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.

8 thoughts on “Crime statistics a map, not a compass

  1. I believe gun ownership is stupid, not gun owners. If you want to conflate the two that’s your choice. I have friends who own guns, some of them are smart people. I respect their choice, though it isn’t for me. If they asked me I would tell them so, but they don’t so I don’t. If they tried to push a bad gun control analogy on me I would protest, luckily they don’t so I don’t have to.

    I’m fine with throwing statics out the window. Right now I am living in Japan, a nearly gun free country and I’ve never felt safer in my life. I think I would have to argue that guns don’t create safety they create the illusion of safety.

    I find it troubling that you also conflate the not giving guns to wackos with the death of individualism. Making sure felons and people with a history of mental illness for instance don’t get guns doesn’t mean you are part of some mindless collective, it just means that you can’t shoot another individual.

    I guess we have vastly different perspectives. You seem to believe that you can some how magically save every person you deem important and that giving guns to lots of people is the way to do it. On the other hand I believe if you look out for everyone then you have a much greater chance to save both the people you find important and the ones you don’t and that strictly limiting gun ownership is a vital step in that direction.

    I don’t want to take the gun out of your cold dead hands. I don’t know you. What I don’t want is to put a gun in the warm live hands of a person who will likely use it to harm others.

  2. Jon, evidently the kind of gun control you mention is not what I referred to: bans on gun ownership for the public at large. We don’t have anything to argue about.

    How many Japanese homes have lethal weapons? Do they keep an edge on those blades?

  3. Why do gun advocates resist ALL forms of gun legislation, including those designed to make guns themselves safer?

    While I, too, believe that gun ownership is a Constitutional right, background checks and waiting periods do not negate these rights.

    There are far more guns in the US than there are people, which begs the question, “Does the right to bear arms” also imply the right to own any number of guns, or to own fully-automatic guns, or to possess armor-piercing, hollow-point, or any explosive type of ammunition?

    In fact, the “right to bear arms,” is not equivalent to the “right to bear guns,” because “guns” are not the only type of “arms” one can “bear.”

    Concealed weapons laws apply to all forms of “arms” and not just guns.

    The NRA thinks otherwise.

    There is no “God-given” right to own a gun. If there were, then Adam and Eve would be wearing holsters instead of fig leafs.

  4. The right is not God-given. It is granted by the Bill of Rights. The purpose included ensuring that the citizens could subdue a tyrannical government by force when necessary. To that end, I do not exaggerate when I say that a citizen should not be barred from bearing arms of any shapes or size, from pocket knives to battleships.

    Seeing how many prefer to forfeit their rights for some marginal statistical promise of safety, anyone with a strong survival instinct might try exploiting them. It’s enough to make some people run for office.

  5. “The purpose included ensuring that the citizens could subdue a tyrannical government by force when necessary.”

    I used to scoff at this justification, thinking that a few small firearms in the hands of irregular militia would be useless against the size and capability of the US armed forces.

    Since watching the relative success of the resistance to US forces in Iraq, I’ve certainly changed my mind on that one.

    Of course we should all be trying to avoid that sort of situation in our respective domestic spheres through one of the many forms of discourse that exist on the civil side of lynching. Perhaps a chat over a cup of tea with your local representative would be a preferable option to start with?

    Beyond the rationale of self-defence, which I will accept at face value, and the defence of your country’s liberty, which despite my joke I also accept, are there other reasons why you would particularly want to own a gun?

    I’m not trying to bait you, I’m just wondering if you would change your position if you felt that those two reasons were removed. If you felt safe in your home and in the admittedly unlikely event that you were confident that your government was incorruptible.

    To lay it out, I’m wondering if gun related harms, which are logically a symptom of gun possession (“guns don’t kill people, etc.”), are in turn simply a symptom of fear engendered by a rational lack of trust. And if so, how can that trust be restored. Although I don’t condone gun ownership, I also don’t think the solution is to legislate the disarmament of those that want protection from what amounts to real danger at this time. The root causes are deeper than what is generally argued around and they are what need to be addressed before the natural attrition of the symptoms occur.

  6. My premise is that gun-related harms inflicted by illegally owned guns can not be prevented by bans or controls in the present environment of American civil liberties. We already know that prohibition does not preclude illicit distribution in this environment. This applies to bans as well as controls. It doesn’t apply to other countries where enforcement is easier.

    In this environment I value personal liberty above public disarmament because I do have faith in personal responsibility at large. Don’t take my liberties away until I personally have inflicted real harm or until the environment is such that I can rationally agree to the terms.

    When the world unites under Peter Wiggin I’ll sign.

Comments are closed.