Tales from Wasilla: Incompetent Risk Assessment


Wasilla suffered yet another stupid gun injury Saturday. A 4-year old boy was shot in the leg when his mother’s .357 pistol fell out of her purse, struck the ground and fired. The bullet struck the 4-year-old just above the knee.

There are so many things wrong in this incident.

But let’s focus on the risk assessment aspects of l’affaire. Assume, for the purposes of discussion, that there was a chance that the mother in this story faced a risk of attack so serious that she need to be armed and have a firearm with a round in the chamber. What are the chances of such an event? Are they less than the risk of injuring someone accidentally with a firearm in your possession with a round chambered? Almost certainly not. Is there any data to support the efficacy of having a loaded, chambered round on your person or in your person would help you? Nope. Not a shred of evidence. Is a loaded firearm more helpful than, say, avoiding the kind of situations that lead to those risk of being a victim of violent crime? Nope.

Of the 600-700 violent crimes in the Anchorage area each year, there’s no evidence a firearm in the hands of the victim helped at all.

On the other hand, there have been three instances already this year in which a loaded firearm injured either the would-be defender or someone near him or her.

So the premise under which the unnamed Wasillite had a loaded firearm with a chambered round in her purse in the first place is pretty suspect. The injury to her child is not. She may in fact get herself charged with reckless endangerment.

The comments to the news article in both the Anchorage Daily Dispatch and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner are even more dubious than the suspect premise.

Shoddy risk assessment and false premises. It’s getting people hurt. We’ve elevated the Second Amendment above personal safety, sensible laws and common sense.

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