Town Square

Stats or Stories?

Original post made by Tom Cushing, Danville, on Feb 5, 2013

"Human beings," a famous paleontologist once said, "are the primates who tell stories." Indeed, as we learn more about tool use and moral behavior as practiced by other species [Web Link], our stories and our thumbs may be our best refuge against the conclusion that we're not so special, after all. Our fond early memories include bedtime stories that transport, fascinate and inform us, in rituals as old as language. Who can resist images of wizened elders passing-on tribal legends at twilight, or the anticipation of Breaking Bad's final season, for that matter?

This story contains 944 words.

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

Very interesting article. It is indeed better, at least usually, to be guided by the facts and statistics, rather than emotions, in making decisions for yourself. And I would urge anyone and everyone to use facts and statistics in deciding for themselves whether gun ownership makes sense for their situation.

But notice that I said "making decisions for yourself", and "deciding for themselves whether gun ownership makes sense for their situation". Because it is my right to make that decision for myself, and our right to make that decision for ourselves.

So the real issue here isn't whether people make decisions based on statistics or emotions. It's the far more basic and serious issue of who gets to make the decision. I trust myself to make the decision for myself, far more than I trust someone else to make the decision for me, and far more than I trust a governmental body to make the decision for me.

Up to this point in time, I have decided that the benefits of gun ownership (for reasons both logical and emotional) have not been sufficiently compelling for me to decide to purchase a gun. But I am starting to look very seriously at doing so. In part because more and more people seem determined to take that choice or decision away from me....

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

C.R., the problem is that you're not just making that decision "for yourself." You're making it for everyone around you. Your freedom to swing your arms ends at the next guy's nose. A gun has long arms.

And to be blunt, a guy who decides he will do something that he's previously analyzed as being a bad choice simply because he perceives that other people may want to take away his right to do that thing isn't the first guy I'd choose to hand a device which makes it easy to kill people.

Just sayin'.

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Posted by Dashford
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Mr. Curmudgeon, if you believe that government should not restrict personal actions based on safety statistics, I assume that you feel that how fast you can safely drive your car on public roads should be your personal decision. Perhaps YOUR decision would be a good one. But you are exceptional. And in claiming that it should be your personal decision whether to buy a military style assault rifle with high capacity magazine you are also claiming that right for everyone who is far less sensible and wise than you are.

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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Remember when President Obama said that “the mistake” of the early years of his presidency was his failure to be a better storyteller?

He said, “The nature of this office is to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

How about this for a story: Imagine a country that didn’t start wars, didn’t torture, didn’t detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, without trial, without allowing them to see a lawyer or even loved ones, didn’t KILL it’s own citizens without trial, didn’t kill 176 children with drone strikes.

This was the American fantasy I grew up with. I want to be able to tell my kids it’s a true story.

Mr. President, gun violence beings at the top. No more stories. Just please stop killing us.