May. 26th, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
Gun advocates say that carrying a gun could save your life? Is that right? In a word, yes, because there were 15,696 murders in 2016, meaning that  gun might have been helpful. On the other hand, we don't know how many murders were avoided because there were guns, but given the rate of murders, the number is not likely to exceed 15,696. Most murders take place where one person has clear superiority over the other because people aren't stupid. 

That number is 30k murders or attempted murders over a population of 325 million, or 1/10,000 of a chance of getting murdered per year. Statistically, then, you stand a reasonable chance of getting murdered in 3-6 thousand years.

Can a gun save your life? Yes.
Is it likely to save your life? No.

My numbers above might be wrong and or this may just be a bad analysis. Let's assume that carrying prevents 9 out of 10 possible deaths. Now, you only have 1/1000 chance of getting murdered every year, and you should expect to live 3-6 hundred years before you get murdered. That still mighty low.

Now, I'm not saying is that there's no need for guns ever. I'm not here to dismiss reality. There are some dangerous jobs out there where being armed matters, and having everyone know that you're armed matters. This creates risk for any criminal, and so the criminals choose less risky behavior for better rewards. There's also some bad neighborhoods out there. It only takes a few bad neighbors to make everyone unsafe. 

I believe that carrying is only one element in effective self-defense, and not necessarily the most important one. Your best self-defense is almost always a combination of mutually supporting precautions rather than a single solution, with your solution tailored to your context, based on the problem that you are attempting to solve. All elements of self-defense also come with downsides, be it training, expenses, or unintended consequences. Because a gun is lethal, by design, its very presences must increase hazard. (If it didn't increase hazard, it would be useful, would it?) And using a gun with insufficient training would also increase hazard, or at least provide less self-defense than your assumed.

Everyone who does not carry isn't anti-gun, it's just that when they balance risk and reward, effort and payback, they find that carrying a gun just doesn't justify itself. Carrying adds to the complexity of life without any apparent payback. And if people aren't interested in training with guns, in learning how to use them in a tense situation, then we're all safer because those people have the wisdom to know their own limits. 

So my full opinion is that guns are tools. Carrying can make you safer if you train and practice with your gun and you understand where and when drawing that weapon is permissible. Carrying can make you safer when you understand how the gun actually works in real-life situations. If you don't understand the above, then carrying can easily make you less safe because you think of a gun as a magic win device, which it isn't. Relying on a false idea of a gun is a sure recipe for trouble.
dmilewski: (Default)
My wife gets angry whenever I dig at feminism because she comes at the conversation with so much well justified baggage. Her experience has been one of dismissal and marginalization. I get that.

Yet, if I turn around the idea, if I say that feminism is a pure form of purity, I'd get laughed off the stage by most feminists. They do not see themselves as pure.

The truth is kind of in-between because feminism, like all human created movements, is entirely populated by humans. This means that we bring everything human along with us, from our ideals and hopes to our bad habits and self-serving agendas. They all have to be there, and the presence of any of these traits doesn't nullify the goals of feminism (even if people use the excuse) nor sanctify it (even if people use the excuse). Just as there are feminists who sacrifice for the cause, there are feminists who usurp it for their own agendas. Some fight honestly and some fight dirty. Some are forthright and others lie and cheat. That's humanity. That's what it looks like.

To treat feminism as anything but human in all its aspects would be anti-feminist. We are all human. We are all equally human. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Lyon's Pride (1994) by Anne McCaffrey, disappointed me on every level.  It's like a pretty new car that's a lemon under the hood. It's like one of those post-war British films with slow pacing and no soundtrack. You see everything getting discussed and decided, whether it helps the story or not. There was literally nothing happening across most of the chapters, no real feeling of beginning, no real feeling of uncertainty, and an even vaguer feeling of the end.

I skimmed for chapters at a time, spending seconds per page, without missing any single plot point. 90% of this book was padding. This book wasted my time. The only reason that I kept reading it is because I'm conducting a project of reading McCaffrey's non-Pern material. 

This book has characters. I don't really care who they are. Their personalities really don't matter, which is good because they don't seem to have any. I frequently mix them up at this point and it doesn't matter. 

There's some interesting bits when the Lyons are actually learning about the Hive. Unfortunately, not only do those bits not last very long, they seemed like asides.

What I can't figure is whether this book is supposed to be a YA book or a SF-romance. McCaffrey just can't decide.

If you liked the previous books in this series, you'll get more of what you expect, so read on. If you don't like the series, then you won't like this.



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