I’ve met and talked to a lot of anti-gun activists. With perhaps one exception I always got the impression they were generally nice people. Misguided, sometimes ignorant, and frequently not very bright but they were nice and I wouldn’t have minded having one of them as a neighbor or socializing with them if the topic of guns didn’t come up.
That said we sometimes ascribe evil intent to the anti-gun people. In the case of certain politicians such as Chuck Schumer, the Clintons, and President Obama (none of which I have ever met or talked to) this may be true. But generally there is something else going on. The people just aren’t the “evil type”.
But of course just because someone is a “nice” person doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t inadvertently advocate for and enable something terribly evil all the while believing they were doing good. Like I said, a lot of these people aren’t that bright.
Lorne Gunter said something on this topic that struck me as highly likely (emphasis added):
There are around 340,000 violent crimes reported to police in Canada each year. Just over 2% of those (around 8,000) involve firearms. (There’s another reason to question the initial wisdom of the gun registry: Why was Ottawa expending so much time, effort and taxpayer money on such a tiny percentage of violent crimes, while doing comparatively little to prevent the 98% of murders, robberies, kidnappings, rapes and beatings not committed with a gun?)
Typically, gun crime is committed by street criminals using stolen or contraband weapons. The gun registry never had any effect on this class of thug. Some of the 8,000 violent gun crimes no doubt were committed by licensed owners using registered guns — people who might be tracked or even deterred using a registry system. But since no one in Ottawa ever had any idea how many people are in this latter group, they had no way of determining the usefulness of the registry.
A cynic might say that not knowing was the point all along. Backers of the registry knew it would produce very little impact, so they deliberately didn’t bother collecting data that would confirm the database’s uselessness.
I think the truth is less conspiratorial (and far more arrogant): Backers were so sure the registry would produce tangible benefits, they never thought they might need to show proof. After all, they were experts and they had thought it up, so how could it not work?
It was purely on blind faith that supporters of the registry — police chiefs, victims’ rights groups, women’s shelter operators and grandstanding politicians — assumed that making Canadians register their guns would magically cut down on violent crime.
Faith, in this context, means believing in something without, or even in spite of, evidence. It was, and is, blind faith motivating these people to continue advocating for gun control. As I have pointed out before and some of them have even agreed, they do not know, or care, how to determine truth from falsity.
As an engineer this is abhorrent to me. When I design a filter using an op-amp, a couple capacitors, and resisters I can predict the frequency response within a fraction of a decibel. But I still test it because it’s possible I made a mistake someplace or a part doesn’t meet the vendor’s specification that I used for the design.
When I design an algorithm for estimating the location of a phone based on the presence of visible Wi-Fi access points and cell towers I know pretty darned close what the accuracy is and how long it will take to do the calculations. But I still test it and there is a test team doing their best to shoot my design and implementation down.
I recognize that human behavior is far more complex and less predictable than electronics and software algorithms. But that just screams that tests have to be done on social experiments. Yet, these people are so stupid (or, granted, in some cases malicious) they not only don’t even bother trying to predict the results or think to do tests but cannot imagine why tests would be needed.
Unfortunately this faith is not confined to just gun control. It is my hypothesis that this same blind faith template would match most U.S. government program of the last 100 years.