Via email from Mike B. (AlphaMike in Idaho, not the other one) I received a link to this episode of Freakonomics: How to think about guns.
It starts out with a different question about mass murders than the media and most politicians, “Why are there so few?” With 300+ million people in the U.S. and a similar number of guns (not to mention many other ways of being able to commit mayhem and murder) why is it so “far out on the tail” that these incidents occur? Think about that. Typically it is about two mass murders (4+ people killed) a year with guns. Out of 300 million people? Only one out of 150 million people per year go nuts enough to kill a bunch of people? That’s pretty amazing if you think about it.
- “Gun buybacks are one of the most ineffectual public policies that have ever been invented in the history of mankind.”
- “I think people are confused with respect to how dangerous a particular gun is. If I’ve done my calculations right, any particular handgun in the United States will kill a person about once every 10,000 years.”
- “In order to prevent one homicide in a year, you would need to get 10,000 guns brought back in a gun buyback. Okay, but the thing is you don’t get 10,000 guns, and they’re not the guns that are used to kill people. So the typical gun buyback program I would guess saves approximately maybe 0.0001 lives.”
- “But why is it in the context of guns we don’t think of guns as deterrents, we think about guns as, being this, causing the violence. And the idea here comes out of Canada’s book, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, which honestly I’ll say is one of the best books I’ve read in my life, and if it’s still in print I would just encourage people to go find it. It’s fantastically insightful.”
- “Anyone with any sense looks at the current political climate, thinks about the kinds of proposals that are being made and accepts the fact that none of these proposals are going to have any real impact at all.”
The recommended book is available via Amazon:
It is next in my queue after I finish The Android’s Dream (son James thinks it is awesome and I’m liking it a lot).