I am thinking of opening a new rubric on this blog: “Stuff I don’t understand.” It’s needed because the press often omits doing its job of analyzing the news it reports on and of checking, even for superficial credibility. Much of what I hear and read makes no sense.
Here is an example:
For days, the news has been filled with reports of an epidemic of sexual abuse in the military.
The word epidemic means something like: “Large numbers and growing.” Right?
One startling number: 40 % of the victims are male members of the military.
So, I have to ask: Who is doing it to the guys?
(I don’t ask who is doing it to the women. We know the answer: Most men, or at least, many men are born rapists.)
1 The roughly 15% of military personnel who are female have unleashed their lust on the 85% who are male;
2 The military houses a large number of male homosexuals who don’t know boundaries and hit on other men who are presumably heterosexual, in the hope that they, the victims will figure out that they are really, really homosexual.
3 The small minority of male military homosexuals are like the little boy accidentally locked up in the cookie pantry sampling here and there with abandon. The sampling would include a fair share of grabass, of course.
Which do you believe is closer to the truth? Now, think hard: Is any of this credible at all?
Myself, personally, I believe in the rotten apple theory of the truth: If there is a single rotten apple in the barrel, there is no reason to think that the other apples in the barrel are perfect.
Recently, I was accidentally sitting in a bar next to a woman who must have been in her late fifties. Neither of us was inebriated. She informed me casually that one woman in three had been molested as a child. Of course, I asked her why she believed that. She told me that there are “statistics.” I asked her why she believed the statistics.
“Because it happened to me,” she said.
Was there any reason to continue any conversation with that person? Think rotten apples.
In today WSJ (5/20/13) a very brave military lawyer, a Marine officer, spreads out the numbers behind the alleged epidemic and shows the absurd, ridiculous ways in which they came about.
She tells us among other things that the actual number of recorded sexual assaults in the whole military for 2012 (that’s complaints, not convictions) was : 3,374.
That’s for more then one million members.
That might not be enough, in my book, for a youngish population. It may indicate a low libido we don’t want in our fighters.
We now have military that is so sensitive that it does not mind reporting absurdities far and wide. It’s a little frightening.
In case you wonder: I am against all forms of sexual assault in spite of occasional levity. I especially think it should be repressed in the military because it undermines solidarity in the ranks. I am against trivializing the real problem of sexual assault by calling anything “sexual assault.” (A pat on the top of one buttock is not rape.) I firmly believe that there are no crimes without criminals. If a crime is allegedly committed, someone did it. One who reports crimes of any sort has an obligation to think about who the one(s) might be. See above.
Ref. : Captain Lindsay L. Rodman: “The Pentagon’s Bad Math on Sexual Assault” WSJ 5/20/13 P. A17.