"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" are words we often hear. Statistics can be made to say pretty much what we want. 'Events of the Day Column in the Peace Weekly gives us an example of how this is done.
article looks into the crime rate of Korea. The statistics show a very
high rate for crime and he looks into the number of murders reported. In
news reports under the term murder was the number 966 which included
attempted murder, aiding and abetting of murder, murder conspiracy and
others. The rate is given per 100,000 of the population and Korea's
rate is 0.69 which is the lowest except for Japan. The United States
has 5 and Western Europe has 2 per one hundred thousand. The way you
use the statistics can make Korea one of the safest countries in the world or one
of the most dangerous.
The way the crimes are reported are all with the same qualifications: attempted, abetting, conspiracy etc.. The columnist doesn't want to discount the harm and hurt that even one murder causes, but he wants to make clear what the statistics mean. Sadly, he laments, there are other deaths that we tend to overlook.
Sewol tragedy is considered a homicide and not an accident. Last year
3,233 where killed in auto-accidents and there were 14,427 suicides. The
number of suicides are 40 times the number of the murdered. This comes to 40 a day.
power that a country possesses is great. They have the power over life
and death. And yet the money that is set aside in preventing accidents
and suicides is very little. Korea spends about two million and Japan
spends about 300 million for suicide prevention, and Japan has less of a problem.
writer deplores the fact that we can spend so much money for the safety of our citizens with a large military, police force, and justice department,
demanding an enormous amount of money; and be so abstemious when it comes to protecting the lives of citizens from accidents and suicides.