Archive for December, 2012

Ban the Guns, and Gays, and Asprin

Speaking from memory, and using the words of some of my friends on the left, in the past couple of years, a half dozen guns have killed nearly 70 people. Of course, I would never claim a gun killed anyone, the person using the gun is the killer, but, I will use their words for this article.

Because of all of these guns killing all of these people, there is now a cry for “reasonable gun restrictions.” Of course, one man’s reasonable is another man’s extreme. CNN is reporting 52% of Americans are wanting some type of gun control laws passed. Some of the ideas being tossed around from Congressional leaders, media, social networks, etc., a ban on assault weapons (still no one has defined that to me), limiting the number of bullets a gun can hold at one time. Mental health background checks on gun owners. One Govenor even vetoed a concealed carry bill after it was passed by the legislature pre-Sandy Hook, but to his desk post.

So, if the “correct” thing to do after these guns have killed so many people, is to remove the killer (the gun) where else do we apply this logic in our lives?

What if a group of people went on a killing spree with chinese throwing stars, would we demand they be banned? (I bet we would) If someone started using dry Ice and screws as bombs, would we limit the sale of Dry Ice? (I bet we would)

That is my problem. We over react in these situations. We act as if only some different law were in place, the tragedy we just experienced would be prevented. We banned guns on airplanes to prevent hijackings, we still have hijackings. We banned drunk driving, we still have drunk drivers. We banned hate crimes, we still have people being hated.

No law, no regulation, no government action will stop the sick people from committing sick acts.

In an off handed comment the other day, a friend of mine stated she was glad she lived in Japan where she was 99.9% sure her kids would not be killed at school. I think we would all love such an assurance. However, I ran the actual numbers. Taking the number of school shootings in the past decade or two, divided into the number public, non-college, schools in the US (about 95,000), the chance of your child being in one of those schools is about .00000048. In other words, you are 99.9999952% sure your school will not be the site of a school shooting. If you take the number of students into the number shooting deaths, the number becomes even smaller (my calculator does not have enough decimal places for that number!)

So, using this accurate, and obscene number as our benchmark. Ask yourself. would you want Congress to start limiting everything in your life that has a .00000048% chance of exposing you to danger? (remember, the chance of actually being harmed is MUCH smaller) Below is a VERY SMALL list of things you will be demanding the government to regulate more than it already does:

Cars

asprin

pools

bathtubs

husbands

gay people

pot

pots

doctors

most any prescription medication

black people

white people

police

fire fighters

tow truck drivers

prisoners

Obviously this is somewhat toungue and cheek, but the point is solid. We are about to engage in a nationwide debate about curtailing something that has saved more lives than can EVER be measured because of an event that, as tragic as it was, is so small in it’s probability, if it was a game in Vegas, it would not be approved because of how impossible it would be to win. If this percentage was multiplied by 10,000, it would still get FDA approval as a new drug as it would be considered safe with that few deaths as a side effect.

The first response when I point out the math of this is always, “Well, dumbass Jeremy, you would not be saying this if it was your daughter.” Well, in a way, you are correct. If I was THAT emotionally connected to a particluar debate, I would most likely abstain from it. But, if I did engage in it, I would use the same path of logic, and come to the same conclusion.

I remember I had an idiot college professor in my “Sensitivity” class. She was a freak that believed the government wanted to kill the black people. She cited a program where the government paid for IUD’s for women in poor (read black) neighborhoods. She said the government lied to these women because the paperwork told these women the chances of death or serious permanent fertility problems from having this device was about 2%. She stated the real percentage was 50%. The class sat silent, mostly because we all knew she was an idiot, but I asked the question, “50%? What data supported this percentage and how did the government get away with such a lie?” Her reply was simple, and could not be given a rebuttal. “You either get injured from the device or you don’t, one outcome out of a possible two, thus, 50%”

I know few people are as dumb as her, but, instictevly, we seem to think in those terms. We see tragedies like these and we quickly thank God it was not our child. We pray for the families suffering the unbearable loss. We see two outcomes, life, and death. We cannot see, without deep thought and consideration, there were 94,999 other schools in America that day where a shooting did not occur. We cannot understand, on the same day as that tragedy, more innocent people died while innocently driving to school or work that day. We forget, though no news outlet knew of, much less reported, more lives were saved that day by the presense of guns than those that were taken by the guns.

We want to do something. Our inner goodness makes us think, if we don’t do SOMETHING, the next time such a thing happens, it happened because we did nothing. A popular “feel good” solution is to put armed guards, possibly military, at every school in America. I ran those numbers and to do would cost us about 7.6 billion dollars a year. Assuming we had that kind of money, people will quickly say, “spend it!” But again, the professional policy maker, the one responsible for actually voting to allocate that resource, the money, must consider the options. Forgetting the role of government for a moment, spending 7.6 billion dollars on armed guards at schools, if 100% effective, would maybe have saved 100 lives in the past 10 years? That means spending 76 Billion dollars to save 100 lives. “But Jeremy, you cannot put a price tag on lives, especially on our children!” Sadly, yes, I can. However, I do not need to do so to make my point. If it is about saving lives, imagine how many MORE lives could be saved in 10 years with 76 Billion dollars if the money was spent on food programs for the poor, health insurance, doctor check ups for the orphans. For the same 76 billion dollars, we could save 1000’s, if not 10’s of thousands of lives. But some want to use it to save 100? Again, it is because those 100 are thrown in our face on the news, in an instant, in a tragedy.

Life is hard. Self governing is harder. Tough choices must be made in the coming months. If you are serious about saving lives, about protecting our children, I only ask you to do one thing. Run the numbers, choose the option that will save the most lives. I predict, that solution will be, choose to allow trained staff to carry their personal firearms at schools. No option cost less money, has been proven to save more lives, and can be implemented faster. You may be opposed to all guns, so don’t use one. But, if your goal is save lives, you really only have one legitimate choice.