This is a sign of the times: a rather famous historian named Jill Lepore, who teaches at Harvard, wrote an article for the absurdly left-wing New Yorker magazine in which she made a claim that no sane person could believe. And yet, many did believe it, and the New Yorker, to my knowledge, has yet to correct it. (To be fair, the New Yorker gave up on fact checking long ago.) Louise Perry, someone with whom I am not familiar, has the story at Unherd:
Reading the latest copy of the New Yorker magazine, published exactly a week ago, I came across this sentence in a piece by Jill Lepore:
One study suggests that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four who were treated in emergency rooms suffered from injuries inflicted by police and security guards, about as many people as the number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.
This sentence jumped out to me. How could it possibly be true that ‘two-thirds’ of all Americans aged 15-34 visiting emergency rooms had been injured by police or security guards, given the very many other reasons why people might present for emergency treatment?
Good question! The assertion is ridiculous. Long story short, this author researched emergency room admissions and believes that she has found the source for Lepore’s claim. (Links omitted):
I sought out the study she was referring to, and found it: a 2016 paper, whose lead author, Justin Feldman, was a doctoral student at Harvard at the time. Soon after publication, the findings were described in a Harvard press release, and also reported on by The Guardian.
And it turns out I was right — the ‘two-thirds’ claim is not true. Not even close.
[I]t’s not clear where Lepore got the ‘two-thirds’ figure from. Possibly she misunderstood a line from from the paper itself, which includes the finding that 61.1% of people injured by police fell into the 15-34 age bracket. Or from the Harvard press release, which reports that:
Sixty-four percent of the estimated 683,033 injuries logged between 2001-2014 among persons age 15-34 resulted from an officer hitting a civilian.
Which is to say, they were injured by hitting, rather than some other use of force. …
I did my best to work out a rough estimate of the true proportion of 15-34 year olds visiting the ER who had suffered legal intervention injuries, and arrived at a figure of 0.2% (you can follow my working in this thread). So I believe Lepore’s claim to be off by a factor of several hundred.
From 67% to 0.2%. That is how far off a liberal “scholar” is when she tries to write about “police violence.” And, of course, the overwhelming majority of people who are seen in emergency rooms as a result of injuries inflicted by police officers or security guards are criminals who initiated altercations in which (one hopes) they got the worst of it.
That Lepore was so far off is not, in itself, surprising. These days, liberals are rarely correct about any factual matter. But how can any sentient being possibly fall for the idea that two-thirds of all ER admissions between ages 15 and 34 were there by virtue of being brutalized by law enforcement? Someone, presumably, who has never been in an emergency room and who lacks anything approaching common sense. In other words, a liberal. How many Americans are this far out of touch with reality? Not many, I trust. Maybe you have to be a Harvard professor.
At last word, the New Yorker had not corrected Lepore’s delusional claim.