Deadly skittles

The Trump campaign posted this ridiculous meme yesterday:


Ignoring the proofreading problems the Stupid Party has (Skittles is capitalized, comma after “you”, no capital “w” on “would”), and the layout problems (why doesn’t the right side margin line up?), let’s address instead the absurdity of this claim.

First of all, based actual odds of getting killed by terrorist refugee, you’d need 10.8 billion skittles to find three killers.

Then let’s consider what this is saying. Three of these skittles could be dangerous. So therefore, let’s let the hundreds of others die so we can be safe.  Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of heroism we of the United States are known for. It’s exactly what Superman, who stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way would say, right?  “Can’t save that trainload of people because there may be three of them who want to hurt me and the other people.”

This is something they never seem to mention. The Syrian refugees are refugees from terrorism. They need our help. Yes, some evil terrorist may sneak in at the same time, but if the terrorists really want to sneak in, they can do it anyway. The Trump campaign clearly believes in the “Bad Samaritan” policy.

If this were the 1930s, I suppose you could replace “Syrian refugee problem” with “Jews” and this would be a great ad for Germany.

The Trump campaign believes turning away refugees running from terrorists will “make America great again” because if there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Come on folks, Skittles won’t kill you.

Unless you meet George Zimmerman.

One thought on “Deadly skittles

  1. Well, according to the statistics in this link, there were 34 deaths from E. Coli poisoning in the 10 years between 2003 and 2012; of all E.Coli cases 65% are food related. Of the food related cases:

    “The most common food source for E. coli turns out to be beef, which has been implicated in 55 percent of E. coli outbreaks. The next closest commodities are leafy greens (21 percent) and dairy (11 percent). All other meats and poultry together account for 6 percent.”

    If you make some unjustified statistical assumptions: that the percentage of deaths is the same as the percentage of total cases, that the percentage of deaths is evenly spread across the 10 year period, and that we can choose a middle year and use it for a population average (because I’m too lazy to actually take the average of 10 years but it looks pretty linear on my little graph), then we arrive at the following:

    Population of USA in 2007: 301.2 million
    Deaths per year from E. Coli poisoning (all causes): 34 / 10 = 3.4
    Divide 10.8 billion by .301 billion (to get a multiplier for scaling): 35.9
    So, the # of deaths from E. Coli poisoning over 10.8 billion people: 35.9 x 3.4 = 122
    # of E. Coli poisoning deaths related to food: 122 x .65 = 79.3.

    Assuming that your statement about the true danger of skittles is correct, and that all my unjustified statistical assumptions didn’t create so much inaccuracy that the result is off by an order of magnitude (unlikely), then if you really want to be safe you should give up eating meat (especially beef), leafy greens, and dairy and live on skittles instead. It’s much safer.


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