Long sections of my career were spent working with sexual offenders. The behavior of staff is worth noting. There are rescuers:
He's developmentally disabled and he mooned some schoolgirls from his bus. There's no way he belongs on the sex offender list for life.
He was 19 and she was 16 and she has accused other men.
And there are punishers:
After he raped her he knocked her out and tried to set her on fire.
He molested all the girls in that family but only one had the courage to testify against him.
Versions of these statements had made it into the chart, the hospital's official record of the patient's history, which can be brought into court and used as a reference for expert testimony. Thankfully, that information cannot in and of itself be submitted as evidence. Normal rules of evidence apply in court. This is a good thing, because all four of the above statements were false. For example, the man started forcibly raping the neighbor girl when she was 11, she first reported it when she was 16. No one tried to set anyone on fire in that other case, or even knocked them out. He groped her while she was asleep and the house burned down two years later. People get activated around sex offenders. They want certain things to be true. I shouldn't say "they." I should say "we."
Usually the corrective can be fairly low key, with someone saying "I don't think the evidence for that is very good. I've been doing the psychosocial history/talking with his attorney/going through the old records and I think this got added in. It seems to come from a neighbor saying 'We always knew something was going on in that house. I'll bet he molested all those girls.'" But sometimes it has to be a bit harsh, and though I was not a confrontative person by nature* I learned to be, because sometimes you are sitting at a table and have to say. "I have put a note in my official eval that this is not true and previous records claiming it should be ignored. We have to stop saying this, both formally and here in the team room." Not easy when one of those claims is by your supervisor, who is sitting right there. I have experienced this in reverse as well, of making a statement and having another staff member saying "That's just a rumor, started by her previous girlfriend while they were divorcing. There's no evidence for it." It's pretty humiliating, but if you don't want to be part of keeping non- or low-level offenders locked up or dangerous people let out, you try and be a stand-up guy. When something isn't true you can't let that go.
We were overinfluenced by recent events in this. When we get to the bottom and uncover that the criminal justice system has kept a guy locked up for ten years, came to us, and was gradually given more freedom over the next ten until the halfway house finally set him up in an apartment, and it turns out it was another guy all along, we are altogether too eager to believe the next person proclaiming innocence and let them out more quickly. Which incidentally, still isn't all that quickly. More evidence to never plead Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. We own you for life, then. Dealing with so many lying, manipulative bastards one yearns for someone to believe, to rescue. Then also, when someone we released six years ago commits a crime we just naturally snap into a more restrictive, even vengeful mode.
When discussing violent crime statistics and race, people want very badly for some numbers to be true and some false. It does not always break down neatly, as people will want the numbers to show their favorite theory, such as the presence of fathers, or early intervention, or having a better attorney is the primary driver of the numbers. It shows up in the explanations of the facts. The numbers are higher for young black men fighting because the police want to round them up and get them off the street and they have worse lawyers. But the next person will say Actually, the numbers for young black men are too low, because the police don't give a rat's ass what happens to them and just send them on their way so long as they aren't bothering white people. Also, it's hard to get witnesses to testify so the police just shrug. Bring whatever pre-judgement you want, you can undermine what the statistics are. Except, as Steve Sailer pointed out years ago, that all falls apart with homicide. You have to have an actual body, you can't just say that the police are exaggerating or over-enforcing. And if you have a body, you have to have an explanation, and if he bled out in the ER from gunshot wounds you can't just make that go away and say it was extreme obesity leading to a heart attack, no matter if he weighed 600 lbs. That was tried in mob cities decades ago, as in The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. "He unfortunately died of a heart attack while he was being stabbed." You can make up ways to get around it in order to write a book or make a movie, but 99.9%, you have to have a body to start with, and all else flows from there. Which is why the homicide statistics for victims is so important.
I remember my training far less than I should. We do not generalise in even the most obvious things sometimes. But occasionally, I remember, and I have been trying to remember throughout the C19 crisis (and more recently, the election accusations from people who voted for Trump and counteraccusations from those who just don't like the guy and tell themselves it's about issues.) We have to be ten times more suspicious of what we hope is true, because that is where we are most likely misled.
All this in mind as I caught wind of a Johns Hopkins report saying there were no excess deaths from C19. I consider Johns Hopkins to be reputable. I was interested.
I waited until more info came out, as I do when I have kept my wits about me. We are in a period when studies come out showing that only 4% of the population has been infected, followed by claims that 40% has. Lots of finger pointing and claims of bad faith by the other side. Lyman Stone, who I have referenced before about excess deaths is not kind in discussing the retraction of the JHU study published in their student newspaper.
Folks, that stupid JHU student newspaper piece has been retracted because it contained numerous blatantly false statements and elementary misreadings if the data. Just because you’re affiliated with JHU doesn’t mean you can’t be innumerate.
Please keep reading at his account. He does not shrink away from using the word "lie."
The reports have been circulating that the study was pulled because it offended the narrative or more mildly, that it was being misused by people who disagreed with the accepted narrative, and this is censorship because they should let science be free and open. As far as I can tell, the only evidence for this is the beginning of the retraction announcement by the student editors, who then go on to admit that there was a lot wrong with the study itself, not just what people were doing with it. Retractionwatch, a publication I trust, has more of the story. Briand is in a graduate program for Economics, not medicine or disease. It looks like a great learning experience for those student editors.
People should have been alert from the first, because "no" excess deaths would mean that no one has died of CoVid, a position I don't think many take. True, one could retreat to a position that it only hurried the deaths of 90% of its victims by 2-3 months, and the remainder could be cleaned up by jiggling around the flu statistics or something, but folks, those people died of something, and the people who were there watching them thought it looked like serious stuff, gasping for air while drowning in their own fluids. The CDC is saying at a midpoint 300,000 excess deaths. It's not enough to say "I don't trust 'em." Find me better numbers.
I think I get why (some) conservatives cry that the balance between economic damage and health risk has been shoved out of whack, or that there has been inordinate focus on some unimportant safety measures. Those are indeed bad things, but they deserve to be argued on their own merits, not with made-up stuff. I even agree with a lot of that. I think a higher level of risk is justified. I just don't get the drive on a fair number of prominent conservative sites, both the posters and the commenters, to insist that this is all overblown or even a hoax. Argue if you wish that 300,000 is still a small number. Point out that politicians, prominently Democrats, have been hypocrites about what they allow for themselves versus what they demand of others. Pound the table that people out there are being complete pricks (I ran into an irritating one myself yesterday). But stop seizing on stuff that tells you what you want to hear and waving it aloft without at least checking behind you to see if there is toilet paper trailing out of your belt. (Your opposition is also doing this. It is infuriating. But they have also been doing this your entire life. Don't imitate them.)
Actually, I do get it. I've seen it on other topics my whole life, and I've even done it myself. I'm yelling at you, but I'm wincing because it's really me.
*I am on some things, but not as many as supposed. I feel guiltier about my cowardices than about my harshness.