Pinata etc

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After Team Blair was beaten by six year old Ryan Gwin, Tim Blair tried to rewrite history:

Nine-year-old Sydney boy Ryan Gwin suffers anxiety over the fuel consumed by his father’s bus;

Because if Ryan had really been nine it would have been less embarrassing to lose to him…

Then Blair lets his commenters loose on a quote from me:

Computer instructor Tim Lambert explains:

If the law disarms attackers, then it can make self defence possible where it would have been impossible if the attacker was armed.

Team Blair came up with stuff like this (and these are the more rational ones):

A computer instructor should understand how if-then logic works. “If the law disarms attackers . . .” But it doesn’t. So everything after that is meaningless.

Tim’s actually absolutely right. If a law did that, it would make defense easier! He’s just wrong if he thinks any law will/can do that.

Americans just ain’t Brits. We would NOT give up our weapons quietly, like good little Germans. They would have to take them at gunpoint.

Trouble is, the quote is out of context and Blair did not link, directly or indirectly, to the original context. The law referred to was that in the UK, and in that post I dealt with the “criminals will not be affected by gun laws” argument:

In his book Targeting Guns, Kleck calls this the fallacy of “The Overmotivated Criminal”. Not all or even most criminals are absolutely determined to get guns. Kleck writes:

Like noncriminals, however, criminals do many things that are casually or only weakly motivated. Indeed, much crime is impulsive or opportunistic, with criminals committing some crimes only if it requires little effort and entails little risk. Gun control is less likely to have much effect on crime committed by criminals with the strongest and most persistent motivation to commit crimes, such as drug dealers, emotionally disturbed mass murderers, professional hit men, terrorists, or political assassins. However, it is not all impossible for crime prevention efforts to be achieved among the more weakly or temporarily motivated criminals who make up the large part of the active offender population.

Comments

  1. #1 Ian Gould
    April 29, 2007

    “Like noncriminals, however, criminals do many things that are casually or only weakly motivated. Indeed, much crime is impulsive or opportunistic, with criminals committing some crimes only if it requires little effort and entails little risk.”

    Translation: criminals are dumb.

    Which is why laws based on rational deterrence of criminal activity have limited effectiveness.

    The death penalty isn’t going to deter some guy who doesn’t even know whether his state applies it, much less what aggravating circumstances will lead to it being applied.

  2. #2 RobW
    April 29, 2007

    There seems to be something about these two issues – I noticed last week the often worthwhile Alexander Cockburn had bought into the Appalachian law school massacre furphy, but then Cockburn was always at his most pointlessly contrarian on the issue of guns. Now he appears to have chosen to be contrarian on global warming as well.

    Someone should probably warn him that the risk in being a Hitchensesque contrarian is that you just end up Hitchensesque.

  3. #3 Stu
    April 30, 2007

    Thanks for the tip RobW, I’ve posted about Cockburn’s article at
    my blog.

  4. #4 Bill O'Slatter
    April 30, 2007

    You have to wonder whether Blair’s stupidity is natural or requires a strict regime.( Up early in morning hit head against wall). He’s now recycling the argument that Mars’ warming is related to the Earth’s warming. Probably diacussed that one with John Malkovich (name dropping).

  5. #5 George Smiley
    April 30, 2007

    “Americans just ain’t Brits. We would NOT give up our weapons quietly, like good little Germans.”

    Love it. I’d be delighted to see this little pissant try that line in a typical English pub. He’d be lucky to escape without a pint glass embedded in his skull, sidearm or no.

  6. #6 SG
    May 1, 2007

    Yes George, because Americans have a high murder rate and enjoy a “violent” sport which involves very camp-looking fat men crashing into each others` body armour, they seem to think they must therefore be “hard” and “anti-authoritarian”. They could be disabused of the notion by 5 minutes in your average London pub (or 5 seconds in a New Zealand pub, I`m sure) watching rugby and discussing the relative positions of the two nations vis a vis basic civil liberties - which the US citizenry seem to have given up without a struggle, despite their supposedly libertarian streak.

    As you observe, though, the pissant quoted above wouldn`t come out of the argument a very happy (or, I suspect, enlightened) man.

  7. #7 z
    May 1, 2007

    In fact, because of the likelihood of guns suddenly appearing, Americans are inhibited from bar fighting and therefore rather inept.

  8. #8 Dano
    May 2, 2007

    I fought a lot in school, and two of the boys I fought are now friends. There’s more opportunity to give grudging respect when your head is bleeding from a fist rather than a bullet.

    Best,

    D

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