You cannot ever get “perfect” security

I recently commented to a friend that we need better gun laws. I pointed out that the San Bernadino shooters purchased their guns and ammunition legally and that made no sense.  My friend replied he would never give up his guns unless he was “100% guaranteed” he’d never be in danger.

I pointed out that was impossible. You’re not 100% guaranteed you’re not in danger now, when you have your mini-arsenal.

He thought for a moment and reluctantly agreed. His ownership of guns isn’t actually keeping him safe. “But,” he concluded, “I feel better thinking I could protect myself.”

I thought about our conversation when I saw this article at the American Prospect:

Here’s a truth that no politician, Democrat or Republican, is going to tell you: There is absolutely nothing that our government could have done to prevent the attack that took 14 lives in San Bernardino last week. If you’re looking for a lesson we can learn from it, that’s the one you ought to take. Universal background checks for gun purchases is a good idea, but it wouldn’t have stopped that couple from killing those people. Starting a new war in the Middle East is a terrible idea, but it also wouldn’t have stopped it.

The second key point:

Which brings us to another truth you won’t see politicians admit: terrorism will never be defeated or vanquished or eliminated or banished. It’s a technique, attractive to those with limited power precisely because it’s relatively easy to use.

The notion that owning a gun will keep you safe is an illusion. You will never be 100% safe. No matter what. The trick is learning to manage risks and that requires accurately assessing them. Hysterical talk about bombing Syria, banning Muslim immigrants and whatever other horrors we hear from our political class won’t help us manage risk.

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on December 11, 2015 - 6:52 pm

    Whaddaya mean, you can’t have perfect security?

    We’ve got Dick Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine

    Vice-President Dick Cheney announced that if there was “a one percent chance” that a threat was real “we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.”

    It’s worked “perfectly” well.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on December 12, 2015 - 12:07 pm

    Study takes new look at gun access and risk of homicide, suicide

    People who have ready access to a firearm are almost twice as likely to be killed and three times likelier to commit suicide than those without a gun available in the home or from a neighbor or friend, a new study has concluded.

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on December 12, 2015 - 12:10 pm

    President Obama: NSA Spying Keeps America Safe, So Get Over It

    In reality, the illegal widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans has a perfect track record of never catching even one would-be terrorist. San Bernardino is just another data point.

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on December 13, 2015 - 11:52 am

    About a week ago, a law supposedly went into effect that would end blanket surveillance by the NSA. I don’t believe it though. To think they’re just going to have the big new building in Bluffdale just sit there is a pipe dream.

    I have an idea about what they could do with it and make a fortune for Utah. Virtual reality is going to be a reality for millions of Americans in the near future. In fact, I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist getting a unit for myself. Just think of the fantastic worlds that could be created for people to explore using the Bluffdale facility as a base.

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