Thursday, June 19, 2003

Looting the Iraqi National Museum

Here is an excellent post by Joe Conason regarding this subject. It's important to kick Andrew Sullivan in the teeth on this subject. Both he and Charles Krauthammer have disgraced themselves by giving credence to pro-Administration spin, spin not based in fact, and thereby currying abject favor with the Pentagon. Kick them, and kick them again hard!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Guns in the Home

An interesting critique of a study regarding the dangers of having guns in the home.

People should judge for themselves if they need a gun. If I ran a convenience market, I would own one, but since I don't, I won't. Even though studies criticized here may be flawed, the conclusion may not necessarily be wrong. A gun in the house increases the odds (as yet undetermined) of gunplay by children, ill-advised stands against drive-by shooters, and impulsive suicides, and if the danger posed by criminals isn't that large, best not to have them at all.

My sister Michelle has guns in the home, but I worry that her son Aaron might fall victim to a gun-related accident. My sister is fully trained and responsible with her guns, keeping them locked up and all, but tragedy is always a possibility. It's hard to balance low-occurrence risks - intruder vs. accident - which is more likely? Seems to depend mostly on an person's circumstances. I think most TV-addled people tend to exaggerate the danger of an intruder, and end up putting themselves in unnecessary danger. Besides, typical, free-lance Bad Guys usually have the advantage of surprise - better to flee, if one can, or fork over the dough, than fumble with the locks and get shot in the process.

Nothing helps assess a risk better than asking questions. How many people actually know:

1.) someone who confronted an intruder in their home?
2.) someone who confronted the intruder with a gun?
3.) what happened then?
4.) someone who had to make a citizen's arrest, or otherwise confront someone in public, with a gun, or other armament?
5.) someone who got shot in their home, as a result of an accident, or suicide attempt, of some kind?
6.) someone who got held up in public, with a gun or other armament?

(I need to invest some time and figure out how to allow commenters to contribute their two cents, like many bloggers do).

My only actual experience is with #6. I started following six strange guys dressed like ninjas in my neighborhood, and behold, they had a gun and held me up. In that case, if I had had a gun, it could have turned out very bad for me. But everyone has their own tales.


A fun little comment regarding blogging. Wasn't it Orwell who said that what the world needed wasn't new novels, but rather more almanacs filled with tables of accurate statistics? To me, that is something like the function of blogging - worm's eye views of the world. A way of assessing events large and small, with words and tables, and linking to others with similar interests. I worry that some people will use blogs just to parrot others, and repeat stale ideas (increasingly large chunks of the conservative blogosphere are like that), but that's just a hazard of life - there's always room for creative others, and presumably they will get attention. Only about 10% of anything is any good anyway.