Monthly Archives: May 2008

Crime statistics a map, not a compass

This discussion has legs.

Personally, I think that gun ownership is stupid. Guns don’t stop crime and all it takes is looking at other countries with strict gun laws to see what the result is.

You not wish to own a gun. That’s fine. I am a gun owner. Calling gun ownership stupid is a personal affront to all gun owners. Luckily for you, dueling is out of fashion.

It is fashionable to rest an argument entirely on favorable statistical analysis. This trend signals bad times for individualism. To rely solely on aggregated data for governance is to settle on “the greatest good for the greatest number” with the added delusion that causes are known. If anything can be decided from crime statistics it is the question of where one can feel safe without firearms.

Both sides find studies to back up their case. Both sides fund studies to back up their case. In deciding whether to own a gun, I have as much interest in crime statistics as the founders did. They were ready to kill for their beliefs. They understood that when your time comes, statistics are no more vital than table manners.

I don’t care about gun statistics because I am not fundamentally invested in preserving every human life. I am interested in preserving some and I believe that I would use lethal force to do so. Lethal force comes in many varieties. A person who would take away my right to choose a gun is not sensible to me. Such a person is antagonistic to my instinct and to my reason.

We don’t only disagree about gun rights. Heavier things are moved beneath the surface. The underlying disagreement may be somewhere in these statements:

  • I do not value all lives equally.
  • Some things are worth killing for.
  • I would rather kill than be killed.
  • I would rather kill than let a loved one be killed.
  • Individuals are typically good judges of their own circumstances.
  • A collective of toothless individuals is worse than a toothless collective.

Pull out your own teeth but leave me mine. They might help you some day.