Saturday, May 9, 2009

Information Is Not Created Equal

I read this article the other day and thought I would share it with all the BadskiBlog readers. The article is about the number of motorcycle deaths amongst military members.

Pentagon brass got an eye-opener when they examined 2008 casualty figures: More Marines died stateside on motorcycles than were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"That was a wake-up call," says Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson, commander of the Naval Safety Center. "It focuses your attention on what your real issues are."

Most people are probably extremely shocked by this article. I am, and I am not. On the one hand I am a little shocked that there are more deaths via motorcycles than there are from the war. Anyone who reads that is likely to be shocked. On the other hand I am not surprised by the large number of motorcycle deaths amongst military members. I have seen a ton of motorcycle riders at every base I have ever been at or visited, and the majority of them are crotch rocket riders. I am not saying people shouldn't ride motorcycles, I am just saying that there isn't much room for error on those things. The demographics of military members also lend themselves to being at higher risk of motorcycle accidents as discussed in the article. Most are male and young. Young males are more likely to ride motorcycles, and therefore there are likely going to be more deaths as a result of motorcycles.

What I find most interesting about the article is the disparity in attention that the mainstream media and people of our country place on different types of tragedies. Obviously one death is one too many during a time of war and I think that those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country deserve all the attention and respect they get. With that being said I think that the media sometimes paints a picture that is more representative of World War II era warfare than that of today. This is not, I repeat not, to disrespect our fallen heroes in any way. I just think this article as well as any illustrates the power that the media has over what is covered. I think that influence is declining as I have mentioned in previous posts, but it is significant nonetheless. This articles serves as a reminder to me to research what you read and build your own view because all information is not created equal; profitable information will always get the spotlight and in turn will have a greater impact on society at large.

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