The Problem

Scott Adams (a keen observer whom you may know as the creator of Dilbert) offers an interesting explanation as to why the Democrat-Republican dispute over gun control is so intractable:

On average, Democrats (that’s my team*) use guns for shooting the innocent. We call that crime.

On average, Republicans use guns for sporting purposes and self-defense.

If you don’t believe me, you can check the statistics on the Internet that don’t exist. At least I couldn’t find any that looked credible.

But we do know that race and poverty are correlated. And we know that poverty and crime are correlated. And we know that race and political affiliation are correlated. Therefore, my team (Clinton) is more likely to use guns to shoot innocent people, whereas the other team (Trump) is more likely to use guns for sporting and defense.

That’s a gross generalization. Obviously. Your town might be totally different.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

It’s a simplification, yes — but like all helpful simplifications, it picks out natural categories very effectively, and does a lot of heavy lifting. Read the rest here.

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  1. Whitewall says

    “whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats.” Heaven help if that changes from “defend against” to “offence against”.

    Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  2. Robert,

    I can’t imagine Republicans offending against Democrats — unless, of course, they remember to wear their hazmat suits.


    Posted July 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Tina says

    LOL! “Your town might be totally different.” I loved this so much I shared it on Facebook!
    Thanks for pointing to it.

    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink