This evening, I had an interesting conversation. The idea of buying a gun for safety and security purposes was brought up by my interlocutor. Immediately, I thought of all the other things people use for home and personal safety, such as home security systems. So, I cited a couple studies that planting trees and various city beautification projects have been shown to reduce crime. Why don’t we just do that? It’s two birds and one stone, after all: It’s good for the environment and also reduces crime.
No doubt, people who study crime more than I do know of various other things communities can do to reduce crime. So why do we fall for buying more guns, ammo, and security systems? Why not just listen to the experts?
Well, it seems that some people have a hard time sorting out this kind of information. Despite receiving good public school educations, many people do not know how to rely on experts. They don’t know how to find experts, how to asses data or how to examine arguments.
Not only do we get wonky policies out of this, it also hits you in the pocketbook, if you happen to believe that buying a gun–rather than having your city plant more trees–is your only option when it comes to crime.
What is my solution to all of this? Well, you could, of course, read The New Floridian, which has expert writers. But–I daresay, even better–you could read articles by places like The Conversation, which has true academic experts write on many interesting topics. Check them out and be amazed. After that, you can consider your gun or home security purchase in a better light.