Using Water As A Weapon Of War

Herschel Smith · 03 Aug 2014 · 9 Comments

Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water…… [read more]

David Frum + Guns = Chicken Little

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

Frum again.

He says he’s working on a full response to my earlier post, but he provides an “appetizer portion” here. He offers a new anecdote of a gun accident, the statistic that there are more than 600 fatal gun accidents per year in the U.S., and an assertion that guns are not regulated like other consumer products.

First of all, the anecdote is a little bizarre. According to the story released by the police department — and I called to confirm — an old man tossed his coat on top of a gun while it was on a dresser, and the gun went off. The sergeant I spoke with said he didn’t think the gun fell to floor; it just went off when the coat hit it. The sergeant said the gun was “not an antique,” but an older-style revolver. Older revolvers are often not designed to be dropped without firing, but they usually have pretty heavy trigger pulls. If this is the way events really unfolded, it’s a one-in-a-million occurrence.

Earlier this week on Twitter, Frum said that people who say guns are safer than cars must not know what a denominator is. So let’s do the math on these 600 fatal accidents. Somewhere between 35 percent and 47 percent of Americans have a gun in the home; to be generous let’s go with the low number and say 100 percent have a car. Back-of-the-envelope math indicates that 600 fatal gun accidents would be the equivalent of 1,700 car fatalities if we’re assessing the average risk of owning one versus the other. There have been more than 30,000 car fatalities almost every year since the mid-1930s.

This is becoming boring.  So let’s grant the fact that older revolvers didn’t have something like the transfer bar in modern day Rugers.  Fine.  Still, unless the hammer was cocked, I don’t believe this story.  It’s a tall tale.  I don’t care that it was “confirmed” by a phone call.  Without the hammer being cocked, there is no mechanism to make this happen.

However, let’s go ahead and set the framework for Frum.  It is a gun.  It is not safe.  Got it?  That’s why we have rules like knowing your backstop, observing muzzle discipline, observing trigger discipline, securring it from children, and so forth.

It is not safe similar to the fact that automobiles aren’t safe, operating power equipment isn’t safe, and any of a host of activities in which we engage daily aren’t safe.  It isn’t safe to cross the street in my city on foot, even when you have the right-of-way.

Any activity can be made safer by observing the rules and having proper discipline.  The fact that Frum keeps trotting out anecdotal evidence of people who do not observe these rules only means that he thinks we’re stupid.  Rather, it is Frum who embarrasses himself because he can’t understand the ameliorative effects of good behavior.  Or he doesn’t want to because of his long, dark experiment into progressive ideology.

Prior: Further Proof That David Frum Is An Idiot

Further Proof That David Frum Is An Idiot

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

From The Daily Beast:

David Hemenway, the author of this debunking, traces the overstatement of defensive gun uses to an inherent statistical problem: with very rare events (like defensive gun use), seemingly small sampling errors can lead to very large overstatements of incidence.

Say that survey findings are a 1% overestimate of the true incidence. If the true incidence were 40%, estimating it at 41% might not be a problem. But if the true incidence were .2%, measuring it as 1.2% would be six times higher than the true rate, and if the true incidence were .1%, measuring it at 1.1% would be a teen fold overestimate.

How might this work in practice? Hemenway offers a funny example.

In May 1994, ABC News and The Washington Post conducted a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of over 1,500 adults. One question asked: “Have you yourself ever seen anything that you believe was a spacecraft from another planet?” Ten percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. These 150 individuals were then asked, “Have you personally ever been in contact with aliens from another planet or not?” and 6% answered “Yes.”

Extrapolating to the U.S. population as a whole, we might conclude that 20 million Americans have seen an alien spacecraft, and 1.2 million have been in actual contact with beings from other planets.

Frum then goes on to undercut his case.  He says “I wouldn’t want to suggest that defensive gun use against real dangers (i.e, not carrying a shotgun to investigate raccoons rooting through the trash) is quite so rare as contact with extra-terrestrials. But it’s rare enough that conscientious people should think very hard about exposing themselves, their children, and their loved ones to the large and amply documented dangers of a weapon in the house.”

“Real dangers,” he says.  A Raccoon isn’t the animal that would have immediately come to mind.  Frum lives a sheltered life.  I have chased many of them away myself, and although I have multiple guns, I live in an area where discharging firearms into the yard is illegal.  I just went for a baseball bat.  Some other animals might be bears, wolves, hogs (and more hogs), mountain lions, or maybe gangsters in the inner cities of Detroit, Chicago or L.A.  My own son was hired to kill coyotes by a church in Anderson, S.C., because the animals were so aggressive that the congregants couldn’t even get into the building to attend worship.  He used … here it is … guns.

Frum also behaves as if guns are dangerous even to the trained person.  It’s as if he should be opposed to the use of cars because people cannot be taught to drive.

Over-sampling statistically insignificant data is the problem according to Frum.  Here’s what I think.  We’ve oversampled Frum’s brain and we’ve reached the very end of its usefulness a long time ago.  His experiment into progressive ideology has caused him to be even more puerile than he was before.


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