Grim Milestones

At the Forum, people are talking about a statistic that has been kicking around for a while: illegal aliens murder approximately 12 Americans a day. Is this accurate? I’m not sure; this isn’t a statistic that is officially kept, so estimates are based on more informal surveys. The number seems to have been popularized by Congressman Steve King.
While I’m not sure that it’s right, the 12 per day figure is plausible. There are 16,000+ murders a year in the U.S., so, if my math is correct, that number implies that, if there are around ten million illegal aliens, they commit about ten times their pro rata share of murders.
Twelve per day works out to 4,380 a year, or around 16,600 during the time that has elapsed since we have been engaged in Iraq. This is more than five times the number of military deaths in Iraq.
My point here is not to argue for the accuracy of Representative King’s numbers, but rather to note how discretionary the concept of a “grim milestone” is. If the mainstream media kept a “grim milestone” count on murders of Americans by illegal aliens, imagine how it would re-frame the debate over illegal immigration. But the media have no interest in that particular set of “milestones.” What constitutes a “milestone” depends not on the actual magnitude of the issue, but rather on the political agenda of the mainstream media.

Responses