Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump Jr.'s Asinine Refugee Analogy


For the most part I've done my best to ignore or at least not get too worked up over a certain election in a certain country south of the border.  I have seen a certain analogy made by a certain candidate's son however that is so off base in terms of basic math and logic that I couldn't let it pass without comment.  

This internet meme isn't exactly new as its been around for a couple of years and the earlier ones used M&M candies rather than Skittles but since I was partial to Skittles as a kid, let's go with this one.  Not only does the analogy mistakenly conflate refugees with terrorists (like all the other false analogies the Republican camp has pumped out) but the math involved here is completely off base.

The Centre for Global Research lays out some interesting statistics on your odds of being killed by all manner of different things, from traffic accidents to septicaemia to being struck by lightning. According to their statistics, an American is 187 more likely to die of starvation then to die of terrorist-related causes.  They are 2059 times more likely to die by your own hands (i.e. suicide) than at the hands of a terrorist.  Heck, I'm much more likely to be killed moving my tv.  As for terrorism, an American's odds are 1 in 3.6 MILLION.  If you're Canadian like me, the odds are 1 in 3.8 MILLION.

Now, according to Reference.com there are 54 skittles in every bag of these candies.  Let's say I put 3 bags (that would be 162 candies) in to a bowl including the 3 that could supposedly kill me.  Mathematically I'd have a 1.9% chance of dying.    (Trump's numbers are deliberately vague so I'll just pick three bags in a bowl for the sake of argument.)  According to the CATO Institute, the odds of being killed by a refugee are 1 in 3.64 BILLION every year.  That works out to a whopping 0.000000027%.

Clearly, you would need one hell of a big bowlful in order for Trumps Jr's  to work.  And if you really did eat that many Skittles in one go from a bowl hypothetically large enough to hold them all, I would submit that a terrorist refugee would be the least of your concerns.



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