Friday, February 23, 2018


Redbubble had a sweet deal on stickers the other day and I ordered a batch for improving my levels of late-winter cheer.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


I've been thinking about gun violence and the efficiencies of killing possible now with all the unregulated consumer options out there.  Unwillingness to compromise at all, from pro-gun folks, really has things jammed up.  So I started thinking about what compromise might mean.  

It likely means that if bump stocks, semi-auto assault rifles, unlimited ammunition and high-volume clips aren't readily available, each act of public gun violence would likely be less efficient, and the percentage of annual casualties would go down.  That doesn't seem like a bad thing.  Add background checks and waiting periods to that and there would be increased benefit (if your goal is reducing public gun violence and efficiencies of public gun violence).  It's statistical and kind of boring, just to reduce an annual percentage through thoughtful, methodical legislation that preserves the right to gun ownership for home protection and sport.  It's boring, but there's an upside to that for the pro-gun folks.

If the annual percentage efficiency of killing went down 50%, eight or nine people would still have died the other day.  If the percentage of total events went down 35% because background checks prevented hostile minors and mentally ill folks from getting military grade weaponry (even after they've been reported to the FBI), there would still be dozens of acts of public violence every year.  It's a win-win with a robust upside for buyers and especially sellers of guns: 

X number of random deaths annually would continue to prove that the world is a dangerous place and we all need to be personally armed with lucrative hardware.   

Religion and thoughts and prayers would still be validated, reminding folks that the next world is more important than this world, especially for the poor and the unlucky and minorities.  It's a dog-eat-dog world with some who are blessed and some who are unlucky. This is typically a good argument for not trying too hard to "play God" by improving society through tedious legislation and intelligent infrastructure and a well-funded public commons.  

Finally, less efficient but still deadly acts of public violence would still prove the efficacy of guns.  The efficacy of guns is important to a demographic in our country that feels galvanized by the prospect of a balkanized U.S. revisiting civil war.  Their votes are significant and require targeted recruiting efforts.  Each act of public violence is a proxy run-through, a technology check, and an object lesson.  These dress rehearsals would still occur on a regular basis.  There would just be fewer folks shot, and the weapons wouldn't be as high-end as those soldiers and SWAT teams get to use.  But the weaponry would still be superior to the inefficient muskets that were in use when The Constitution was written.

If increasing the number of people shot and the overall number of acts of public violence is politically, financially, and tribally valuable, compromise is highly unlikely without a change in legislative personnel.  It will be interesting to see how long other voter demographics will allign with enforced and maximized efficiencies of public violence to maintain a coalition around their issues.  Pro-Life groups seem to need efficient public violence to keep their position strong. Those who seek to de-fund any public institution promoting psychological or community-based solutions to healing or helping angry kids also need efficient public violence. (This is a complex feedback loop).  Bank de-regulators, consumer protection dismantlers, and critics of public health funding apparently need efficient public violence too.  

It's a very complicated issue but it is worth thinking about the metrics of compromise, unless the benefits of efficient public violence outweigh the benefits of gun control, depending on your overall point of view.