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Risk assessment

May 8, 2018

Not too long ago, I wrote about the possibility that collectivists and individualists differ in the kinds of risk assessments they make. Now that I look at it, the post could have been fleshed out a bit more, but I think I’ll leave it as is. How convenient, then, that someone shared with me an article from Medium.com. Entitled “The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper,” I would have likely not read it due to the title. Fortunately, it was recommended to me by a person whose opinion I respect. He suggested I read it, though he said I would likely not find it comforting. While it was not comforting, it did tend to reinforce some things I already thought, but without any “the sky is falling” sorts of statements.

The author, BJ Campbell, is a stormwater hydrologist whose professional concern includes things like determining the risk of a given area flooding. He applies the same sort of mathematical analysis to determine, in this case, the risk of what I will call “significant social upheaval.” His conclusion? The risk of such an event during an average lifetime is greater than that of floods for some people living in floodplains. I encourage you to read the article for yourself.

One of the things that interests me about people, far more than the math of their risk assessments, is the sorts of assumptions they make. Campbell deals with some of these as they pertain to mass shooting incidents. He suggests that in the aftermath of a mass shooting, discussions and conversations about guns and gun control policies end up in “three buckets.”

There’s the “tyranny can never happen here” bucket, which the left has mostly abdicated in the wake of Trump winning after they called (and still call) him a tyrant. There’s the “you can’t fight the army with small arms” bucket, which is increasingly unsound given our ongoing decade-and-a-half war with Afghani tribal goat herders. And there’s the “what the hell do you need an AR-15 for anyway?” bucket, which, by its very language, eschews a fundamental lack of understanding of what those people are thinking.

I find the last of his comments about buckets most refreshing because it addresses the fundamental lack of understanding on the part of many people. Preparedness is not about getting ready to overthrow the US government. It’s about being prepared (in such an event) should others attempt to do so. More than that, it is about taking steps, should things reach the point of well and truly sucking, to help ensure that for you and yours they don’t suck quite as much. Under the heading of “Prepping is Just Disaster Planning,” he writes the following:

“But if one of these things happens, you’re screwed anyway!” Well, sure. The point of disaster planning for a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or wildfire, is not to be “not-screwed.” It’s to be notably less screwed.

What I find really interesting, given that Campbell specifically says he is not a prepper, is that he touches on the sorts of things that some preppers find concerning.

It’s an interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Note: Just before I published this thing I realized Bayou Renaissance Man had devoted space to it on his blog. I encourage you to read his words. They’re much more coherent than mine.

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One Comment
  1. OldNFO permalink

    Sadly, he is probably right…

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