Re: Dodge City/was Re: The End of Privacy?
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 10:56:54 -0700 (PDT)

Robin Hanson [] wrote:
>Of course continuing this line of reasoning, we should observe that murder
>rates are a very small contribution to mortality rates. But people seem
>much more interested in talking about murder than about other mortality
>causes (e.g. no response to my "Why Do We Die?" thread). Similarly, people
>are much more interested in talking about gun laws than other influences
>on crime.

That was part of the point; why are people so hung up on banning guns when they're such a small risk to the majority, and essential to the minority who are most at risk of murder (poor inner-city dwellers)? The answer would have to be that people are just extremely bad at judging risks, which is one of the things I've been trying to point out in other threads, and one of the skills that I think is important to a long-lived being.

Presumably this is -- as, I think, Dawkins pointed out -- because we've evolved to judge risks which are relevant to our short lifespans and our instincts are unable to deal with the risks in modern life. We treat potential minor threats we can see -- like guns -- far more seriously than serious threats that aren't as obvious.