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.

2 comments:

epi-lj said...

The attack in China seems pretty well-known, although perhaps that's just online. I always find it slightly ironic that it's always brought up as something that nobody knows about or that's been overlooked while these other attacks are getting all the press. Perhaps that's true for a lot of people, but it feels weird being repeatedly told that I probably don't know about this attack that I see mentioned almost as often.

That said, one fair comment that I see a lot is that while someone did attack a bunch of school children in China, and there were almost as many victims in each case, not one of the children injured in China actually died. So while it can be argued that people having guns doesn't make those people violent, the specific example that you brought up is certainly a very good example of the idea that people will be violent either way, but having a gun makes them much more successful in their violent goals.

Josh K. said...

"Antifragile" my new all time favorite word.

Thank you, also for the new book I must read.

:-)

epi-lj,

A gun only makes them more effect in their goal in direct proportion to how effective the deffenders are able to mount a deffense, and the only effect way to counter someone with a gun is with a gun.

Why?

I think of it this way;

Scaling & Force multipliers****:
•Unarmed vs. Unarmed = Skill*, luck** and to whom ever acts first.***
•Unarmed vs. Armed w/knife or other hand tool = skill or luck & the advantage goes to the Armed & to whom ever acts first.***
•Unarmed vs. Armed w/gun or other distance weapon = skill*, luck** & the advantage increases as the unarmed has to close distance with the armed before a defense can be initiated & to whom ever acts first***.
•Both equaly armed = skill*, luck** & advantage goes to whom ever acts first***.

Force Multipliers**** effecting all:
• Ambushes*** = Advantage goes to those who initiate them. Ambushes or the proverbial sucker punch are not a viable legal defensive strategy though.
• Physical & Mental Skills & abilities*; i.e., capacity to deffend or carry out actions taken = advantage goes to those physically & mentally stronger (Mentally disterbed has their own weakness & strenghts).
• Numbers**** = here the equations get complicated as the combination are infinate. Numbers of Assailants & defenders. How are they armed & unarmed. Skill levels & age. Youth are usually physicly weaker & mentaly not prepared for violence.

• Environment = advantage goes to whom ever uses it most effectively.

•Luck**= Sometimes you just get lucky!

My 2 cents,
Josh