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Monday, October 31, 2005

Why "2K Why?" ?

I have read a number of dissenting opinions both on making an issue of the 2000th service person's death in Iraq and on the wisdom of posting a cryptic sign to mark that death via the Freeway Blogger.

The obvious answer to why we should mark this death versus say the 1957th is that we have a base 10 numbering system. We also tend to like and instill significance in round numbers. Why bring this milestone to people's attention? Well I don't know about you - but other than my friend whose son is leaving for Iraq in a couple of weeks - I 'm not hearing people mention the death toll. I haven't heard anyone say "Wow - it's up to 1800 or 1921." Or "Look, today October 31st we lost 6 soldiers." Or "The total for October is 93."

{UPDATE - On October 31st we lost 7 soldiers and the total for October was 94 Americans, 2 British and 1 Dane}

People don't seem to be as affected by numbers that aren't round and that aren't a multiple of 10. That's just the way it is. I feel a need to bring the deaths to people's attentions - but I know that if I brought the running numbers to everyone's attention every day, or every week - they would soon get used to it and ignore me. The count wouldn't mean as much. But pick "2000" as a number to show everyone and it means so much more. It hits them in the gut on so many levels. Think of how the year 2000 was such a milestone in people's minds.

On the opinion that putting up signs that say "2K Why?" is too cryptic - I have to disagree. It is short and sweet. It is a play on "Y2K". It makes people think - maybe not everyone will get it - but some will and they will mention it to others. It may last longer as a sign than something more obvious and is easier to read than more wordy slogans.

And so I give you this:

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