Tragedy in Norway

I am saddened and sickened to learn of the horrific events in Norway today. As I write this, the news is that a total of 80 have died, 7 in the bombing in Oslo and the rest, presumably, at the youth camp in Utoya Island. This is an unimaginable tragedy for the parents of these children and would be wherever such an event occurred.  The impact on aggregate mortality  just happens to be particularly acutely noticeable in a low-mortality country such as Norway.  I look at Norwegian mortality data quite a bit because I use mortality change in Norway as an example in at least two classes I teach. To give a sense of what an enormous impact 80 violent deaths have on the overall mortality of a relatively small, and very low-mortality country like Norway, I plotted the number of deaths by age on semi-logarithmic axes for the latest year for which we have data (2009). I then added the 73 deaths (in red), assuming for simplicity that they all fell on 16 year-olds (since it was a youth camp).  While clearly not true, this allows us to compare the scale of this mass murder with the pace of death in Norway as a whole.

norway-deaths-2009

It is plain to see that, beyond the clear impact such an event has on the families directly effected, this senseless act has a substantial effect on the aggregate pattern of mortality for the entire country of Norway.

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