It was a comment I made on another blog that finally pushed me over the edge. At "Snowflakes in Hell", Sebastian highlighted a study by Don Kates, where Kates uncovers a correlation of gun technology available to English citizens, and murder rates: As gun technology improves, murder goes down; as gun prohibition increases, so does the murder rate.
This started a lively discussion about correlation; at one point, mikeb302000 stated:
Alpheus, You may feel that you’ve got a God-given right to self-defense and that in order to exercise that right you need to own guns. I can accept that, although I disagree, I can accept that you feel that way. But the rest, about correlation and causation is just double talk. You sound like a flim-flam carny hustler repeating the same old nonsense until you believe it yourself.
You said, “This is enough to destroy the claim that “more guns means more crime”!”
Well, here’s why that won’t fly. It’s about the comparison of states with more guns vs. states with fewer guns.It's hard to describe what it is about this comment that irritated me. Part of it is the statistician in me, annoyed at the misuse of statistics in an attempt to prove a claim that has been discredited over and over again. But, beyond statistics, is the libertarian in me, who desires to live free, without my rights being infringed upon--and here is a comment that attacked one of our core rights: our right to self-defense.
Thus, I responded as follows:
Mikeb302000, as I looked at your link, I noticed that the link mentioned “gun deaths”. I was wondering what the overall murder rate for Hawaii was like, and I was about to look it up…but I discovered that Joe Huffman beat me to it!
It doesn’t matter if “gun deaths” go down. What good is it to lower gun suicides, for example, if suicides by some other method go up, and the rate stays the same? We could accomplish that by a “Committing Suicide? Don’t use a gun! Use a rope instead!” advertising campaign…but such a campaign would be sick, and would do nothing to accomplish the true goal: to reduce the suicide rate overall.
I served my mission in England, and in my second month there, my companion and I were mugged (a very interesting experience I won’t go into…). About a week later, my companion was talking to someone who was a little gloomy, because a friend had recently died. When my companion asked how this person’s friend died, the answer was “while he was getting mugged, his head was bashed in with a hammer.”
Now tell me: what’s worse? Dying by being shot? Or dying by having your head bashed in with a hammer?
As for my feeling that I have a God-given right to self defense: it isn’t just God-given. It is woven into my soul by a combination of God, evolution, and my own desire to live–for myself, and for my wife and children and friends. When someone threatens my life, or the life of those I love, I will do what I can to preserve it. And those that expect me to give up my life for the “greater good” are evil in every sense of the word–because the “greater good”, to the extent that it exists, requires the preservation of the innocent.
In England, crime is ramping up. It isn’t just ramping up because guns are banned. It’s ramping up because the right to self-defense itself is infringed. You can go to jail if you instill fear in would-be criminals! If you defend your life and property–even if you are miles away from help–you can get a longer sentence than those who you shot! If you are attacked, you are told not to call “Help me, I’m under attack!” while doing your best to shield yourself with that briefcase you are carrying–you are required to yell “Call the police!”, as if the police could get to you in time to save your life…and as if you can expect that you will only be attacked when other people are around you, to call the police!
When you deny the right to self defense, you deny the right to life itself. You expose yourself as the Collectivist you are…and you side yourself with those Collectivists–the Robespierres, the Nazis, the Communists, the Socialists of the world–who sacrificed millions for the Greater Good, and in the end, created a living hell for those who weren’t executed.
Finally, it doesn’t matter that you provide statistics that show gun “control” works in a single location: For every level of murder and suicide, we can find cities, or even countries, with strong gun laws, and we can find cities with weak gun laws. That you can find a place with strong gun laws but low gun murder only confirms that there is no correlation–it doesn’t establish correlation! And before you can even talk about “causation vs. correlation”, you need to establish correlation!It is this comment that somehow pushed me over the edge. I don't fully understand why...but it seems to be a mixture of anger that someone would dare to attack my very existence; of the discovery of passion, that I really would like to change the world; and of accomplishment, that somehow I really could do this!
So now, I will join the fray of the blogosphere, and start digging out those random thoughts that are tucked away in notebooks, on envelopes, on business cards, and on napkins, if I could find the boxes where I tucked them away. After all, I just moved a couple of weeks ago!
It remains to be seen if what I post will be worthwhile...