Sunday, August 31, 2014

Huckabee is a Moron

Caught Mike Huckabee on Fox News. (I never watch it at home, but when traveling sometimes you are forced to.) He was asked about the wisdom of arming teachers in schools. Needless to say, he was for it, comparing it to rich or powerful people who have armed guards.

When one Fox News host dared to ask the obvious question -- namely, isn't it reasonable to worry about the misuse of all those guns in schools? -- Huckabee merely dismissed this concern, saying something like 'If this ... if that ... you can waste your time worrying about scenarios like that'.

Huckabee is a moron. The chance that any particular school being attacked by an armed intruder is vanishingly small, and the chances that it occurs and an armed teacher is going to stop it successfully is even smaller. On the other hand, accidents with guns happen every day, and there is certainly a nontrivial probability that (a) an accident will happen (b) a teacher will misuse a gun or (c) the gun will be stolen and used against a teacher or other student.

If you are going to evaluate the wisdom of arming teachers in schools, you have to have some good estimates on the various probabilities. And if the school district is going to pay for all that teacher training, you also have to factor in the costs of doing the training instead of (say) installing higher-security doors or training students how to respond in the unlikely event of an attack. This sensible approach to deciding about the proposal was dismissed by Huckabee as "if this".

It's not just conservatives who are stupid in this way. Sometimes you hear liberals saying something like "if it saves just one life, it's worth it" about some new policy. Well, of course, it's not necessarily worth it. A law restricting the speed limit to 10 mph on US roads would probably save lives, but we deem it not worth it because of the inconvenience and extra time it would cost us.


Bob Armstrong said...

Jeffery , I was googled to your blog catching up on Gene McDonnell who's unquoting functions I was looking at in my K.CoSy .

I live in Teller Cnty CO , and can go out back and shoot like any of my neighbors .

To me its an issue of cost savings . The idea that to me the fact that someone is hired by the State to carry lethal arms is more moral or whatever than some of the teachers in a school is thoroughly disproven . The school is safer with some responsible armed adults . Deadly situations are low probability so not worth a dedicated position .

So , allow , in deed encourage , the school staff to choose among themselves who they feel are competent and willing to act as their militia in emergencies .


Jeffrey Shallit said...

"The school is safer with some responsible armed adults"

OK, that's your claim. Now where's the proof? Let's see some statistics, not just assertions.

Bob Armstrong said...

So you must claim that the school is safer totally unprotected from outsiders -- because I can't believe you claim someone is more capable and responsible to be armed simply because they are employed by the government for that purpose .

To me that's like not allowing pilots to be armed but hiring armed "sky marshals" to ride the planes .

Somehow you are denying the entire idea of a militia , of a community protecting itself . Actually I get lost in a recursion of contradiction amounting to a total denial of a right to self defense and a belief in some superior class of protectors officially sanctioned by the state - a Judge Dredd world of a sort .

Jeffrey Shallit said...

So you must claim that the school is safer totally unprotected from outsiders

Please attempt to read with more care. I have claimed nothing, other than one must consider the relevant probabilities before making a decision.

By contrast, you are making specific claims about safety without providing any justification. So I ask once again, what is your evidence that armed guards (of any sort) make a school safer? Please provide statistics, not assertions.

Bob Armstrong said...

Actually John Lott has done a lot of that . The essential finding is that having someone around who's armed cuts short and reduces the casualties in mass "berserker" events .

"vanishingly small" would be 0 . It's not .

I fail to see how your argument does not apply to armed police in general . All violent crime events are low probability . There is an even smaller probability that any will be at the location of any particular event at the time of the event .

Are you arguing against any armed police and guards ? At least that would be consistent . Are you arguing that somehow being a cop or a hired security makes one more responsible than a teacher other teachers trust ?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

No, John Lott has not "done a lot of that". Stop lying.

To my knowledge, Lott never studied the particular case I am talking about, namely, schools. If you believe he has, either produce a study, or admit you lied.

Lott's reputation, by the way, is hardly sterling, as you would know if you made even a cursory effort at looking at criticisms of his studies.

Bob Armstrong said...

So you think schools are a special case .

Lott's not the only one who's found generally the similar correlations .

But you've not responded at all to my comments about armed police . Do you consider them a special class somehow exempt from the probabilities of misconduct of the rest of us ? I think the evidence is strong that if anything the field attracts "gun nuts" .

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Schools are a special case, as anyone with half a brain can see.

First admit you lied, then we'll move on to the other issues. I refuse to be distracted from the main point.

Paul said...

Huckabee never seemed very bright, but I agree he's outdone himself.

An armed high school teacher is a "justifiable" homicide waiting to happen, given the trendy notion of "justifiable" that I am entitled to shoot any unarmed person who could potentially wrest a gun from me. (When I first heard this argument, I thought: Woohoo! I have a license to kill. I'm easily overpowered and don't know how to handle a gun, so I could probably shoot the first person who looks at me funny.)

In an orderly classroom (the vast majority I hope) the presence of a gun is affront to the educational process. In a disorderly classroom, it is an invitation to challenge.

A single armed person in a group is actually in greater jeopardy than an unarmed person unless they're prepared to use their weapon before the weapon can be used against them. The likelihood of a student showing poor judgment in this context and trying to grab the gun by force is much greater than the likelihood of any student trying to bring their own weapons to school. The outcome is predictable.

Given that all of this is mostly NRA fantasizing, I am not too worried in practice, but the stupidity is so apparent, I can't see why it isn't met with open derision.

Bob Armstrong said...

I didn't and don't lie . ( I spend too much of my life working to make code right to waste time on falsehoods . ) I don't see the logic in your special casing schools so the distinction didn't occur to me .

I still don't see it except that schools offer a particular opportunity for atrocity .

Are you saying cops should not be allowed in schools ?

Bob Armstrong said...

This whole discussion is pretty stupid . It's an issue for the individual schools and parents to decide . None of us has skin in their game .

But in an age with ever more militarized and frequently abusive police and US support for massacres in the middle east , contrasted with absurd attacks even on the notion a gun by a child , I find this rejection of the fundamental right to , in essence organize a militia for defense of one's schools arrogant in the extreme .

Over and Out .

Mark said...

There have been a number of cases documented where the armed guard has forgotten his or her gun, leaving it lying at the toilet. So add in the probability that an irresponsible person might find a forgotten gun.

bcstractor said...

You mean it wouldn't be true that a concealed carry Chemistry teacher fired a gun at himself? Like last week.