Blast it I should have known the Hammer thing was too good to be completely true

Thanks to Eugen Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy for this correction of the the Breitbart post I linked in the my last post.

The FBI Statistics:

Murder Victims          
by Weapon, 2005-2009          
Weapons 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Total 14,965 15,087 14,916 14,224 13,636
Total firearms: 10,158 10,225 10,129 9,528 9,146
Handguns 7,565 7,836 7,398 6,800 6,452
Rifles 445 438 453 380 348
Shotguns 522 490 457 442 418
Other guns 138 107 116 81 94
Firearms, type not stated 1,488 1,354 1,705 1,825 1,834
Knives or cutting instruments 1,920 1,830 1,817 1,888 1,825
Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) 608 618 647 603 611
Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)1 905 841 869 875 801
Poison 9 12 10 9 6
Explosives 2 1 1 11 2
Fire 125 117 131 85 99
Narcotics 46 48 52 34 45
Drowning 20 12 12 16 8
Strangulation 118 137 134 89 121
Asphyxiation 96 106 109 87 77
Other weapons or weapons not stated 958 1,140 1,005 999 895
1 Pushed is included in personal weapons.    

So the information was misleading but I was willing to be mislead. But it also says that ‘assault rifles’ per.se. are not a large scale threat, they’re just a red herring.

I have to say that I am not sure what this data tells me.  If I were knee jerk anti gun and an idealist I am sure that I would immediately say that if I confiscated every gun then I would save most of the ten thousand lives taken per year by firearms.  But being rather less impressed by the world I see around me I would suggest that the number would fall but not by anywhere near as much as you might think.  1) Most murders are by criminals and unless their were some magic that eliminated every gun in an instant (and there’s an interesting SciFi premise) you’re not going to get their weapons and they’d even start building their own since the tech’s pretty simple.  2) the number of other types of murder would go up since the term, ‘don’t bring a knife to a gunfight’ has a lot of harsh practicality behind it.

Then you have the problem that this is not Sweden, Denmark, France, or even England or Germany, this is America, a restless, dynamic, even volatile place with folks who own a car, a TV, in fact all the mod cons, and still figure they are owed more. So  A)The number of thefts, robberies, home invasions, kidnappings, extortion by violence would break all records because again the innocent would be weaponless [n particular women and old folks would be very vulnerable.] and {Don’t give me fluff about the police,while most are hard-working and honest they are far in time and distance from you in times of need and are there by definition to catch bad guys AFTER the fact. And given modern expectations regarding training, equipping,  paying and benefits there will be far too few if the crime rate explodes.}    B) this then will increase the general level of lawlessness because no one will believe in the law as administered by the government.  Many otherwise law-abiding will resort to guns and some will then be arrested for trying to protect themselves and the downward slope of trust in society will get steeper.

What the Hayek?

Economist Philosopher F.Hayek

Economist Philosopher F.Hayek

The Road To Serfdom is often referenced and probably like many such books rarely read.  This link goes to a real life Readers Digest version, that seems to hit hard and capture well his central thesis, at least it seems so from the references to his writing.

Its certainly making me think of buying a version either at Half Price books or more likely for Nook.

From the Post Referenced above a few key pieces:

From the preamble:

At that time it was a political philosophy that stood for progress through preserving the Autonomy of the INDIVIDUAL, and the protection of the INDIVIDUAL’S civil liberty. Oddly enough, today “liberalism” equals “socialism.” Equally as odd, conservatism (and in many instances, libertarianism) champions the independence of the individual.

From the first section:

Yet is there a greater tragedy imaginable than that, in our endeavor consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?

Planning and Power

In order to achieve their ends, the planners must create power – power over men wielded by other men – of a magnitude never before known. Democracy is an obstacle to this suppression of freedom which the centralized direction of economic activity requires.

And despite the somewhat old fashioned and formal words this should have striking impact because it tells you exactly what is going on today and why so many fear it.  It does not matter that we voted ‘the planners’ into place or that they are bureaucrats subject to dismissal.  We are providing the keys to power and we are then likely to forget about them until they are far too entrenched to remove easily.

It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. When all the means of production are vested in a single hand, whether it be nominally that of “society” as a whole or that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us.

Now this sounds like Communism, Socialism or Fascism not the American way but the truth is that any major part of the social structure-economy in one groups hands creates a massive center of power, privilege and patronage, the 3P’s of tyranny writ small or large.  The 3Ps lead to lawless, corrupt and ineffective organizations.

Individualism, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual man and the belief that it is desirable that men should be free to develop their own individual gifts and bents. This philosophy, first fully developed during the Renaissance, grew and spread into what we know as Western civilization. The general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which bound him in feudal society.

This is not a theologian’s statement it is a philosopher’s recognition of the Christian-European (unstated but clear) understanding of the centrality of the individual as the basis of societies. That societies are are the emergent organization of many individuals interacting with each other.  And societies that provide ‘room’ for people to find their own level and best place in the social fabric are vastly more fair and kind than ones organized in rigid hierarchies and treat or form the person as an interchangeable cog.

From the post script a quote  from Frédéric Bastiat.:

Individualism, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect for the individual man and the belief that it is desirable that men should be free to develop their own individual gifts and bents.