Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Of the security approaches used by law enforcement, the most humane and effective are a combination of containment and assimilation. A recent “60 Minutes” segment described how education for prisoners improved psychological health and indicated that it dramatically reduces recidivism. This matches the results of my own statistical population modeling, where having the most people with accurate knowledge of the actions required to reach their personal comfort zones minimizes the average stress of the population. Containment during education (which, by the way, we practice with our kids by sticking them in school) protects society while ignorance and lack of understanding are too low for people to make rational decisions.

Another form of containment, through the limiting of weapons of mass destruction, is useful in the general population to the extent that dangerous ignorance is present in statistically significant numbers of people. I define weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as anything that can kill more than the number of people who could be expected to pose a direct, deadly threat to an individual. The most generous interpretation of deadly crime statistics (all people arrested are guilty) is that annually there are five attackers and six victims per 100 thousand people in the United States. As long as the government is under the people’s control and maintains both a police force and a standing military (for dealing with other threats), there is no reason why any of us should have the means to kill anyone in a lifetime.

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