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Malcolm Gladwell: Thresholds of Violence How school shootings catch on


dcollon
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Interesting. I believe one of the Freakonomics books gets into this kind of stuff as well. One of the examples they give is after a highly publicized suicide happens, suicides across the country will spike and then gradually return to normal levels. People who normally may be on the border of committing suicide suddenly are convinced to by a public figure doing so.

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The implications of this are truly frightening. As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked. Simply raising safety standards, record keeping, and customer screening wouldn't solve the problem.

 

Then again, it doesn't necessarily seem that banning hand guns would either since some of these guys are actually building some pretty sophisticated explosives too...

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Interesting. I believe one of the Freakonomics books gets into this kind of stuff as well. One of the examples they give is after a highly publicized suicide happens, suicides across the country will spike and then gradually return to normal levels. People who normally may be on the border of committing suicide suddenly are convinced to by a public figure doing so.

 

Cialdini's Influence talks about this as well.

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The implications of this are truly frightening. As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked. Simply raising safety standards, record keeping, and customer screening wouldn't solve the problem.

 

Then again, it doesn't necessarily seem that banning hand guns would either since some of these guys are actually building some pretty sophisticated explosives too...

 

See Ericopoly's last post in the TSLA thread.  Won't it be just grand when having an explosive laden autonomous vehicle blow kids up in school parking lots becomes a thing and people start worshiping/emulating the first one to do it?

 

There is still way too much herd mentality in humanity for my tastes.

 

 

EDIT:  When you live in a world where any teenager can buy gasoline by the gallon no questions asked, it is pretty absurd to worry about gun control.

 

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As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked.

 

Huh? I would think press freedom and free speech advocates would have to reevaluate their views. Its obvious that banning coverage of school shootings would enormously reduce their frequency.

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As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked.

 

Huh? I would think press freedom and free speech advocates would have to reevaluate their views. Its obvious that banning coverage of school shootings would enormously reduce their frequency.

 

Next we will talk about removing some words from the dictionary as it gives ideas.

 

Suddenly the year will reset to 1984.

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As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked.

 

Huh? I would think press freedom and free speech advocates would have to reevaluate their views. Its obvious that banning coverage of school shootings would enormously reduce their frequency.

 

Next we will talk about removing some words from the dictionary as it gives ideas.

 

Suddenly the year will reset to 1984.

 

Yea. I think suppression of the press has far more dangerous implications to it than suppression of firearms. That being said, I'm currently pro- both freedom of speech and private gun ownership but something does need to be done to help reduce the frequency of, and the potential damage of, mass shootings. I don't know what the solution is, but this article suggests that they'll only get more frequent.

 

Anyways, I don't really want to start, or participate in, a political debate. More just concerned about what this means for humanity as a whole if it were true.

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As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked.

 

Huh? I would think press freedom and free speech advocates would have to reevaluate their views. Its obvious that banning coverage of school shootings would enormously reduce their frequency.

 

Next we will talk about removing some words from the dictionary as it gives ideas.

 

Suddenly the year will reset to 1984.

 

Yea. I think suppression of the press has far more dangerous implications to it than suppression of firearms. That being said, I'm currently pro- both freedom of speech and private gun ownership but something does need to be done to help reduce the frequency of, and the potential damage of, mass shootings. I don't know what the solution is, but this article suggests that they'll only get more frequent.

 

Anyways, I don't really want to start, or participate in, a political debate. More just concerned about what this means for humanity as a whole if it were true.

 

What it means?  It means that every once in awhile some nutjob is going to kill a lot of people, with guns, bombs, vehicles, knives, or one at a time with their bare hands or a length of rope.  Human violence against other humans is going down and that has been the trend for centuries, but we will never rid ourselves of mass murderers nor serial killers completely.  I for one don't want to live in a society that has been turned into nerf-ville like the UK is trying to do (banning all pointy objects), nor a society that tries to limit speech, information, or the press.  Freedom is what makes life worth living, otherwise you'd be much safer locking yourself and your children in a padded room and never coming out.

 

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As a gun-rights supporter, I'd have totally re-evaluate my views if there was more data supporting that this was the way things actually worked.

 

Huh? I would think press freedom and free speech advocates would have to reevaluate their views. Its obvious that banning coverage of school shootings would enormously reduce their frequency.

 

Next we will talk about removing some words from the dictionary as it gives ideas.

 

Suddenly the year will reset to 1984.

 

Yea. I think suppression of the press has far more dangerous implications to it than suppression of firearms. That being said, I'm currently pro- both freedom of speech and private gun ownership but something does need to be done to help reduce the frequency of, and the potential damage of, mass shootings. I don't know what the solution is, but this article suggests that they'll only get more frequent.

 

Anyways, I don't really want to start, or participate in, a political debate. More just concerned about what this means for humanity as a whole if it were true.

 

What it means?  It means that every once in awhile some nutjob is going to kill a lot of people, with guns, bombs, vehicles, knives, or one at a time with their bare hands or a length of rope.  Human violence against other humans is going down and that has been the trend for centuries, but we will never rid ourselves of mass murderers nor serial killers completely.  I for one don't want to live in a society that has been turned into nerf-ville like the UK is trying to do (banning all pointy objects), nor a society that tries to limit speech, information, or the press.  Freedom is what makes life worth living, otherwise you'd be much safer locking yourself and your children in a padded room and never coming out.

 

Yes, because any safety regulation imposed on firearms would be enslaving mankind in the city of "nerf-ville." Just like the masses adopting seat-belts has done... /sarcasm

 

I generally agree with your political stances - I'm a libertarian that forces myself to be more moderate because I'm generally to cynical of others to trust that we could actually live in the society that I think should exist. That being said, we'll never be "free" as a society because societies need rules to operate. Idiots will always exist. Those looking to take advantage of others will always exist. Those with differing standards of decency will always exist. Rules equalize that and allow people to live together by standardizing the expectations of safety/behavior/etc. So how many rules/laws should we have?

 

The fewer, the better. Rules should be put in place when a non-systematic solution does not work effectively. Where you draw that line will be different from person to person, but we're getting to the point as a society where I'd say the majority of Americans would agree that the frequency of mass-public shootings is getting out of hand. Paired with the inability of local law enforcement to be able to identify would-be shooters because they are becoming increasingly "normal" members of society, you have a breakdown where non-systematic solutions appear to be failing. 

 

So laws should be considered at the State and/or Federal level. Those laws should have a high barrier to entry in that there should be reasonable evidence to conclude that passing and enforcing the law will have a direct positive affect on the problem with limited negative consequences on other, unrelated matters. If it can pass the smell test, then make the law.

 

To me that seems like a reasonable, high-functioning society. Maybe that is nerf-ville with a lack of freedom and no reason to live to you. The difference in our views is exactly why we need laws as a society.

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That being said, I'm currently pro- both freedom of speech and private gun ownership but something does need to be done to help reduce the frequency of, and the potential damage of, mass shootings. I don't know what the solution is, but this article suggests that they'll only get more frequent.

 

Well if you are not prepared to ban coverage than the next most rational thing is to just forget about it. Stop concerning yourself about it and treat it as an inevitable fact of life. Its basically the same approach as when you have trouble sleeping. In these cases, ignoring the problem is the best way to stop it from happening because worrying about the problem is exactly what makes it worse.

 

The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal and it makes zero sense to treat it as a major policy issue. The loss of lives from the absence of autonomous cars due to over-regulation would be like multiple mass school-shooting every single day for the whole year. 30000 people die every year in car accidents. 300 people total have died from school shootings since 1980. We REALLY should be doing something to get autonomous cars on the road and we really should be ignoring school shootings. Yet our approach is the exact opposite.

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That being said, I'm currently pro- both freedom of speech and private gun ownership but something does need to be done to help reduce the frequency of, and the potential damage of, mass shootings. I don't know what the solution is, but this article suggests that they'll only get more frequent.

 

Well if you are not prepared to ban coverage than the next most rational thing is to just forget about it. Stop concerning yourself about it and treat it as an inevitable fact of life. Its basically the same approach as when you have trouble sleeping. In these cases, ignoring the problem is the best way to stop it from happening because worrying about the problem is exactly what makes it worse.

 

The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal and it makes zero sense to treat it as a major policy issue. The loss of lives from the absence of autonomous cars due to over-regulation would be like multiple mass school-shooting every single day for the whole year. 30000 people die every year in car accidents. 300 people total have died from school shootings since 1980. We REALLY should be doing something to get autonomous cars on the road and we really should be ignoring school shootings. Yet our approach is the exact opposite.

 

+100

 

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal and it makes zero sense to treat it as a major policy issue. The loss of lives from the absence of autonomous cars due to over-regulation would be like multiple mass school-shooting every single day for the whole year. 30000 people die every year in car accidents. 300 people total have died from school shootings since 1980. We REALLY should be doing something to get autonomous cars on the road and we really should be ignoring school shootings. Yet our approach is the exact opposite.

 

In terms of number of victims you are correct. But having experienced the loss of colleagues and students in car accidents, and being in a building where a student was shot and stabbed to death, the effect on everyone is quite different and by orders of magnitude. None of us will ever be the same, and by varying degrees, because of the shooting.

 

I am in this photo,

 

https://purduecco.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/purdue-vigil.jpg

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal and it makes zero sense to treat it as a major policy issue. The loss of lives from the absence of autonomous cars due to over-regulation would be like multiple mass school-shooting every single day for the whole year. 30000 people die every year in car accidents. 300 people total have died from school shootings since 1980. We REALLY should be doing something to get autonomous cars on the road and we really should be ignoring school shootings. Yet our approach is the exact opposite.

 

In terms of number of victims you are correct. But having experienced the loss of colleagues and students in car accidents, and being in a building where a student was shot and stabbed to death, the effect on everyone is quite different and by orders of magnitude. None of us will ever be the same, and by varying degrees, because of the shooting.

 

I am in this photo,

 

https://purduecco.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/purdue-vigil.jpg

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong.  For one, the number killed in car crashes so far outnumber the number killed in school shootings that even if the lives of those killed in school shootings where 100 times more important than those slaughtered on the roads and highways as you are implying, it still would do far, far, more good to solve the road carnage issue.  I really don't think when someone loses a child to a car accident, or a drunk driver, or a road rage incident, that they sit down and think "thank god she wasn't shot or stabbed at school".    And finally there are many things we can do to reduce the incidence of death on our roads simply by getting the government out of the way (reducing regulations/bans on Uber and Lyft for one will have an impact on drunk driving deaths, allowing companies to develop,  test, and market autonomous cars will have an impact on accident/road rage deaths, developing drone delivery will get more trucks off the road and eventually lead to passenger drones, Audi isn't allowed to use its laser headlight system in the US because regulations require a certain type of lamp, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on...).  There is nothing you can do however to prevent the occasional lone nut (or small group of nuts) from deciding to kill people.

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong. 

 

Do you have children? Your lack of pathos suggests that you do not.

You can use statistics to argue for a lot of things, but to suggest that school children being murdered in class is 'no big deal' because we need self driving cars is being almost laughably callous.

 

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Although I disagree with school shooting characterization as:

 

There is nothing you can do however to prevent the occasional lone nut (or small group of nuts) from deciding to kill people.

 

I agree that humans/humanity in general are very bad at making statistics based decisions. There are numerous issues that are not focused on even though working on them would yield huge benefits and vice versa there are numerous issues that consume huge resources even though they are statistically insignificant and the resources are wasted.

 

Edit:

Just for illustration to Pauly:

 

Assume that a chance of your child getting killed in school shooting is 0.00001%.

Assume that a chance of your child getting killed in auto accident is 0.001%.

Assume you can vote only for only one solution:

A. Reduce a chance of your child getting killed in school shooting 10 times.

B. Reduce a chance of your child getting killed in auto accident 2 times.

 

Would you vote for A or for B? Why?

 

You are welcome to change percentages and numbers yourself.

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal and it makes zero sense to treat it as a major policy issue. The loss of lives from the absence of autonomous cars due to over-regulation would be like multiple mass school-shooting every single day for the whole year. 30000 people die every year in car accidents. 300 people total have died from school shootings since 1980. We REALLY should be doing something to get autonomous cars on the road and we really should be ignoring school shootings. Yet our approach is the exact opposite.

 

 

 

In terms of number of victims you are correct. But having experienced the loss of colleagues and students in car accidents, and being in a building where a student was shot and stabbed to death, the effect on everyone is quite different and by orders of magnitude. None of us will ever be the same, and by varying degrees, because of the shooting.

 

I am in this photo,

 

https://purduecco.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/purdue-vigil.jpg

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong.  For one, the number killed in car crashes so far outnumber the number killed in school shootings that even if the lives of those killed in school shootings where 100 times more important than those slaughtered on the roads and highways as you are implying, it still would do far, far, more good to solve the road carnage issue.  I really don't think when someone loses a child to a car accident, or a drunk driver, or a road rage incident, that they sit down and think "thank god she wasn't shot or stabbed at school".    And finally there are many things we can do to reduce the incidence of death on our roads simply by getting the government out of the way (reducing regulations/bans on Uber and Lyft for one will have an impact on drunk driving deaths, allowing companies to develop,  test, and market autonomous cars will have an impact on accident/road rage deaths, developing drone delivery will get more trucks off the road and eventually lead to passenger drones, Audi isn't allowed to use its laser headlight system in the US because regulations require a certain type of lamp, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on...).  There is nothing you can do however to prevent the occasional lone nut (or small group of nuts) from deciding to kill people.

 

I apologize for not being clearer in what I was saying.  I did say in my first sentence that I agree with you on the numbers.

 

I did not mean lives lost in school shootings were more important than those lost in traffic accidents.

 

I did not mean that how a parent losses a child caused a difference in their grief.

 

At my university the student population is about 40,000. Every year a couple of students die in car crashes each year, especially during breaks when they are traveling by car. There will be an article in the student newspaper, it will be sad, but maybe only 50-100 people who really new that person experience grief beyond a little sadness at the news.

 

When an active shooter kills someone on campus it has an effect on 40,000 people. As evidence there were at least 10,000 people the evening of the shooting at that candle light vigil and the temperature was -10F.  People who never knew the victim had to have counseling.

 

I disagree that nothing can be done. I can quickly think of a few things. People can become more aware of what signs to look for. Faculty, advisors, fellow students, staff, etc. can be educated to look for tells that someone needs help because they might be a danger to themselves or others. Better warning systems can be put in place so other class rooms can go into lock down. I now make sure I have a plan on securing my classroom if there is an active shooter on campus.

 

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong. 

 

Do you have children? Your lack of pathos suggests that you do not.

You can use statistics to argue for a lot of things, but to suggest that school children being murdered in class is 'no big deal' because we need self driving cars is being almost laughably callous.

 

 

You misunderstand his point. It has nothing to do with having children or being callous, rather it has to do with rationalizing resources to the things that will have the biggest impact. Of course children being murdered in class is awful and no one is going to argue against that. His point is that things like school shootings get sensationalized to the point where government focuses too many resources on them in relation to the damage actually caused. Can't blame the politicians, the average citizen doesn't understand statistics and cries for more to be done to stop these events from happening.

 

To better illustrate Pauly's point, take a poll of your friends asking "Would you rather stop school shootings forever tomorrow or have fully autonomous cars by 2025?" It will be well over 50% that choose school shootings, when in fact that would save farrrrrrr fewer lives than having autonomous cars in ten years.

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Although I disagree with school shooting characterization as:

 

There is nothing you can do however to prevent the occasional lone nut (or small group of nuts) from deciding to kill people.

 

I agree that humans/humanity in general are very bad at making statistics based decisions. There are numerous issues that are not focused on even though working on them would yield huge benefits and vice versa there are numerous issues that consume huge resources even though they are statistically insignificant and the resources are wasted.

 

Edit:

Just for illustration to Pauly:

 

Assume that a chance of your child getting killed in school shooting is 0.00001%.

Assume that a chance of your child getting killed in auto accident is 0.001%.

Assume you can vote only for only one solution:

A. Reduce a chance of your child getting killed in school shooting 10 times.

B. Reduce a chance of your child getting killed in auto accident 2 times.

 

Would you vote for A or for B? Why?

 

You are welcome to change percentages and numbers yourself.

 

Why would I assume that I can vote for only one solution? That assumption is what makes the argument asinine. Are engineers being pulled from Tesla so that they can work on solving school shootings?

Like I said, statistics are obviously useful for many things, but if you try to use them to make school shootings look insignificant in a zero sum game with car accidents you sound ridiculous.

 

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong. 

 

Do you have children? Your lack of pathos suggests that you do not.

You can use statistics to argue for a lot of things, but to suggest that school children being murdered in class is 'no big deal' because we need self driving cars is being almost laughably callous.

 

To better illustrate Pauly's point, take a poll of your friends asking "Would you rather stop school shootings forever tomorrow or have fully autonomous cars by 2025?" It will be well over 50% that choose school shootings, when in fact that would save farrrrrrr fewer lives than having autonomous cars in ten years.

 

Again, that is dumbing down the situation to being an either/or proposition, which it is not.

 

 

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Why would I assume that I can vote for only one solution? That assumption is what makes the argument asinine.

 

Because life is about choices and about resources. You might not need Tesla engineers, but you may need money, time, political will, campaigning, etc. It would be wonderful if we could resolve all issues facing humanity, but we can't.

 

My point is that we make a lot of bad choices because we ignore statistics.

 

Edit: perhaps I should have asked "would you contribute your money/time/effort to A or B". It seems that voting is easy, sure, you can vote for A and B and C. Not so if you have to spend something. Assume you can contribute to charity/organization that is working to reduce A or B. What then?

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The truth is that school shootings really are no big deal

 

I'm sorry that you had to go through that, but it is difficult to enumerate all the ways your comments are wrong. 

 

Do you have children? Your lack of pathos suggests that you do not.

You can use statistics to argue for a lot of things, but to suggest that school children being murdered in class is 'no big deal' because we need self driving cars is being almost laughably callous.

 

 

I do, 2 teenagers.  And I know that driving is far more dangerous for them than attending school.

 

EDIT:  If anyone here has children and are more worried about them being shot in school than you are about them sitting in the seat of a moving automobile you are insane, completely 100% insane.  I'm sorry if that sounds callous, but it is true.

 

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EDIT:  If anyone here has children and are more worried about them being shot in school than you are about them sitting in the seat of a moving automobile you are insane, completely 100% insane.  I'm sorry if that sounds callous, but it is true.

 

Depends on where you live. For most places in USA and developed countries, you are right.

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