Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Forgiving Gun Violence

Although the U.S. national murder rate doesn't fluctuate too much and has been in a down trend for decades, the mass shootings seem to be getting worse. The suicidal crazies keep trying to one up each other.

I expect that given any population a certain percentage of people are going to crack and go on murderous rampages using one means or another. And there's not much that can be done about that. But it is still human nature to try to prevent such things.

Although I've recently become concerned by the number of mass shooting deaths in America, I'm consistently unconcerned by the probability of dying in a mass shooting event in the U.S. versus the rest of the world, including anti-gun places in the world. Sure the number of mass shootings has long been very high in the U.S., but any competent, objective person looking at stats only cares about percentages and isn't afraid to look at things like race. My preferred metric is number of guns versus population number versus number of mass shootings and then broken down by things like race and gender. In America, a lot of the shootings in the mass shooting statistics (4 or more injured or dead) are of the drive-by variety. In fact, around 75% of statistical mass shooters and shooting victims in America have the same minority skin color. And we all know that particular skin color isn't prevalent in a place like Norway (not yet anyway). I always find it amusing when people on the left talk about how peaceful very white or very Asian countries are compared to the much more diverse United States. It's so amusing because the left is very sensitive about racial issues yet they fail to see the irony in those kinds of comparisons lol.

Of course, with mass shootings in the U.S. always comes the gun control debate. The thing about debates is that in areas where people disagree there really is no right answer. Because even if some correlation is true, how to respond to the correlation to remedy it leads to more debate. Without a lot of experimentation, it is all just guessing.

People almost always disagree and argue about nonlinear systems, but agree on linear systems. Things involving predicting human behavior almost always tend toward the nonlinear. In nonlinear systems, the best guesses are probabilistic rather than deterministic. In linear systems there is no guessing needed. It's like the difference between calculating the next solar eclipse verses calculating the effects of CO2 on the atmosphere. One is straight forward and the other is a lot of probabilistic guessing. Figuring out complex nonlinear systems requires just letting them run.

The most recent massacre that happened in Texas was extra confusing for the nonlinear gun control debate because it shouldn't even have happened under current law if the government was competent. And the shooter was stopped by someone with the very rifle popularized by news media as the preferred weapon for mass shootings, the AR-15.

It would be interesting to see what kind of casualty rate difference there would be in mass shootings if powerful high capacity weapons were completely banned. But at the same time, it would also be interesting to see what kind of casualty rate difference there would be in mass shootings if a whole lot more people carried guns. For instance, a few years ago in 2014 there was a mass shooting attempt at Florida State University, but the gunman was shot before it became a national tragedy.

The reality is that most people who own guns never kill anyone. Because most people are only murderous mentally and murder is illegal, except in clear instances of self-defense or if the murdering is done by people in government. And people own guns for many reasons. Some people own guns simply because if you ever really need a gun you'll sure be glad to have one. Others like the sport of being good at shooting, some like collecting, some like the sense of self-defense. None of that stuff makes a person any more guilty than anyone else.

Gun owners are no more guilty because some people go on shooting sprees than car drivers are guilty because some people purposely drive vehicles into crowds of people. Unfortunately though, like most things, the gun control debate is more about guilt projection than solutions. One very simple solution for anyone authentically concerned about guns, other than moving to an anti-gun country, would be to construct a bulletproof home and never leave it except maybe in a bulletproof vehicle while wearing a bulletproof vest lol. The fact that very few people take the initiative to do that sort of thing goes to show that guns aren't really that big of a problem for most people even if they can be a big problem for those who are unlucky.

The gun debate in the U.S. is split left versus right. And that is a problem because partisan politics is not a realm for logic and reason; it's great for emotionally-driven guilt projection but not logic and reason. A legitimate debate on any subject requires logic and reason. My definition of logic and reason is striving for consistency and therefore truth without bias.

I almost feel like the left versus right was designed as an intelligence test to push smart people out of the realm of politics lol. The first problem with politics is that it is mostly just people fighting over who uses the force of government and who is subject to it. So each side projects its own lust for tyranny on the other side leading to all kinds of crazy contradictions and thus widespread cognitive dissonance. For instance, the right is anti fetal baby murder but pro guilty adult murder, while the left is pro fetal baby murder but anti guilty adult murder...unless the adult is a right winger of course lol.

And so the gun debate has the same kind of nutty contradictions. For instance, when it comes to terrorism the left doesn't want to prevent it by restricting immigration. But the left wants to restrict gun violence by restricting guns. The right on the other hand wants to prevent terrorism by restricting immigration. But the right doesn't want to restrict gun violence by restricting guns. Not a perfect comparison but then again politics is nonsense and so it doesn't matter lol. Then there are the weird racial contradictions when it comes to the gun issue that I already mentioned.

I already mentioned the drive-by variety mass shootings that make up a large percentage of the incidents. But even though that kind of mass shooting is almost always put into the stats to make the stats look much worse, those incidents are not what comes to most people's minds when they think of mass shootings. When people think of mass shootings in the U.S., they think of crazy people killing many random people. Those types of mass shooters tend to be terrorists or white beta males with poor prospects and a bunch of screws loose.

Despite the gripping headlines, most murders aren't due to mass shootings of any variety. And the reality is that homicide in general in the U.S. is a much bigger issue for black Americans than white Americans and also a bigger issue for Hispanic Americans than white Americans. The least murderous racial group in the U.S. is the Asians. Without stating the obvious, just look at these stats:

Now what causes that? Does poverty make someone a murderer? Is murderer a genetic trait? Is it certain cultures that breed murderers? Is it just lack of intelligence, IQ? Is it too much testosterone? Is it having nothing to lose? Is it all interrelated and self-feeding? Is it all just the ego script? That kind of stuff is too politically incorrect to even talk about, especially for the left. That's a problem for legitimate debate. And it's a problem when making accurate comparisons.

When you compare the gun homicide rate in the U.S. versus the number of guns per person, it is fairly impressive how non-murderous Americans are with guns. Depending on the estimate you look at, there are about 1.12 guns per person in the United States. There are around 3.6 gun murders per 100,000 per year. That's 3.6 murders for every 112,000 guns. Canada is even more impressive and less murderous with guns than the United States. In Canada, the gun murder rate is 0.38 gun murders per 100,000 per year and 0.3 guns per person. That's 1.26 gun murders for every 100,000 guns. But Canadians murder less than Americans anyway at 1.68 per 100,000 versus 4.88 in the United States. Yet, Canadians are mostly white followed by Asian. Therefore, a more accurate comparison would be the murder rate of white Americans, which is only 2.6 per 100,000. Still worse than Canada but not that much worse. And Canadians actually prefer murder by gun more than Americans.

Perhaps the white murder rate in the U.S. would go down to something like 1 murder per 100,000 if guns were eliminated. But maybe white Americans for whatever reason are just a bit more murderous than whites in a place like Ireland, which has very few guns and a 1.2 per 100,000 murder rate. A 2.6 murder rate per 100,000 versus something like 1.2 is a statistical difference so small that it is extremely debatable if taking away gun rights would be worth it even if it were undeniably known to be true that fewer guns equal fewer murders. And if you cherry pick states with gun friendly populations like New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Oregon, and Arizona, the homicide rate is approximately 1.6 per 100,000. That's even more negligible. Plus, it's hard to say all the crime that is prevented by guns in the hands of citizens. Perhaps it's all just a zero sum game in the big picture since form doesn't change the content in the collective mind.

In Honduras, there are only 0.062 guns per person, yet around 66 people per 100,000 are murdered by gun a year. If the balance of gun ownership were more equal in Honduras would there be less murders? In Japan there are only 0.006 guns per person and next to no gun murders, only suicides. But the Japanese aren't very murderous in general at only 0.31 per 100,000. So, I'd venture to say that even if there were 1 gun per person in Japan there would still be few murders. Yet, even if you compare Japan to Honduras, the difference in your chance of being murdered in either country is extremely low to still low. So, even in the worst places the murder rate isn't that bad.

But anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that murderous people murder and non murderous people don't and it is hard to say how correlated murder is with gun availability; yet murderous people do seem to prefer using guns when convenient. After all, guns have a kind of dramatic Hollywood appeal to them for any crazy person with fantasies of going down in flames. Nonetheless, say guns were completely outlawed in the United States and yet there were still plenty of suicidal mass murderers. Would there then be an epidemic of cyanide Kool-Aid poisonings or trucks driven into crowds instead? I'd venture to say there would be. Because if the unconscious guilt is there, it is going to find a way to come out in one form or another to sustain the ego's back and forth victims victimizers script. The script is written. In a world of forgivers everyone could have a gun or even a nuclear bomb and there would be no problem. This is not a world of forgivers though. This is a world of guilt projectors that rarely but sometimes take that guilt projection to the level of murder.

I can see how people who project guilt on guns and gun owners would want to see guns gone. But I can also see how people who don't project guilt on guns and instead only project guilt on how guns are used would want them unrestricted. I don't personally care about things like guns, drugs, prostitution, and so on, but I'd personally rather live in a society where all that kind of stuff is legal instead of criminal. Making stuff illegal makes criminality, and criminals don't let laws get in their way. The way I see it, if I want safety I'd rather the sanctuary of safety be of my own making, not a gilded, expensive prison set up by a well armed government. But that's just me and unlike people who believe in government, I don't believe in forcing my preferences on others.

It is worth noting that women murder way less than men, including by gun. And yeah, I know from the preaching by the left that stats like that are sexist seeing as there are zero differences between men and women lol. But since that is a positive stat for women, the left might let me off the hook for using it lol. But anyway, I've often thought an interesting compromise on the second amendment would be to propose that only women could have guns lol. Then women would be responsible if bad men got a hold of guns. I trust individual women regulating guns way more than I trust government. But regardless, good luck disarming anyone already well armed. That's the advantage of being armed to begin with and why I don't see much probable change with guns in the U.S. until the country is ready to start breaking apart. Consequently, instead of bitching and guilt projecting about guns I've just learned to accept them as part of America. Guns are just the American way and not a good place to be for gun haters.

Overall, if A Course in Miracles and forgiving is more important to you than political guilt projection, then guns are not an issue one way or the other. What will be will be based on what's in the minds of the people. You can work hard to change the form but it's mostly a waste of time because that doesn't change the content. The closest thing to politics in A Course in Miracles is the mention of the Golden Rule. That should tell you something. Politics and political debate is reflective of duality and separation. In this dualistic universe, taking sides is just part of the separation game, which is a losing game. Ego wants people to take sides. Spirit knows there's no point because every side is wrong. Ultimate truth has no side. The gun debate in terms of A Course in Miracles is a debate between people who want to protect bodies by eliminating guns and people who want to protect bodies by having guns. Seeing as eliminating guns would itself require guns (government force) it all comes back to defenses doing what they would defend against. That's the ego way and there's no real winning except by quitting the game through forgiveness.