Skip to main content

While both sides of this debate seem intent on claiming direct cause/effect-based remedies to the issue of gun violence, they are missing two key math-based realities regarding gun-based violence in America. The first:

The math of gun violence is very similar in nature and size to the math of state-based lotteries, where small-pot winners are analogous to gun injuries and big jackpots are analogous to gun deaths.

In the math of lotteries, there is no direct cause-effect relationship to winning other than purchasing a ticket, which, by itself, has only an infinitesimal impact on either the chance of winning or the size of the jackpot. However, the Law of Large Numbers, guarantees both that there will be a regular "winner," and, with enough "tickets" sold, there will eventually be, with the gun lottery, another very nasty "super-lotto jackpot" like Newtown.

Yet, instead of focusing on the nature and quantity of the "tickets" sold, there is this search for the "holy grail" of The Cause. The Bismark Tribune asserts this in the one piece of the President's proposal that they could support:

The most promising element of the president’s gun control response is the push for more research into mass killings and other health-related aspects of gun use. If the country understands the root causes of horrific gun violence, then it might be possible to address that cause rather than treat the symptoms, as has been proposed. Better solutions might be found in mental health policies or the prescription and use of anti-depressants — we do not know because we haven’t done the research.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with researching the "causes" of gun violence, but we will surely just find more "tickets," each with individually-tiny relationships to gun violence. Even if we isolate mentally-ill assault weapon owners (and there are likely many), only a small number of these will kill somebody, and that somebody is most likely to be themselves.

In the U.S. for 2010, there were 31,513 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 19,308; Homicide 11,015; Accident 600. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.
The state-run lotteries literally have this down to a science: sell more tickets, sell more types of tickets, and sell a range of tickets from small, frequent payoffs to high-payoff super-lottos. In short, this is the math of gun violence in the United States today.

Each gun sold is a "ticket," with assault weapons being potential "mega-winners." But each individual gun sale has only a tiny chance of being a big "winner." Likewise ammunition sales, with multi-round clips getting you a similar small-probability entry into the Newtown/Aurora "hall of fame" jackpot. Untreated mental illness is again a ticket, but the vast majority of mentally ill people will never harm anybody else.

So we have this perverse lottery going on, where individuals can cheaply purchase the "dream" of stopping a burglar in his tracks, or defending their home against the "jack-booted thugs" of the government. But in this lottery, real people die. Lots of them.

So Mister Beagle’s short answer: “Stop selling so many damn tickets!”

The second math-based reality has to do with the "unintended consequences" of purchasing that gun to protect yourself, and that diary will follow soon.

Mister Beagle
"The real world is tri-color."

Originally posted to MisterBeagle on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 04:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site