No superhuman powers are needed. In fact I believe even you might be capable of developing the needed skill.
Your spotless record on gun safety is commendable, and serves as an excellent example of responsible gun ownership. But it doesn't demonstrate that you are infallible. Nobody is infallible. Nobody can honestly say that they have total control over all the variables involved in owning and using a gun. And as long as you're not infallible, there is a risk.
I have never said that guns are safe, I am not so foolish as to make that claim.
What you have done effectively is to argue that being good (but not superhumanly good) at mitigating risks is the same thing as having no risk.
This makes you come off as overconfident and cavalier, which contrasts very sharply with your claim that you are exceptionally careful and cautious.
I don't really intend to participate much in this debate, but I am curious about one comment you made:
As for the numbers, self-defense by gun is 80 times higher than that of homicide, suicide, and accidental shooting combined. Don't hear about that in the media though, because it's not sensational enough.
Where did you get this number from? I can't find numbers for "self-defense by gun" at the website you cited. The closest thing I saw was "justifiable gun homicides," which hovered between 473 and 686 during the years reported. That's only something like 4-7% of total homicides.
So lets suppose that we pass the most draconian laws possible and completely ban private ownership of firearms tomorrow. How do you propose to get the guns off the streets after turning law-abiding citizens into criminals overnight?
Percy's specific proposal (in the post you just responded to) was to end the practice of falsely claiming that guns make people safe, and stick to the statistically-supported narrative that guns are more likely to harm than protect.
This should reduce gun ownership enough to have an impact on the death rate while not interfering with people's Constitutional rights.
When they include things like someone brandishing a BB-gun and a student caught with a bullet in his backpack, then it makes me question the utility of the statistics on these "gun-related incidents."
Quibbling is often the coping mechanism of choice for many people. That was kind of the point I was making: you pick out one tiny flaw, and use it to argue that the whole dataset is bogus.
On that same page, you can see that there have been over 1200 gun deaths so far in 2016. I suppose those numbers won't bother you either, because you can convince yourself that probably half of them were from BB guns, and the other half were probably old folks who had heart attacks because of the noise.
First, I did notice that you expressed support for gun-safety measures, and I wasn't assuming that you were just a crazy gun nut who wants the gubment to mind its own business. I'm sorry to have given that impression.
I could have explained myself a bit more thoroughly.
It's not an obscure hypothetical, it's a design flaw.
This is what I was referring to:
Presumably you could kill someone with their own weapon at point-blank range or simply take the ring.
I called it a "hypothetical" because you hypothesized a scenario under which a "smart gun" owner can still be injured/killed by their own weapon.
I called it "obscure" because it's a pretty specific set of circumstances.
And I disagreed with your calling it a "design flaw" because your scenario isn't a new vulnerability specific to the "smart gun" system: it's a vulnerability that all guns share. Really, it's illustrative of how much better the "smart gun" system performs: sure, some of the same vulnerabilities remain, but many of the others are removed.
And, I also admit that I was partly responding, not specifically to you, but to my more general frustrations with the gun-control debate. I still consider myself neutral in this debate: I've seen responsible gun ownership, and I believe it's possible for a gun-owning society to be reasonably safe. But, the arguments in favor of gun rights (and specifically a lot of the comments from you and Cat Sci over the past several pages of this thread) frequently remind me of a Jesus quote in the Bible:
quote:Ye blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Like this guy. All these hypothetical scenarios about how a savvy assailant could still shoot you with your own gun, or about how the government might be able to hack your "smart gun", or suicidal people having other available options... yes, they're real things; but in context, they're minutiae! Gnats! What proportion of gun deaths do you think would realistically have been influenced by gun-retention holsters, or government hackers, or savvy assassins at point-blank range?
Yet, when big numbers come up, like "over 4000 gun incidents occurred within the space of just over a month," these don't seem to have any impact at all. In fact, they're simply dismissed with trite comments about BB guns and statistics. The camel slides right down the throat.
There's a serious disconnect there, and I think you're letting yourself fall victim to it. Gun-safety measures will always have imperfections, and they won't solve all the problems. Some people will still find a way to kill themselves, some people will still be killed by tech-savvy assassins, and some people will still be shot by accident. So, let's keep turning down all gun-safety or gun-control proposals because there are still gnats in the soup, and swallowing the camel of 30,000 (or whatever) deaths/year is certainly preferable to trying something that has some gnats in it.
...many strict gun control advocates seem to equate guns as being the culprit and unintentionally make guns the enemy without judging the actions of those who wield them with malice...
I don't think anybody is actually anthropomorphizing the guns. I think it's just formulaic thinking: "guns" and "human behavior" are both variables in an equation that determines "number of deaths." So, assigning some of the blame to guns isn't necessarily anthropomorphism.
Also, the "human behavior" variable is, on the face of it, a much messier and less quantifiable variable than the "guns" variable. It also seems to have messier ramifications for a larger array of other legal equations. So from a practical standpoint, doesn't it seem more productive to focus on the simpler variable?
You also seem very focused on the "malice" aspect of human behavior. It would certainly be informative to examine a dataset of "all deaths" and see whether "malice" or "guns" was involved in a greater proportion of them. But then, if it turned out that "malice" was a more frequent contributing factor, what measures could we propose to regulate "malice"? Regulating guns still seems more straightforward, and thus more likely to bear practical fruit, to me.
Well, I'm not a psychologist. On the other hand, I got a response from you, like I wanted, so maybe I'm not so bad at this psychology stuff after all.
Cat Sci writes:
If you want to know what I'm thinking then you can just ask.
I don't think anyone has ever had to ask for you to say what you're thinking.
Cat Sci writes:
You were responding to the criticism of a gun safety technology with a shocking anti-gun statistic...
...Even with the 1200 deaths you've offered, a proximity device is not the solution to the vast majority of those. Your stat still sucks in this context.
Well, then this is the source of our miscommunication. I was responding to a broader pattern of comments, rather than to a specific point about a specific technology. My central thesis was that pro-gun arguments seem to be built on anti-empirical principles. Data sets are irrelevant, because they can be nit-picked; but hypothetical scenarios are valid objections, even if they'd be obvious statistical outliers or exceptions to the rule. It seems like gun enthusiasts prefer navel-gazing to rationality.
So, in a nutshell, you've been doing exactly what I originally said gun proponents do too much of. I'm not anti-gun, and I'm not out to prove that safety-measure X is the solution to our problems: I'm just frustrated because I can't figure out why gun proponents apparently find paranoid navel-gazing more reliable than empirical data.
So, now that you (hopefully) understand the intended context of my comment, does that change anything about your assessment of the statistics I provided?
I am not opposed to guns. I am, as I have said from the beginning, opposed to bad arguments. I haven’t read this entire thread, but from the ten or so pages I’ve read, there seems to be a repeated pattern:
Anti-gun person cites data. Pro-gun person says, “but that data is flawed.”
Anti-gun person makes a proposal. Pro-gun person says, “but ____ could still happen.”
This pattern makes the pro-gun side look very tenuous to me, and both you and Hyroglyphx frankly sounded like you were doggedly ignoring data that were presented to you on several occasions. And it bothers me that I see the same thing from more “official” pro-gun arguments, as well (like the one I linked to a few posts upthread). So, I commented on it.
But, I am not opposed to guns. Guns are not necessarily bad. I am not trying to argue that guns are bad. M’kay?
Cat Sci writes:
And gun opponents don't care how bad the data is, or how illogical the argument is, as long as the conclusion isn't pro-gun then it's good.
This is what I was talking about: again, you’re saying “the data is flawed.” Sure, anti-gun arguments are not always perfectly rational, and some gun opponents are stupid and ignorant people. But, flawed data doesn't necessarily mean ignorant people. One of the first things I learned in grad school is that literally every data set is flawed. That’s just the nature of data. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out the flaws in a data set; but, if you’re saying things like “I question that entire data set because I saw a couple flaws,” you should start running a self-diagnostic for other signs of confirmation bias.
The Gun Violence Archive data really isn’t as bad as you think it is. Each report includes the number of deaths and injuries, so it’s easy enough to eliminate the “BB-gun brandishings” and “loose bullets in backpacks” by disregarding reports with no injuries or deaths. I looked through 5 pages, and found that 33 of 125 reports listed 0 injuries and 0 deaths. That’s about one quarter, so let’s just adjust the total number downward by one quarter. That gives us 3207 “real” gun incidents (or 4177 after the last week of updates).
It’s crude, but it’s at least reasonable. There are probably plenty more nits to pick, but it’s still a reasonable place to start. And that's what data is for, isn't it? To give us a place to start?
Cat Sci writes:
Any question on the data or logic is branded as an irrational rejection and is discounted, or just left unaddressed.
There are probably many wrongs committed by gun-control advocates, and I hope you don’t interpret any of my comments as denying that.
Still, the arguments you’ve raised in responses to my posts could be classified as hasty generalizations (“BB guns, therefore bad data”) and arguments from ignorance (“no data because DGU’s are probably under-reported”).
If I try to make sense of this, I might conclude that you want people to make decisions based on data that doesn’t exist, while simultaneously apparently rejecting all data that does exist. I'm sure you're not actually doing that, but it does kind of sound that way.
Cat Sci writes:
If you're looking for instances of self-defense with a gun, check out the Defensive Gun Use subreddit: www.reddit.com/r/dgu They're not all good cases, there's flags for bad ones n'others, but there's probably more "numbers" than you think.
Actually, the Gun Violence Archive I keep referring to also has DGU reports listed. Your Reddit link has about 8 pages of reports from 2016, which translates into about 200 DGU reports. The Gun Violence Archive lists 172, so they’re in reasonably good agreement. I understand that most experts believe the actual number of DGU’s to be higher than, but the estimates seem to be all over the place, so I don't know what to do with that information. I'd be inclined to use the more conservative estimates for DGU's, not the millions that the NRA claims. The most conservative numbers I've seen might give a ratio of about 1 or 2 DGU's for every gun-related death.
Hypothetically, one could work out a ratio of lives saved to lives lost as a basic metric of the benefit or detriment of guns to our society. Surely somebody has already tried to do this. If so, that would be an excellent place to start our discussion about what we should and shouldn't do in relation to guns.
I've been trying to figure out how best to respond to this, but I'm still not sure. But, I've neglected you long enough, so here I go!
We aren't really addressing the underlying issue, which is why America is such a violent society.
I suppose one valid perspective is that it takes a society that is already non-violent to actually enact laws aimed at reducing violent. So, we could argue that the strength of the calls for gun control is one indicator (but not an actual driver) of a society's trend toward non-violence.
Reading a biography of Merle Haggard recently, ran across an account of how he was on stage performing and saw way at the back of the crowd, it was an outdoor arena of some sort, his friend Bonnie being accosted by a man. Haggard let the band do its thing, left the stage and confronted the man with a gun. I'm sure that was never reported.
It apparently got reported somewhere in a biography.
But, if people really are serious about demonstrating that firearms work for self-defense, isn't it incumbent upon them to report it so they have the data they need?