"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” - Bob Marley

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Guns Don't Kill People - Judges and Parole Boards Kill People

Regarding the likely murderer of the mother, sister and nehew of Jennifer Hudson:

Here we see:

Balfour was out on parole from the Illinois River Correctional Center on attempted-murder, carjacking and stolen-property charges, for which he had been sentenced to serve seven years.
Here we see:

Family members told police that Balfour, 27, paroled for an attempted murder in 2006, had threatened his estranged wife before and was thrown out of the family home, according to law-enforcement sources.
So a guy who tried to kill somebody (among other felonies) was sentenced by some moronic judge to all of 7 years - and then the morons on the parole board decided that this sterling citizen deserved to be released early.

From Gunfacts.info we see:

Why does crime rise when criminals are released from prison early? Because they are likely to commit more crimes. 67.5% were re-arrested for new felonies or serious misdemeanors within three years. Extrapolating, those released felons killed another 2,282 people. (“Reentry Trends in the U.S., Recidivism”, Department of Justice, 1999)

45% of state prisoners, at the time they committed their offenses, were under conditional supervision in the community--either on probation or on parole. (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1991) Keeping violent convicts in prison would reduce violent crimes.

Homicide convicts serve a little more than ½ of their original sentences. (“Firearm Use by Offenders”, Bureau of Justice Statiscs, November , 2001) Given that men tend to be less prone to violent behavior as they age (Homicide rates peak in the 18-24 year old group, Bureau of Justice Statistics, online database), holding them for their full sentences would probably reduce violence significantly.

In 1991, 13,200 homicides were committed by felons on parole or probation. For comparison sake, this is about ½ of the 1999 annual gun death totals (keep in mind that gun deaths fell from 1991 to 1999).

Los Angeles county saw repeat offender and re-arrest rates soar after authorities closed jails and released prisoners early. In less than three years, early release of prisoners in LA resulted in: (" Releasing Inmates Early Has a Costly Human Toll", Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2006)
• 15,775 Rearrested convicts
• 1,443 Assault charges
• 518 Robbery charges
• 215 Sex offense charges
• 16 Murder charges


Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people etc

Well, you know the line, it’s the motto devised by the NRA, the famous peace and love club.

First time I heard it I admit I was taken aback and couldn’t help thinking, well, sounds true in the end. And yet, I knew there was a hitch but where was it hidden?

Let's see how it works in other situations.

- It’s not the saw that cuts the branch of the tree it’s the one who uses the saw. Huh? And if he has no saw? Well he’ll use an axe. But if he has no tool can he cut the branch? Humm… obviously not, he needs some kind of device but he alone can’t do anything. There’s interdependency between both a tool and someone to use it.

Not really convincing still.

- Let’s try with something else:

It’s not the plane which flies; it’s the pilot who makes it fly.

Hummm… I feel there’s some kind of trick here.

- Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes; it’s the one who eats sugar.
- Tobacco doesn’t cause cancer; it’s the one who smokes.

And on and on and on…

It’s very confusing really because at first glance you can’t dismiss the apparent logic of the line.

We all know that any tool designed and manufactured by men needs men to be activated and to deliver its potential energy (when it has energy in it). Any 12 year old understands that and this is precisely why the NRA line is so powerful : understandable and a priori undebunkable by untrained intellectuals. The tools that are used to achieve an end can only do what mankind wants it to do.

Yeah, sure, but this is plain tautology.

Now, let’s have a look at Aristotle and his notorious 4 causes.


Isn’t it clearer now that when someone came with the line we’re discussing he actually constructed a sentence with 2 final causes included?

The gun is the final cause because it has been designed and manufactured in order to kill and nothing else. It’s a tool like any other one.

Man is the efficient cause because without him there would be neither guns nor any other tools.

Each tool has been conceived with one specific goal, the ultimate goal of the gun being to kill whereas the man wasn’t born to kill (well, for some trigger-happy you may wonder indeed).

Here lays the trick then: To artificially put on the same level the man and the tool (here the gun) he fabricated, eg to hop over the efficient cause in order to have 2 final causes in the same sentence, which I think is logically impossible.

Some criminals try to kill other people by throwing balls made of paper but it doesn't really work. And yet they do try hard... It's not the will only that kills people, it's the tool, eg the guns which final cause it is to kill.

Another and last example may make things less confusing:

It’s not the atom bomb that killed 80.000 Japanese in August 1945 it was a man.

Which one? P. Tibbets? Come on here, it can’t be so. Otherwise he should have been convicted as a mass murderer of the worst kind.

Some Americans are really, really good at logics.

bobn said...

Anonymous: you are wrong on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin.

So, in no particular order:

1) We've done a huge experiment with privately owned guns. You may have heard of it; it's called the United States of America. "The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reported in a national survey that in 1994, 44 million people, approximately 35% of households, owned 192 million firearms, 65 million of which were handguns." Every day, every single one of these guns fails to kill anybody without somebody pulling the trigger.

2) The perpetrator in the post served only 6 years for multiple felonies including attempted murder. In any sane society he'd have been in jail - and his victims safe - for a far longer period of time. And, as a convicted felon, it is already illegal for him to have a firearm. Take-aways for the sensible: a) Criminals kill people, b) especially when released early and (c) do not obey laws, including gunlaws. That's why they are called criminals.

3) In England they've had draconian gun control for 15 years. The effect: criminals still kill people and now the Brits are busily outlawing knives, too. I suspect rocks, baseball bats, screwdrivers and ragged fingernails are next.

4) Your "logics" suck.

Anonymous said...


First of all, I'm not commenting on the crime you refer to but just trying to deconstruct the NRA slogan that Guns don't kill people, people do

Of course, without men tools are ineffective (be it a saw, a hammer or a submarine). Well, this is sheer common sense and pure tautology. But logically speaking it doesn't hold water.

You're just saying that A = B therefore B = A. It's called circular thinking and it's not really creative indeed. You just keep on repeating the NRA mantra which is basically a trivial tautology.

Too bad you altogether ignore Aristotle’s' 4 causes which explain the fallacy in the famous creed of "guns don't kill etc."

Basically, logics are a mean to avoid circular thinking that simply leads nowhere.

Logics teach us there is always a progression towards a specific goal, whatever it may be. e.g. there is movement in our way of thinking in order to reach new results. The line we're talking is circular thinking and leads nowhere, that's what I wanted to mean.

My aim was just to see where the logical flaw was in the famous slogan we're talking about. Hence the ref to Aristotle logics which breaks your circular thinking.

There is the efficient cause (the man) and the final cause (the weapon). Granted, the difference seems inappropriate in reality but logically wise it's right.

Now, points that remain unanswered:

1°) If guns didn't kill people, criminals could resort on the sole lethal power of their frightful look. But it's inefficient so they use the tool most effective to accomplish their wishes.

Some try by throwing balls made of paper but it doesn't really work.
It's not the will only that kills people, it's the tool, e.g. the guns which final cause it is to kill.

2°) Did Lincoln and Kennedy (and thousands other) die because their brains were smashed off by bullets or just simply because of the will of the murderers?

So, if guns (or any weapon) don't kill people...

- What or who killed 80.000 Japanese in August 1945? Paul Tibbets as the slogan would have it us believe or the bomb?

- Wasn't Zyklon B responsible for the death of say, 6 million Jews in Nazi concentration camps? Or just the guys who opened the taps?

- Were 1 million Vietnamese killed by American carpet bombings or did the pilots kill them? Unless it was R. McNamara?

- If guns don't kill people, people do, why didn't William Calley, convicted as a war criminal by the US judiciary, end his life behind the bars?

At the end of the day, it's the gun (or any weapon) that kill people, not the sole will of the killers. Even if it's tempting to think so, but it's logically impossible.

- If not, then P. Tibbets is personally responsible for the death of 80.000 Japanese, not the atom bomb.

- The guys who turned the taps open are personally responsible for the death of 6 million Jews, not Zyklon B.

- The American pilots who dropped million tons of napalm in Vietnam are personally responsible for the death of, say, one million Vietnamese, not the bombs.

- And yes, William Calley is responsible for the massacre of My Lai. Why is he walking free then?


Your "logics" suck.

Some Americans are always so sophisticated...

Now tell me, How old were you when you left school?


bobn said...

You're just saying that A = B therefore B = A. It's called circular thinking

So, you are arguing that A = B is true, but B = A is false - simultaneously?

The ignorance of that "logic" is truly stunning.

Granted, the difference seems inappropriate in reality but logically wise it's right.

Highly reminiscent of the apocryphal economist's response to "this really works": "well yes, but is it correct in theory?".

It's not the will only that kills people, it's the tool, e.g. the guns which final cause it is to kill.

And knives. and cars, airplanes, screwdrivers, hammers, baseball bats - any tool can be misused.

The point of my post - which you have so far ignored, since you can't rebut it - is that guns are used by criminals kill the innocent (and each other). Keep the criminals in jail and enforce the gun laws we already have, and you go a very long way towards minimizing that problem.

If not, then P. Tibbets is personally responsible for the death of 80.000 Japanese, not the atom bomb.

Read this all the way through - the use of the A-bomb was needed, as shown by the fact that using it once was not sufficient to induce Japanese surrender. It's called war.

As for responsibility, that would have been Truman. But it was the right move.

Now tell me, How old were you when you left school?

23. How old do you plan to be when you move out of your mommy's basement?

I'm through with you, by the way. You haven't got the sense to pound sand. Your arguments are so feeble. I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

Bird of Paradise said...

The parole board and the judge should all get life in prison for allowing this crinimal out in society

bobn said...

Bird of Paradise said:

The parole board and the judge should all get life in prison for allowing this crinimal out in society

I don't know about life in prison, but there must be some significant accountability. As of now, there appears to be none.

The recent case of the guy that raped and killed Chelsea King is an even more horrible case of the same types of thing - initial sentence too short, probation and parole inadequate in every way.

The initial sentences for these types of violent felons should be much longer and the parole/probation must not subtract so much from those sentences.

About Me

I'm a 57 year old geek. I voted Democratic for 20 years, because I disliked the Republicans more. But now, nobody really speaks for me. I'm for Guns, for more correct government regulation of the financial world, against illegal immigration and amnesty. (in 2008 I ended up voting Republican - too many questions about Obama, and voting against anybody who voted for TARP 1.) In 2010 I voted a stright republican ticket because the Democrats have completely lost their minds.