Media has it all wrong

Undoubtedly by now, you have seen or heard of the FBI’s linking of hundreds of killings throughout the country to truckers. Or, so the media is reporting.

An in-depth story by the Los Angeles Times on Saturday used FBI investigators who believe that as many as 500 females across the country have been victimized by serial killers in the past 30 years. Many of these killings had never been linked together because law enforcement agencies do not share well. Most police departments have barely enough resources to solve crimes locally, let alone looking for patterns in outside jurisdictions.

That’s where the FBI comes in. The bureau pulls together all the information from local departments and using computers, looks for trends, similarities, etc., in the killings. In the past five years, that’s exactly what the FBI has been doing with hundreds of killings along interstates, near truck stops, motels and other areas that are popular routes for truckers.

I don’t doubt the FBI’s research, and they may very well be right in the numbers. However, the media, always looking for a “must-read” story, has sensationalized the reporting and based on the media reports, you’re left with the impression that the majority of truckers across this country are either serial killers or killers-in-waiting.

That’s simply not true and unfair to the millions of hard-working, law-abiding truckers in the U.S.

From 1977 through 2007, there were 609,106 murders in the U.S., according to The Disaster Center. The FBI has linked 500 or so. Even if the FBI numbers are off, as some investigators claim in the Los Angeles Times’ story, that is still a very small percentage of all the killings during that time period. So small, in fact, that the number is not even close to 1 percent. In fact, if we assume the 500 number is half of what it should be, and assume that the FBI is right and all of those killings (which are not likely) were committed by truckers, that equates to only .0016 percent of the killings in the past 30 years. That’s 16 ten-thousands of a percent. Not exactly a crime wave.

But, if the media reported that number, there would be no outcry and no increased newspaper sales. Why let the facts get in the way?