Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Occam's Razor and Operation Fast And Furious

Here's the philosophical principle known as Occam's Razor:

Occam's razor is the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness. It is a principle urging one to select from among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect.

In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the best one. If you are in Texas and hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras

Let's apply that principle to the magnificent abortion known as Operation Fast And Furious, where the people responsible for the Post Office, VA Hospitals and the DMV decided to let a bunch of guns "walk" across the Mexican border.  Just to see where they would go.....  

Here's Mickey Kaus of The Daily Caller:

The fuss over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal must be mystifying to voters who don’t know why Second Amendment types think the seemingly insane operation was launched–namely to establish a predicate for gun control here in the U.S..** Powerline bloggers debate the issue here & here. Don’t wait for the MSM to fill you in on this crucial bit of undernews. …

What I don’t understand is why, according to both Powerliners, the “gun control” theory requires the administration to have wanted to “increase bloodshed in Mexico”? Why increase? It requires more paranoia than even I’m able to muster to think that the Holder Justice department’s goal was to produce more violence and death (in order to grab headlines, etc.). Why isn’t there a far more plausible and mundane possible purpose: The administration wanted to document that the guns used in Mexican drug gang crimes–including violent crimes–came from the U.S.. There might be more crimes, there might be fewer. There could be less bloodshed, there could be increased bloodshed–but that wasn’t the point. The point was that gun controllers could argue that X% of the guns, or X number of guns, found at crime scenes were sourced from this country–whatever the overall level of crime. That would establish the factual basis for gun control the same way the Dartmouth studies and Atul Gawande’s articles allegedly established a factual basis for Obamacare. Entirely plausible, and not criminally evil! Just amazingly stupid. …

P.S.: I’m not sure Second Amendment enthusiasts should argue that letting lots of guns “walk” across the border will inevitably “increase bloodshed” or “promote violence.” Isn’t that the gun-controllers’ argument–that More Guns = More Violence in some kind of rigid equation?…

Guns don’t kill Mexican gang war victims. Mexican gangsters kill Mexican gang war victims. …

Go here for your very own Operation Fast And Furious T-shirt !!!


Hot Sam said...

For those of us with memories longer than a gnat's, that is EXACTLY what they were saying just before F&F broke news - that most of the illegal guns in Mexico came from the US.

The Mexican president said it when he visited Los Angeles. Obama and Napolitano said it.

Now, the logic behind F&F may have been sound. They are going to get the guns anyway, so let's put tracking devices on them and follow where they go. When we find concentrations of them, that's the Headquarters.

We do this doing wartime in a variety of ways, some active and some passive. We often tag money so we can follow money laundering and illegal weapons or drug sales. The concept is far from novel. This could have come from DARPA.

But what these whiz kids didn't consider was the blowback. Ask yourself and answer, what is the worst possible thing that can happen if we do this? If that happens and we get the information we wanted, was it worth it?

The answer is clearly NO. The reason government officials did not conduct an Idiot Test on this bright idea is sovereign immunity. Yes, the government has waived SI in all but a few ways, but relief is limited. And for Constitutional torts, you have to overcome qualified immunity, years of litigation, and courts that are increasingly hostile to such causes of action.

I can't ascribe political malice or posturing to Obama and Holder because they aren't that smart. Their devious nature does not manifest itself in guns, but in laws and decisions.

Our government behaves stupidly because they can do it and get away with it. That's as sharp a razor as you are ever going to find.

Jay said...

"Now, the logic behind F&F may have been sound. They are going to get the guns anyway, so let's put tracking devices on them and follow where they go. When we find concentrations of them, that's the Headquarters."

That was the logic behind the Bush admins' similar (except one glaring difference)operation Wide Receiver. The FF guns weren't equipped with tracking devices.