The Numerology of Historical Events

There were 700,000 people.

There were 150,000 people.

There were 50,000 people.

Does it make a difference?

In 1995, African American leaders led a “Million Man March” on Washington. The National Park Service estimated the crowd at 400,000. In response, the leaders of the march threatened to sue the NPS for their estimate. After that, according to the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing, the NPS would no longer release crowd estimates.

Good idea.

According to David Feldman (Imponderables – The Solution to Mysteries of Everyday Life), in New York, the police “count the number of rows of spectators behind the blue wooden barriers that are placed on each side of the street. Each barrier is fourteen feet long. Assuming that the population behind each barrier will reflect the parade route as a whole, the police estimate how many spectators fit into the square footage available…”

They also use another method: weighing how much trash is left behind.

Presumably, since the police reported that the atzeres left the streets clean, one might conclude no one was there.

I am no math student, but it seems to me that by the number or the pound is not the way to measure the historical significance of a gathering. Especially not a gathering with such spiritual significance.

I was there. So was a sea of other people. That’s enough for me.