Take a look at this state ranking. It ranks states by Iraqi-war casualties per 100,000 residents. The chart was made as part of a rather silly debate about red states and blue states that doesn’t interest me. What interests me is Utah.
Utah is at the very bottom. Why? I don’t know actually. But here are 3 factors to keep in mind:
1. Utah gets a little messed up in everything that is “per capita” when the characteristic in question is only found among adults. We have more children– about a third of the state is under 18, compared to a fourth for the nation. So our denominator has all those kids in it who aren’t in the military.
2. Do we have fewer people serving per capita? I have no idea, but would be surprised if Utahns tended to not join the military. One obvious problem is that military service often happens right when missions do. Is this the explanation? Are we not joining the military because we go on missions instead? That would be very interesting.
3. Perhaps we have as many people serving in the military, but fewer of those have been called over to Iraq. For example, maybe Utah’s military capacity is not geared for Iraqi sorts of conflicts.
Controlling for those above factors, do we still look good? I don’t know but I admit to certain native skepticism. The child thing is only going to move us to about .44, — still a very low casualty rate. If Utahns do join the military in typical numbers, and do go to Iraq in typical numbers, well we’ve been blessed to have few fatalities in Iraq; may that trend continue and extend to all the other soldiers who are in harm’s way.