The dangerous, false logic of “Common Sense”
By Simon Black - February 21, 2018

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On the morning of May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan, a 55-year old municipal worker named Andrew Kehoe used a timed detonator to set off a bomb he had planted at the local school.

Kehoe was Treasurer of the School Board, so he had unfettered access to the school.

According to friends and neighbors, he was having personal issues with his wife (who he had murdered days prior) and extreme financial difficulties. He was also severely disgruntled about having lost a local election the previous autumn.

Whatever his reasons, Kehoe took out his rage on the 38 schoolchildren he killed that day.

It remains the deadliest attack on a school in US history.

Sadly, it wasn’t the first– there were numerous reports of school shootings throughout the 1800s and before.

And as we all know too well, it wouldn’t be the last.

Last week’s shooting in Florida is another tragic stain in the pages of US history. And it’s completely understandable that emotions are running high now.

People are demanding action. They want their government to “do something.”

The problem, of course, is what we’ve been talking about so far this year in our daily conversations: emotional decisions tend to be bad decisions– and that includes public policy.

We keep hearing the phrase “Common Sense Gun Laws,” for example.

And that certainly sounds reasonable. Who could possibly be against common sense?

[As an aside, I do wonder why “common sense” is only reserved for the gun control debate. Why doesn’t anyone demand common sense airport security? Or a common sense federal budget?]

But it’s never quite so simple.

Many of these “common sense” solutions are emotional reactions.

As an example, the Florida shooter in last week’s tragedy is only 19 years old. So now one of the proposals being tossed around is to have a minimum age limit to be able to purchase a firearm.

I suppose if the shooter happened to have been 70 years old, people would be talking about having a maximum age limit instead.

Yet neither of these “common sense solutions” really solves the problem.

A big part of this is because no one really knows what’s causing the problem to begin with.

We know that there are far too many people committing acts of violence in schools and other public places.

And, sure, a lot of the time they use firearms. But we’re also seeing murderous rampages with cement trucks, U-Hauls, and everyday appliances like pressure cookers.

Any of these can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction.

But the debate only focuses on firearms.

One side presupposes that more regulations and fewer guns will make everyone safer.

The other side of the debate, of course, argues that more guns and fewer regulations will make everyone safer.

The reality is that there’s no clear evidence that either side is correct.

Australia is often held up as an example of a nation that passed strict gun laws (including confiscation) in 1996 following several mass shootings.

And yes, gun violence dropped precipitously. Australia now has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

But contrast that with Serbia, for example, which is the #2 country in the world in terms of guns per capita (the US is #1).

Serbia has a strong gun culture and fairly liberal laws. Yet its gun violence rate is incredibly low, on par with Australia’s.

There are plenty of examples in the world of places that passed strict gun laws, and violence decreased (Colombia).

Others where violence INCREASED after passing strict gun laws (Venezuela, Chicago).

Other examples of places which have LOW levels of gun violence, yet liberal laws (Serbia). And still others with LOW levels of gun violence and fairly strict laws (Chile).

The point is that you can look at the data 10,000 different ways and never really find a clear correlation. So there HAS to be something else going on.

Is it cultural? Perhaps.

Japan, for example, has extremely strict firearms laws. You can’t even own a sword without special permission.

And Japan, of course, has very limited gun violence. But this is not a violent culture to begin with.

You probably recall back in 2011 after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japanese people sat quietly outside of their collapsed homes and waited for authorities. No looting. No pillaging.

Contrast that with the city of Philadelphia earlier this month, where people were out rioting, looting, and setting property on fire… simply because their football team won the Super Bowl.

Perhaps there’s something about the US that has people so tightly wound they dive into violence at the first opportunity.

Maybe it’s all the medication people take. Or the crap in their food. Who knows. But it’s worth exploring the actual SOURCE of the problem rather than treating a symptom.

The larger issue, though, is that this “common sense” mantra is tied exclusively to LAWS.

Guess what? There are already laws, rules, regulations, and procedures on the books. They’re not working.

In the November 2017 mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the shooter was able to purchase weapons because the Air Force erroneously failed to record his military court-martial.

And with the Florida shooting, the FBI had the suspect on a silver platter and did nothing.

It’s clear that the laws on the books aren’t being properly implemented. Yet the solution people want is MORE LAWS.

How about better execution? How about applying that all-important “common sense” to the way laws are carried out?

This is conspicuously missing from the debate.

There’s almost no conversation about what’s actually CAUSING the violence.

Instead, people are focused on a manifestation of that problem (guns) and demanding more laws to control that symptom even though the existing laws are being pitifully executed.

This is a pretty horrendous way to solve a problem.

[We discuss this more in today’s podcast, along with plenty of other extremely uncomfortable realities. Listen in here.]


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  • Varangian Guard

    That can’t be true, you can only kill be with items incorrectly labeled assault rifles, just ask the View’s clucking hens. The tape dispenser on my desk at work has gotten me in trouble more times than I care to think of because it has been mistaken for a black rifle by fans of Nancy Pelosi.

    • SnakePlissken

      Ban tape! Do it for the chiiiildren!

  • jackw97224

    Excellent point about treating root cause as opposed to treating symptoms. Gun laws and gun haters are all about treating symptoms, no root causes. Why? Because more rules and regulations and penalties facilitate the power grab, the lust for power. Politics is violence. We might be better off with organizational government; it couldn’t be worse than democracy and political government where might makes right. Politicians are “statists.” Politicians believe in using force to loot A to satisfy B.

    • Marten

      Politicians have one goal in life…a nice easy cushy “Job” living off the Life energy of those around them…..

      • jackw97224

        It surely seem so, though I thinks some politicians, like judges, really think they have the right to dictate to others how they must live. These are arrogant/supercilious individuals who are so dangerous as they come off as “nice” when in fact they are morally deficient. If courts were privatized then and all judges admitted that there is no factual evidence that the constitution and law apply to anyone just because he is physically present in some state, then we might begin to see real justice. The Marc Stevens/Lysander question should be taught in schools. People should be knowledgeable to the point that they would not engage in conversations with enforcement officers so as not to give them probable cause for anything they want to do.

  • jackw97224

    A wise friend once said that “common sense” implies common knowledge and common experiences or nearly so. The gun hate speakers appear to lack that common knowledge of history and/or they are intellectually dishonest and allow emotions to override reality. The first casualty of emotion is reason/logic/morality just as the first casualty of war is the truth.

  • SnakePlissken

    If you don’t know anything about a topic, it’s easy to get on board with something that is proposed as “common sense”. The problem is that the Brady Campaign’s version of “common sense” is completely contrary to what common sense is. These proposals are impractical, unenforceable, and don’t accomplish anything. So then the next step (as stated by the Brady Campaign) is to ban all firearms.

  • SnakePlissken

    In Australia, gun homicides went down, but overall violent crime (rape, murder, burglary, etc) went UP!

  • SnakePlissken

    Almost every mass shooter in recent history has been on, or recently came off of powerful psychotropic drugs prescribed by doctors that are known to cause suicidal, homicidal, or other aggressive behaviors. How come nobody is talking about this? Is it maybe because Big Pharma buys a lot of advertising on news outlets?

    • Aajaxx

      So how come there is so much talk on all sides that these people should have got help for mental illness?

  • SnakePlissken

    It was “Common sense” for the NAZIs to exterminate Jews. There was no real objections to fascist common sense at the time.

    • Qoquaq En Transic

      That same “common sense” will destroy our country.

  • LawrenceNeal
  • Sunshine Kid

    What gets me is the “common sense gun laws” is often expressed right along with the “shall not be infringed” part of the second amendment. It seems that someone dropped their common sense when they put both of those sentiments into the discussion, because they are opposite of each other.

    • Aajaxx

      The Conservative majority on the Supreme Court will handle that question. To some extent they already have, and they’ve said some ownership, including type of weapons, can be limited.

      • Sunshine Kid

        “With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting a permit holder from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds,” explained the Colorado legislature’s summary of the proposed law. “The bill removes this limitation.”

        Check out these and debate this, if you can:

        “limits the authority” means “infringe” does it not?
        “prohibiting” means “infringe” does it not?

        “permit holder” means someone who had to accept the infringement of having extra work, time and money to pay for their right to bear arms.

        I’m not implying that putting in the extra work and time to know the rules is bad, certainly not, but what business is it of the government to deny someone to the right of self protection? The government need only be involved when someone misuses a weapon, and that is the real intent of the second amendment. It also left open the right of the people to protect themselves, not have to rely on police, marshals, military, etc. for said protection. Permits and licenses limit the people the right to protect themselves, whether or not they have knowledge and ability. Legislators claim “safety”, but the fact of the matter is that legislation has taken away the responsibility of the community and the parents to instill responsibility in the children, but when children are taught, they can be just as deadly to defend against criminals as any adult. see: Do you honestly think this girl has a “permit”? No, she has responsible parents.

        • Aajaxx

          First, just so I know how serious you are about rights, tell me your position on the government’s right to exclude law-abiding people from entering the country and how you feel about the government’s right to tell me what recreational drugs I can use?

          • Sunshine Kid

            As far as recreational drugs, that’s your business, not the government’s. However, that said, your responsibility is what you do while on the drugs. Alcohol is a drug, and perfectly legal. But, causing a disturbance just because you are drunk can land you in jail. The same should go for any other substance. It is the principle of being responsible for your actions. The government is not responsible for you – that’s YOUR job.

            As to my position on the government’s right to allow immigration, consider this: There is nothing in the Constitution that mentions immigration per se, pro or con. However, considering that every nation has the right to sovereignty, and this is international law, this means than ANY country, including the United States may reject whomever it pleases.

            If you wish to test this out, enter any country as a “law abiding citizen” and see what happens to you.

  • Number 6

    I wish people would use common sense when watching the news,.

    Is it not common sense that NO parent would give a television interview in front of the worlds media only a day after their daughter was shot dead laughing and smiling with media crews Robbie parker Sandy Hook, or the parents of a “youtube star’ blown up at a concert telling the world, with a whacking great big smile on their faces, that he “would have absolutely loved this” in fact theres always a queue of parents waiting to give tearless interviews for these “events” as far back as you can remember.

    is it not common sense that if your shot in the head with an 5.56mm assault rifle round, your not let out of hospital the very next day, without so much as having your head shaved, to give you guessed it “Interviews” and set up a go fund me, unless the gofundme was set up days “BEFORE” the event of course, as has been witnessed time and time again !

    Is it not “Common sense” that the chances of someone called “Mason Wells” being at 3 separate terrorist incidence, in 3 separate countries Brussels, Boston and Paris is just too improbable to be true yet its an “Official” “Truth” !

    Is it not common sense that when a terrorist blows themselves up on CCTV in a paris restaurant, they don’t just vanish into a puff of smoke and what looks suspiciously like feathers, and the worst that happens to restaurant is a piece of paper gets blown off a table right next to them, and people are forced to briefly cover their eyes.

    Lets all have a “common sense” left right paradigm argument over gun control, heaven forbid we use our “Common sense” and refuse to argue with one another over these completely Manufactured events and pre framed arguments and debates, and instead call these “shooting” and “terrorist’ instances for what they CLEARLY are, namely utter bullshit !

    • Aajaxx

      Don’t forget the 9/11 attacks. Common sense tells you those were fake, too, of course. And these North Korean missile tests? I’m not buying those at all.

      • Number 6

        Yes mate theres so many worthy of mention but too little space, its beyond stupid, with regards to 911 free fall buildings and indestructible passports being the two most obvious bits of fakery from the day in question. And agreed its pretty obvious north Korea doesn’t have nuclear weapons, the complete absence of any video evidence is a bit of a clue, but a photoshop of a sea launched ballistic missile was the moment they jumped the shark, apart from the leap in technology to sea launch a ballistic missile, North Korea doesn’t even have a sub, remotely big enough to launch one, but yet western governments and our media go along with the lie.

        Besides the whole question of the existence nuclear weapons is very much open to debate, When you examine the evidence Hiroshima was clearly firebombed, and all the test footage may have looked convincing back in the day, but it hasn’t aged very well, I’d argue thats now in the realms of common sense too, its not as if people cant figure out a motive for the fakery, the daily bell itself has asked the question of their existence many times. see links below

      • robt

        And don’t forget the fake Nuclear bombs.

        • robt

          Oh, dear, somebody didn’t.

  • James Higginbotham


    • Qoquaq En Transic


      But please, skip all caps.

      • James Higginbotham

        CAPS is how i EXPRESS SOMETHING.

        • Qoquaq En Transic

          That’s fine.

          But it screams fanatic.

          Just a friendly piece of advice. I’m on your side.

          • James Higginbotham

            thanks for your advice.
            never thought of that? but i am a PASSIONATE AND COMPASSIONATE MAN and i am PASSIONATE about SAVING our REPUBLIC from all her TRAITORS.
            and GLAD we’re on the SAME SIDE.
            Semper Fi from and OLE HARD ASS MARINE STILL.

          • Qoquaq En Transic

            Semper Fi as well.

            Just a friendly piece of advice.

            We’re on the same side.

          • James Higginbotham

            noted and thanks again.

          • Qoquaq En Transic

            No worries, Brother!

            It is the spirit of moral men which will keep our Republic Free!

    • Aajaxx

      I hear that people who use all caps will be considered mentally unfit to own a gun.

      • James Higginbotham


        • Aajaxx

          THANKS, I WILL, LOL.

          But don’t say I didn’t warn you, lol.

          • James Higginbotham

            i could care LESS what THEY as you say is.
            NO ONE DECIDES for me except ME.
            and especially some GOVT WACHO SCUMBAG.

          • Aajaxx

            That’s the spirit!

  • Aajaxx

    Funny you should mention needing to determine the source of the problem. The Republicans in Congress have forbidden the CDC, the agency best equipped to study the violence, from doing so.

    • Qoquaq En Transic

      We know the source of the problem and don’t need the CDC to tell us what it is.

  • NobodysaysBOO

    POKING the US elephant is very JEWISH ?
    and DANGEROUS.
    BUT IT WORKS NOW same as it did on 911.

  • r2bzjudge

    “It’s clear that the laws on the books aren’t being properly implemented. Yet the solution people want is MORE LAWS.”

    It is not the solution people want, it is the solution Leftist Agenda wants. Leftist Agenda isn’t interested in protecting children in school, they are interested in banning guns.

    As was mentioned by the Daily Wire, 98% of mass shootings have happened in gun free zones. Leftist Agenda has not at all proposed beefing up school security, including use of armed guards or arming properly trained volunteer teachers or administrators. Leftist Agenda prefers that students remain defenseless, so that shootings will continue, for them to make even greater demands against people owning guns.

  • darrell_b8

    Name me one “LAW” that stopped anything…

  • Dragonheart

    Local Armed Police were outside the School before, during and after the massacre and did nothing to stop it! So the obvious answer is take all our guns so cowards like this can protect us. One armed individual with an ounce of bravery could have stopped this, but not in a Gun Free Zone. Corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed fools are the real problem.

  • pacman

    What are you talking about? Colombia has restricted guns in one way or another since the Constitution of 1861.