28 June 2016

Consider This

Scott Adams has a unique and exceptionally insightful post on why the issue of "gun control" will never be solved by consensus in this country. Warning, the post might make you uncomfortable, because it asks you to think honestly. Excerpts:

On average, Democrats... use guns for shooting the innocent. We call that crime.

On average, Republicans use guns for sporting purposes and self-defense.


So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Let’s all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that’s their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.

So let’s stop acting as if there is something like “common sense” gun control to be had if we all act reasonably. That’s not an option in this case because we all have different risk profiles when it comes to guns. My gun probably makes me safer, but perhaps yours makes you less safe. You can’t reconcile those interests.

Our situation in the United States is that people with different risk profiles are voting for their self-interests as they see it. There is no compromise to be had in this situation unless you brainwash one side or the other to see their self-interest differently. And I don’t see anyone with persuasion skills trying to do that on either side.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with the premise of this essay: there will never be consensus among the voting public, so both sides should stop trying to change the other's opinion. Without any intervention, however, our society will continue devolving into a wild west existence where everyone is paranoid and just itching to pull the trigger. The only real solution for America is a benevolent dictator. Play nice and respect the law and all will be fine. Step out of line and say goodbye to your loved ones.

MtheL said...

Perfect summation in my opinion. In most settings, I'm the weirdo in the room - a strong Republican and social conservative, but an equally strong advocate of strong gun laws and restrictions. Thus, I personally fall in the mindset of the guns create more danger/less safety mentality - some of that comes from my parents never owning one, being bored/grossed out by hunting, and some from having a pediatrician wife who has seen too many gun injuries at her hospital (both accidental and purposeful) that should have been prevented. But on the flip side, I hang out with many, many gun-rights supporters. And their two-fold argument is always, self-defense and hunting. These people truly do believe the guns make them safer - and for some of them, that is certainly true (and for the others, they at least feel safer - even if their actual safety is debateable). But Adams is right, the two sides are so psychologically far apart, the debate really doesn't matter (and won't ever truly happen).

Sadly, I think a similar argument could be made about pro-lifers and pro-choicers. Most of the time, we are simply just talking past each other.