Statistics do not apply to individuals

I’ve been thinking about making this blog post for a week or so and reading VIRGINIA DUNCAN, et al., v. XAVIER BECERRA has inspired me to actually do it.

This is the critical section that makes my desired point on a specific issue:

Generalizations like these are no more than generalizations, and personal, not expert, opinions.  Yet, for such an important context as the defense of self and loved ones, generalizations are dangerous.  Relying on generalizations like these may lead to a thousand underreported tragedies for law-abiding citizen victims who were supposed to need only 2.2 rounds and no more than 10 rounds to scare off criminal assailants.

In the context of answering questions about double taps and the Mozambique Drill. Founder and Chief Instructor at Insights Training Center, Greg Hamilton frequently tells his students, “Statistics do not apply to individuals”. Hamilton’s conclusion is, that most of the time such a practice will work. But you should use something that works all of the time. If someone needs to be shot you shoot until they no longer a threat or you lose your sight picture.

Some large majority, say 90% for argument’s sake, of the population is predominately heterosexual. Traditional male/female marriage works for them. But for those individuals who are not predominately heterosexual a only male/female marriage societal custom is a big problem.

The following is a brief list of other examples with the details left for the reader which also illustrate this point:

  • Insurance (health, life, car, property, etc.)
  • Place of residence (apartment, condominium, house, boat, RV, etc.)
  • Racial/gender/etc. inequality
  • Transportation (buses, trains, bicycles, cars, SUVs, trucks, etc.)
  • Wage rates
  • Working hours

It is predominately the political left which wants to control people based on the statistics of groups. Our constitution is written to protect individuals and encourages individuality. Therefore, the political left finds the U.S. Constitution an obstacle.

I had one admitted Marxist, in all seriousness, tell me:

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

If true, then that means since he has kept his body in pretty good shape for the last 30 or 40 years and there a half dozen other people that lived life of poor eating, cigarettes, and alcohol who need organ transplants the statistic tell us it is perfectly acceptable that the guy with the good organs should be chopped up into parts for the others.

Such a social policy would result (and has resulted) in terrible atrocities.

Yet, it appears to me that this use of “statistics” and the good of the many over the good of the few is an inherent part of the belief system of the political left.

Since, with a little thought, it is clear than Hamilton’s claim that “Statistics do not apply to individuals” is an irrefutable truth one can deduct another irrefutable truth.

As long as the political left uses statistics to arrive at public policy directed at individuals they will necessarily infringe upon the rights of the individual.

7 thoughts on “Statistics do not apply to individuals

  1. I didn’t learn this from my Probability and Statistics Professor, who was about as Leftist as they come, even 35 years ago, but probabilities are unitary for the individual. A 98 percent chance of it being not cancer doesn’t help the two people for whom it IS cancer.
    As for chopping up your Leftist friend, that is exactly what the Soviets did under Stalin. People were sent to the Gulag where uranium was refined into plutonium without protection, and nature takes its inevitable course. For those uranium workers, their health, strength, youth, and very lives belonged to the state, to be used for state goals, as the apparatchiks of the state saw fit. The same went for the lives of the gold mine workers in Kolyma.

  2. Using statistics is also easier on the standard operational politician as devising law is hard work and anyone who has ever dealt with politicians can quickly figure out they’re the laziest sort around, dossing in their cushy seats on the .gov gravy train.

    This is why they have large staff they’ve voted funding for, and unless they have some personal agenda (ala FineSwine and her assault weapon jihad), leave it to lobbyist PAC donors to write their legislation for them.

  3. Statistics don’t apply to individuals is correct, but individuals should learn from statistics to adapt their risk tolerance to what they are most likely to encounter rather than fantastical outliers. Being good at managing unknown contacts is a much better use of training time than a carbine class for most “civilian” defensive situations, since managing unknown contacts is much more likely to be key to surviving intact a malicious encounter rather than finding yourself as a one man Punisher fighting your way out of some Cartel drug house.

    In short, reality still applies to individuals, and statistics are one way of describing risk in reality. This is a much different attitude than the state using statistical analysis to control individuals or rights. Statistics are always a “descriptive” discipline rather than a “proscriptive” discipline, describing what happened, not some universal truth.

  4. There is a lot of misleading use of statistics and probabilities. Under ideal conditions, statistics and probabilities can be useful but rarely do ideal conditions apply and I doubt that few users understand the assumptions that are involved. Most just grab a stat package and plug number in and then use the results without giving it a second thought. This is rampant in research where significance at the 0.05 level is ‘proof’ and is a major fallacy of data-minding. Just look at the studies trying to show that coffee is either good or bad. Flip-flop…

    Risk is even more suspect. Policy makers want and demand hard data for which there is none. I was once worked on a project to determine the risk that a nuclear waste repository would remain intact for the next 10,000 years.

    We would be a lot better off if we could admit that we don’t really know. That certainly applies to self-defense since there are many unquantifiable factors that are involved. To try to apply statistics is an absurd exercise akin to estimating the safety of a waste repository for the next 10,000. Sure there are calculations that can be made, but they will all involve both unknown and unknowable unknowns that will not be detectable over a study involving a finite time of a few years.

  5. Or in other words: Statistics give a measure to our ignorance, not to our knowledge.

  6. The use of logic, reason, statistics or scientific method is pointless when dealing with the left. All they care about is POWER. Thus they will change the rules, rewrite history, alter scientific results and manipulate statistics ALL in the goal to achieve their agenda…..Power. And if none of the above works they will simply IGNORE reality and continue on their quest. It has become quite clear that rational free people CANNOT coexist with either islam or the commie left….as neither group wishes to coexist and seek to RULE with total impunity.

  7. And all this time I thought it was inevitable that I would be 0.023% injured by a firearm. Or possibly even 0.01% killed by one. Wait…does hammer bite count?

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