The last ten years that I worked at Ford Motor Company, I was working in Statistical Process Control. In 1958, Charles Demming created a system of data collection and analysis that allowed us to understand and improve manufacturing processes, among many other things. Our mantra was: Manage with Facts.
To begin the process, a minimum amount of data has to be collected over time, so the results will have credibility. After the data is collected, it is plotted in its proper place relative to all the other similar data. The visual representation of the compiled data will be a “Bell Curve” like the one pictured here.
This bell curve happens to be about people, which is what I’ll be talking about. As you can see, the “Normal Distribution of Data” will show where most people fall in any given scenario and where the exceptions, or “outliers”, to the norm are at the outer edges of the bell.
O.K. Now let’s get down to business. The data I collected was from all the events that were reported around the world and in the U.S. over the past couple of years that we consider to be terrorist attacks. The data included race, age, ideology or suspected motive that was used to justify the attack. After plotting the data, the resulting Bell Curve showed remarkable consistency.
Excluding school shootings, which are typically carried out by mentally disturbed teenagers, the rest of the data shows that the center of the Bell Curve was populated by Middle Eastern, male Arabs between the ages of 18 and 34 with strong ties to the radical jihadist arm of the Islamic religion. Yet, we continue to pat down six year old girls and grandmothers during TSA screenings. I’ve witnessed both of these situations.
Here’s another statistical reality. Since concealed carry was voted in here in Minnesota in 2003, there’s been no evidence to suggest that law abiding citizens will indiscriminately shoot up the place. We have 165,000 people with carry permits in Minnesota. Over the course of 11 years, only one person who had a permit to carry ended up killing someone. And even then, he didn’t have his gun with him at the time of the altercation. He had to go home to get his gun before he shot the victim, which kind of defeats the purpose of concealed carry.
Why does it matter that we embrace these statistics? In every other facet of our society, experts depend heavily on statistical analysis when they consider actions to be taken – whether it’s about curing disease, measuring progress of new social programs or improving cost or quality in manufacturing. It is irrational and inefficient to ignore the statistical facts and grope around for answers that can readily be found in the data that was already collected. Every data point is a fact, not an opinion. Why won’t we act on the facts?
I believe that Political Correctness is the culprit. It has caused us to value feelings ahead of truth. It’s the latest example of social engineering, and the use of Political Correctness has resulted in a lack of honesty in our discussions and the oppression of our First Amendment right of free speech. We can’t talk about stereotypes, generalizations, or profiles lest we hurt someone’s feelings. We can’t embrace the Second Amendment and a person’s right to protect themselves without offending the sensibilities of those who are more afraid of guns than the violent people who would harm them and their families.
I choose to “Manage with Facts” when I consider protecting myself and those whom I love from unexpected violence. I have a permit to carry a pistol. Until the Jihadists start using redheaded kids and gray-haired old ladies to carry out their terrorist attacks, I will be focusing on the people around me who represent the most likely threat. If you happen to match the profile of a terrorist, minus the radical Jihadism, I’ll apologize in advance for making you uneasy with my scrutiny. Just know that it isn’t personal and you won’t have anything to fear unless you cause me to fear for my life or the lives of others. Then all bets are off.