How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

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Alias
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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 6th, 2018, 12:13 pm

Or frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief --- many situations and internal states might put even the most stable individual beyond the reach of reason, permenantly or temporarily.
I also posit the possibility of violence sometimes being the most reasoned and logical available option.
It's all situational, innit? Lucky R know.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Greta
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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Greta » April 6th, 2018, 9:23 pm

Alias wrote:
April 6th, 2018, 12:13 pm
Or frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief --- many situations and internal states might put even the most stable individual beyond the reach of reason, permenantly or temporarily.
I wonder how many murders are committed by those who are not "frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief"? Most who are "frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief" will be relatively harmless and hopeful of support, but I suspect that that group includes most of the people who have committed violent crimes.

I suppose my parsing is more risk assessment rather than a value judgement of good and bad guys and gals.

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 6th, 2018, 10:22 pm

Greta wrote:
April 6th, 2018, 9:23 pm
I wonder how many murders are committed by those who are not "frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief"?
Most who are "frightened or cornered or desperate or angry or in pain or in grief" will be relatively harmless and hopeful of support, but I suspect that that group includes most of the people who have committed violent crimes.[/quote]
In my experience, the large majority - maybe 80%, maybe more - of homicide and manslaughter were* committed by non-criminals. Spouses, parents and children, siblings and friends striking out at each other in the heat of an argument, or in response to an insult or betrayal. Many, of course, are relationships that had been dysfunctional for a long time before culminating in violence. Quite often, the killer will just sit down next to the victim, or on the front steps of their home, and wait to be apprehended. They're not mentally ill; they just got pushed past their limit of reasonableness - maybe only for a minute.
If there is a gun handy in that minute, the damage is far more likely to be fatal than if they resort to cutlery and garden tools.
I suppose my parsing is more risk assessment rather than a value judgement of good and bad guys and gals.
Most people are neither. But they do live in stressful environments, stressful situations, with little recourse to outside help and little hope of relief.
And, let's face it, most people are not in the habit of using reason.

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 6th, 2018, 10:25 pm

* I said were, because my forensic science experience is 35 years out of date. It's possible the demographics of homicide have changed.
They are likely, also, to vary by country.
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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Greta » April 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm

Alias wrote:
April 6th, 2018, 10:22 pm
In my experience, the large majority - maybe 80%, maybe more - of homicide and manslaughter were* committed by non-criminals. Spouses, parents and children, siblings and friends striking out at each other in the heat of an argument, or in response to an insult or betrayal. Many, of course, are relationships that had been dysfunctional for a long time before culminating in violence. Quite often, the killer will just sit down next to the victim, or on the front steps of their home, and wait to be apprehended. They're not mentally ill; they just got pushed past their limit of reasonableness - maybe only for a minute.
If there is a gun handy in that minute, the damage is far more likely to be fatal than if they resort to cutlery and garden tools.
Interesting. It doesn't surprise me. Yes, it's often the momentary loss of reason that is so dangerous.
Alias wrote:
I suppose my parsing is more risk assessment rather than a value judgement of good and bad guys and gals.
Most people are neither. But they do live in stressful environments, stressful situations, with little recourse to outside help and little hope of relief.
And, let's face it, most people are not in the habit of using reason.
Try telling them that :)

I have long felt that "evil" was a subset of dysfunction and/or immaturity rather than the elemental force it's posited to be. The elemental "force" is entropy and "evil" seems to basically be a lot of entropy coming your way from people who are too agitated or damaged for gentleness or pursuing positive projects.

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 7th, 2018, 1:52 pm

I can accept that.
Well, duh - what choice have I got?
Evil may be real in its effects, but it is too big and complicated to pigeonhole or apportion.
I imagine the timeline of an individual life as a string and their environment as a pool of molten wax through which their string rolls up into a the ball that will eventually become the sum of that lifetime. What debris, what colours, what deliberate and incidental accretions will be embedded along the way, there is no predicting.
Cremation is best.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Greta » April 7th, 2018, 9:11 pm

I find the term "evil" misleading. It suggests to me a naive worldview based on limited knowledge of the world, where all the great forces were black boxed into personified gods. In what appears to be a process of rationalisation, the many gods boiled down into representatives of two major forces - good and evil.

If the ancients had the benefit of modern knowledge they might not have spoken so much about the grand dichotomy of good and evil more about the grand dichotomies of growth and entropy or order and chaos. What does an "evil" person or corporation do? They interfere with one's attempts to promote growth and order. It's not necessarily evil to interfere with growth or order per se, only when it involves the parts than one cares about, thus subjective (as you obviously know well).

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 7th, 2018, 10:00 pm

The wise ancients knew exactly what they were doing. At least, the ones that handed down their doctrines, knew far better than we do today, just why the black-white dichotomy was a good idea.
Before civilization, the dumb savages had much more nuanced and subtle attitudes, both to the world at large and to human nature.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Greta » April 7th, 2018, 11:47 pm

I'd dispute that. Rather, the capacity you speak of is still present, but less generally. We are more specialised.

It's like saying that the ancients were more fit than modern people. Yet top athletes today have abilities far beyond what was seen in the first Olympic games. On the other hand, those ancient audiences were carrying around far less stored fast food in their bodies than their modern counterparts.

You could say that athlete and audience fitness appears in inverse proportions. This principle seems to hold true in many fields as specialisation entrenches further.

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by jerlands » April 8th, 2018, 12:54 am

Greta wrote:
April 7th, 2018, 11:47 pm
It's like saying that the ancients were more fit than modern people. Yet top athletes today have abilities far beyond what was seen in the first Olympic games. On the other hand, those ancient audiences were carrying around far less stored fast food in their bodies than their modern counterparts.
This is a bit of an exaggeration and a little like comparing apples to oranges. First, there isn't a great deal of historical evidence to compare with and secondly you're only considering Greek sporting events. If you were to take a 5'03" ancient Greek athlete and pit him with a 5'03" modern athlete I think the tide might favor the Greek.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Greta » April 8th, 2018, 1:56 am

jerlands wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 12:54 am
Greta wrote:
April 7th, 2018, 11:47 pm
It's like saying that the ancients were more fit than modern people. Yet top athletes today have abilities far beyond what was seen in the first Olympic games. On the other hand, those ancient audiences were carrying around far less stored fast food in their bodies than their modern counterparts.
This is a bit of an exaggeration and a little like comparing apples to oranges. First, there isn't a great deal of historical evidence to compare with and secondly you're only considering Greek sporting events. If you were to take a 5'03" ancient Greek athlete and pit him with a 5'03" modern athlete I think the tide might favor the Greek.
Some of those short east Asian weightlifters would surely overwhelm an ancient.

The equivalence is clear. Specialisation is an established fact and it's clear that it is intensifying. Do you know of Frederick Taylor?

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by jerlands » April 8th, 2018, 2:47 am

Greta wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 1:56 am
jerlands wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 12:54 am

This is a bit of an exaggeration and a little like comparing apples to oranges. First, there isn't a great deal of historical evidence to compare with and secondly you're only considering Greek sporting events. If you were to take a 5'03" ancient Greek athlete and pit him with a 5'03" modern athlete I think the tide might favor the Greek.
Some of those short east Asian weightlifters would surely overwhelm an ancient.

The equivalence is clear. Specialisation is an established fact and it's clear that it is intensifying. Do you know of Frederick Taylor?
Again you're speculating. There are plenty of tales of mighty ancient olympians renown for their feats so who really knows. As far as specialization and the trend towards efficiency these are different things. Specialization develops efficiency however I believe the shift will occur when we realize the importance in diverse activity. That is if we ever regain sanity.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 8th, 2018, 9:32 am

Greta wrote:
April 7th, 2018, 11:47 pm
I'd dispute that. Rather, the capacity you speak of is still present, but less generally. We are more specialised.
I wasn't speaking of capacity; I was speaking of honesty.
What is usually referred-to as "the ancients" are the sages of classical civilization, and that's where we get our modern philosophies.

It serves the power structure of civilized society (specialized, stratified, organized, hierarchical society) to couch their moral precepts in terms of good and evil, virtue and vice; reward and punishment: it's a way to keep order in large, disparate populations.
Primitive man - that is, man living in and with nature in small related groups - had the freedom to describe what he observed and felt, and didn't need to make reality fit into a formula for social conduct. His priority was to overcome difficulties, not to keep order.
Industrial man needs everything compressed for him into categories, because he doesn't have time to deal with the particular.
It's like saying that the ancients were more fit than modern people. Yet top athletes today have abilities far beyond what was seen in the first Olympic games. On the other hand, those ancient audiences were carrying around far less stored fast food in their bodies than their modern counterparts.
It's not about fitness. But those naked Greek athletes were already more specialized and probably having less fun than they should. Nowadays, we carry everything to absurd extremes. What should be games and amusements are arduous - howbeit lucrative - jobs. We've even managed to specialize spectatorship into a chronic illness.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by jerlands » April 8th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Alias wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 9:32 am
Primitive man - that is, man living in and with nature in small related groups - had the freedom to describe what he observed and felt, and didn't need to make reality fit into a formula for social conduct. His priority was to overcome difficulties, not to keep order.
Industrial man needs everything compressed for him into categories, because he doesn't have time to deal with the particular.
This doesn't ring true with me. Life itself is order so the natural tendency, that is the drive to survive, is based upon order and which requires compartmentalization. The thing about Life however is that it requires disorder to grow. We rise and fall, life and death, like gleaning the essential elements for some purpose... survival.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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Re: How do we learn who is a good guy with a gun, and a bad guy with a gun?

Post by Alias » April 8th, 2018, 3:05 pm

jerlands wrote:
April 8th, 2018, 12:05 pm
[Primitive man - ... His priority was to overcome difficulties, not to keep order].

This doesn't ring true with me. Life itself is order so the natural tendency, that is the drive to survive, is based upon order and which requires compartmentalization.
I'm not at all sure that it does require compartmentalization. It does require a certain kind of order, but a very different style of rule-making in a family or clan, where no-one is surplus and all members are valued, than in a stratified city-state, where the order of worth is assigned by class rather than contribution. (In fact, the "contribution" is redefined according to status, so that a completely unproductive bishop or money-lender is valued above a hundred food-producers or territory-defenders.) A clan structure does not require unquestioning obedience, and rules of conduct do not need to be enforced by armed minions; almost every aspect of life and every transaction, even transgression and rehabilitation, can be negotiated case by case .
Don't take my word for it, ask an Ojibwa or Chimu elder.

I didn't say they favoured disorder; only that keeping social order - everybody in his or her assigned place - was not a priority. It simply doesn't need to be, because places are interchangeable and people are adaptable.
Making people conform in a stratified, specialized society is the first and highest priority. That's why its legal and moral philosophy is laid out in black and white, Thou Shalt / Thou Shalt Not.

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