September 15, 2013 by jacklovelace
We love numbers. We love to quantify in disasters.
Having said that, it is a dangerous and potentially irresponsible trend for the media
to tell us about people unaccounted for in the terrible Colorado flooding.
As I write this the media is talking about over a thousand people unaccounted for with the number growing all the time.
We are being setup for either the worst human death toll in the history of Colorado, or a deflation in numbers that will have caused a lot of false worry.
The only number that is responsible is the number of people who are in harm’s way, have been identified as being in harm’s way, and are now missing.
Unaccounted for is just too vague.
The problem is in the world of media hype, just as “person of interest” spells someone guilty or at least about to be charged with a crime to most of us, “unaccounted for” means they may very well be dead.
The reality is bad enough with using this vague and scary new category.
It needs to be retired.