Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Daily Dose of Dumb, Example #1

When I started this, I thought Megan was simply unqualified. But I'm starting to think she's genuinely unintelligent.
Example #1; a post titled More Cops Less Crime.

There are a lot of explanations one could offer for this, but one of the best ones is the prevalence in New York of beat cops. DC actually has more cops per citizen--one for every 153 citizens, versus one for every 210 in New York. But after almost a year in DC, I've still never seen a cop walking on the street. I see them frequently-ish in their patrol cars, but almost never walking around among the population.
Clearly, Meg did a tiny bit of research to find those numbers. However, the questions she leave unasked and unanswered are the ones that might actually help answer her question about the murder rates in NYC vs DC. Instead, she relies on her own anecdotal experience of not seeing beat cops around her in DC. Now, I could mention that she likely lives in a well off part of DC, where the crime rate is naturally lower, meaning that in the comstat era's efficient deployment of resources Megan is naturally going to see fewer police in the less violent areas she spends her time in. But there's a more important question; what are the actual reasons for the difference in murder rates? This is a question that has an answer, or perhaps several. Maybe beat cops are a factor, but Megan doesn't even establish that there are more beat cops in NYC. She just remembers there being more. (Her cited study on the efficacy of beat cops was run in DC's bleedin National Mall, ffs.) And she doesn't even glancingly consider other possible factors. How is DC's economy compared to NYC's? Seems a natural question for an "econoblogger" to ask. Are the murders related to gang violence and the drug trade (or what percent of them are)? Where in the cities are the murders taking place, and what can that tell us? A good econoblogger would, presumably, be good with numbers, both in the sense of finding them and making them understandable and relevant. Megan, in contrast, decides that, because she feels safer when she sees a cop, beat cops are the main answer. This kind of thinking is unimaginative, unreflective, and plain unintelligent.

1 comment:

Fishbone McGonigle said...

She is a taller, thinner, female Jonah Goldberg. Nothing more.