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Closer look: Finding statistics to fit a narrative

Licensed Professional Counselor Robert Longo has been vocally opposed to public registries for convicted sexual offenders for years.

“I actually met with a group of people in New Jersey and sat across from Megan Kanka’s grandfather,” Longo said.

The 1994 murder of 7-year-old Kanka gave rise to the public disclosure of sexual offender registries through what are commonly known as Megan’s laws.

“I told the grandfather of the young girl, Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered, that I appreciate what happened to his granddaughter but this law is not going to make people safe,” Longo added. “Those laws did nothing. It didn’t prevent anything.”

That has not stopped an article he co-wrote in Psychology Today 30 years ago from being used to uphold and provide evidence for the “public’s need” for the registries.

“I just think it’s unfortunate,” Longo said. “What can I say? Full Article

‘Frightening and High’: The Frightening Sloppiness of the High Court’s Sex Crime Statistics

Join the discussion

  1. wonderin

    It never ceases to amaze me how much faith the general public has in the pseudo science of psychology.
    What doesn’t surprise me is how reluctant the psychological community is to admit their shortcomings.
    At least Robert Longo seems to be making a small effort.

  2. ab

    It goes farther than mere statistics to support a narrative. Based upon where someone lives in the world an entire set of norms inform biases towards any given issue or subject matter. Few issues are agreed on across culture or throughout human history and expecting less diversity would not be consistent with human nature. People can think of an explanation for anything and then by simple repetition increase the believability with little evidence. Really a single okay example of something has the potential to compel a narrative into existence.

    For many years in the United States laws specifically outlined rape as something that happened to a female. Regardless of whether or not any men reported being raped leading up to the codifying of rape laws throughout the country doesn’t matter because the female narrative even if limited in scope drove the creation of such laws.

    Worse yet anytime someone claims a majority of people experience Y as a result of X it is extremely difficult to challenge their assertions because any research cited was conducted via a certain lens already aimed at confirming the perception of experience through that lens. The more controversial a topic the less likely research won’t be biased towards the mainstream or even giving consideration to alternative mainstream perspectives elsewhere.

    Maybe framing certain things in narrative format is counterproductive to resolving core concerns. Instead of labeling everything and putting everything into context perhaps sometimes it would be more beneficial to isolate instances then trace back to discover their origins and work forward from there on preventing undesired outcomes.

    • James

      ab…your position makes too much sense…and it would take effort and intelligence, discernment to implement what you suggest.

      I mean….that would be such a shock to the system…fairness.

      Piff…never happen.

      (which is why we have to rise up and this website is our most important tool)

      Best Wishes, James

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