Death rate comparison of Iraq and Washington DC-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

An eRumor comparing the number of gun-related deaths among soldiers killed in action in IRAQ with the number of gun related deaths in Washington DC . It concludes that the ratio of deaths per 100.000 in Washington DC was worse than the same ratio in  Iraq and closes by saying that the US should pull out of Washington!

The Truth:

This eRumor has circulated for several years and is meant more to be a joke than a serious assessment of statistics.

In addition to Washington DC , TruthorFiction.com has received various versions naming different cities including Philadelphia , New York, and Chicago .

Sometimes the eRumor claims that the text is from a magazine article.

It is not clear what date the eRumor was first circulated so it’s hard to know what actual figures, if any, the writer was using for the 22-month comparison but here is the best we can come up with:

The total U.S. war casualties referenced in the eRumor is 2112.

That would mean that the probable date of those figures would be November, 2005 when, according to month-by-month figures the casualties in Iraq reached 2113.

We’re not sure why the writer chose to refer to that as a 22 month count because from the beginning of the war in March, 2003 to November, 2005, was actually about 30 months and that’s the period of time it took to reach a casualty count of 2113.

For approximately the same period, the number of gun-related deaths in Washington DC was 464. The population of Washington DC during that same period averaged about 560,000, for a rate of deaths per 100,000 of about 82.

The eRumor’s calculation of the death rate in Iraq , however, is incorrect. It’s not 60 per 100,000. It’s 1,320 per 100,000.

Additionally, the death rate of U.S. soldiers in Iraq has not been just “gun related.” Many have been killed in other ways such as through roadside bombs.

So the whole point of the email falls to the floor.

updated 07/17/09

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period.

That means you are about 25 per cent more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the US, than you are in Iraq.
 

Conclusion: “The US should pull out of Washington.”