Friday, June 10, 2016


Seems like most politics these days ( and everything is politics) involves creating a bubble, a frame of reference that doesn't necessarily have a one to one relationship with the world as an outsider might see it.  Many of those Republicans for whom Obama is a "disaster" and Hillary is a "trainwreck" inhabit a place where the economy is bad and getting worse, where freedom is being eroded and where America is no longer "great."  That makes it easy to support things that drag down economies, erode freedom and make the world hate us. The "tyrant' Obama has taken no guns, created millions of jobs, and all the dire predictions are still dire, but unfulfilled, or they are from outside that bubble anyway.

But that's a cheap shot, or an easy one at least, it's harder to see such things in your own bubble.  I argued with someone not long ago who asserted that life in America is much more dangerous than it was way back in 1971.  Gun crime is everywhere  and out of control you see. You can hardly go outside and of course there are all sorts of charts and graphs that at first glance make it seem that way, often by isolating small sections of a long curve and projecting things into the future. It's the sort of approach that gives us the appearance of an Autism epidemic or a health crisis when in fact there isn't either.

I recall that at the end of the infamous 55 MPH experiment, all sorts of famous people, like the OJ defense lawyer Barry Schenk waxed passionate about the "coming bloodbath on the highway." The bloodbath that not only didn't materialize but the death rate continued to decline and still does. The speed limit had no positive effect on highway safety despite years of repeating the theory as an axiom.

The Bill Maher health analysis that had us getting sicker by the day what with all the evil things put in our food and water by evil scientists and satanic corporations also  has had to contend with the opposite results but somehow, or at least within the belief bubble common to so many Democrats, the conviction that the danger from guns escalates every year has escaped over 40 years of contrary statistics.

There was a quiet and not repeated bit on the local news last week about the latest Florida crime statistics which show another 5% or so decrease in gun crimes, even as Florida continues to grow rapidly.  And here that piece of Godzilla legislation some like to call "stand your ground" was supposed to produce a bloodbath, an open season on Black children. Allowing concealed weapons was supposed to do the same, but here we are with the lowest level of violent (and non-violent crime too, apparently) since they started keeping records in 1971. Perhaps we can ignore the old Occam thing and invent some reasons for it that preserve the core beliefs and our own sense of  superior wisdom?

The FBI confirms the trend for the nation as a whole, but who trusts anything outside the bubble of community wisdom anyway.

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