Monday, April 21, 2014


I have a theory about why the federal government invests so much time in promoting stupid solutions to problems that don't exist.  Take the cries for the banning of firearms because there are "more and more" school shootings.   This is despite the fact that, statisticaly, millions more men,, women and children die in car accidents, diving into shallow swimning pools, stay home for the hurricane party, or have a cement block dropped on their car from an overpass.  And in fact, violence against school children isn't increasing.  Although the news media is indeed paying more attention to it.

It does indeed make good newscopy,  and it  gets votes (at least from people who can't count).  But I have another theory: the lottery.

In their "taxes on stupid people," as the Italians call lotteries, state governments enrich their coffers with the spare change of the middle class, and the grocery money of the poor ( I leave the rich out because I'm assuming that if you are rich, you didn't get there by buying lottery tickets).  They are able to do this because people ignore the common sense probability factors of it.  Every once in a while, when I am standing in line in back of someone purchasing a lottery ticket at a gas station, I say, "Before you buy that....I'd like to offer you a million dollars if you get hit by lightning today."  When they look at me funny, I say, "Well, the odds are better."  Usually, to that, I get a smile and the answer, "Well, someone has to win!"

And someone on earth has to get hit by lightning every day, too.  One in 10,000, as opposed to one in upwards of 10,000,000 lottery winners per day or week.

But back to the gun control issue:  We have convinced millions of people that they should waste their money on things that have virtually zero chances of happening.  Once you convince people of that, I guess it's a short walk to "Let's ban guns, even if banning guns increases people being shot, because virtually zero people get shot."

 Or even "Let's keep abortion safe and rare," when we know the only "wire hanger abortion" ever really documented since time immemorial occurred in 2009, and since ghastly abortionists such as Kermit Gosnell and Robert Alexander were finally confronted about their unsanitary and dangerous procedures (I should note, for those of you who don't follow the links....Gosnell is serving a life term in prison for killing 8 "born alive" babies, and ran a filthy clinic.  Robert Alexander just ran a filthy clinic, but it was by no means safe for women undergoing procedures there).  AND abortion has done anything but decrease in number since 1973.

The "statistics" cited in an argument depend entirely on politics; not only on the politics of those seeking to change the world to their way of doing things (like the Obama administration insisting most people who've signed up for Obamacare are young and healthy); but on those who have backs to scratch and favors to return.  Say Representative X is a Republican from Michigan, elected essentially by the Tea Party in 2012, known to be friendly to libertarian ideals.    He has pledged to save the "Second Amendment" and to make sure a gun control law isn't voted in.  But wait!  Representative X owes a favor to Representative Y, Democrat from New York and NOT a Tea Party favorite at all, because Representative Y agreed to withdraw his support from a relatively unpopular (even among democrats) entitlement last year "And you can do something for me next year."  Rep X's term is running out, and he's already been discarded by the Tea Party due to other favors he's paid back, so he doesn't expect to win re-election with their help anyway.  But he can get on the national bandwagon about "Save our children who are all being gun down by innocent people who are being controlled by their guns!", get some national notoriety that might drum up votes for a future run, and pay his friend back, all at the same time.  In doing so, of course, he will embrace the lie that there are more, instead of fewer, school shootings and mass murders....even though he comes from the very state that still holds the record for a mass school murder.  And in that one, no gun shot was fired.

It can be very difficult, given those examples, to figure out who is telling the truth, if anyone, about statistics. That's why, while I continue to read and evaluate statistics concerning the things I'm interested in, if I want to explain my beliefs, biases, and choices, I try to stick to logic and common knowledge.  

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