The math doesn’t quite work either way…

Friend of mine shared this link with me today…

First, there’s plenty to be embarrassed about, as a South Carolinian, in this video — the main thing being that Sen. Mike Fair is struggling, and failing, to justify his concern about the “danger” of Sharia law being established in South Carolina. It sort of reminds me one of the first corny jokes I remember hearing as a little kid: Man stands on a street corner, snapping his fingers. Cop comes up and threatens to run him in for loitering. Man says, “I’m not loitering. I’m snapping my fingers to keep the elephants away.” Cop says, “There are no elephants around here!” Man says, “I’m doing a good job, aren’t I?”

Against the background of that, his hyperbolic statement that “99 percent probably” of all terrorist acts since the Lebanon Marine Barracks bombing have been carried out by Muslims seems unremarkable. It’s one of those things that “everyone knows,” and he’s just being sloppy. But since the folks doing this report saw fit to dispute it very explicitly, using figures that also seemed a bit dubious, I decided to take a closer look. The report says:

Fair’s calculation, that nearly every single act of terrorism for the past couple of decades was committed by Muslim men, is off base. In reality, in the last ten years alone, nearly twice as many terrorist plots were hatched by non-Muslims in America than by Muslims.

Hmmm. And  that period doesn’t even include Oklahoma City. Follow that link and you go to a previous report, which says:

Since the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, Muslims have been involved in 45 domestic terrorist plots. Meanwhile, non-Muslims have been involved in 80 terrorist plots.

… and then in turn provides a link to this report, by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, that seems in a quick review to fairly assess the number of terror plots hatched by each group. It even gives nonMuslims a break by not counting eco-terrorism.

But then I got to thinking… Muslims make up six-tenths of one percent of the U.S. population. So that means that there are more than 99 times as many non-Muslims as Muslims in the country. But only twice (actually, a little less than twice) as many “terror plots” are hatched by nonMuslims. So… less than 1 percent of the population, but hatch 36 percent of the terror plots. So that means … and my math may be wobbly here, because of assumptions I’m making to come up with a number … Muslims are involved in terror plots about 60 times as often as you would expect, all other things being equal.

It gets extra muddy after that. Fair is talking about worldwide, and the study is about U.S. threats. And it is counting Muslim incidents regardless of whether the plotters are U.S. residents or not.

But there does tend to be, apparently, a higher proportion of plots hatched by Muslims than non, as percentages of the population, in this country. Just way less than 99 percent.

I digress, though. Bottom line, even if Fair were right, taking preemptive action to prevent the establishment of Sharia law in South Carolina, or fretting about prayer shawls in public places, is ridiculous.

I just can’t prove that mathematically. But the burden should be on him to prove that what he’s talking about is an actual problem.

16 thoughts on “The math doesn’t quite work either way…

  1. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    99 percent probably of all terrorist plots were hatched by men, so what say we stop applying men’s laws–and appoint some more female judges while we’re at it.

  2. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    ah, but that would be proof of the inverse, not the contrapositive, and thus merely proof of the converse, not the original statement.

    I, for one, would like Sen. Fair to provide a DNA sample to rule out his participation in the Chicagoland Tylenol murders….

  3. Tim

    You may know several men of whom you claim to have no knowledge that they participated in Terrorism.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Senator Fair seems always to be on the looney fringe. 60 years ago it would have been aliens, 50 years ago commies in SC, etc. Shari’a law is the natural successor to terrorism? Yawn…

    Maybe some of these leaders could redirect their attention to actual issues confronting our state. You know, be Senatorial and deliberative.

  5. Karen McLeod

    Thankyou, Kathryn. But I would like a test to prove 2 things: a) he’s human, and b) he’s not psycho. What are my chances?

  6. Doug Ross

    I guess it’s those 27 years of experience in the State House that have allowed him to develop his keen sense of the world. What would we do without all these long standing deep thinkers?

    If you click on the link to his bio, the photo appears to be from at least a decade ago. Or else someone has some mad Photoshop skills.

  7. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Alas, Karen–I fear he is all too representative of a certain human element around here that is quite rational–just very small-minded.

    Agreed, Mark– but then we’ve already dealt with the state green vegetable –what’s left?

  8. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    @ Doug–his daughter is listed as Mrs. Husband’s Name (given name)….the dude is seriously retrograde….and yes, that sure looks like his college graduation picture in comparison to the video screen shot. I guess we know there’s no portrait in his attic, eh?

  9. bud

    Yeah but Fair was a great quarterback for USC back in the day. For that I’ll cut him some slack.

  10. Scout

    I’m embarrassed to admit I’m probably distantly related to Sen. Fair as my great great great grandfather was James William Fair born and raised in Prosperity. I don’t think it’s a real common name in SC. Y’all don’t tell. Thanks.

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