Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Thoughts In The Aftermath

     In the wake of terrible events like the recent mass killing in Las Vegas, the people with an axe to grind are out in huge numbers, from Concerned Citizens to Internet Experts to elected and appointed officials.

     Grant them this -- they want to Do Something.  For the majority of them, it's an emotionally-driven urge, which, sadly, rarely carries much logic along in the headlong rush to render aid.  Heart-rending, but rarely helpful.*

     So let's review: in the attack at Las Vegas or anything similar, the only effective response the victim pool can make is to get elsewhere, as quickly as possible; in a crowd, this carries additional risk.  Getting under effective cover -- something that might actually stop or at least seriously slow incoming fire -- is good, but many people in Las Vegas accepted concealment instead.  If carefully chosen, it's some help because it removes you from the shooter's view.  But when the shooter is simply sending fire into a large area, it's not much protection.  The fellow out in the open who stood up, took a sip of his beer and flipped a middle finger at the source of fire probably (and inadvertently) made a correct assessment that it wasn't going to materially increase his risk,  It was not a situation in which shooting back was an option.  The only carried item that would have been of any use would have been a first-aid kit.

     Once the event is over and the killer stopped, the social engineers start to opine.  I have yet to hear an original suggestion; it's always more of the same things either side offers up.  Let's try facts instead -- here's a correlation study between civilian gun ownership and murder rates, per state.  The quick read is, they're not.  It's not "more guns, more murder" and it's not "more guns, less murder."

     There may well be things we can do -- but effective programs would be focused on people, not hardware.  That's the conclusion of Leah Libresco, formerly a writer at FiveThirtyEight and who still says, "I don't want a gun in my home."  She wants fewer murders, and in the course of researching how that might be accomplished, came to interesting conclusions.

     The journalistic and social-media response to a madman or criminal with a gun mirrors the response of the prospective victim: it focuses on the gun.  Been there, done that, the muzzle looks big enough to walk down when it's pointed at you: you see that thing rather than the person holding it.  --But it's not made nicer if the aggressor has a club or a knife or brute force; it's only better if the aggressor is never there.†  Less lunatics, less crime; less desperation and hopelessness, less crime.  More education, less crime.

     Start there.  Start with that, not reheated ideas from political hacks.  Armed drones, attacks on Constitutional rights, DHS screeners at every high-rise hotel...?  Fantasy.  It's what people do instead of hard work.  It's what people do instead of calling up their weird uncle and seeing if he sounds okay.  It's what people do instead of helping a ne'er-do-well young relative to seek work or training.

     What will you do?
* I've already been taken to task for not assuming each and every one of 'em is a Nancy Pelosi or worse, out to take all our guns and generally be evil.  While there is no shortage of politicians who would sleep far more soundly if they could disarm the citizenry and who look on us as something between insects and cattle, don't confuse them with the lady down the street who weaves daisy garlands and wants everyone to Get Along.  Most people's intentions are good, even when they are short on facts and logic. 

† And in second place, if you were not there, either.  "Don't go to stupid places with stupid people, especially at stupid hours" is a rule that would have spared me no end of trouble, had I followed it.


Blackwing1 said...

Ms. X:

I regret that I disagree with one of your initial statements:

"Grant them this -- they want to Do Something. It's an emotionally-driven urge, which, sadly, rarely carries much logic along in the headlong rush to render aid. Heart-rending, but rarely helpful."

This makes an erroneous assumption about their motives, i.e., that they actually want to do "something" good. As Rand so eloquently stated, "...they are neither blind nor innocent". We can no longer assign "good intentions" to people who have proven themselves evil statist/collectivists through all of their words and actions.

What the anti-life and anti-freedom faction (Shumer, Pelosi, Brady Bunch et alia) want is simply power and control. They have absolutely no interest in preserving human life (unless it's their own or one of their own), they don't actually have any interest in preventing mass shootings (since none of their methods have actually done anything in the past, and never can in the future). They simply want power and control.

Shamelessly exploiting events like this is their only trade in stock, and the utterly useless laundry list that they trot out every single time never changes. It's the same litany of power-and-control by their god the government that they always use when people's emotions are stirred.

There may be some vanishingly small minority of people who will agree with these types of proposals because they are basing their decision to do so on their purely emotional response to these evil people, but emotional responses which require the initiation of an overwhelming government infringement of rights isn't much better.

Again, I'm sorry to disagree with your assessment of their motives.

Roberta X said...

Why do you instantly presume that "they" consists only of agenda-driven politicians? I had in mind more all the well-meaning average citizens (and non-citzens) I have been encountering on Facebook.

Douglas2 said...

I do an event each summer where I spend the better part of a day up on a scaffold in the middle of a massive crowd, manning necessary equipment. The past two summers I've pondered my route from that position to "cover", and I've pretty much concluded that there isn't one, so if such an attack happens I might as well just stay put, switch the Motorola to the event's public safety frequency, and act as a calm observer for any new/unnoticed threats for as long as I'm able.

I've pondered getting something like a fragmentation blanket from a blasting-supply place in order to have some portable personal cover at hand, but when I looked and saw the price, I decided that if I'm spending my own money on PPE it is much better spent on protecting me from more likely hazards.

Anonymous said...

I try to be nice most of the time. I agree with your assessment completely because it mirrors my own and yours is the first post I've seen that does that. We cannot keep bemoaning the results instead of attacking the causes of these tragedies. Yes, some of these people are politically motivated and we may not be able to prevent them from acting violently, but there are many more who have reached the end of their personal rope and can see no way for life to get better. We need to find ways to reduce the anger and frustration in this country by restoring some of the equanimity and reversing the whole "greed is good" mentality that surfaced in the 80s and was endorsed by Gordon Gecko in a movie. We need term limits to rid ourselves of career politicians who are more interested in the next election than anything that is happening in the country. In short, we need to stop reacting and start attacking the causes of this new ugly America that WE have allowed to develop through our inaction and maybe even through our own personal greed and fear.

Blackwing1 said...

Ms. X:

Again, I apologize for disagreeing with you; if you would like me to not post further please let me know and I will cease.

My assumption was not that "they" were only politicians; I included what I regarded as the small number of people who mindlessly regurgitate the talking points of these power/control freaks without any shred of reason. My perspective on this may be severely limited since I have avoided all forms of what are termed "social media". What I see around me in the workplace and other venues continues to inform me that those few persons parroting the nonsense are either evil or useful idiots. These are the ones I deemed to be a "vanishingly small minority" in my original comment.

It may well be that a majority of the country would be pleased to see the eradication of the right to keep and bear arms, but even here in the Dem-wing loony bin which is Minnesota (land of Klobuchar, Franken and Ellison) I don't see or hear this on a regular basis. Most people understand that the perpetrator of this horror could have done much worse and racked up a higher body count armed with only a bunch chains and padlocks, some gasoline cans, and a few matches.

I'll ask you to forgive my presumption in disagreeing with you in your own forum. It is my opinion that, given the information available, these people are truly neither blind nor innocent. They may simply be lacking in reason and thus over-emoting.

The Institute said...

"Less desperation and hopelessness, more education...?" Unfortunately, government efforts to socialize people are often criticized as statist or socialist. My feeling is, "total freedom" for the average Joe too often means the freedom to descend into anti-social degeneracy.

Though I agree that well-socialized people create a better society -- if that's what you're saying, not to put words in your mouth.

RandyGC said...

I agree that many on the other side of (any) issue from myself are often motivated by good intentions and "what's best" for me (in their opinion of course). But as you alluded they are often not helpful. And they can make a bad situation worse I'm reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote (H/T to Kevin Baker):

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Jeffrey Smith said...

What I find interesting is the seemingly large number of 2A supporters who are desperate to prove this event was the result of a conspiracy by either jihadis or leftists eager for a false flag event. It's as they are unable to accept the possibility that one single psychotic/psychopath could do it all on his own, particularly one who was on the surface just like themselves, white, male, relatively affluent. It's much easier for them to adopt solutions that may approach Rube Goldbergesque levels of complexity. Even the idea that one guy angry at Trump decided to wreck havoc on a mass of people the MSM told him were Trump supporters is not acceptable....

Monty James said...

"Less lunatics, less crime." I'm with you, but it would be a pretty big and intricate edifice to erect, to head off every mad gunman. Worth trying? It might pay off. It won't make the Left stop trying to end firearms ownership by those who oppose them.

I like to say that antis (the Left) can't have what they truly desire without attempting confiscation and tearing the society apart, but it's more or less torn now. All that remains is for them to regain office, and we'll start seeing the power play, making the Clinton years look tame. I'm making this estimate based on how they've behaved the last year or two. People can talk themselves into anything.

But maybe they won't have to try door-kicking raids and getting people to inform on their neighbors and acquaintances. Maybe they'll try the NFA 1934 route, and tax certain categories of firearm at an outrageous rate.

I'm really only confident predicting that Slide Fire Solutions is on the way out. There will be a lawsuit. Dianne Feinstein didn't even know bump stocks existed five minutes ago, but she's calling for a ban. There will be a bill, and the President will sign it as a cheap way to make the Left pipe down for a day or two. That will not work.

Roberta X said...

Blackwing 1: We seem to disagree mainly on the proportion of the foolish to the malevolent. I'm okay on disagreeing over that and moving on, how about it?

Monty James: You can't catch 'em all, but if a little more diligence and concern by those around them heads off even one or two, that's a win; if paying attention to the people around me and dropping a buck in the box for the local mental health association helps even some, I count it as worth it. YMMV.

Why do so many commenters assume that if I mention doing something, that means some Government Program? To hell with that -- nobody knows your crazy nephew as well as you and his parents do; nobody knows your depressed relative or bothers to call him or her if you or yours don't. There is no Big Magic Fix, but there are a lot of small-scale palliative actions.

Randy GC: the C. S. Lewis quote is gold, but we're not obliged to vilify the well-intentioned fool, only to stymie him.

As for bump-fire stocks, count 'em gone. I don't know exactly what allows their existence past an ATF letter of determination, and ATF has been known to change their minds. It's not a good thing (they always looked like foolbait to me, but that's just me and I don't want to decide for others), but short-term, if I had to, I'd swap it for nationwide reciprocity. Getting "silencers," so-called, out of NFA, that could be pretty sticky right now.

The Institute: there you go with that "...government efforts to socialize people..." You know what does the most socializing? Family. Nearby society. Those snot-nosed brats our own snot-nosed brats hang out with. Individuals, acting of their own accord. The government couldn't even run a whorehouse -- the experiment has been tried and proven.

Blackwing1 said...

Ms. X:

Consider it to have been agreed to disagree about the degree. I thank you again for the forum in which to do so.



RandyGC said...

Point taken

pigpen51 said...

Roberta, I am sad to say that I am somewhat ill informed on the entire thing, on purpose, this time. I could write most all of the response from both sides to it. It is the usual sad thing, and I simply didn't have it in me this time to suffer through it.

What comes out of it is too early to predict now, but I suspect that the NRA will go along with the left on at least some things, like the bump stocks, which are pretty much not really a mainstream tool anyway. I am just so grateful for the stories of heroism from those who were involved in saving lives that might very well have been lost had they not stepped up.

Sometimes, I am reminded of why when I was young, I felt a calling to go into the ministry. I have always had a heart that is tender, and desires to heal others pain. I simply suffer when I see such hurt going on, and know that there is nothing that I can do that is tangible to help. I have learned to do what I can, where I have been planted. Sometimes, that is what you are called to do, and you simply need to be the best at it that you can be. If you are a praying kind, I can thing of no better time than now to spend time on your knees.