Do You Care More About Your Political Views Winning, or the Human Race Winning?

As a moderate, I miss the days when liberals and conservatives were equally clueless. But the right wing insanity regarding the recent issues surrounding gun violence, refugees, Islam, and immigrants has gone to such stupefying levels that I just can’t even deal with all of them with out becoming seriously depressed. An entire political party that no longer cares about reality – just fooling itself into believing it’s fantasies are reality. Its sad, really.

Reason: doesn’t matter
Logic: doesn’t matter
Research: doesn’t matter
What your own scriptures tell you: doesn’t matter
Historical trends: doesn’t matter.

All that matters is sticking it to liberals with idiotic memes. That is pathetic. Grown up people. Our fellow humans are dying and you post a meme that doesn’t even reflect reality – just your political view? Just yesterday, someone on Facebook flat out lied and said guns are illegal in France… just to try and prove me wrong. His actual quote was: “Guns are illegal in France and Mexico.” (they aren’t illegal in Mexico, either, FYI). This “good, Christian person” didn’t care one bit about saying truthful things – just in proving a political point. Let that sink in for a minute.

Look, none of us get out of here alive. But we can make it a good or bad place for each other for the limited time we are here. Do you care more about your political views winning, or the human race winning? You can’t have both. I seriously don’t see anything in the GOP that cares about the human race winning, just a set of political ideologies winning.

And if your first response is “but the liberals….” – I’ll have to deal with Democrats later. Maybe stop your praying to God and start listening to God? A little dose of reality for what God would say to you if you stopped to listen:

The GOP is lying to you.

The media has problems. but the GOP is still lying to you about the media.

Obamacare has problems, but the GOP is still lying to you about Obamacare.

Academia has big problems, but the GOP is still lying to you about academia.

Obama is not the perfect president that liberals make him out to be, but the GOP is still lying to you about Obama.

Islam has its problem, but the GOP is still lying to you about Islam.

Democrats have a lot of problems with their political ideology, but the GOP is still lying to you about the Democrats.

Democratic politicians are also lairs, but the GOP is still lying to you about the Democrat’s lies.

metamodern-faith-avatarYes, that is how bad it has become. You can’t even trust the GOP to correctly expose lies without lying about the lies. Maybe if we had a Republican in the White House right now, it would be the other way around for the Democrats. Who knows? But for now, it’s the GOP that is off the rails, and I don’t even know if they care to get back on.

Why The Logic of “More Guns Decreases Crime” Doesn’t Add Up

Let me start off by saying that this is not an anti-gun post. Even though I say that, many people have already decided to hate it based on the title alone. But this post is a look at bad logic, not gun rights.

We have probably all seen a large number of articles, memes, and rants online about how the best way to curb crime is to increase gun ownership.  Usually this is in the form of a statistic that shows how some city, state, or country saw an increase in gun sales at the same time they saw a decrease in crimes committed with guns.

Of course, we all know that correlation does not equal causation, but we also kind of conveniently ignore that basic foundation of logic if the correlation happens to support our side. I do it all the time, and so do most people I know.

But have you ever really stopped to wonder how an increase in gun sales would lead to a decrease in crime? Basically, you have two real scenarios:

  1. Some criminals hear that more guns are being sold and then decide it is too risky to commit more crime.
  2. Criminals run into more people with guns while committing crime, and are either caught, shot, or scared into leaving a life of crime.

The problem is, reality just doesn’t support either scenario. Let’s look at the first one. The problem with this option is that most stories about gun numbers increasing accompany stories about crime dropping. Criminals can’t become scared about a story that hasn’t aired yet. When was the last time you saw a story that was just about the number of guns increasing? I never had, but I am sure there are some. But even when there are, you have to content with the fact that less than 10 percent of Americans watch the evening news. Cable news, internet news, and physical newspapers have slightly higher numbers, but access to those outlets decreases as poverty increases (which is where most violent criminals come from). So how many criminals are actually going to see a one minute story about gun sales increasing in the first place? The statistics would say very few.

So the chance that a criminal hears about increased gun sales is slim. But if they do, then what? Its not like there were no guns before the increase in sales. Yet criminals still committed crimes. “But a study found that criminals are afraid of armed citizens!” Well, no actually – it found they are concerned about running into an armed citizen and took steps to avoid that. But what you rarely read from these stats is if they stopped committing crime based on hearing there are more guns out there. I mean – think about it. A person wants to avoid getting into a conflict with another person that is armed. No. Way. Next you are going to tell me the sky is blue! “But it said they were more afraid of an armed citizen than the police!” You mean they are more afraid of a person with maybe a couple of days of training (with no guidance on emotional control) and no experience in tense situations than they are of a person with months of training and experience in tense situations? No. Way. If you haven’t figured out by now, most of those “studies” on criminals being more afraid of armed citizens are just poorly designed propaganda pieces that really tell us nothing.

But really, all scenario #1 really comes down to is assuming that criminals will hear about increased gun sales and then decide to stop committing crime because of that. The chances of that are so random and based on uncontrollable factors like popularity of the media outlet carrying that news, attitudes of criminals towards guns (I did go to a prison once and asked criminals about what they thought about armed citizens and none cared… it was actually an eye-opening experience), possible responses to news, etc. Randomness of that level make a correlation very unlikely, statistically speaking.

The second scenario is probably much more likely. It would make much more sense that criminals would run into more guns as they commit crimes and that ends up forcing them to decrease their activities (or they get shot and the actual number of criminals decreases). The problem is, while gun sales are increasing, the actual number of people that buy a gun for the first time is not keeping pace with the population growth.  What that means is that the percentage of people carrying a gun is decreasing overall, and it is less likely that a criminal will run into an armed citizen.

Currently, somewhere around 24-37% of Americans own a gun (depending on if you count people who say they own a gun or say they live with some that owns a gun; a confusing statistic). However, the percentage of gun owners and households with guns is going down. How is that so, when gun sales are increasing so rapidly? The population increase in the U.S. is between 0.74% and 0.97% depending on which index you look at. This translates to rough 3 million people – a mixture of babies and immigrants. So not a good stat to look at. From what I have found, between 4 and 8 million people turn 18 each year. There are around 2.4 million adult deaths in the U.S. each year. So between 1.6 and 5.6 people could become new gun owners each year. But apparently, less than that are, thus leading to the downward trend in gun ownership percentages.

What this basically means is that criminals are less likely to run into an armed citizen despite the soaring gun sales. Therefore, #2 just isn’t possible with the current stats, leading us back to the unlikely scenario #1 as the best bet.

So, basically you are saying that crime statistics are decreasing on the off-chance that a large number of criminals are seeing a news report on TV and getting scared out of committing at least some of the crime they were going to commit… even though they had still planned that crime before they saw the report when there were already guns out there.

So the logic of “increased gun sales equals decreased crime” just doesn’t add up, at least with the current statistics. As one police officer put it: “of course you see decreased crime where there are more legal guns – we have to patrol twice as much to make sure the hotheads don’t shoot each other more often!”

metamodern-faith-avatarCrime statistics are a complex stat to figure out. Sometimes it is a good thing when they go up – meaning more criminals are getting arrested. Sometimes it means that the police are catching fewer criminals due to being understaffed at a given time. All of this really means that we just need to take a more nuanced look at what is really happening, rather than co-opting random correlations for our own political cause.

Why Republicans Make No Sense

gop_elephantSo let me get this straight. We live in a country were almost any loony tune can go out and legally get a gun. They can even amass a small arsenal and start a massacre. Guns are so prevalent that we constantly read in the news about kids accidentally shooting each other. We even hear about spouses shooting each other at restaurants when a handgun in one of their pockets goes off.

Our current gun laws and/or enforcement of these laws are obviously not working, but yet our Republican leaders fight tooth and nail to keep this situation the status quo with such astute logic as “criminals won’t follow new gun laws.”

Duh. Why do you think we can them criminals? By that reasoning, we should have no laws at all.

So what do our Republican leaders spend so much time and energy fighting? The “evil” of people having different religious beliefs that leads them to creating an updated legal definition of marriage.

Of course, the possibility that some of these people might want to redefine God or how to worship God or even not worship God at all is no big deal. They are free to worship God or gods or a supreme force or nothing at all because that is their freedom in this country – and (almost) every Republicans will stand by that. But dare touch the definition of marriage? Thems fightin’ words!

So redefine God and that is okay, but not marriage. Let’s just be honest: “Definition of Marriage” has become a false idol in this land that many so-called Christians are bowing down to.

Because if you actually think that a gay couple living next to you will be so damaging to your marriage or society that your relationship to God will not be able to “overcome” those effects…. that means God is not the most powerful force in your personal paradigm.

So as the GOP lines up to fight the recent Supreme Court rulings and vows to make new constitutional amendments to define marriage, I call hypocrisy and point out that the GOP makes no sense. You are just bitter that you lost the culture war (which was really a term you made up) and instead of accepting the premise that we don’t force people in this country to follow a certain set of religious beliefs (which is what your definition of marriage is), you vow to fight on like a grumpy old man swearing he’s gonna get those young whipper snappers the next time they step on his lawn.

(And Democrats, don’t get me started on how your party is ruining this country)

metamodern-faith-avatarAnd I point out that I say “your” definition of marriage not because I don’t believe the Bible, but because I do believe it 100% and I choose to follow what it teaches. And I can not in all honesty say that it only has one definition of marriage, or that it has a clear statement of morality on the modern-day practice of homosexuality in general. I respect the Bible too much to tell lies about what it contains.