Thomas Sowell is an economist and excellent writer who frequently writes articles that are aligned with my view of the world. He recently wrote an excellent article on self-defense and the media repose. What really caught my attention was the following:
“People who are full of excuses for criminals– bad childhood, unemployment, unfair world– sit in the safety and comfort of their editorial offices and presume policemen to be guilty until proved innocent. And they concoct clever headlines about killing an “unarmed” person, as if someone trying to run you over with a car poses no danger.”
In a previous article I wrote about someone who charged the police with a pellet gun. In that case the media statement was to point out that it was a pellet gun in the title, but ignore the fact is was manufactured to look real. There was a response from the community based on 20/20 hindsight. Again something Mr. Sowell points out strikes me:
“Such people seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition, that there are times when decisions have to be made and acted upon immediately, whether or not we know as much as we would like to know or can carry out our decisions as perfectly as we wish we could.”
There is a reason it is called 20/20 hindsight. Often you learn and discover things after the fact that would have altered your actions and resulted in a different outcome. My problem is the same as Mr. Sowell’s; these people often speak without any knowledge of the subject, and refuse to be educated even though they realize they have no understanding. Often we have to act upon assumptions based on the data available. Often however you gain more data that charges the assumptions, however when this happens after the decision is made, only the information leading to it should matter.
For instance if someone breaks into my house in-the middle of the night I assume him to be armed. Here’s why: small cramped space with a single entry/exit. This makes the assumption he is armed because I have no way to retreat, and due to the cramped space I will have little reaction time. If he does what I tell him when I tell him, I will have no reason to shoot; if however I cannot see his hands and he doesn’t cooperate I must shoot because I have no other option to ensure my wife’s safety and my own. Because of the situation, a 20/20 scenario is likely, however if I don’t react I could easily end up dead. To those that think dead is an option, it is not, he came in my house and I am the one guaranteed to leave under my own power.
I used the above merely as an aid in illustrating how decisions must often be made by assumptions and not just pure data.