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petronius's Journal
petronius's Journal
December 16, 2013

There have been attempts, through means other than analysis of media

reports, to estimate the number of defensive ('good') gun uses that occur - these estimates vary pretty widely, and are plagued by the what-ifs (even in a real defensive use, there's no way of knowing what would have happened without the firearm being present). But it does seem clear that 'good' uses do occur, even if they're largely absent in the media.

For example, here's a source (see page 8) that reports 235,700 uses of firearms in defense against violent crime over 2007-2011, or ~47,000 per year. There's no way to know if the defensive attempt succeeded, or if it actually prevented death/injury that wouldn't have been prevented otherwise, but even the low estimates of defensive uses of firearms seem to be non-trivial.

If I had to guess, I'd say the the following:

  1. that the number of actual deaths prevented through the intervention of a firearm is smaller (perhaps by a lot) than the number of deaths (homicide, suicide, accident) that occur through the medium of a firearm;
  2. that the total number of 'bad' uses is greater than the total number of 'good' uses; and
  3. that the number of 'neutral' uses (not crime/accident, not defense) vastly outweighs the other uses put together...
December 12, 2013

I've been pondering that a little bit, and it reminds me of the old saying

about academia, that the politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small. On the internet in general you see so much energy (mental and emotional) expended in board/group wars and flamefests - battles for turf and message control and to get posts deleted, threads locked, opponents banned. Teams chosen, and enemies snarked at and antagonized.

I assume there are people who enjoy those things, but I imagine they generally would be in the troll and/or sociopath categories. For most people, it really doesn't look like a lot of fun. And there really aren't any stakes to be 'won'...

December 9, 2013

My impression* of full-fledged 'hunting' is that it involves a wide range of

activities extending long before and long after the hunt itself, for example:

  • Before: training physically for the rigor of the hunt, mastering the gear to be used, studying the environment and habits of the prey species;

  • During: finding, tracking, stalking the prey, killing it humanely, field-dressing, packing out;

  • After: butchering, storing, cooking, consuming, washing the dishes.
My respect for a hunter goes up proportionally to the degree that they make an effort toward and have an interest in participating in every aspect of the hunt.

However, I get the sense that there are some 'hunters' on these safaris who are simply transported to where they can take a shot, and then go home with a photo and a chunk of dead beast for the wall. All I can see there is that the pleasure is in the killing-an-animal part, and that's contemptible.

It's perfectly reasonable to acknowledge that there are positive spinoffs to this behavior (local food, money, and conservation) while still despising the actions of the so-called 'hunter.'

* I don't hunt, except in the ocean with a speargun, so take my opinion FWIW...

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Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

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