RE: virus: AIDS Meme
Wed, 23 Oct 1996 10:03:11 -0500 (CDT)

On Mon, 21 Oct 1996, Vicki Rosenzweig wrote:

> Hakeeb,
> Can you back any of these claims about the dangers of
> compassion and justice with actual data? ...


> US crime rate (both total crime and specifically violent crime) was
> down, and the number of Americans in prison was at an all-time high
> (in terms of either actual numbers or percentage of the total population).

If I really wanted a crash-course in how to commit crime, there are few
more effective ways [assuming survival] than to be imprisoned. The above
statistic doesn't bode well.


> This is actually fertile ground for a study of memes and how
> they spread: for some reason, whether the crime rate goes up or down,
> the perception of danger keeps going up. Whether the conviction rate
> goes up or down, people keep believing, and repeating, that ever more
> criminals are getting away because of "technicalities." I don't know why
> these memes are so powerful. My only guess would be that people get
> a lot of their news from television, and a picture of a crime scene gets
> into the brain at a different level than statistics about the crime rate:
> and
> all pictures of crime scenes, victims, or trials produce the message
> "danger! violent criminals! danger!" even if they're accompanying a
> story in which the FBI announces that it has caught a wanted criminal,
> or that the murder rate is down.

Go one step further: does the above media have an agenda to INCREASE the
crime rate?

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd