Monday, September 12, 2005

How to support your thesis with anecdotal, fouth-hand hearsay

Courtesy of Michael Ledeen:

ON NOLA: [Michael Ledeen]
Since early on, I've been trying to make two points with regard to the looting/shooting/rampant criminality. First, that some of these people are real
criminals, who will have escaped from prison. Second, that others are/were drug
addicts deprived of narcotics and thus mad, very dangerous, out of control.

This seemed intuitively obvious, but no one has paid much attention to it.
But now there is some interesting anecdotal support. I got this email from a
friend, forwarding a message from a relative in Kansas City:

A friend that we know have a family restaurant. They had a lot of people from New Orleans come and buy food. They did not realize how many people were here already in Kansas City. On the way to work the friend was listening to the Radio and they were saying that a woman called in and said she saw her brother that had 2 life sentences for committing 7 murders, and now he is out on the street. (He was in prison in New Orleans). My friend Robert went down to Louisiana about 2 weeks ago to visit his brother who was in prison for stabbing his lawyer in the neck came by the restaurant to let us know that he made it back safe and he was not injured in the storm, but the problem was his brother was in the car with him as well. (The convicted murderer).

So let's see if we have this straight. An anonymous email relative tells Ledeen that a friend of a friend was listening to the radio and heard someone say something about a murderer loose on the street. Then the emailer says he has a friend who has a brother was was in prison for stabbing someone. And that he was in the car with him.

I suppose all of this could be true, but really, now -- "interesting anecdotal support"? Sounds like fourth-hand hearsay to me. On the other hand, this is the same kind of method of evidence-gathering that was deemed good enough for invading a country, so maybe we should all heed it.

And one last thing: All the looters were either criminals or crazy junkies suffering withdrawl? Where do the police fit into this?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:46 PM

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