, 13 tweets, 3 min read
The big underlying problem with the mania for "background checks" and "red flags" is that the dataset of mass shooters is so tiny (thank God!) that meaningful inferences are hard to draw. Every attribute displayed by any of them is also displayed by countless harmless people.
This is true even if you factor in the vastly larger number of mass shooters the media prefers to ignore because they're not politically useful. Unfortunately, the hunger for a placebo is overwhelming at the moment - Something Must Be Done.
The danger of placebos is that they make politicians feel useful and generate a little positive news coverage in the short term, but they don't actually work. That makes the situation worse because the hysteria grows more intense.
Today you're told that only an extremist would oppose the placebo measure. It's such a small imposition on the people, and we MUST DO SOMETHING. Why are you fretting over how effective it will be? Something is better than nothing!
Tomorrow you'll be told the problem is so much worse than anyone previously suspected because the placebo didn't work. You'll be be told that only extremists would oppose the far more draconian measures that never would have gotten through before the placebo was tried.
We will be pushed down the "path of least resistance" until all resistance is gone. Resistance is a muscle that grows flabby when it's not vigorously exercised. The little placebo measures eat away at your rights because you're accepting the premise of micromanagement.
"Why are you opposing these small measures that compromise your rights and dignity in such a tiny way?" you're asked at first. Later, after they don't work, the bait-and-switch happens: you can't complain about the draconian measures because you accepted the placebos.
Of course everyone would like to find a magic button that switches off horrifying acts of violence. We just need to make the background checks a little deeper (even though most of the killers seem to have little trouble passing them, or steal their weapons from those who do.)
The problem is that once you accept the notion that the magic button is out there somewhere, you're giving the political class an unlimited warrant to find it at all costs. The hunt grows more crazed as the placebos fail to work. It happens all the time in Big Gov politics.
The choice is not between "doing something" and "doing nothing because you don't care about people dying, you monster." NEVER accept that framework, EVER, on any issue. We have been led to the brink of societal disaster with such arguments.
Demand, always, that only demonstrably effective proposals consistent with individual rights must be considered. Political sugar pills are worse than useless. They make things worse because they make it harder to see the real problems clearly and discuss effective solutions.
As they say in the computer world: Garbage in, garbage out. Today's useless placebo proposals become junk data that influences future government decisions - all the more so because the dominant political class will never admit it was wrong.
When politicians demand you give them the power to DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, RIGHT NOW, you're not agreeing to let them test a hypothesis. You're agreeing to pretend their scheme worked, forever, no matter how obviously it fails. /end
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