Sunday, June 20, 2010

Worst NYT Article EVAH! ... 'Border Violence in Arizona Totally Exaggerated'

These freaks at NYT should actually talk to people on the ground in AZ:
When Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, announced that the Obama administration would send as many as 1,200 additional National Guard troops to bolster security at the Mexican border, she held up a photograph of Robert Krentz, a mild-mannered rancher who was shot to death this year on his vast property. The authorities suspected that the culprit was linked to smuggling.

“Robert Krentz really is the face behind the violence at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Ms. Giffords said.

It is a connection that those who support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and tighter borders often make: rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement.

But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol. While thousands have been killed in Mexico’s drug wars, raising anxiety that the violence will spread to the United States, F.B.I. statistics show that Arizona is relatively safe.

That Mr. Krentz’s death nevertheless churned the emotionally charged immigration debate points to a fundamental truth: perception often trumps reality, sometimes affecting laws and society in the process.

Judith Gans, who studies immigration at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, said that what social psychologists call self-serving perception bias seemed to be at play. Both sides in the immigration debate accept information that confirms their biases, she said, and discard, ignore or rationalize information that does not. There is no better example than the role of crime in Arizona’s tumultuous immigration debate.

“If an illegal immigrant commits a crime, this confirms our view that illegal immigrants are criminals,” Ms. Gans said. “If an illegal immigrant doesn’t commit a crime, either they just didn’t get caught or it’s a fluke of the situation.”

Ms. Gans noted that sponsors of Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law have made careers of promising to rid the state of illegal immigrants through tough legislation.

“Their repeated characterization of illegal immigrants as criminals — easy to do since they broke immigration laws — makes it easy for people to ignore statistics,” she said.
Well, you know what they say, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Just spend some time with
American Patrol down in Arizona and you'll get the lowdown.

More at Weasel Zippers, "
Citizens Armed With Heavy Weapons Patrolling Drug-Smuggling Routes Along Arizona Border With Mexico, 'We Will Use Lawful Deadly Force When Appropriate' ..."


UPDATE: At Just One Minute, "On The Border" (via Memeorandum):
... these numbers do not support the case that the rural and border areas of Arizona are getting safer. Quite the contrary, actually. Maybe the Times can turn a reporter loose on that.


JBW said...

I don't get the point you're trying to make here, Don. Are you disputing the FBI's and border patrol's crime statistics? On what basis? Your main argument seems to be linking to a quote about how people can use statistics to lie about things and thus they can't be trusted.

But if that simple argument is all that is required to refute these statistics then it would work for any stats from anywhere, thus we could never trust any stat ever. But I see you quoting stats all the time and you never mention this quote, how do you reconcile that?

Oh wait, I think I know: that simple dismissive argument only works for stats you disagree with. I get it now. Crime and illegal immigration are not on the rise in Arizona but that goes against your ideology so it is therefore not reality. If you were trying to be ironic by portraying a textbook example of "self-serving perception bias" you succeeded admirably, my friend.