Monday, May 19, 2008

the math of living by the sword.

I guess Jesus managed to get it approximately right all those years ago when he said those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

2006 suicide rate among U.S. veterans: 17.3/100,000
Number of U.S. veterans, total: ~25 million
2005 suicide rate among the entire U.S. population: 11/100,000
Total U.S. population in 2005: ~300,000,000
Total number of veteran suicides in 2006: ~4,498 (simple arithmetic)
Total number of suicides in the U.S. 2006: ~33,000 (simple arithmetic)
Suicide rate among *not-veteran* population of U.S., 2006: ~9.27/100,000 (simple algebra)

Conclusion: Veterans are approximately twice as likely to commit suicide than the average non-veteran.

2006 murder rate among U.S. population: 5.7/100,000
2006 murder rate among U.S. veterans serving in Iraq: (this is a little ... nuanced. But we have approx. 1.7 million troops have been in combat in Iraq. And they have killed approx 13,000 civilians. Over 5.2 years. so we have ((13000*100,000)/1700000)/5.2...)~147/100,000

So it looks like maybe Jesus' words are only proportionally true--on a sort of logarithmic scale. Killing 30 times as many people on average only raises your likelihood of committing suicide by a factor of 2.

Here's a mathematical question for you. If this model holds up, how many people on average would you have to kill in order to raise your likelihood of committing suicide by a factor of 3?

There's strong. Then there's army strong. Go army.

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