The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Literally, the stupidest.

truth or gospel against guns

The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard will likely be the longest post I’ve written and beg your attention to take a few minutes to digest what I’m saying. This is not an argument, simply information.

I’ve spent my adult life dealing with large numbers and determining their value, efficacy and meaning. It’s been a very good and interesting way to earn a living. I have never called myself an economist although that is my educational background. I did join a professional organization as an actuary years ago but let it lapse after a few years.

For the last several decades, as a consultant, I have described myself as a historical economist. An economists job is to take what they know, apply assumptions and determine what is going to happen next. Although I understand the science, I have no desire to be a soothsayer. I have actually been involved in studies that looked at economic forecasting from the vantage point of hindsight. Need an economist? Hire an astrologer.

Most of my work has been with insurance companies. I like working with their numbers because they belong to them. They have no reason to hide anything from themselves. Pure analytical mathematics with a singular goal. Profit. I’ve also done a lot of work with medical, social service and scientific organizations. I know how to determine the difference between a study and a story. A story is usually biased and generally unsupportable when scrutinized. A study is repeatable and useful.

Having had access to these proprietary documents has taught me many things and made me come to understand what is the stupidest thing is that I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard it many, many times. It defies common sense and human reason. It’s the guy that says “I’m gonna get a gun so I can protect my ______ (family, property, business, livestock or whatever)”. Well, no you’re not. What you’re gonna do is become a statistic.

So let me paint with broad numbers. I don’t own this information and it belongs to private companies as private property. The numbers I’m going to give you are rounded and generalized but, the assertions and reasoning is unbiased, honest and essentially correct.

Less than 45% of U.S. households contain guns. Less than 20% of businesses are protected by guns. Facts.

Of the households that contain guns the members of those households have an 18 fold chance of being involved in a gun incident as opposed to members of a household without guns. Fact. Let’s explain. That’s ONE-THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED PERCENT. Really big number. 1800%. Sounds a lot like the people at home right now without a gun are safer than those with a gun. Because it’s true. Not a little true but, demonstrably so.

There’s more. The small business owner that decides to use his gun to protect his business increases his chance of being involved in a gun-incident with a negative result by 4.2 fold or 420%. Negative is a criteria that basically means that in some way it was not good for the business. Not very good numbers.

So why do they do it? It’s a reasonable question. What motivates people to endanger themselves in search of protection against what threat? Could it be criminals or terrorists? Are they really afraid the U.S. Army is going to invade Texas? By the way, the Army can’t invade Texas. They’ve always been there.

I don’t want to ban guns. I don’t think we could confiscate them. They don’t bother me at all. There aren’t any in my house. I’m safe. I just want people to make more reasonable decisions.

So here’s the truth. Crime has gone down dramatically. Terrorism is a truly minor threat which I will get into in a moment. If you are afraid of the intentions of the gubmint then your gun ownership is probably the problem.

Now for your next example of big number analysis. The following is a fact. It’s within 3% of accurate and I challenge anyone, anyone at all, of determining anything different from quality and honest statistics. It can’t be done.

In the entire history of the United States we have had approximately 4600 citizens victimized by terrorism. Just since 1990 we have had dead victims of gun violence that are quickly approaching the one million mark.  Nine hundred and thirty thousand U.S. citizens dead. Fact.

Now for the really disturbing part. This is where the insurance companies get involved. Nearly 90% of these incidents are what are described in the industry as being “unintended consequences”. Isn’t that nice. People die, go to jail, claims are made, costs are incurred and lives are ruined. Because you made a stupid decision. “I’m gonna get a gun to protect my ______( family, property, business, livestock or whatever)”. Stupid.

We haven’t said anything about the even larger number and tragic circumstances of victim survivors. The people I’m talking about are dead.

So get a dog. Get a security system. Forget about stand your ground and learn to retreat. Let the police take care of the criminal, enemy or stalker. Get some pepper spray. Deal with situational awareness. Increase your safety dramatically by not being around gun-owners, they have all kinds of gun problems non-owners never have. If it’s ISIS or ISIL or AL-QUEDA then demand professional government. Those guys work for you. If it’s the government that you’re afraid of then do three things. First, even if it’s temporary, get involved in government. You’ll learn a lot. Second, vote. If you can’t knowledgably do those things, then do the third thing. Seek psychological counseling and, please, for everyone’s safety get rid of your guns.

Not in my house. I’m not stupid. I’m demonstrably safer than a gun-owner.

I am

Max Oebulet

Social Philosopher