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Gun Control and Crime
by Steve Pudlo
15 March 2004Handgun

Study after study shows that increasing gun control laws leads to an increase in crime rather than a decline.


Let's talk a bit about symbiotic relationships. A symbiotic relationship is a relationship whereby each partner gains from the contributions of the other. The partners feed off each other in an orgy of mutual parasitism, and in the symbiology, each partner gains more than they lose. The benefits outweigh the costs.

An example of an unorthodox symbiosis is the way that the insurance industry benefits from burglary. (huh?) how is that possible? Well, let us think of it this way: What if there were no burglaries at all. None. Nobody burgled anybody else, no one stole from another, no one took what didn't belong to them. Ideal world? Perhaps, but if no one stole, why buy insurance? Why patronize a business guarding against doesn't happen? Indeed. Now you are beginning to understand the concept of a symbiotic relationship between antagonists. Neither side is overtly cooperating with the other, yet they need each other. If there were no burglaries, there would be no need for burglary insurance. If there were no burglary insurance, the consequences of burglary would increase to the point where they would drive the burglars out of the burglary business, then there would be no need for burglary insurance... and the cycle goes on. So the insurance industry needs for the crime of burglary to exist, for their own existence, but only to the level of where the crimes hurt the insurance company's ability to pay claims.

Another example of a symbiotic relationship between antagonists is the relationship between armed criminals and the gun control industry. If there were no crimes involving guns, there would be no need for gun control. If there were no gun control, then (theoretically) crime would rise to the point where gun control would be needed to curb crime.

If the symbiosis exists that would be the situation. In practice, things break down, illustrating that the control of guns is tangentially (if ever) related to the suppression of crime. Study after study shows that increasing gun control laws leads to an increase in crime rather than a decline. If you look at Washington, DC, you see a prime example of this paradigm on a statewide scale, and you can look at England, Canada and/or Australia to see this happen on a countrywide scale. Has there ever been an example of gun control resulting in a lowering of crime? If so, I am not aware of it. Yet why does high crime inspire more and more solutions of more and more gun control?

Perhaps less crime is not the objective. Perhaps there does exist a symbiotic relationship between crime and some sort of control? Perhaps some folks are using high crime and gun control as tools in a bid to exert more control over the population? When you look at the calculus of gun control versus crime, the numbers don't add up. It's a losing preposition. Gun control causes crime to rise. Period. The statistics show this as an undeniable fact, yet cries for more gun control continue. Why? And what lies behind this?

You take away an individual's ability (and thereby right) to defend himself against hostility by a criminal, and you also take away his ability (and right) to resist authority (government).  By taking that ability away, you embolden the criminal, lower his occupational risks, lower the cost of getting into the business, and you open the field of criminality to more participants. If you make it easier, less costly, to become a doctor, then more people can and will become doctors. If you make it easier, less risky, to become a criminal, then more people will become criminals.  More criminals require more victims to support them, which means more crime. More crime results in the government calling for more gun control, which takes away more people's ability to defend themselves, which lowers the risks and costs of becoming a criminal, and you have not a symbiotic relationship, but a vicious cycle. But to what end?

Other band-aid solutions to high crime are what? More police. More laws. More cost to the taxpayer rendering him more subservient and dependent upon the government for his daily subsistence. People who used to be able to rely upon themselves for protection against relatively few criminals, now most rely upon a more bloated, expensive and ineffective government to protect them from more criminals. The net result is that the criminal class booms, and the middle class pays more and more for less and less protection.

The real solution to high crime is for the government to put up real deterrence to the criminal -- increase his costs of doing business to the point where he chooses another occupation.  If fewer people become criminals, there would be less crime, and everybody would benefit. So a method of pricing criminals out of business is needed in order to deal with the issue -- crime, rather than the symptom -- weaponry.

There are two ways to do this. One way is to increase the penalties for getting caught. Whilst this is a relatively expensive prospect to the criminal, the key concept is that in order for this to occur, the government needs to catch the criminal. Few criminals believe that they will ever be caught, or else they wouldn't be criminals. So the calculus of being caught wouldn't normally enter the thought process of anybody contemplating a crime. Therefore, the concept of affecting a change in behavior relative to getting caught, amongst folks who don't think that they will be caught, is of dubious real value.

The second manner is to increase the occupational risk factors for the criminals beyond their acceptable threshold. If the risk of being injured or killed is significant, then one would have to be insane to continue down that career path, correct? Of course the criminal would have to be aware of this. Well, if the risk of being resisted, and perhaps injured/killed was raised, then it would stand to reason that fewer people would be attracted to the field. With fewer practitioners, there would logically be fewer crimes, crime would go down, and so would public outcry for a solution as crime becomes less a worry. The easiest method of accomplishing this would be to simply allow the people the ability to defend themselves.

If a criminal fears that the person he is about to accost can and will resist, he is more likely to take care, or even chose another target. If he perceives that any target has an equal likelihood to oppose, resist or even damage him, then he would be far more likely to abandon that method of livelihood. Is this a good thing?

Well, the most effective means of doing just this is to allow people to arm themselves with firearms. Note that I specified firearms. Projectile weapons. Guns. Means to kill. Effective self defense weapons. Think about it. If someone approaches you armed with a weapon, what is the safest and most effective method of repelling the attack? Should one run? What if the criminal gives chase, or shoots at you? Usually running is not a viable option. And while talking to the criminal has been known to dissuade an attack, that event is far more the exception than the rule -- more often arguing will only enrage the criminal. Screaming, sirens, and whistles can provide an audience, and even that is not guaranteed. Brandishing a knife or other close quarters weapon has a better likelihood of being taken as a challenge than a threat. Imagine someone who makes their living by violence feeling threatened by someone with little or no experience using a weapon!

Some of the newer technologies are of dubious value -- they either require too much distance from the criminal, or too little. Some of them take several seconds to take effect, giving the criminal time to retaliate by shooting, slashing, or using other methods to overcome your resistance. Even if he does go down, it isn't really successful if he gets the opportunity to take you down with him, is it?

That leaves us with firearms. Range isn't terribly important, you can shoot a criminal from close or far (too far and the criminal isn't a danger). You can stop him immediately, and since the fact that you have a gun means that you can inflict harm on the criminal before he can inflict harm on you, you suddenly have the upper hand, and the criminal is faced with reevaluating his career choice. If he's lucky, he'll merely be arrested, if not he's not going to need asbestos underwear.

In either event, a successful defense against a criminal has a ripple effect amongst society. Criminals get to understand that crime isn't as easy and profitable as it might have once been, more criminals are on hiatus 0- in the jail or morgue, and finally, people feel safer. People feel safer, people feel more empowered to take responsibility for their own lives, become more independent. Society loses criminals and gains productive workers without having to afford the enormous costs of huge prison complexes. The government has no excuse to increase control over it's subjects.

Or maybe that's the real reason why things are the way they remain. Symbiosis, remember?
 
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