Re: Are guns extropian?

Scott Badger (
Sat, 11 Jul 1998 15:30:29 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Bradley Felton <>
To: <> Date: Saturday, July 11, 1998 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Are guns extropian?

>At 11:45 AM 7/10/98 -0500, Scott Badger wrote:
>>Ben Hill <> asked:
>>> Just out of curiosity, what do you consider common APDs?
>>The DSM-IV describes it thusly:
>>A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others
>>occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the
>>(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors
>>indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
>In a nation with more laws on the books than every other country in the
>world combined (the US), this gets everyone their first strike.
>>(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or
>>conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
>Use an alias online, or flatter someone with white lies: that's two
>>(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
>Subjective enough to tar anyone: "What, you didn't anticipate being hauled
>in for a mental health inspection? Poor planning--strike three.
>>(4) irritability and aggressiveness as indicated by repeated physical
>>or assaults
>No one gets out of high school without earning this strike (you don't need
>to be the one doing the assualting, or starting the fights).
>>(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others
>Subjective. To that little-old-lady down the street, anyone who drives
>faster than 20 mph meets this description. Curiously, the opinions of
>bureaucrats are often indistinguishable from those of little-old-ladies....
>>(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to
>>consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
>Subjective. Come to work with a hangover a few times in a decade, get a
>>(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or
>>having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.
>Oh damn, I compared bureaucrats to little-old-ladys, in the process hurting
>the feelings of all the little-old-ladys who read my words. And I don't
>give a damn.... Still another strike.
>Using this list, the government could brand anyone they pleased with the
>APD label, and remand them for mandatory "treatment", if we followed your
>proposed solution to violence. Time to go out and buy a gun (oops, two
>more strikes for expressing that sentiment...).
>-Bradley Felton

Ummm, perhaps I should be discussing Paranoid Personality Disorders. Let me first address your last statement. The government doesn't diagnose (or using your term "brand") people with the APD label. Psychologists and Psychiatrists do. Most of your objections (strained as they were in their attempt to trivialize) related to the subjective nature of the criteria I listed above. You're absolutely right, diagnosis is quite subjective. Deciding whether an individual meets any particular criterion is a matter of clinical judgement by a trained professional. It's common for people to see a little bit of themselves in the above description. Psychologists consider pervasiveness, chronicity and severity before they recognize the presence of psychopathology however.

I'm not very interested in this gun debate but I will make a couple points.

(1) Defending yourself and your family (or your neighbor for that matter) using lethal force against criminals who threaten your safety is fine by me. I'm not anti-gun. It just doesn't get rid of the criminal mind. Pro-gun activists argue that criminals are going to successfully repress deep, ingrained personality traits because they'll be afraid the victim may be armed. Let's say they're right. O.K. so what do you do if you have an antisocial personality? Override all the genetic and biochemical directives, forget the negative experiences and influences of the past, become a respectable citizen, and get a job at Wendy's? I don't think so. The criminal mind doesn't disappear just because you point a gun at it or put it in prison. It will find a way to manifest because that is its nature.

(2) I'm not sure what the best course would be if we had the fine-tuned ability to reliably enhance a personality by attenuating urges to act in ways that harm others. What if we identify a high risk individual at 3 years of age? If the parent says it's OK should we intervene and prevent the formation of a dysfunctional personality? What about an APD who has been imprisoned for repeated robberies or murder? Could we give him the option of staying in prison for life or undergoing treatment and having a shot at a more extropic and rewarding way of life?