The numbers racket

After attending Saturday's antiwar rally in downtown Seattle, I heard KIRO Channel 7 news announce that the Seattle police estimate of protestors was 4,000. When I attend antiwar rallies, I always make my own estimate.

When the march began, I was near the front. After a half-mile, I moved to the sidewalk at the middle of a block and stopped. I focused on a few people just starting my block and watched till they reached the end of the block. Then I picked another group of people starting my block and watched till they reached the end of the block and so on. I counted 20 blocks. I estimate 1,500 people per block, or 30,000 people minimum.

Here's some heavy math. On the southbound leg of the march down Second Avenue, there are 15 blocks to the mile (I checked two maps). So a block is 352 feet long. The street is at least 50 feet wide. So one block would be 17,600 square feet, and 20 blocks would be 352,000 square feet. If there were 4,000 marchers, that would be 88 square feet per person, approximately the space a car requires. Our police department is under the impression that a human being requires as much space as a car. Be careful, these are the people who direct traffic in Seattle!

For most of the march, people were packed closely. It's absurd to say that anyone had 88 square feet to himself. To put it another way, the parade was 20 blocks long. If there were 4,000 protestors, that would be 200 people per block. That's about the number of people wandering downtown at 1 a.m. on Wednesday night lost or drunk.

It isn't the number of people that's important. I would like to know why our police department tells such a ridiculous lie! Does this "all are equal in the eyes of the law" organization have a political agenda? Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt and say they can't count.

And KIRO 7 behaves like a parrot. If they're a responsible news organization, shouldn't they question the reasonableness of what the government tells them? I find them both disgusting frauds.

Shelley Simon lives in upper Queen Anne. He has contributed occasional columns and neighborhood features to the News.

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