Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Gun Control: "Almost Perfect"

For more than 75 years, Procter & Gamble marketed Ivory soap with the tag line 99 and 44/100 percent pure. That was the popular standard for perfection for almost a century, until the 1980's, when Motorola put together a process to achieve near perfection in manufacturing or distribution processes, a standard of 99.99966% success. Motorola named it Six Sigma™. To achieve Six Sigma requires that almost everything goes exactly right. There is no room for imperfection, no room for the vagaries of nature, no human error. It has to be very close to absolute perfection. It is the modern standard for perfection.

Virginia Tech's self-created Gun Free Zone worked even better than Six Sigma, better than the best processes devised by man. Over the past year it achieved a success rate of at least 99.999989%. It was almost perfect. Almost no one carried a gun onto campus. Almost. No. One.

Until Monday, when Evil did. Evil lied to buy his guns. Evil broke the law to get his guns. Evil broke the law ever day he had his guns, every time he touched them, loaded them, took a photo with them. Every one of those acts was a felony for Evil. Evil broke the law a hundred times before Monday.

On Monday Evil murdered two people deliberately, then went back to his room, attended to his press relations, loaded up and went on to really rack up felonies for the next couple of hours.

Almost perfect was not good enough. Centralized command and control defense was not good enough. Depend on us for your safety was not good enough.

The only thing that helped on Monday, that has proven to help time after time, was individual action.

I'll say it again, mass murderers are easier to defeat and to deter than other killers. Because mass murderers don't care who they kill, the simplest, most basic defense will redirect them, dissuade them or convince them to perform their final exit. Time after time, potential mass murderers have been dissuaded or defeated by rudimentary defenses or the intervention of random heroes.

Even Monday, among the worst rampages in American history, Evil was successfully and easily defeated by a 79-year old professor and by an ordinary door blocked with an ordinary table put in place by an ordinary student. These two heroes didn't perform extraordinary feats of marksmanship or use sophisticated tools or hard to learn techniques, but what they did was enough. They saved, between them, dozens of lives.

Even Ivory soap won't be enough to wash away the facts: Almost perfect Gun Control didn't work. In fact, it likely cost lives by removing tools that others have used in the past to prevent or mitigate rampages that would have otherwise been worse.

Individual responsibility and action did work. We need to start encouraging more of it.


Anonymous said...


J.R. said...

Straight up!!