Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom, 31, of Heyward, Calif., died Mar. 21 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds suffered from small arms fire March 18 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
and I’m about to get real unavailable, so carry on without me Tumblrverse.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Because unless you believe that American criminals are somehow much more resourceful than criminals in Japan, Germany, or Australia, the claim that “if guns were more restricted only criminals would have guns” is patently ridiculous.
Pay attention to the data people. Unfortunately, science is indifferent to ideology.
I’m reblogging myself because I’m tired of people reblogging me just to regurgitate that old talking point while ignoring the empirical data staring them straight in the face (and brazenly posted just above their own statement). Gun-related deaths are significantly lower in countries that have fewer guns per capita (usually as a direct product of stiff gun restrictions, like in Australia and Japan). Somehow criminals there aren’t killing thousands of people with guns. Japan has roughly half the population of the US. In 2008, Japan had 11 gun-related deaths. That same year, the US had 12,000. Are you seriously suggesting that Japanese criminals are 545% stupider than American criminals? My God! American criminals must be genius masterminds that would make a Bond villain tremble in despair. Or you live in a fantasyland. Decide.
(Let me interject in my role as “professor” here: The evidence has no bearing on any philosophical or ideological claim to a right or principle of individual gun ownership. There are legitimate arguments on behalf of such a right—and many that I find convincing, frankly. But the argument that “if guns are restricted, only criminals would have guns” is an empirical claim that can be tested. And empirical claims are tested w/ empirical evidence. The evidence is clear on two points: 1) There’s a strong correlation between gun ownership rates and number of gun-related deaths in a country. 2) Countries with strong restrictions on gun ownerships have fewer gun-related deaths. Now, we can argue that those restrictions hurt our individual freedom. That’s an ideological claim. But in the realm of policy, it’s useful to think in terms of costs and benefits. Does the ideological benefit of the freedom to own guns outweigh the cost of more gun-related deaths in society? If you want to insist on policies that make guns readily available, you are eventually going to have to admit that more gun-related deaths is the “cost we pay” for those rights.)
This is how you do it. The other good posts are here.
Spoiler alert: I don’t have any good answers
- For every list of crimes committed with guns there is a list of crimes prevented by guns. I don’t trust this kind of anecdotal evidence and neither should you. It’s designed to provoke an emotional reaction and that’s that.
- Depending on your frame of reference mass shootings don’t really happen that often. You’re chances of being victimized in such a fashion are approaching zero, kind of like your chances of being the victim of a terrorist attack. Yet, we spend huge amounts of money on the TSA, high-tech screening systems, detection and active shooter reaction training, ect. We as a society have decided that we are willing to pay a much much much higher marginal cost to combat rare but viscerally provocative deaths.
- If I don’t like anecdotal evidence maybe I like statistical evidence. It’s better but still questionable. If you’re getting statistics from something that looks like this you’re better off pretending you didn’t see that. There is no shortage of methodological mistakes in that kind of statistic because it fails to control for anything. It couldn’t even be bothered to take something like population differences into account making it misleading at best. Statistical evidence should look more like something you found on JSTOR, it will be long, transparent, and STILL questionable.
- The NRA is a powerful lobby but we’re not even totally sure what a powerful lobby is capable of. Yes, the NRA seems to be relatively powerful but it also is may only be able to influence those in congress that already shared those views. Buying elections and candidates is a lot harder than you might think.
- Coincidentally, there was another attack on school children in China about the same time as here in America. Both are terrible tragedies but in China the attacker had a knife resulting in 22 injured victims, no dead. Now this is anecdotal evidence and likely a problematic comparison but there is a difference in the kind of damage one man can do with a knife and with a Glock. The goal of any gun control legislation has to keep the focus on making guns less lethal; for example limiting magazine sizes for everybody. NOT about what kind of people should be allowed to get firearms and carry it where. I’m not allowed to posses Meth and yet some how I could still get my hands on some.
- The Second Amendment became part of the Constitution at a time when “arms” were muzzle loading flintlock muskets, swords, black-powder rifles, that kind of thing. These are far less lethal than the guns available today due to reload time, accuracy issues, and reliability, meaning the framers wouldn’t have to worry about deranged killers doing massive damage. As technology progresses so must the laws that govern it but the frankness of our wonderful Constitution is an obstacle to this, as it was designed to be. And let’s get another thing straight about the Second Amendment; the intention of it, though not explicit, was to allow citizens to overthrow tyrants, not to hunt, defend yourself from criminals, or have a fun time at the range. Those are just nice side effects. As I see it the whole gun debate in America is a bit mis-framed.
- I love guns. I really do and I want to help anti-gun zealots understand why. When holding a solid, metal, fearsome, dangerous weapon in your hand you feel powerful. You feel in control. It taps into humanity’s most basic desire to control and order the dangerous unpredictable world around them. I think this is the big part of gun fever but if you add on to it the sense of macho dominance it lends its user you’ve really got something special. There is so much social strength and a driver of human nature that gets packed into one object. I wish I had been at Sandy Hook Elementary with my own weapon to send the fuckhead to the grim reaper personally. But I wasn’t and neither was anyone else.
- There will always be bad men that will do bad things. No amount of amazing conservative parenting will change that and no amount of preventative measures will ever totally eliminate these kinds of events.
- The more we report on shootings the more frequently they will occur. The same thing happens with suicide rates. The more candlelight vigils and memorial ceremonies that are held and reported on after a suicide the more likely it is that others will also commit suicide. It’s a well documented effect and for this reason suicide events are often downplayed and hushed as much as possible by schools and other organizations. I think the idea is that it’s a kind of glorification of the event but I’m not really an expert (for once). So not only can a glorification effect play out when everyone else is exposed to news of mass shootings but these incidences often also end in suicide. There’s got to be something there and now I’ve made it worse by talking about shooting events. At least I’m not a “news” organization and profiting off it.
That’s what I got.
For all our obvious faults, we humans are miraculously complex products of a long evolutionary process — products whose whole is much more than the sum of our parts. Our good characteristics are intimately connected to our bad ones: If we weren’t violent and aggressive, we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves; if we didn’t have feelings of exclusivity, we wouldn’t be loyal to those close to us; if we never felt jealousy, we would also never feel love.
I still can’t think of anything worthy of saying about any part of this. Try again on Monday.
Pakistani children light candles to pay tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on Dec. 15, 2012.
This will never be on the news. But how awesome of this picture to see some light.
I was so disappointed to find out this wasn’t a real book
What’s the best way to cut the US federal government’s deficit? Raise taxes and decrease spending. Done.
What is the fiscal cliff? The expiration of the Bush Era tax cuts (effectively a tax increase) and drastic cuts to spending known as sequestration.
So why the in the world would “deficit hawks” worry about the fiscal cliff? It’s doing exactly what is necessary to cut the deficit. Seriously, some one needs to answer this for me because the best I can come up with is that they don’t like where exactly cuts are going and they rather like their tax cuts.
Or perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that the best way out of recession is ballooning the debt and worrying about that later when we don’t have 7.7% unemployment. Can we please do the irresponsibly responsible thing and cut taxes and increase spending (on infrastructure, let’s not waste it).
I’ll be done now but read this for more and better quality commentary.
In light of the up coming Army-Navy Football game, some one hacked the US Naval Academy and sent out a mass email saying,
“Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller
to goarmysinknavy, AllUSNA, USCC, BTD
In preparation for the humiliating defeat Army will be dealing to us in the near future, I have some guidance to pass down.
First: when we stage for march-on, we need to clean up our act. The internet has us pegged as dirty slobs– this year, we need to bring trash bags and clean up after ourselves. From what I understand, Army is embarrassed to even be associated with us.
Second: clean up the actual march-on. Please at least pretend to be in the military. Dress right dress, don’t talk at attention, etc. Seriously, this one is too easy.
Third: we need to have better accountability of our goats. This is also very embarrassing.
Fourth: when Army sings second, we will be respectful and professional.
Fifth: we need to be better at cyber.
Finally, I award you all with PMI (sleep ins) until Christmas. Maybe even a little longer, depending on how morale is going after Army defeats us on Saturday.
Go Army, Sink Navy!”
I love it.
As part of her neat Friday Puzzler series Barbara F. Walter asked, “Why is Israel (under Netanyahu) opposed to granting Palestinians observer state status at the UN, and why have the Palestinians (under Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas) continued to pursue it [despite it being a largely symbolic gesture]?”
Basically she’s asking why either side is wasting time with UN votes. I’ll try to answer.
Israel’s reason for opposing it may be more obvious than the PA’s reason for supporting it. Think about what it would look like if Israel just quietly allowed the vote to take place without protesting. Netanyahu’s Likud party who have built their reputation largely on the hardline defense of Israel would look feckless and disoriented. Now even if they didn’t have an election coming up (which they do) it doesn’t take a political strategist to realize the electorate will hold them accountable even if it doesn’t actually matter much. No politician is going to depend on the ability of voters to parse through nuanced international legal institutions. Instead Bibi is required to spend at least some resources loudly protesting a rather meaningless event. It’s Israel’s national level political systems that dictated this little gem of international politicking.
I think you can apply the same model to the PA and Mahmoud Abbas. They need to keep pushing for progress in the UN to maintain credibility with the general Palestinian public; something they can point to as an accomplishment. Hamas has encroached on the PA’s legitimacy as the voice of Palestine for some time and while Hamas can claim rocket attacks the PA has to show they represent Palestinian interests too. Like Israel, they don’t trust the common man to realize just how symbolic the vote was, only this time voter ignorance works to the PA’s advantage.
“The data we analyzed show unequivocally that minorities fare better under Democratic administrations than under Republican ones. Census data tracking annual changes in income, poverty and unemployment over the last five decades tell a striking story about the relationship between the president’s party and minority well-being.”
Voting based on a parties’ historical record is common and doesn’t just happen in minorities. The individual candidate doesn’t matter as much as they want us to think.
Johnny Cash sang about having a strange dream in which the leaders of the world got together and outlawed war. Well it wasn’t a dream. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, held that the signatories of said pact would no longer use war to settle disputes or conflicts regardless of the origins. It was a happy time and widely celebrated event, war had been solved. Nearly every country was on board, including countries like France, Germany, the UK, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United Sates. Then three years later Japan invaded Manchuria and 8 years after that Germany invaded Poland. World war wouldn’t be stopped by signing a treaty.