Risk

I have written before that in general conservatives operate on fear while liberals operate out of necessity.

Let me briefly review this idea. In general conservatives are the successful wealthy business people who fear losing what they have - money. Or, conservatives are the morally upright religious zealots who fear that society could go down the toilet at any moment. These two groups represent the majority of conservatives. Progressives however, feel that the world has already caved in all around them. Progress is anything that can help them dig out of this mess. Progressives are willing to try almost anything to fix the problems in society, while conservatives fear that anything new will lead to the downfall of everything they have come to love.

Since the people who are happy with the way things currently are is usually a smaller number than those who believe that they are up to their necks in shit conservatives needed to craft a way to convince those in need to vote to change things to the way they have been. The idea that change back to the “old ways” was a progressive change was championed by the Reagan revolution. Fear and progressive change have been the guiding principles of American politics for a long time.

Well, it actually turns out that the majority of people actually reside somewhere in the middle. These moderates fear change that is too rapid, but they want some change to help them out of the doldrums. For these people “fear” and “change” are words that can move them to support a candidate. Reagan used “change” to move these people to his side. George W Bush used “fear” to keep them there in 2004.

The truth of the matter is that we should worry a bit about change. But, we should also recognize that change can happen for the better.

It is easy for people to become fearful of terrorism. Obviously seeing 3000 people killed in one day in an orchestrated terrorist effort is scary. I don’t need to say this, but we all know that death is a bad thing. But, death does not only come from terrorist attacks. Death comes in many preventable ways. And, progress happens when we can reduce unnecessary death no matter where it comes from.

But, how can we know which efforts to defeat unnecessary death should be taken on, and which efforts should not? We have limited resources and we can only do so much. This is known as risk. We can calculate risk by what we observe. For example, we can count the number of people killed by terrorist attacks and divide by the number of years that we examine. We can quickly see that even before the security measures taken on by the government we have had relatively few people die in terrorist attacks per year. We can compare this to automobile accidents and we quickly realize that driving our cars is much riskier than going back to our old level of security before 9/11/2001.

But, fear rules and conservatives are controlled by their fear. Our conservative government has told us to be afraid and to do whatever we can no matter what the cost in order to protect ourselves from terrorism. We have spent billions of dollars in Iraq fighting a war out of the fear that terrorist will attack us again. We have spent billions of dollars trying to prevent terrorist attacks that rarely happen. We could calculate how many lives have been saved by counting the number of deaths due to terrorism occurring in the seven years leading up to 9/11 and compare that to the number of lives lost in the prevention of terrorism since 9/11. We can include the amount of money spent and we will quickly come to the realization that we have lost more lives and spent more money based on irrational fear than before 9/11. The risk of terrorism was small and it is still small. We have lost more lives. It is almost as if we are paying terrorists to kill our soldiers. If we used a balance sheet that would be the conclusion.

But, the sad and frustrating part of this wasted effort is that the money could have gone to save lives instead. One example is our health care system. It turns out that roughly 18,000 people die each year because of lack of health care. That is equivalent to six 9/11s per year. Many of these people could have been saved if they had the health care that a civilized country like the United States has available to every citizen. With preventative care and regular checkups many lives could be saved or enhanced. The billions of dollars that we are wasting in Iraq to bring that country up to the twenty-first century could have been used to bring our poor and needy up to this century instead.

The foes of open borders continue to complain that immigrants too easily have access to services provided by our country. However, we freely give this same aid to Iraqis in an effort to appease them so that they will not join the insurgents. This may be working, but if we weren’t their in the first place it wouldn’t have even been an issue. And, if we had assessed to risks in a proper way we would never have gone into Iraq anyway.

Fear can be tempered by considering the risk involved. Fear of driving to and from work is almost zero for most commuters. The risk of this drive is far greater than to probability of being attacked by a terrorist. Roads could be made safer, but fear has persuaded the hand of government to spend more money on the terrorist “threat” and less on our roads.

The biggest problem that we face is not terrorism, or roads, or even health care. The biggest problem that we face is the education of our children. It turns out that we could make very good decisions based on the calculation of risk. However, our education system has cheated so many people in our society from having a useful education that politicians, if they actually can think, are able to persuade the public to fear risks that are as tiny as the threat of another terrorist attack. If we don’t educate our society to think, we will surely become a society where the wealthy and well-to-do minority will be able to control the rest of us through our ignorance. The erosion of our education system will ensure that any progress that we have made over the last 50-some years will erode as well.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

31 Responses to “Risk”

  1. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I am still amazed at the double standards of the conservatives. A real threat like guns (5 more students killed) is a risk they are more than willing to take even though it is orders of magnitude higher than terrorism. Yet they do not apply the same standards to the threat of terrorism

  2. Dr. Forbush Says:

    I believe that they either can’t do the math, or they choose not to do the math. Risks can be calculated. For conservatives fear is stronger than logic…

  3. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Christopher,

    Two different things: gun control policies and anti-terrorist policies. Nothing but absolutely banning all firearms throughout the country and the world, period, would have prevented those shootings. Tighter gun control laws are not going, in my opinion, stop this kind of person from doing this. All they do is further erode law abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves, their loved ones and their fellow citizens in the repeated, undeniable failure by the government and police to protect its citizens from criminals who do not care what gun laws are or are not enacted.

    Math has nothing to do with it. The strongest case, based upon math, could be made for outlawing all motorized vehicles, considering how many people are killed by them every day. The math is that the risk is much higher of dying in or as a result of being struck by a car or truck than of dying in a plane crash. We don’t decide policy based upon math. We decide policy based upon the rights of our people: the right to mobility based upon the people’s perceived desirability to either fly or drive to the destination of their choice and the right of the people to protect their right to life and property and the right of the people to take steps to prevent foreign and domestic enemies from committing terrorist attacks upon them. In each and every case, people make a calculation based not merely on math but on the totality of their own preferences for policies’ effects upon both liberties and security. They always have and they always will. It seems irrational to me to suppose that one should worry about the rights of people to communicate undetected with suspected terrorists more than about whatever attack they may be planning.

    I also think that Doctor’s division between conservatives’ fear verses liberals’ necessity is completely bogus. What are the civil rights absolutists at the ACLU and elsewhere spreading but fear among liberals? And to suppose that conservatives do not view security measures as necessary is something that only a liberal could say.

    Let us at least agree to speak of one anothers’ positions as being motivated by the highest motives that could be applied to our opponents rather than pretending that our clan, alone, is motivated by high principles while the others are simpering cowards. We are all Americans. We all have our principles and we all have our fears and we all do the things that we feel necessary for the good not just of our clan but of our nation and its people. Otherwise, we aren’t arguing in good faith and we will never manage to persuade.

    Persuasion. Isn’t that what BIO! is here for, to persuade one another what is necessary and good for our nation and world? Or are we nothing more than partisan hacks out to destroy one another’s reputations and maximize the extremism of the most extreme among us while moving those in the center more to the edges of extremity?

    How about we start at least pretending that we are all good people trying to figure out what is best?

  4. Dr. Forbush Says:

    First of all, I don’t see how gun control policies and anti-terror policies are NOT all that different. Like you said, banning guns is not going to stop the crazy that gets a gun on the black market. Similarly restricting our liberty and freedom in the pursuit of stopping terrorism is not going to make us any safer. This is the same exact argument that the left and the right take oposite sides of when they come up. This is exactly why measuring the actual risk makes a lot of sense. What are the real risks? And, what is the real price we pay for each policy decision? If we take the emotion out of the argument (either one) then we will get closer to what we need to do as a country.

    I think that you are right in one sense. Most of us have fears and emotional reactions to our experiences. Liberals fear that we are risking the planet for the sake of comercial interests. Conservatives fear that our country is going to be taken over by terrorists. Most likely neither is going to happen because we are a dynamic people that see threats and take actions. However, there is always that risk that we don’t see a threat soon enough to take action. History is full of examples where these things have actually happened.

  5. christopher Radulich Says:

    Two different things: gun control policies and anti-terrori st policies. Nothing but absolutely killing all people throughout the country and the world, period, would have prevented Terrorism. Abandoning the constitution is not going, in my opinion, stop this kind of person from doing this. All they do is further erode law abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves, their loved ones and their fellow citizens in the repeated, undeniable failure by the government and police to protect its citizens from terrorist who do not care what laws are or are not enacted.

    Math has nothing to do with it. The strongest case, based upon math, could be made for outlawing all motorized vehicles, considering how many people are killed by them every day. The math is that the risk is much higher of dying in or as a result of being struck by a car or truck than of dying in a plane crash. We don’t decide policy based upon math. We decide policy based upon the rights of our people: the right to mobility based upon the people’s perceived desirability to either fly or drive to the destination of their choice and the right of the people to protect their right to life and property and the right of the people to take steps to prevent foreign and domestic enemies from committing terrorist attacks upon them. In each and every case, people make a calculation based not merely on math but on the totality of their own preferences for policies’ effects upon both liberties and security. They always have and they always will. It seems irrational to me to suppose that one should worry about the rights of people to own assault weapons whatever attack they may be planning.

    I also think that Doctor’s division between conservative s’ fear verses liberals’ necessity is completely bogus. What are the civil rights absolutists at the ACLU and elsewhere spreading but fear among liberals? And to suppose that conservative s do not view security measures as necessary is something that only a liberal could say.

    Let us at least agree to speak of one anothers’ positions as being motivated by the highest motives that could be applied to our opponents rather than pretending that our clan, alone, is motivated by high principles while the others are simpering cowards. We are all Americans. We all have our principles and we all have our fears and we all do the things that we feel necessary for the good not just of our clan but of our nation and its people. Otherwise, we aren’t arguing in good faith and we will never manage to persuade.

    Persuasion. Isn’t that what BIO! is here for, to persuade one another what is necessary and good for our nation and world? Or are we nothing more than partisan hacks out to destroy one another’s reputations and maximize the extremism of the most extreme among us while moving those in the center more to the edges of extremity?

    How about we start at least pretending that we are all good people trying to figure out what is best?

    I

  6. Dr. Forbush Says:

    Another way to look at gun control, or terrorism is to look at a policy that has to do with freedom and liberty without the emotional bagage. For example, take fireworks.

    Fireworks are dangerous and we also have emotional attachments to watching them and setting them off. What would the fourth of July be like with out fireworks? This in one way is like the heart of our culture. But, on the other hand we could easily live without them. When a government takes away our freedom to set off fireworks they do it in our interest, to protect property from fire, or they protect us from injury. However, many people are willing to take the risk only for the entertainment and emotional value.

    One could argue that the emotional value is nothing compared to the elimination of risk. As Americans we should be upset with that argument, because as a culture we value freedom. But, it seems silly to argue for that little bit of freedom.

    Many places allow fireworks. And, many places have banned fireworks. Both sides of the issue have good arguments for their case. Gun policy, terrorism policy, alcohol policy, drug use policy, sexual activity policy all fall under these same arguments and people seem to hop back and forth over the line depending on their predetermined vision of the world. Freedom doesn’t always win.

  7. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Doctor,

    Okay, let’s look at fireworks. They’re nice but one can either go to see them, or choose to buy them (where they are legal) or not. It has been several years since I’ve watched fireworks because they scare my wife so we just don’t go. And we, of course, don’t buy even those fireworks that are legal in Indiana. That’s the great thing about liberty at its best: we get to choose.

    I’m having a difficult time, though, seeing how fireworks connects to gun control policy and not because of emotional baggage (although many Americans have a strong emotional attachment to fireworks, seeing them as being connected to the very liberation attained in the American Revolution, and is connected, therefore, at the most basic level, with all that they prize about representative government) but because of constitutional right. The words “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Whatever one thinks of the role of the words that precede those words, I can’t believe that the framers intended to suggest that the people didn’t have a right to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. If the right to life was viewed as self-evident and creator-given, then they surely must have believed that people have the right to preserve their lives from dangers to their lives. That is how I view it, anyway. And if the framers viewed it that way, then, in my opinion, nothing short of a constitutional amendment should allow for the disarming of private, law abiding citizens. Now, I’m not saying that either you, Doctor, or Christopher, for that matter, are talking about disarmament, necessarily — although your comparison to fireworks, of which you, Doctor, have said that it seems silly to argue for a little liberty, seems to imply that you might view actually outlawing firearms as as small a thing as outlawing all fireworks and that would be a position with which I would strongly disagree.

    I don’t think anyone serious thinks fireworks are a right on a par with an actually enumerated constitutional right such as to keep and bear arms. They may view fireworks as a liberty that the government should not, without good reason and only at the insistence of the people, deny them but it is certainly nothing like an enumerated right and viewing them or not viewing them is not an issue anywhere near on a par with the the right to preserve one’s life or that of others.

    It may seem silly to argue for a little bit of freedom in the case of fireworks, in the face of the danger but that’s the thing about freedom: the people should be able to decide what liberties they wish to preserve and which they would prefer to have regulated, how much to have them regulated or even to have them rescinded.

  8. Dr. Forbush Says:

    Surely you jest when you say that you don’t see “how fireworks connects to gun control policy and not because of emotional baggage.” That would be like saying that you don’t see the emotional connection with the abortion issue.

    In case you aren’t jesting let me explain it. One side argues that they need to have a gun in order to protect themselves from all of the villians wandering the streets with their own guns. The other side argues that all of the villians wandering the streets with their guns would be rendard harmless if they weren’t allowed to have guns. Neither side really cares about the true intention of the constitution which would allow for regulated militia to bear arms in case another King George would impress his will on the newly formed nation. Of course one side uses this argument to support their emotional argument.

    The firework argument on the other hand is intended to point out that dagerous things have been outlawed by law as well as protected by law.

  9. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    The villains wandering the streets would be rendered…harmless? If they…weren’t allowed to have guns?

    Surely, now, it is you who jest. There are already laws against criminal uses of guns. Every one of the convicted felons that subsequently obtains a gun is already not allowed to have guns. Can you possibly imagine that criminals care what they are allowed or not allowed to have?

    As for the true intention of the constitution, I’ve already indicated that not only do I care deeply about it, I don’t see how it can possibly be imagined that the Constitution can possibly be interpreted to imagine that the government, ANY government, could be permitted to disarm its citizenry. How the heck would we know another King George until after he had disarmed us, thus rendering us defenseless?

    As I said, there is no textual basis for a right to have fireworks,, rendering fireworks merely a matter of simple majority of citizens’ express will through the normal legal process. There is one to have firearms, which expressly places the possession of firearms beyond the simple majority of voters and into the protection that would require a constitutional amendment to abolish.

    Are you seriously arguing that the government can completely disarm law-abiding citizens?

    By the way, I’ll let you know when I’m jesting. You’ll see a smiley face after the punch-line.

  10. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    And what, in the history of villainry, leads you to the conclusion that a villain, not allowed to have fire-arms, would be rendered anything like remotely harmless?

  11. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Okay, I admit it, I’ve goofed. Much of my comment at 10:19 pm flowed from a mis-comprehension of your previous comment. You appear to be caricaturing the two extreme positions rather than taking up and arguing either. Well, this is hardly the first time I’ve been wrong.

    In any case, I do think the second amendment does, in fact, distinguish fireworks from fire-arms. Since fireworks have no plausible textual protection in the Constitution and fire-arms do and, since fireworks have no plausible connection to what must be considered a right of self-preservation and the protection of others but fire-arms do, I do still contend that, while governments can ban fireworks, they not only cannot but should not ban fire-arms. I’m hoping that the Supreme Court will uphold this principle in the upcoming DC gun-control case.

    As for distinguishing gun-control laws from executive policies and laws that restrict rights in certain ways, I simply disagree. During the (so-called) Civil War in the U. S., Lincoln restricted rights to a rather high degree, including reading mail and intercepting cables to discover intelligence, rescinding habeas corpus to detain those who posed a threat to the free-movement of his troops (going so far as to completely ignore the Chief Justice of the United States when ordered to release a particular detainee. I think there was a direct and obvious connection between security and the loss of rights.

    I suggest a similar thing occurred under FDR, who similarly had seen attacks on American soil and spies infiltrating the American mainland. Those German spies, one a U. S. citizen, were tried in secret, and swiftly executed without any recourse to American civil courts, and surely secret trials would be seen by civil rights lawyers today as serious rights invasions, the need to keep secrets in war-time is definitely a security issue in my opinion. While the detention of Japanese Americans seems indefensible as a security related restriction of rights, from this side of the war, at the time, the restriction of those rights may have been as much for the security of the detainees as for the security of the nation.

    During WWII, there were plenty of secrets kept from being published in the papers, like the fact that we had cracked the enemy’s code and the date and destination of D-Day and the purpose and goal of the Manhattan Project. Such restrictions on the right of free press have obvious security pay-offs that save lives and helped win the war.

    While it is possible for me to imagine plenty of restrictions of rights that would have not only no positive effect on our nation’s security and some that would actually have a negative effect, I just cannot agree that one can increase security without some restrictions on the rights of some people.

  12. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I’m a little confused. You seem to be using past actions as an excuse for present actions.
    Also

    since fireworks have no plausible connection to what must be considered a right of self-preserv ation and the protection of others but fire-arms.

    If that is your intuptiation then we need only aloow the sale of two or three types of weapons. Certianlly not anything that resembles an assault weapon.

  13. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Christopher,

    I don’t quite get your first point. A clarification would be appreciated.

    As to the second, I have not yet spoken of the regulation of types of handguns but merely of actual disarmament. That is, I have spoken of the right to keep and bear, not the right to keep and bear any and all types and kinds of arms. It seems that first we must establish that keeping and bearing is a right that a free people may not be totally deprived of before we quibble about what types of arms a free people may have or may be denied.

    I do not contend against any and all restrictions on arms.

  14. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    I think I get what you mean. I am not using the past actions of presidents as excuses but as illustrations of a point, that to secure the nation and people, other presidents, usually considered good or even great presidents by the majority of American, indeed among the very greatest that this nation has known, have also seen it as necessary to restrict liberties and have done so and also to illustrate that in doing so, their actions actually have resulted in the advancement of security.

  15. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    And this in opposition to the thesis that restricting liberties will not result in added security. To sum up my position, not all restrictions of liberties result in added security but to add to security, restrictions on liberties are inevitable.

  16. manapp99 Says:

    Every single law at every level from national and international to your local HOA restricts your liberties. It is a trade off. The only way to truly live free is to live in a lawless society. It is a constant battle between our desire to be free and our desire to be safe. Guns are good example, in our desire to be safe we find ourselves regulated as to what we can own and where we can possess what we own. When the government restricted the freedom of those on a college campus to carry a gun, they set them up to be defenseless when a person disregarded that law and threatened with a gun. In this case the defenseless students were gunned down because the government restricted their right to defend themselves and then failed to defend them after disarming them. Those who passed the law that left those on campus defenseless are partially responsible for their deaths.

    When I lived in Texas an armed man entered a Luby’s cafeteria and walked down the row of patrons gunning them down methodically. One of the survivors said that some in the resturant had guns but the law did not allow them to bring them in and therefore they left them in their cars. Should one of the law abiding citizens that were ruthlessly killed have wanted to be able to protect themselves from this gunman they would have had to break the law themselves. Imagine watching a gunman coming to your table to kill you and your family while you watched helplessly knowing you have the means to protect your wife and kids just a few feet away, in your car.

  17. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Manapp99,

    Okay, but of what value to personal freedom and protection of life and property would owning uzis, hand grenades, rocket-launchers and rockets to launch. That is to say, in my opinion, not all gun control laws are equal. I think the issues you raised are quite valid except the one about laws restricting what we can own. Does everyone need their own nuclear arsenal; mechanized armored vehicles; short, medium and long range, conventional ballistic missiles; etc? Or to reductio somewhat less ad absurdum, do we all need large-capacity-clip capable, fully automatic weapons or are a few types of rifle and double-action handguns sufficient to the needs of the hunter, target shooter, and for self-protection?

    I guess those who passed the law that left those on campus defenseless and failing to protect them via official police or private security guards are partially responsible for their deaths. But here’s the problem. Neither law-makers nor those who support such laws restricting what and where they can be carried can possibly know or account for and distinguish the law abiding and the lawless criminal. Those who commit mass murder of these sorts cannot be clearly and infallibly distinguished from those who would not use guns except for self-protection. If they could, there would be no need for anyone to carry guns anywhere since those who commit mass murder could be identified and stopped before killing.

    The point is, if you allow anyone without a criminal record and without a questionable mental health record to carry a gun on campus, who’s to say that the next lover’s spat won’t end up a murder-suicide or the next academic dispute between student and teacher won’t end up with one side of the dispute settling the dispute with murder rather than valid argument? This fear and estimate of risk is the origin of laws that limit what weapons people may carry where.

    From a purely risk management standpoint, allowing students and staff to carry loaded weapons on campus or in restaurants might easily lead to more deaths over time than the risk of a guy who has gone off his nut wandering on campus or in the restaurant with undetected weapons and killing a hand-full of people.

    Would you likewise say that those who passed laws that allowed those on campus to carry guns would be partially responsible for the deaths that might be caused in scenarios that I mentioned in paragraph three in this comment?

  18. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    As for the restaurant, these are privately owned establishments and diners are guests of the establishment. With ownership, generally, from a conservative standpoint, comes the right to set rules for guests to follow. A conservative, it seems to me, who wishes to strengthen private ownership rights, ought to support the right of owners to either permit or not permit guests to carry guns in their establishment. So even if the public policy and law was to allow people to carry weapons in all public places, privately owned restaurants could still forbid diners to carry weapons into the restaurant. Being robbed a few times might move even the most libertarian restaurant owner to restrict weapons in his restaurant.

  19. manapp99 Says:

    Craig, I am reflecting that laws are in and of themselves restrictions of freedom. I am not arguing one way or the other for what law SHOULD restrict, but that the restrictions imposed have consequences that are sometimes contrary to the intended result.

    You ask:

    “Does everyone need their own nuclear arsenal; mechanized armored vehicles; short, medium and long range, conventional ballistic missiles; etc?”

    I may be mistaken but I believe you brought up the argument (in another post some weeks back) about the need thing with the example of car ownership. (if you didn’t I apologize). You don’t need a car that can go faster than the speed limit but you are allowed to own a 600hp vehicle as long as it passes saftey restrictions. You just cannot use the full potential of the vehicle. If you own a stinger missle for instance (and I am not advocationg such in this argument) and never use it, it is as harmless as a 22 rifle. It is not the weapon any more than it is the automobile.

    But again, this is not the crux of my argument. I am saying that the lefts cry of restrictions of freedoms concering fighting terrorists ring hollow when you compare them to the lose of rights fighting domestic crime.

    You also ask:

    “Would you likewise say that those who passed laws that allowed those on campus to carry guns would be partially responsible for the deaths that might be caused in scenarios that I mentioned in paragraph three in this comment?”

    No I would not. One is directly a result of government action. Not being allowed protect oneself by being prohibited by law the right to carry a gun (this could apply to other means of self defense such as a knife, mace, stun gun etc.). The other is strictly the actions of the individual. They are not requiring you to carry the weapon that you fear will be abused. For instance if you are not required wear a helmet on a motorcycle and you die from head injuries, it is your fault. If you are required to wear a helmet and you die from injuries directly related to the wearing of a helmet, the law is, IMO, complicit.

    As far as the resturant thing goes, that is state law not the law of the owner. You cannot, for instance carry a weapon in a bar, school, church or government office here in Colorado even though you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
    I am certaintly for the right of the business owner to make the rules for it’s own business and if a resturant wanted to make a rule for no guns I would back that up. The individual has the right to go to another resturant. When the government makes that rule for you the individual loses his/her rights.

  20. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    It’s probably not a good idea that psychologically troubled people not be toting firearms around, anyway, considering the Va. Tech. and NIU shootings…particularly psychologically troubled people who are off their meds.

  21. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Oops. That first sentence should read, “It’s probably not a good idea that psychologically troubled people be toting firearms around…”

  22. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    On the other hand, this is something that I heartily support. State and Local governments or agencies cannot be allowed to use natural emergencies as cover or excuses to disarm their citizens.

  23. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I do not know if it is true, but according to legend, one of the first regulation Earp passed in tombstone was to restrict citizens from carry firearms in town.

  24. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    I’ve heard that legend, too but if that is supposed to sway me that disarming law abiding citizens is a wise policy, let alone that it passes second amendment muster, I have to report that I remain unpersuaded. If I’m going to yield up my right to defend myself and my loved ones, then I demand that those in law enforcement do the job for me. Maybe Wyatt Earp was up to the task in tombstone, I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to me that police today in many places are anywhere near up to the task.

    For one thing, the town of Tombstone at the time had a population of approx. 1,000 and was small enough that disarming anyone coming into town probably was a doable task. Well, if I knew that the only weapons in town were in the holsters of the officers of the law, I’d feel safer. But the disarming of residents in New Orleans was wrong because 1) there’s no way the law officers in NO could, with certainty, disarm everyone in town and 2) we’ve all heard how the police in NO at the time had broken down; there’s no way that, without disarming everyone, the police of NO could protect those they had disarmed.

    In my opinion, it is simply not practical in today’s cities and towns of tens of thousands to millions of residents to disarm everyone or to claim to be able to protect everyone and therefore, second amendment aside, it seems a very poor policy to disarm law abiding citizens at any time but particularly during an emergency when police are least able to protect the residents. During an emergency, law officers should have far better things to do than to deliberately leave their citizens defenseless.

  25. christopher Radulich Says:

    Actually the point is that given a choice between arming everyone ( the arguement that the people could defend themselves) and disarming everyone, the past goes to disarming.

  26. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    “[T]he past goes to disarming.”…are you speaking now only of emergencies or are you speaking generally in towns and cities and during what time period are you referencing?

    And regardless of your answers to the above, I’ll be awaiting evidence for the proposition because, although I’m willing to be shown differently, I don’t think disarming citizens was anything like a common practice at any time in American history. If a legend of Wyatt Earp, which you aren’t even sure actually happened, is your sole evidence, I, again, remain unconvinced. I would be surprised if generally disarming citizens was common at any time in American history.

    I’m sure it happened but I’m also sure that it was highly unpopular and a temporary expedient rather than a common and permanent experience.

    In any case, for myself, I think it’s a bad idea for the reasons I’ve given above, particularly in my comment at 11:50 am.

  27. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    This guy makes some interesting points but this one is interesting for the purposes of our discussion:

    Nearly all of the mass shootings of late have been in “gun-free zones.” And the ones that weren’t — at the New Life Church in Colorado and the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia — were stopped by private citizens (and members of the community being attacked) with their own weapons.

    Now I hadn’t actually thought of it in quite those terms but it makes sense. I mean the mass murderers don’t go to the firing range to start shooting people, where pretty much everyone is armed and either proficient at hitting a target or seeking such proficiency. They go where they know that almost no one has guns and the security guards may be far away at the time of their attack…the larger the campus, the better. Or they go where they probably assume no one is armed — I mean, why would a bunch of “pie in the sky bye and bye” believers who believe that life on earth is but a sojourn whereas heaven is their home bother to protect themselves? To die is gain, right? Surprise!

    So carry that to the logical conclusion. If mass murdering wanabes know that students and staff might be packing, they could never be sure that the hallway or classroom where they choose to start shooting doesn’t have five or six people with guns to shoot back at him, will they be less likely or more likely to go on a shooting spree? I mean, these guys like taking their own lives on their own terms in their own time. The likelihood of three or four guns drawn on them and shooting back might not be so appealing to them. It doesn’t give them the same sense of being all powerful, of, for a while at least, playing God, choosing who will live and who will die, and then choosing their own death.

  28. manapp99 Says:

    In the campus shooting situation I think it would make sense to at least allow faculty that have been trained in firearm saftey and marksmanship be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. At a minimun a would be shooter would be aware that some are armed, which may act as a deterrent, and would give the innocent a fighting chance.

  29. Christopher Radulich Says:

    It would probably make no difference. It is not like these people are trying to get away with killing anyone. Either they don’t think about it or they don’t care. I have personally never killed anyone but it keep hearing how difficult it is to do. Nor do I think most people are going to stand up and shoot it out with the killer.

    As far as I know Virgina has very lax gun laws, which means that those who wanted guns could have had them. As for the illeagality on campus, my son saw several guns in lockers while in HS in a NY suburb where it is totally illegal.

  30. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    I disagree, Christopher. The idea is to bring them down before they decide that they’ve spilled enough blood, thus preventing more from being shot. If nothing will prevent deranged shooters, at least the proliferation of guns can work in two ways: 1) to act as a deterrent and 2) to minimize the death and tears.

    1) As I’ve said, deranged killers do not choose victims that are known to be heavily armed; they choose victims that they feel safe in believing are not armed. Why? Because they want the power. They want to choose the victims, the place and time of their and their own demise. They want to go out feeling as though they are in charge all the way to the end. Knowing that campuses are conceal-carry zones rather than gun-free zones might make them think twice about campuses as the place to play “The Last Stand of God”.

    2) As I’ve pointed out, in the two recent incidents where private citizens have been armed, it was the armed citizen, not the deranged killers that chose the place and time of the killers’ demise, presumably before the killers were through killing.

    You are quite wrong. The campus of Virginia Tech. was a gun-free zone, at least as regards anyone but police and security. Guns that cannot be carried on campus are useless to stop a mass-murderer before he’s killed his self-set quota of innocents.

    I can’t account for what your son saw. I wasn’t there. I’m not sure what that point was meant to make anyway.

    As for the difficulty of killing someone, I’ve never done it either but I would imagine that having a gun pointed at you and your classmates — or, certainly, one’s own family and loved ones — would clarify the mind, impelling one, in such a him or me situation, to choose (to kill) him. Whereas I could never deliberately kill another human being who was not threatening me or mine, I think — I hope — I could kill one who was.

  31. Christopher Radulich Says:

    Having never been in such a situation I can not vouch for what I have read. But one problem in WWII was getting soldiers to fire at the enemy.

    Davidson, Bill. “Why Half Our Combat Soldiers Fail to Shoot”

    The constant bleep is that if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Well there is no reason to suspect that making the school a gun free zone was anymore effective in keeping guns out. Which was my point about my sons’s school.

    By the way do we know of any instances in schools with metal detectors?
    Colliers. 130 (8 November 1952) 16-18

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