Will climate change ever have its Sandy Hook moment?

● By Prof. Matthew Bailes, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia ● It’s easy to bash America. Externally Americans are often characterised as loud, star-spangled, gun-toting, bible-bashing, right-wing extremists with Fox News continually on in the background and a gas-guzzling Hummer in the driveway. And the problem is, that when all you ever see are US media reports, politicians, and movies, it is easy to think that’s all America is. In reality America, like most other countries in the world, is full of people. People a lot like us. When you meet them, many are very nice, share most of your political views and go about their day-to-day lives doing boring things. So at this time of tragedy, when a mentally unstable, barely adult male goes into a school and kills 20 young children with a home-grown arsenal, it would be too easy to start lecturing the US about the benefits of Australia’s universal health care scheme, strict gun laws, and a conservative Prime Minister who raised taxes to buy back every assault rifle in the country after our own day of infamy, the Port Arthur massacre. They don’t need it. Instead they need our compassion. Because if the loss of 20 innocent children and six adults can’t change America’s attitude and laws relating to guns, nothing we ever say or do will. Poissonian Statistics As an experimental scientist it is hard not to look at the ~300 million guns and ~30,000 gun-related deaths (many of which are suicides) each year in America and not instantly think that every gun has a 0.01% chance of killing someone every year. What we scientists like to call the “expectation value”. Most guns just sit in cupboards, or get used responsibly, but on rare occasions, they are used in crimes, suicides, shooting accidents or fall into the hands of mentally unstable people who go on killing sprees. So every gun is an independent test particle that is part of a massive social experiment. On average they kill 0 ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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