Obviously inevitable

The following is what started out to be a comment in response to MikeB30200 here in my comments. When I got to about 500 words I decided it was time to make it a post. What you see below is the result.

The short backstory is MikeB302000 claimed:

“gun violence is an inevitable part of there being guns in the society”

And let me add, the more guns the more gun violence.  What’s so hard about that?  You say you want proof, Linoge.  I say you’re just breaking balls. 

Without proof, do you say the statement is false?  You and Joe are the big intellects around here, right.

Linoge followed up with:

If you cannot prove something, it does not exist.  Period.  Full stop.  End of story.

MikeB302000 appealed to me with:

Joe, what say you?  Do you agree with that latest pomposity?

Is Linoge’s smoke blowing around here going to be reciprocated? Or is this the sticking point, the point at which you have to part ways with your nastier and more prolix buddy?

And now my response:

In the general case Linoge overstated things. Something may exist without proof of it’s existence being available.

For example; 100 years ago we did not have proof of planets orbiting stars other than our own. The existence of those planets did not rely on our having proof of them. Absence of data about the existence of something does not mean there is no existence.

But in the specific context in which he said the statement in question there is a significant body of data. This data appears to contradict MikeB302000’s claims of fact. Mike appears to be unwilling or unable to supply data that supports his assertions. In order to validate his claims he has to do two or more of the following: 1) Demonstrate the data supplied by Linoge is false; 2) Supply alternate data which contradicts his data; 3) Show that the conclusion drawn by Linoge from the data is incorrect.

Hence, in the case of no data, existence or claims of fact are questionable at best. But in the case of a great body of data claims of existence must match the data or the claims are questionable at best and quite likely false.

Linoge has been saying MikeB302000 presents no data (or the data is of extremely poor quality) to support his claim “the more guns the more gun violence”.

In a strict reading of MikeB302000 I agree that it is obvious if there were zero guns in existence there would be no violence committed with guns. But it does not necessarily follow that violence continues to increase once the number of guns increases above some number. For example, suppose everyone in society had one handgun and all these handguns were identical. If everyone were to suddenly have duplicates of that gun it would seem to be relatively strong claim to say the violence would not increase with this doubling of the number guns in society.

If MikeB302000 were to defend his claim “more guns the more gun violence” is obvious I think his is going to have to restrict the domain of the claim somewhat. Which will then still leave open the response of, “So what? Violent crimes committed with GUNS is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the TOTAL violent crime/murder/injury/etc. rate.”

Once he gets pushed into the total violent crime rate discussion the obviousness of his claims disappears completely and a substantial body of data is needed to support the claims. At that point Linoge is completely correct, if MikeB302000 doesn’t have proof then his claim of fact, in essence, does not exist.

If I were to wear the anti-gun activist hat for just a moment I would say this and might be able to get some hesitant agreement with the pro-gun activists:

Since a zero gun society is not realistic the first order legislative and enforcement question becomes, “What is the optimal number and/or distribution of firearms in society that can be realistically achieved?”

But the anti-gun activists do not make an attempt at answering such a nuanced question. The demands for “ridding society of illegal guns”, as in MAIG, is a crude attempt at answering that question without considering the “realistic” part. It presumes the answer is to remove all guns from the hands of  “people for who the law says it is illegal to possess firearms”. The problems with this are many:

  • It totally ignores the Constitutional issues or at best presumes all restrictions are permissible until explicitly prohibited by the courts. This is contrary to other specific enumerated rights and is incompatible with a free and just society.
  • Governmental restrictions must be enforced and resources are limited. What is the proper distribution of those resources between punishing individuals who commit violent acts and enforcing restrictions against gun ownership and non-criminal use?
  • There is no factual basis current law even comes close to defining the optimal distribution. For example the law denies firearms to a black man convicted in the deep south fifty years ago of possession of a deck of cards containing nude photos of white women. And in another example it denies firearms to a petite woman living in a bad neighborhood or remote area if she was convicted of tax evasion 30 years ago.
  • The first approximation of optimal distribution of firearms by anti-gun activists is usually to allow firearms only for the police and the military. But restriction of firearms to only certain government employees presumes government employees will only use the guns for the benefit of society and society will never need to defend itself from the government. If the 20th Century is any indicator then government actors are a much greater threat to innocent human life than individual actors. Based strictly on the number of injuries and deaths to innocent people due to criminal acts committed by both government and individual actors we would be better off forbidding government employees from firearm possession and allowing all others free access.

  • Presuming an optimal distribution of firearms in society could be defined by the legislature it may not be realistic to achieve this distribution. For example we have legislatively restricted the recreational use of certain drugs but have had near zero success in reaching the stated goals. And furthermore the unintended consequences of the restricts can be argued to be worse than the original problem.
  • Restrictions on the accessibility of firearms and/or creating penalties for misuse has the potential to create a “chilling effect” on legitimate and beneficial use. Even if the Constitutional issues of a chilling effect on the exercise of a fundamental right are totally ignored the legislature must be careful to reduce the misuse at a greater rate than the beneficial use. For example, supposed licensing and registration of gun owners and firearms reduced the number of murders committed with a firearm went from 10,000 per year to 8,000 per year. But if the defensive use of firearms decreased from from 1,000,000 to 500,000 per year and the number of deaths committed with the use of knives, clubs, fist, and feet increased by 5,000 per year then society is worse off.

The anti-gun owner activists will never find common ground and will seldom even find agreement on the smallest detail with the pro-gun owner activists. This is because, for the most part, they are working with completely different data set. The dataset of the anti-gun activist is primarily composed of the victims of criminal and negligent use of firearms. This is a subset of the total data available. The pro-gun owner activist dataset includes the Constitutional, defensive, recreational, and sometimes philosophical issues. What is trivially obvious to the anti-gun owner activist becomes at best a murky issue and frequently clearly false.

Update: I should have also included this from Brady Campaign lawyer Dennis Henigan:

I am not arguing here that higher rates of gun ownership cause higher rates of crime, violent crime, or homicide. Such causation is difficult to show because so many other factors bear on the incidence of crime. For instance, simple cross-national comparisons of gun availability and crime do not control for the degree to which various countries impose legal restrictions on firearms. It also is difficult to sort out whether high levels of gun ownership lead to high crime rates or whether high crime rates lead to high levels of gun ownership.

If even the Brady Campaign is not convinced that higher rates of gun ownership cause higher rates of crime then what does that say about people like MikeB302000?

23 thoughts on “Obviously inevitable

  1. Mike: “the more guns the more gun violence. What’s so hard about that?”

    The places in the USA with the highest gun ownership per capita have the lowest rates of violent crime, including gun crime. We have numbers on this stuff. We’re a civilized country.

    So, what’s “so hard about that” is that it can trivially be proven to be 100% pure bullshit, using numbers everybody accepts as valid. And it’s not even that there’s no correlation; the correlation is very strong, and it’s exactly the opposite of what you claim. This as much a matter of opinion as the law of gravity, and more trivially proven than evolution or the fact that the Earth is a sphere, or that it moves around the sun.

    By now, Mike knows this stuff. He’s been talking to gun people too long to plead ignorance, too long even to plead stupidity. He’s lying and he knows it. The thing is, he does sincerely believe his side is right. He thinks lying is an honorable, noble, moral thing to do, when you do it to help the state gain power over individuals.

    He’s a repulsive little piece of work, our Mike.

  2. Technically, the Earth is an oblate spheroid, not an actual sphere.

    …he said, while fixing the tape on his glasses.

    But it is sure as hell not flat, is the thing here.

  3. * Violence is an unfortunate characteristic of humans;

    * “gun violence” is a polemic crafted entirely for the purpose of placing blame on a political enemy for an innate quality of humans; it’s meaning is adjusted for the convenience of the polemicist;

    * to prove that guns cause violence in humans, it’s necessary to prove that violence did not exist, or was not prevalent before personal firearms.

    No disarmer will admit to any of these points. First, it’s impossible, and anyway, it would require removing the argument from the political arena. The whole point is to oppress ideological enemies by harassing them with oppressive government. This can only be done politically. If “guncontrol” was about safety or crime, it would have been abandoned decades ago for the simple fact that it is ineffective at enhancing safety or changing human nature.

  4. “gun violence is an inevitable part of there being guns in the society”
    “And let me add, the more guns the more gun violence.”

    Self protection using guns is an inevitable part of there being guns in the society.
    Let me add, the more guns the more self protection using guns.

  5. And of course they must make up metrics out of whole cloth like “Gun Death” to somehow get their false assumptions to appear to add up. Such people somehow lead us to believe that the Dark Ages were fruitful, peaceful times because the “Gun Death” in such times was zero.

    Of course, Joe I question your logic on even bothering. MikeB302000 is neither a sane, nor rational person. I would go even further to point out that he likely cares little about gun laws or US Politics. What he cares about is attention.

    While a very interesting dissection of the thought process in the “The anti-gun owner activists” I feel your target has a similar vein as when people attempt to link people like Jared Loughner, or Tim McVey to “All Gun Owners”. First I will note that my examples are a bit extreme, and while Mr. Bonomo openly admits to skirting the gun laws of the United States back when he lived here, I have no proof that he is a murderer like the above examples.

    What he IS is a person who’s mental process is a drastic deviation from the average person. (Why would somebody want to garner attention for being anti-social, illogical, and short-sighted?) He is also a total loner, who doesn’t even meet socially with the other anti-social denizens whom he shares his blog with, nor does he have any relationship with anti-gun lobby groups like the Joyce foundation or the Brady Campaign. Even the division of the UN he works for has no relation to the UN bodies that talk of small-arms bans.

    All above is simply support for rational that without tying such behavior (which is a possibility, all of the above statements can be found equally true for various MAIG, Brady, or Joyce members and directors) to recognized and respected anti-rights activists, and the Politicians and reporters that support them, even such a brilliantly written post only shows that a mentally troubled loner who is desperate for attention is not a rational person.

    Its little more than troll feeding, and arguing with somebody who not only poses no threat to our rights but CANNOT pose any threat, ever.

    There are lots of bigger fish, I would respectfully request you go after them.

  6. You are right – in the more general sense, I should have said, “If you do not have factual evidence of something, you cannot prove its existence.” In both cases, though, Mike’s hypothesis fails.

  7. We need to stop using the phrase “unintended consequences.” Where the eventuality of negative externalities to bad public policy are known and warned against, those who insist against all reason on proceeding nevertheless ought to be charged with it and have the consequences hung around their necks, very much like that sailor who killed the lucky albatross had that bird hung around his.

    You were warned. You’ve got no excuse now saying, “But I didn’t know!” And we in opposition shouldn’t grant quarter in the matter.


  8. Why dignify MikeB8675309 with any response at all?

    He will never concede any point. He will never acknowledge any fact that refutes his sophomoric views. He either lacks the honesty and intelligence to find valid data and rationally interpret it, or he is fully aware that he is lying and misrepresenting the facts.

    And either way, you are wasting your time every time you respond to him.

    He is an attention whore, a troll. Attention bolsters him. So ignore him, and ban him from commenting. And every time he makes up a new name to post under in his futile quest to avoid being ignored as a worthless irritant, ban that name too.

    I doubt he has the brains to take the hint, or the manners to heed it, but we can save ourselves some wasted time by hiding his drivel from the ongoing dialog.

  9. Utopian Myth – make all firearms disappear and all will be wonderful in the world.

    If you take away one object that can be used to harm another person, people will use another object.

    Take away access to a firearm (through various means), people will use another object, like a machete.

    Take away access to a machete (through various means), people will use another object, like a brick.

    See where this is going: Eventually if people had no access at all to any objects, people would revert to using their bare hands if they chose to act out against other people.

    People choose to use objects, objects do not use people. People choose to use objects for good or bad. Objects cannot be good or bad, they are simply objects.

    Why some people cannot comprehend this simple concept is still quite a mystery.

  10. Let me take it one step further: Assume, for the sake of argument, that MikeB is correct in that increased gun control does result in a decrease in “gun crime.”

    With only a few exceptions, even the harshest critics of John Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime” studies will only go so far as to say that there is no correlation between increased gun control and overall violent crime. What does that mean?

    It means that when gun control is enacted and there is a decrease in “gun crime”, other forms of violent crime actually increase at a rate approximately equal to the decrease in “gun crime.”

    How does exchanging one form of violent crime for another form in equal measure create any benefit for society? Additionally, when making that exchange, you are taking the most effective tool for force equalization from the law abiding, in addition to the criminals (assuming it actually takes it away from the criminals at all).

    Gun control actually enables criminals, by making it harder for the law abiding to resist them.

  11. This whole conversation assumes that there are situations (some specific crime level threshold or accident rate) in which the wholesale infringement, or even the outright violation, of an inherent human right is acceptable or even preferable.

    That’s have that debate first. If the answer is “yes” then we can have this conversation.

    The U.S. was founded on the novel idea that Man could rule himself, hence certain things like worship, communications, bearing arms, etc., are to be none of the government’s business. We are in charge. We posses those rights inherently, by the mere fact of having been born human, therefore no one has the right to infringe on them. Therefore this entire discussion is moot.

    I’m with Mark Alger on this one, too. I believe the burden of proof regarding the assertion that the bad consequences of rights violations are “unintended”, lies upon the user of the term. Chaos is a common tool of the left. The fact that there is more of it in places dominated by the left never seems to dissuade them. They just keep demanding more. Sure; there are the perpetrators verses the duped, but those in leadership or positions of influence know exactly what they’re doing.

  12. Joe,

    Well you explained that very well.

    I kind of disagree with you on this: “The anti-gun owner activists will never find common ground and will seldom even find agreement on the smallest detail with the pro-gun owner activists.”

    I believe both groups (for the most part) don’t want mentally ill people to have guns.

  13. How do you define “Mentally Ill”, Ubu?

    I would agree with your statement, but I question your definition. So much I wonder if we are speaking the same language.

  14. The reason I spent the time addressing MikeB302000’s comments was because he did make a couple valid points. Linoge did overstate his position and if there were zero guns there would be zero violence committed with guns.

    If I were to completely ignore valid points, even by a troll, it enables those that make them to justify their position and perhaps sway people to their conclusions.


    Until we have a Supreme Court ruling that a proposed law must pass “strict scrutiny” in regards to the Second Amendment we need to defend against “rational basis” claims.


    You are right–I was pushing the envelope a little with that statement.

    Where we will probably part ways or at least have an interesting discussion is over the following points:

    1) As Weer’d asks, “How do you define mentally ill?” How do we avoid a slippery slope such that a mild depressive episode ends up disqualifing someone for exercising a specific enumerated right for life?
    2) You suggest untreated paranoid schizophrenia. How could we track/enforce treatment years after taking possession of a firearm?
    3) If someone is mentally ill to such a level as to be unfit to possess a firearm aren’t they also unfit to possess a can of gasoline and a book of matches?

  15. “3) If someone is mentally ill to such a level as to be unfit to possess a firearm aren’t they also unfit to possess a can of gasoline and a book of matches?”

    Or simply drive down a 2-lane road ar 30+ MPH in a 6,000 lb vehicle only feet from my vehicle and pedestrians on the sidewalk?

  16. Ah, now you are asking questions that could best be answered by a professional. I know someone who’s a professor at a medical school and has written several books on neuroscience that I could ask to come post here. (I don’t know if he would, but I could ask.)

  17. To assert that “the more guns, the more violence” is to assert that firearms are never, not once, not one single time ever, ever, ever, used to stop criminal violence initiated upon the innocent. Without any data whatsoever, such an assertion is absurd on its ass…uh, face.

  18. Saying Linoge “overstated” his position is total bullshit. It’s spinning the story in his favor. Even he, and I ask you how often have you seen him back up and admit anything, even he admitted he should have said, ” blah blah blah.”

    What he did was make a pompous declaration thaw was factually wrong. A “lie” you guys would have called it if I’d said it. But, now you say he “overstated his position.” That’s nice.

    The only thing that exceeds your paranoia and insecurity is your loyalty to one another.

  19. I think there is about a 50-50 chance he read past the first paragraph. But I think there is about 1% chance he understood anything past the second paragraph and a 0% chance he understood the entire thing. This is someone who says “I couldn’t care less about truth and falsity or causation and correlation, or all that other double talk the pro-gun crowd like so much.” I’m pretty sure beyond the first paragraph his eyes glazed over and he made up his mind what he wanted to believe was what was written.

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