How about checking all those numbers?

To the editor:

I’ve pretty much had it with numbers that appear in the press, politicians’ speeches and other places that are just so obviously unbelievable, but are quoted as if they were pure gospel.

Sunday’s Review-Journal carried a story about whether police should begin searching for missing children right away. The story included the line, “For the team of Las Vegas police detectives charged with finding more than 4,500 missing children among more than 7,000 cases a year … ” Really? That is more than 19 missing persons per day, of which more than 12 are children. Doesn’t anyone question that? If those numbers are true, the nightly news would be about nothing but missing children.

The Sept. 10 Review-Journal carried a letter from an individual who claimed that Nevada has more registered guns per capita than any state in the United States. I’m curious how anyone could purport to know this when the only registered guns in Nevada are those handguns belonging to Clark County residents.

In the same letter, the writer states that we have 26 gun deaths per 100,000 population, which makes Nevada one of the most violent places on Earth. Really? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada’s population in 2009 was about 2.6 million, so we have 676 gun deaths per year in Nevada? (I wonder how many of those are shootings by Las Vegas police.) Still, just not a believable number for me.

A couple of minutes on the Internet showed numbers for Nevada ranging from 16.2 to 17.3 gun deaths per 100,000 population. Still nothing to brag about, but with Nevada’s population being mostly confined to two urban areas, those numbers distort the true picture. Interestingly, the worst “state” is also the smallest in area: Washington, D.C., with about 31 gun deaths per 100,000.

One must remember that government employees, whether policemen or DMV clerks, are on a constant mission to show how overworked and underpaid they are. Others are constantly looking for numbers to support their causes, both liberal and conservative. Those numbers are often invented, with nothing to back them up.

For instance, have you ever heard of a death certificate that listed the cause of death as air pollution? I haven’t, yet we are told all the time that pollution causes thousands of deaths.

I just wish reporters would do their jobs and pin people down as to where their statistics come from.

Ed Allen

Las Vegas

Jobs plan

To the editor:

The proposed exclusion of non-high school graduates from the College of Southern Nevada will serve to eliminate an important venue where these individuals can develop job skills (Review-Journal, Sept. 5). Our high schools should fill in with an aggressive jobs apprentice program for those students unlikely to graduate.

Now would be an opportune time to do this, given that our employers are not hiring in these uncertain economic times and are utilizing overtime instead. An apprentice program would allow the employer to evaluate a potential employee without the obligation to hire him. It would also allow the student to develop job skills.

Henry Schmid

Las Vegas

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