Tag Archives: probability bias

Gun Control Advocates Need to Check their Time and Probability Biases

ImageOver the twenty years or so that I have been involved in strategy development, the biggest obstacle I found in gaining buy in and in implementation from the troops was to overcome time horizon perspectives. As I would build a 10 or 20 year map, the nuances of the interactions of events over time would get lost on my audience, many of whom had a much shorter time horizon of thought in their own lives as well as for the organization of their work. If the median time horizon of my audience was much shorter than the strategy needed to complete the organization’s goal, many would compress the longer timeline into their own time horizon and act upon it inappropriately from a shorter timeframe as a result. 

Apply this principle of shortened time frame to gun control. Detailing the actions that have been taken over the past two decades to edge America toward a Police state could easily support the conclusion that one of the possibilities for our future could include a probability of an authoritarian take over of our government by a rogue political or military force. Scenarios, such as one mirroring the rise of the Nazis for instance, could show how such an event could happen. Yet a series of steps would have to occur that all take time for such an event to take place, such that the likelihood of such an event occurring anytime soon, much less at all, is very remote. 

Along the spectrum of time compression, some people have the aptitude to keep multi-decade trends in perspective. However, another segment, having much less aptitude, compress the time line into the here and now. Along the spectrum of probabilities there are those than can without bias maintain an understanding of the true probabilities of a series of events occurring. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those that are driven by fear or prejudice to give excessive weight to a particular future path than others. Combine these two attributes and there results a small population that compresses the future into the here and now and that also focuses on those possibilities they most fear. 

That said, it is easy to see how a small percentage of the population that fall into the cross section of both compressing the timeline and being highly prejudiced toward the threat of a government takeover could latch onto the skewed idea that the threat to gun confiscation and resulting communistic or fascist oppression of the masses is imminent. It is also fairly easy to see that on the other side of the political spectrum there could be a small cross section of those that are biased to believe that any oppression by the government is impossible or that even if it were possible that the time before this might occur is infinite.

There is an entire fringe group that today fears the actions of our current government as if its actions are THE ACTIONS that will push us off the precipice to civil war. Alex Jones, the protagonist of this article:


 is a fervent time compressed, one possibility proponent. As such, he appears to many as a nut case to some.  Yet his message, if stretched out over the proper time continuum and correctly valued for its proper probability weighting amongst all the potential paths that could occur, is not incorrect. It is the message behind the purpose of the 2nd amendment, which, when properly construed within the context of all the possibilities, is a perfectly valid message.

For instance, it has just as reasonable a reason to be validated as the fact that our country’s shorelines might be inundated someday by rising tidal storms due to global warming, although only the most severely time compressed, biased thinkers of us believe the tides will rise two feet during the next two weeks because of them.  Similarly, some time compressed, biased thinkers believe the religious right to be nut cases because of their concerns over the slippery slope such as in this article:


However, when connected to the proper time and probability weighting, the religious right’s assessment of the logical progression of the abuse of the 2nd is dead on target. For their long term perspective of one possibility among many is the slippery slope of the Christian religion falling from a majority position try to one that is simply tolerated, then not tolerated, then whose message now looked upon by a minority as a voodoo cult of lies falls to one in which the majority look upon it as a fallacy of thought, until finally the majority turn against its followers as mentally ill.  If this path, as one possibility, coincides with the path that guns should be confiscated from those that are mentally ill, then the rights of Christians deemed mentally ill, such as the freedom of religion, could be taken as well.

If one views their concern from the perspective that religious leaders who express this concern are somehow paranoid lunatics, then one should examine their own time and probability compression for bias validity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized