaning, and this article helps to explain how the numbers are misused in the service of emotion, not reason.
As with most things government-related that are done “for the children,” Carlucci takes great pride in having “done something.” Doing something is not the same as “doing the right thing,” however, and should not be confused with its much more even-tempered cousin. No, “doing something” is all about being busy showing people how much you’ve done so that if that thing produces no results, you can brag about how hard you worked on it anyway.
Doing the wrong thing because it feels good is still doing the wrong thing.
Notes from the Handbasket