I continue to be grateful for Preston’s continued engagement. Not only does he continue to engage, he does so in a very competent manner. Make no mistake, Preston is good.
I wish I could say he was right on the central point, but that would be going too far. I am feeling charitable today, but not that charitable.
Nevertheless, he is right about some things, and I want to begin by granting those points. I grant that some gun owners are far too cavalier about their weapons, loaded and all, and their children. I don’t think that is an imaginary category. I also agree that statistics can be slippery and should be used with caution. So far so good.
Pressed for time as I am today, I will try to be brief.
First, I am willing to go for Preston’s proposal that we agree to a mutual statistical disarmament. I do this, even though I am somewhat nervous about it. After all, when statistics are outlawed, only outlaws will have statistics. But before departing from that point entirely, I want to encourage Preston in the knowledge that I do know that correlation does not prove causation. But it does prove (assuming the statistics are honest, not cooked) that the claims for causation in the other direction need additional attention.
Suppose someone says that if we don’t stop eating pink jello we are all going to die of strange gelatinous diseases. Say that the attempts to outlaw this jello fail, and a backlash occurs and the consumption of pink jello in a particular state doubles. Let us also say that life expectancy in that state increases immediately by five years or so. I do not yet know that pink jello makes you live longer, but I do know that those who maintain that it makes you die sooner have a new problem for their thesis. Bring it back to our debate — an armed society is a polite society. I have not shown this in any billiard-ball-physics way, but I do know it intuitively. More of an art than a science.
That said, let me defend myself against the charge that I am moving the goal posts. If someone were to argue against concealed carry because he thought it was ineffective and even counterproductive, and he thought it far more efficient to have the cops show up and shoot all the bad guys dead, and good riddance, the argument should simply focus on which is the most efficient way to stop the bad guys.
But Preston is arguing for the way of non-violence, not-non-vigilantism. This is not primarily because violence is ineffective, but rather because it isn’t the Jesus-way. In other words, someone with Preston’s theology could grant that good guys with guns might stop bad guys with guns with 100% effectiveness, and still be opposed to it. And this is why my question about using a cell phone to call the cops is relevant.
“I know hardly any advocates for gun control who want to de-arm the police.”
Me neither, but it seems to me that for consistency’s sake Preston needs to be one of them. I understand someone calling the cops to do a job that the person calling cannot do. But I don’t understand how a person could call the cops to do something the person calling wouldn’t do.
That is as much as to say that Jesus wouldn’t do it, and so I won’t do it, but because it has to be done (right?) we had better ring up the devil.