Perceptions, or “Call me stupid, but . . . “

Don’t worry . . . I’m not about to swear again.  I have to admit, it felt somewhat cathartic, but was unsatisfactory as far as presenting my opinions.

Therefore, this is more along my usual rant regarding the stupid.   

By “the stupid”, I don’t mean individuals.  I use “the stupid” as a descriptor for a cloud of ideas steeped in ignorance, personal bias, and the inability to debate something based on facts.  Or, as is often the case, standard operating procedure for the vast majority of politicians . . . and, in the case of guns and gun control, most liberals I know, read, or hear from.

The latest issue Skeptic Magazine tackles the issue of violence, gun violence, and mass shootings in two articles that are well researched, and backed by data.  Yet, I do not agree with the majority of their recommendations, mostly because they do not follow from the data they present.  In other words, they present a lot of data (some of it stuff I’ve used), and then proceed to made their case by specifically not drawing from that data.

I won’t debate those articles because most people don’t have access to them.  Suffice it to say they look at the same data I look at, arrive at the same conclusions regarding what the data implies, but then still opt to head in a direction that has nothing to do with anything rational, but rather offer recommendations that do not draw from the data presented, but rather rest on an emotional appeal (the dreaded “we must do something”).

In this piece I will, instead, touch on a couple of things I have recently read.  The first is from President Obama’s speech during his visit to my home state, celebrating the occasion of Colorado passing legislation seeking to curtail gun violence.  (HERE’s the transcript of the President’s speech)

Most of the speech is a re-hash of crap . . . er . . . faulty numbers, faulty logic, and arguments I’ve explored before (HERE, with swearing).  But this was new . . .

. . . when Michelle came back from doing some campaigning out in rural Iowa.  And we were sitting at dinner, and she had been to like a big county, a lot of driving out there, a lot of farmland.  And she said, if I was living out in a farm in Iowa, I’d probably want a gun, too.  If somebody just drives up into your driveway and you’re not home — you don’t know who these people are and you don’t know how long it’s going to take for the sheriffs to respond.  I can see why you’d want some guns for protection.

I wonder why the President and the First Lady believe there is a functional difference between someone driving up a driveway in the middle of Iowa, and someone driving into my driveway where I live, or for that matter, anywhere.

The time for the El Paso County sheriff to respond to an emergency call from my house is highly dependent on the location of the nearest deputy.  Look at the map of El Paso county (CO); I live at the most northern point of it.  Now, it could be a deputy is within a few minutes just due to blind chance, but likely they are at least 20 minutes away, patrolling areas that are more populated, subject to more crime, and in greater need of a police presence.

In the real world there is no functional difference between a farm in Iowa, and my home when it comes to the owners worrying about their own safety . . . or ensuring their own safety.  Well, there is one potential difference.  The odds of someone walking up to my drive are a lot higher than someone driving to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  Criminals are, after all, creatures of opportunity.  They don’t want to make a big effort is a little effort will suffice.  Their aim is not to ensure a good spread of crime across geographic locations.   Their object is to hit the easy targets, and homes where I live are both closer than spread-out farms, and are likely more lucrative targets.

But the greater question is this . . . if both The President and First Lady can recognize that point, indeed agree with it, about a farm in the middle of Iowa where, incidentally, the crime rate is relatively low, how can they deny the same reasoning in urban areas where the crime rate, and the incidence of criminals, is much higher?

Beats me.  I have long ago stopped wondering about the reasoning power of people.  But I can tell you what it does do for me to hear that . . . it makes me think they are at best hypocritical, and at worse dishonest.  I say that because the alternative is they lack the ability to reason, and since “they” now monitor everything, I don’t want to hurt their feelings.

It gets worse.  The above statement makes a huge assumption . . . it assumes the majority of people listening or reading it will fail to see the inherent logical inconsistency.

Think about how the President and his staff must view the American public . . . and then think about the fact this speech was praised in the media, various cable outlets, and so on.

OK, OK . . . they are justified in that assumption, as indeed I share their belief.  *sigh*

The other interesting aspect about the speech in Denver was the effort organizers put into making it seem as if law enforcement was behind the government’s (both State and Federal) misguided efforts to curb gun violence.

I am going to put up two links, and then give you the flavor of them (but you should read them yourselves):

THIS (the results of a survey), and THIS (the actual questions).

Keep in mind as you are reading this, these are police personnel that are active in the field, and not politicians that sit behind their security details dreaming up ways for everyone else to “be safe”.

Basically, the people who deal with violence, who are out on the front lines, say a few notable thing . . .

The first is that current legislation being proposed (and passed here in Colorado) will have NO effect on curbing crime (71% of respondents).  But wait . . .  20% responded that it will have a NEGATIVE effect.  So, a total of 91% of responding police officers believe what is being proposed will have no effect on curbing crime 

The second is that 60% replied that none of the proposed legislation will help ensure officer safety, and an additional 24% responded that it will have a NEGATIVE effect on officer safety.  Think about that . . . about 1-in-four policemen think laws which are meant to ensure our safety will undermine their safety.  That’s quite different from the message we get from our politicians.

The third is that 94% think that the restriction on magazine capacity will do nothing to curb violent crime.

The fourth is that 91% support concealed carry by the public.

There is a lot more, and it’s worth reading . . . unless, you know, you think their opinions are not worth much, or are misguided.


Now I want to head in another direction.  The New York Times recently came out with an article addressing a shift in what police advise civilians caught in a mass attack/shooting.  They used to advise to sit, hide, and wait for help to arrive.  They now advise running away, but most important, if that is not an option, they advise to fight back, and not just when the shooter is reloading.

This echoes what Harris has said in his posts on violence, but stop for a moment to consider the implication of this.  (HERE’s my previous post on this)

Most anti-gun nuts continually repeat how having a gun in those situation makes things worse . . .

Call me stupid (many have), but I don’t see how having a gun when rushing someone who has a gun is worse than NOT having a gun when rushing someone who has a gun (in truth, I remember reading someone saying to grab a stapler . . . or anything).  

By the way, this is also where the argument for limiting ammunition in a weapon sort-of falls a bit flat.  They say to rush the shooter while they are reloading.  Personally, I would rather keep the shooter pinned down instead of risking my life or the lives of others . . . and for that I would want the largest magazine, and the highest number of bullets I can reasonably carry.

Speaking of which . . . see if you can envision rushing these guys as they are reloading . . . 

Mind you, these guys are pros, practice a lot, and are at the top of the game . . . still, I can reload my revolver in under five seconds (I don’t practice much, as I’m not into speed shooting), and any of my semi-automatic handguns in just a few seconds.  

Honest, I will stop writing about guns soon.  Mostly because the stupid shows no sign of abatement, and it’s likely some type of meaningless legislation will be passed, and politicians, along with other uninformed idiots will sit back congratulating themselves for having done “something”, and if I comment after that happens, I will be swearing again.


Finally, a little item to put things in perspective . . .

I want to point out the President will not be making a visit to commemorate these deaths.  Few politicians will comment on it, and few national news outlets will even give it a passing mention.  

. . . and yet . . . had the teen shot the five people who died, it would have made the news everywhere (including overseas) because it would qualify under the definition of a “mass-shooting” (four or more people).  Instead, no one is calling for limiting the amount of booze anyone can buy, or getting a permit for buying booze, or any equivalent measures to ensure “this will never happen again”, that “mothers won’t have to mourn the loss of their sons and daughters”.    By the way, I would support such measures.

I’ll end with this . . . 


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