Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Column by Andrew Klaven, whom I do not normally read, but I love this line: “We’re pretending we’re having a debate about gun control but we’re really having a debate about the nature of evil and whether big enough government can control it.”
Can we talk? I mean talk honestly, about the difference between gun violence in Las Vegas versus Chicago? Here’s the difference: it’s all about risk.
Everybody knows there are certain neighborhoods in Chicago where shootings occur. People who can afford to avoid those neighborhoods employ a risk-avoidance strategy of private red-lining. We don’t go into bad neighborhoods, especially not at night. We live elsewhere, shop elsewhere, send our kids to school elsewhere. As long as ghetto thugs stay home to kill each other, we don’t care. That’s why statistics on violent crime in Chicago leave us unmoved. It’s NIMBY-ism, pure and simple.
Las Vegas was different. The victims didn’t take the risk of gun violence by going into a bad neighborhood, the concert-goers stayed in a decent neighborhood with plenty of security. That’s what causes the outrage – this should have been a safe place to be. Think back to other mass shootings: school, movie theatre, night club, Christmas party, military base, softball field. We followed the rules, we stayed within the lines, we should have been safe but we weren’t. We’re angry because we’ve been cheated.
Can government prevent cheating? Can government eliminate risk? How big, how intrusive, how domineering must government become to have the power to keep everyone perfectly safe at all times? Is it even possible? If not, what’s the alternative? How much risk do we live with and what are the appropriate private risk-avoidance strategies? That’s what we’re really discussing. If we’re honest about it.
The difference between expectations and reality is behind a lot of outrage in many areas – this foremost among them.