no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics


July 22nd, 2012

Whether you are pro-gun or gun-control, the fatal conceit is the belief that your side has an answer to the next Aurora. It doesn’t.

  • The gun control folks like to suggest that if only nobody had guns, incidents like this would never happen.

Fair enough, but back here in the real world, we understand that “no guns” is not a possibility (mass shootings continue to happen in countries with very strict firearms laws). Firearms are merely a convenient scapegoat that allow us to feel less powerless over situations where we really are quite powerless. Laws against guns are not going to prevent the next psycho from obtaining some, or building a bomb, or something else, just as laws against murder didn’t stop this guy. That’s a perspective that most people ignore.

And although fewer guns, or harder-to-get guns may prevent some incidents like this, the calculus is not favorable overall. In the US, there are between 1 million and 2 million incidents each year where a firearm is used defensively. Even if disarming everybody was within the realm of possibility (which it is not) disarming everybody because there is a 1 in 350,000,000 chance that some ordinary law-abiding grad student goes postal and kills a few people is likely to result in a lot more deaths.

  • The pro-gun folks, hopped up on internet bravado, will posture some hero fantasy about self-defense and how a few armed citizens would’ve thwarted this attack.

Bollocks. Tactically speaking, there’s little reason to believe that a handful of uncoordinated theatergoers packing Colt 1911’s or S&W Model 10’s would’ve stood much of a chance to resolve the Aurora incident with less bloodshed.

Aurora was a well-calculated ambush; the environment chosen deliberately to ensure minimal immediate opposition, overwhelming firepower plus the element of surprise created panic and confusion, ensuring maximum casualties. It’s important to keep this in perspective, too. Even adequately equipped professionals acting in unison would have had some difficulty in such a scenario.

It’s important that we not allow what happened in Aurora to color our worldview. What happened in Aurora is literally a “27 Ninjas” scenario. It is such a fantastic, extraordinarily rare and unpredictable occurence that any conclusions we might hope to draw from the experience are unlikely to be of much value when transposed on to every day real-world situations.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics