Harper's Index of Teenage Myths
April 19, 2001 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Harper's Index of Teenage Myths It's not the kids; it 's us, the adults! A child in school has one chance in two million of getting killed by a gun in our public schools. Drugs, guns, violence? Not the kids as much as is touted.
posted by Postroad (14 comments total)
it's a huge shame that sources aren't cited for more of the statistics. i don't find any of them particularly shocking, but i also wouldn't be shocked to learn that many of them are wrong here, too.
posted by jimw at 6:02 PM on April 19, 2001

No Citations = No Credibility.

The author has also had trouble publishing this data even in left wing magazines that would find these results ideologically compatible. That suggests to me that the sources are not very good.

Personally, I would like the numbers to be true. However, I won't even consider them until I see citations. The real Harpers Index always cites sources.
posted by srboisvert at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2001

Check out the author's website; seems he's written three or four books on the issue, and teaches Sociology at UCSC. I'm sure he'd give you sources if you email him.

His writing does seem to be kind of 'on the edge' of mainstream society, though. I note a lot of internet or alt publications and not many sociology journals in his writings linked at the bottom of the page.
posted by SpecialK at 8:32 PM on April 19, 2001

Percent of all HIV infectees from heterosexual intercourse which are females:
Teens: 91%.
Adults: 65%.

I found that one a shocker. Should anti-AIDS advertising be targeted to younger women?
posted by Neale at 9:20 PM on April 19, 2001

1990, number of teenaged boys who played violent interactive video games: 0.

Funny, I seem to remember blowing away a hell of a lot of arcade aliens way before 1990. Guess that wasn't really interactive, though. Or maybe I wasn't really a teenage boy.
posted by ook at 9:56 PM on April 19, 2001

I find the statistic on regular drinkers under 20 to be a bit suspect. This guy obviously wasn't polling college students. {g}
posted by lannie628 at 10:37 PM on April 19, 2001

I question these statistics, but I don't need to see stats to see the obvious. We've had this "war on drugs" for over twenty years, at least since Reagan, right? Turning attention to the young people was false. No one's been following the money on this. It's white collar crime. The money's coming from adults not kids. The stuff's still coming into the country. Stuff's being made inside the country. It's a farce. A facade. A smoke screen.

There is of course no proof to this. However, you know and I know that somewhere, certain people are placed in strategic locations, people who are loyal to drug commerce. When those fighting drugs who are not "in on it" get too close, steps are taken. Am I talking conspiracy? Yes and no. I'm talking business. Those operating the drugs know it's cheaper to create this smoke screen. They don't have to pay taxes. They don't have to follow the rules. The religious right is simplifying a lot of things for drug pushers. Why? Maybe some of them are in on it.

Screw this. Make all drugs legal so it's all out in the open. Kill the black market. Sintax the hell out of it and pay off the National Debt. The gig is up. Making victumless "crimes" illegal only creates "outlaw" organizations which are above the law. Make them follow standard business practices like the rest of us have to.

How'd they stop Al Capone? Prohibition? No. Tax evasion. Make the cons into reputable businessmen. It's the only way to really fight it. This goes for prostitution too. And pornography. And pretty much any victumless crime. Legalizing it will also bring prices down, which means profits will go down even further for those 'illegal' organizations now running things. They'll either have to come clean or close up shop.

The war is over and the religious right lost. It's time we all started benefiting from the profits involved. You'll never see this happen though. Why? Cuz there are certain people in strategic locations who will never allow this to happen. There's simply too much money involved. And there's no way to prove it. Ain't conspiracy theories wunnerful?
posted by ZachsMind at 11:40 PM on April 19, 2001

Um... Deaths by Tylenol: 426 !?!
posted by DragonBoy at 12:20 AM on April 20, 2001

Yah. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be pretty toxic to the liver especially in those who drink alcohol "regularly and excessively."
posted by kindall at 2:12 AM on April 20, 2001

Zach: I think porn's pretty legal (at least outside of Utah), so we got that goin'. Which is nice.
posted by owillis at 2:52 AM on April 20, 2001

Oh yeah. I misspoke there. Yew know whut ah mean, Vern. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 3:44 AM on April 20, 2001

I found that one a shocker. Should anti-AIDS advertising be targeted to younger women?

Absolutely. Young girls have repeatedly told surveyors that they are not insisting that their partners use condoms because they believe that the younger guys that they're having sex with aren't likely to have anything. They think that statistically they're safe, when in fact the opposite is true. It's a stark reminder of the hubris and "I'm indestructible" mindset of the young, coming back to hurt them badly.
posted by Dreama at 6:38 AM on April 20, 2001

I found that one a shocker. Should anti-AIDS advertising be targeted to younger women?

You would think, but it seems we would rather just tell younger women not to have sex and wash our hands of the whole ordeal.
posted by jennyb at 8:02 AM on April 20, 2001

I don't know about this person's particular statistics, but regarding guns I have seen several media reports recently stating that the number of handgun deaths among teenagers has dropped quite a bit in the past ten years. One report then compared the number of news reports about such incidents - which had dramatically increased. In the late 80s and early 90s, there were several school-shooting incidents that didn't even make the national news. Some of these included more deaths than the one in Colorado. And I think school shootings account for something around 1% of all handgun deaths among teens. It's an interesting comment on how the media can get the mass populace to believe something, how "problems" can be invented when it's a slow news day. I do believe gun control is a problem, but it's the perceptions of things that the mainstream media feed people and they accept as gospel that I find troubling.
As for HIV/AIDS, anyone who looks into the subject at all can tell you the vast majority of people testing HIV-positive in the U.S. are young heterosexual women. Hispanic women have the highest rates of new infection as a group. It's unfortunate that so many people think teens shouldn't be having sex, and shouldn't even be talked to about sex. Young women in this country are dying every day because certain individuals insist on imposing some sort of unrealistic Christian ideas of what kids "should" and "shouldn't" do on our educational system, and ignore reality.
posted by sixdifferentways at 8:17 PM on April 22, 2001

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