Phil’s Phobias, Urticating Caterpillars and the Gun Debate

One of the joys of publishing written diatribe for public consumption is the comments and feedback from the… internet. Consider this recent example.

Phil from Australia writes…

I’m glad I live in Australia, with controlled gun ownership, where all guns must be locked away. EG. I read a story where a 3 year old boy shoots himself…….go figure.

Well there you have it. A random anecdote trumps decades of factual data, at least in Phil’s mind.

But when you step back and look at a comment like this, it just illustrates the real challenge behind the gun debate. You see, Phil is not alone. Think about how many people have their views about gun policy shaped by random “I heard that…” anecdotes.

I heard about a shark attack once. But that didn’t stop me from taking showers. For long.(Tweet This)

If one invests about four minutes to research the gun debate, it becomes pretty darn clear that guns themselves aren’t the driving issue for crime. Gun ownership is way up. Crime is way down. When folks aren’t robbed of their rights of self-protection, crime falls. Accidents are at an all time low. The vast majority of gun-related crime involves convicted felons. Guns are used far, far more frequently to prevent people from getting hurt than for hurting people. Let me repeat that.

Guns are used far, far more frequently to prevent people from getting hurt than for hurting people. (Tweet This)

In other words, a rational look at the data to examine the pros and cons of gun use yields a clear result. Guns save lives.

So what has so much power to trump decades of historical data and cause people to hold so dearly to viewpoints that have no basis in fact?

Hint: It’s fear.

You see, the power of fear is mind-bottling. You know, just like Chazz Michael Michaels so eloquently explained. “You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?”

Phil is a perfect example of the power of the fear mentality.

You see, Phil lives in a country where children are 94.3 times more likely to be eaten by a crocodile than win a regional spelling bee.

Well, maybe I made that statistic up, but I’m sure it’s happened at least once, so that pretty much settles the argument.

Conclusion? If you don’t want to become croc-lunch, practice spelling the word “insouciant.”

I decided to consult famed behavioral psychiatrist, Dr. Emil Shuffhausen, to explore Phil’s case further. Based on preliminary analysis, there are a number of other things that frighten Phil.

Australian Phil's Fears

Australian Phil’s Fears

 At risk of causing Phil more undue stress, I want to point out some other hazards of living in Australia.

  • 715 people died tripping, slipping and stumbling, which makes one think Fosters Beer should be locked away.
  • 26 Australians fell off chairs to their earthly end. Consider working in the Lotus position. Yoga is all the rage right now.
  • 58 people died just falling out of bed, although there are not footnotes on which activity immediately proceeded these tragic accidents.
  • Australians are equally susceptible to death from human bites as dog bites. No comment.
  • More venomous arthropod warning signs might be in order, as urticating caterpillars are more likely to kill than crocodile attacks or earthquakes.

But here’s the thing. People like Phil aren’t really concerned with all these other potential hazards. Why?

Fear dominates attitude towards guns because people don’t assign any potential benefits to gun ownership – they only consider the negatives. (Tweet This)

That’s right. When subconsciously evaluating the cost / benefit of various life activities, which might kill us, people always consider the benefit side of the equation for things like swimming, walking, sitting, sleeping and even keeping pet urticating caterpillars. Yes, any of these activities can be lethal, but that’s OK because a larger upside is perceived to balance the risks.

We all just assume there are plenty of benefits to sleeping, sitting and caterpillar husbandry, right? (Tweet This)

So Phil, and others like you: Be intellectually honest about the debate. There are always two sides to any decision. Even a fart has benefits, so consider the other side of the scale before opining on gun control.

Oh, and Phil. One more thing. Nine people died in Australia last year as a result of horse-drawn vehicle incidents.

I sure am glad I live in a country with controlled horsepower transportation, where New York’s new Mayor is banning horse-drawn carriage tours. (Tweet This)

 

Be sure to check out our book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Be sure to check out our newest book, The Rookie’s Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S

The Rookie’s Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S

President’s Gun Control Order Will Reduce Street Crime

New Gun Control Executive Orders to eliminate corporate jackings. Photo: FoxNews.com

New Gun Control Executive Orders to eliminate corporate jackings. Photo: FoxNews.com

The shooting community was stunned by two Executive Orders from the Obama administration earlier this week.

One of the proclamations effectively closes a secret loophole commonly used by street thugs, gang members, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Under current law, legally formed corporations and trust officers are able to purchase restricted firearms such as short-barreled shotguns, automatic rifles and sound suppressors. The new Executive Order mandates finger prints, background checks and local law enforcement approval of officers and trustees before these legal entities can apply for special permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Although the process is cumbersome, federally controlled and takes 6 to 12 months to complete, administration officials are convinced that low lifes and gang bangers are taking advantage.

“Fo shizzle!” whined one Crips member who declined to be identified. “I was planning a couple of jackings for sometime next spring or summer. I figured I would need to be strapped for that,  so I had my mouthpiece at the law firm of Rutherford, Collingsworth and Davenport drawing me up a Subchapter S Corporation. You need that to begin the application process for restricted firearms ya know. Obviously the benefits of limited financial liability of the partners and flexibility of taxable income distribution will benefit my fellow bangers too. Besides, the Bloods all use Limited Liability Corporations, so we didn’t want to go that route.”

Most gang members we spoke to were still in a state of shock, wondering how they were going to acquire restricted weapons now that the corporate and trust loophole is being closed. Many top 100 law firms are already planning for losses in billable revenue. “Losing thug life business is really going to hurt” moaned Commerce Winthorpe, Esquire, founding partner of the prestigious firm Winthorpe, Winthorpe and Fiddy Cent PeaceOut!, LLC. “We’re definitely going to have to cut back on complimentary mint juleps on Friday afternoons.”

Administration officials expect the measure to eliminate virtually all crime resulting from the loophole. “Today’s street thugs have gotten pretty sophisticated” explained an anonymous official. “They’ll plan a mugging 6-12 months in advance to allow time for setting up a corporation, completing the BATFE application, and waiting for agency approval to get a suppressed double deuce. The days of spontaneous jackings are long gone.”

While insiders won’t comment, many expect the next Executive Order will close the notorious non-profit museum loophole, believed to be the root cause of cannon, flintlock and gatling gun crime.

Half-Cocked: NY SAFE Act Magazine Limits In Effect

NY State Safe Act Magazine Limits

Half-Cocked: City of Chicago Cuts Back 911 Services

Half-Cocked: Chicago Cuts Back 911 Services

It’s Time To Stop ‘Thinking’ About Gun Control

Gun Control in the mainstream mediaIt’s time to stop thinking. About what might happen with or without new gun control measures.

The 24 hours news digital sphincter spasm continues to slather us all with lots and lots of thoughtless thinking and careless conjecture. Think what might happen if… I think… Most Americans think… I think I’ll have another beer… What is the NRA thinking… The United Nations thinks… I think Dancing with the Stars is on tonight… Most of our representatives in Washington think… No wait, I think we ought to scratch that last one. Most of our representatives do not think much past the next “So You Think You Can Smile!” audition.

Why are we still thinking about things?

I think there’s no place for guns in schools!

  • We know that Utah allows guns in schools.
  • We know that Utah is still waiting on its first mass school shooting.
  • We know that over 200 colleges and universities already allow lawful concealed carry on campus.
  • We know that none of those institutions have suffered catastrophic attacks like the ones in Newtown, Columbine, or Virginia Tech.
  • We know that all mass shooting incidents in the past 50 years, except one, have happened in areas where guns are not allowed.

I think it’s a bad idea to arm teachers!

  • We know we don’t want to force all teachers to be armed. We simply want those who choose to defend themselves and their students not to lose that fundamental right when they enter school property.
  • We know that Israel has had some percentage of armed teachers since 1974.
  • We know that most Israeli schools have armed security.
  • We know that is has kept their students safer in perhaps one of the most dangerous neighborhoods on planet earth.
  • We know that attacks on Israeli schools have been attempted by trained terrorists, not cowards that almost always end their own life as soon as they are challenged.
  • We know that challenging these cowards immediately almost always stops them immediately.

I think we shouldn’t have to live in a world where people have to have guns.

  • We know that we do in fact live in a world like that.
  • We know that there are sick and evil people out there.
  • We know because we hear about them on the news every single day.
  • We know they continue to do evil things regardless of laws.
  • We know that the very definition of “criminal” is one who breaks laws.
  • We know that burying our heads in the sand and hoping things will be better because they should be will not save one single life.

I think that some sort of gun ban is a good idea.

  • We know the last one didn’t lower crime at all.
  • We know that crime didn’t increase when it expired.
  • We know that there is not one example of gun control policy lowering violent crime.
  • We know that the most recent countries to implement drastic gun control have suffered serious increases in violent crime.
  • We know that women are 2 times more likely to be raped in the UK than in the US.
  • We know that women in Australia are 3 times more likely to be raped than women in the US.
  • We know that total murders in the UK have increased since the gun ban took effect in January 1997.
  • We know that in only 1 year have there been fewer murders in the UK after the handgun ban than before the handgun ban.
  • We know that the UK has a violent crime rate 3.5 times greater than that of the US.
  • We know that folks in the UK are having serious discussion about banning kitchen knives because the guns bans have not reduced crime.
  • We know that banning kitchen knives will make English food even worse.
  • We know that one definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again, but hoping for a different result.

I think magazines ought to be limited to 5 rounds.

  • We know that law enforcement officers, military personnel, and citizen survivors of gunfights have found that hyped-up bad guys don’t necessarily feel compelled to stop doing what they’re doing after 5 shots have been fired towards them.
  • We know bad guys doing bad things don’t travel alone.
  • We know more and more bad guys are wearing body armor to protect themselves against unarmed or lightly armed victims.
  • I know that if my home is invaded in the middle of the night that I will want a 2,530,371 round magazine handy. And a couple of spares.
  • We know that our soldiers have complained that actual Assault Rifles don’t have enough power to reliably stop enemy combatants.
  • We know that limiting magazines to some arbitrary capacity based on perceived need is about the stupidest suggestion ever.

I think we need to address gun violence!

  • We know we need to address violence. Not gun violence. Violence.
  • We know we are not somehow better off or morally superior if we are killed with a knife, bat, or fist as compared to a gun.
  • We know we are equally dead no matter what the cause.
  • We know that the term “gun violence” is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent and mislead from the very real, and hard to solve, issues of societal evil.
  • We know that violence is a difficult thing to solve so people tend to want to take shortcuts in order to consider things “fixed.”

I think you’re crazy if you think more guns is the answer to violence!

  • We know that record numbers of Americans are buying guns for protection.
  • We know that there are almost 300 million guns in the United States.
  • We know that violent crime, measured by the FBI as incidents per 100,000 people, has fallen 50% in the past 20 years.
  • We know that murder, measured by the FBI as incidents per 100,000 people, has fallen 54% over the past 20 years.
  • We know that these massive and steady decreases in crime have happened while more and more Americans are buying guns.
  • We know that simply blaming guns is deliberate shirking from the harder problem of addressing the real causes of crime.

I don’t think anyone needs a high-powered Assault Weapon!

  • We know that there is no such thing as an assault weapon.
  • We know that if you ask an “assault weapon ban” proponent what an “assault weapon” is, that they will not be able to tell you.
  • We know, again according to the FBI, that many times more murders are committed with simple beatings than rifles of any kind.
  • We know that banning mythical “assault weapons” will not stop murders by beating.
  • We know that banning mythical “assault weapons” will not save lives. The largest mass murders ever had nothing to do with mythical “assault weapons.” People do bad things with or without mythical “assault weapons.”

I think armed citizens are going to act like vigilantes and cause even more harm!

  • We know that lawfully armed citizens are among the most law-abiding groups of people measurable.
  • We know that the crime rate for concealed carry permit holders is 14 times less than that of the general population.
  • We know that lawfully armed citizens are 5 times less likely to commit a violent crime than the average citizen.

I think I have an irrational fear of guns and want a simple and immediate fix to the problems of violence.

  • We know. We want to continue to reduce violence also.
  • We know there is no simple fix.
  • We know that we don’t fear guns. They’re just tools that protect someone from crime and/or violence between 1 and 2.5 million times per year – just in the US.
  • We know that we kind of like the direction of the crime trend over the past 20 years and want to continue that. We just want to be smart about how we do it.

It’s time to stop thinking about what might happen.

It’s time to know what does happen. 

P.S. I know I’m going to vomit if I hear one more talking head tell me what they think without considering what we already know.

Half-Cocked: Obama Announces New Gun Control Plan In Hometown Chicago

Half-Cocked: Obama Announces New Gun Control Plan In Hometown Of Chicago

Half-Cocked: White House Announces New Security Measures

White House enhances security with gun free zone

A Heart Of Evil Obeys No Laws – Thoughts On Newtown

Newtown, CTOur hearts are broken over yesterday’s tragedy in Newtown, CT. Our prayers go out to the victims, families, staff, friends, and first responders. How a monster can target the most innocent among us is simply beyond sane comprehension.

In the wake of yesterday’s tragic events, Massad Ayoob posted an article entitled “Against Monsters.” It’s a reminder that societal evil has been, and will continue to be, a human problem. Go read it. Now. We’ll wait.

Monsters have always been, and always will be, among us. Anyone remember King Herod?

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 2:16

The pinnacle of arrogance is to think that a problem so complex as human societal evil has a “simple” hardware solution. Evil is a problem of the heart. Not of laws, devices, or rules. The most egregious acts against humanity show little favoritism of tools when someone is committed to evil. Our recent history demonstrates morbid creativity by monsters. 9/11 (box cutters), Oklahoma City (garden fertilizer), Bath School (fire and bomb), Happy Land Social Club (gasoline). Just yesterday – yes, the exact same day as the Newtown massacre – a monster in the Henan Province of China slashed 22 children with a knife – one of dozens of identical incidents over the past three years.

As I said a moment ago, complex problems don’t have simple solutions. So the point here is that you have to decide whether to acknowledge that evil exists, and prepare, or to bury your head in the sand and hope that someone passes a “feel-good” law to provide some short-lived false sense of security.

Me? The jury came in a long time ago regarding the effectiveness of “feel-good” legislation. I choose to recognize that evil exists in the world and to prepare accordingly. The root source of monstrous acts is not going away. The monsters’ methods of implementation will vary, as they have since the beginning of time. While we all would like to apply a band-aid and pat ourselves on the back for “fixing it” that’s just a desperate fantasy.

Read. Study. Be alert. Prepare for the unexpected – even for the unimaginable.

Be safe out there people.

Half-Cocked: Fast & Furious Trick or Treating at The White House

Fast and Furious Trick or Treat at The White House

Half-Cocked: Attorney General Clears Himself of Fast and Furious Wrongdoing

Attorney General Eric Holder clears himself of Operation Fast and Furious wrongdoing

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