Friday, December 14, 2012

Not even in the top 10

This week (so far) there have been two mass murders, and both murderers used guns. Both murderers were men in their early 20s. Both attacked sites where there was a concentration of people--one a mall, the other an elementary school. The sites shared a reasonable expectation that few of the potential victims would be armed themselves.

In another person's reaction to these horrifying events, that person linked the interesting information that the United States isn't even in the top ten list of countries by firearm-related death rate.

What you may not know is that a man with a knife also attacked an elementary school. In China. Violence is the problem, not the tools used.

* * * * *

I'm reading (well, I'm listening to-due to an attack of vertigo reading is difficult so I bought a couple of audio books for my commute) Nassim Taleb's "Antifragility," the thesis of which is that the opposite of fragility isn't resilience but some other state that benefits from chaos and change, and that humankind's attempts to damage-proof itself and its environment are causing more weakness and fragility. I think eventually the author will start directly advocating for learning to be antifragile, although he is aware that some antifragile people benefit by the damage done to fragile others and condemns that form of antifragility.

The concept of antifragility intersects interestingly with the current tension between the helicopter parent movement and the free range parent movement. I'll write more as I get further through the book.