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Old January 13, 2009, 01:42 AM   #51
supergas452M
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My post from another thread...which shows that I for one have thought about it beforehand.


I live every waking hour in condition yellow now. Sometimes I think I may be overdoing it but I'm ok with that. Im not scared of what may happen but I am afraid. I'm afraid for my family and your family, but I'm not scared. Know what I mean? Every day when I wake up I say to myself "today may be the day" and I'm afraid but I'm not scared.
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Old January 13, 2009, 10:34 AM   #52
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Correct. This is why it's important to think things through ahead of time so that you have a basic framework to operate from BEFORE things turn bad.
John I agree with you on the thinking it through part but where I have issue is when some take "statistics" out of academic papers without showing the context or bias and telling you to use them when thinking it through beforehand. The danger is that if you don't really understand what these mathmatical formulae mean then you might come up with a poor plan.

As an aside, when I took statistics in grad school one of the most misunderstood concepts was the confidence interval. People who didn't understand statistics thought it meant one thing and it didn't.

I agree somewhat with supergas in that these academic studies had little or no bearing on what our plan may be as they might be misunderstood.

Of course some folk just like to try to come on here and show their academic schtick to get credibility. But I will leave that alone.
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Old January 13, 2009, 11:07 AM   #53
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they have absolutely NO place in the decision making process in time of crisis.

On a formal level you are correct. Your unconscious brain, however, doesn't give a rats behind what your conscious brain is doing. Lets say your in a bank and 8 guys charge in with AK-47s. You're making literally dozen of decisions on a second by second basis. Do you run? Follow their instructions? Have they seen me? Do I hide? Dial 911 on my cell? All this takes fractions of a second. Meanwhile, your unconscious mind is constantly informing those decisions with its' "odds calculations"... "That BG is directly between me and the door, I CAN'T GO THAT WAY..."
What is it that tells you that you can't go that way? Like David said, we call it a lot of things, in this case we'd probably say that "common sense" says I can't go that way. What's really happening though? Your brain, partly consciously and partly not, is telling you that the ODDS of making it out that door are slim and the stakes for failure are high. Is it possible that you'd make it? Yes, of course, the odds might be 1:1,000,000,000, but it's possible.

When it comes right down to it, virtually every decision we make is based on odds. Do I want to have children? If the odds were 100% that the kid would become a delinquent, I'd say "Hell No!" In real life the odds are good that my baby will be healthy, my wife will be safe, my kid will be no "worse" than any other and we'll grow old and enjoy life together. So, I have kids.

Starting a business? What are the odds and stakes of failure? What are the rewards of success?

All most everything is based on odds. We just don't "think" about it very often. Mostly, those odds are on a very informal, non-compiled level. Occasionally it helps to have the numbers put together in a formal way to aid in our understanding.
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Old January 13, 2009, 11:08 AM   #54
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Of course some folk just like to try to come on here and show their academic schtick to get credibility. But I will leave that alone.
The odds were that it would happen...
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Old January 13, 2009, 11:14 AM   #55
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If you want to discuss how we make decisions and your theory of such, please go ahead.

If you want to discuss personal motivations for discussing risk analysis - nope.

To get us on track:

What information do you use to make a rational decision about what actions to take?

Is it the likelihood of outcomes, per se?
Is it the likelihood of outcomes X results of such outcomes?
Is it the emotional vividness of an error that causes you to overvalue some action? - That's a well known effect.
What's your cutoff point for worrying about an outcome?
Or something similar.

If we start to snipe, then we are going in circles and guess what!
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Old January 13, 2009, 11:16 AM   #56
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then we are going in circles and guess what!
You certainly have my vote to close this thread. I agree that we are going in circles and it has little or no value to the purpose of this froum.
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Old January 13, 2009, 12:04 PM   #57
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Statistics are best left to mathmeticians and politicians, they have absolutely NO place in the decision making process in time of crisis.
You have just fallen off a cliff. As you are falling, you see a rope hanging from the cliff and a sparrow flying by. Both are in reach. Which one do you grab in this time of crisis? BTW, that is a decision-making process based on statistical analysis.
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Old January 14, 2009, 02:12 AM   #58
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I brought this topic up to point out how valuable it is to be anal about training and approaching situations in high risk-low probability situations.

Many times people will convince themselves that since there has been no incident of something happening that it will never happen. However, this is far from the truth. For example, a person who starts their car each morning gets used to the fact that it will start on the first try. There will be that day in the future it will not start on the first try.

Just like in self-defense situations. We dont know when exactly it will happen, but after a number of times, it will happen. Therefore, for law enforcement, training and protocol is very important. For civilians, the best practice is situational avoidance.

Should you walk outside of your house at night without first turning on the lights and looking out the window? Even though there has been no incident after several years doesnt mean it will never happen. In fact, after a series of no incidents tells me that it might be just about to happen...
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Old January 14, 2009, 03:00 AM   #59
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The danger is that if you don't really understand what these mathmatical formulae mean then you might come up with a poor plan.
So what are you suggesting as an alternative that would make one less likely to come up with a poor plan?
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Old January 14, 2009, 03:20 AM   #60
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"I live every waking hour in condition yellow now. Sometimes I think I may be overdoing it but I'm ok with that. Im not scared of what may happen but I am afraid. I'm afraid for my family and your family, but I'm not scared. Know what I mean? Every day when I wake up I say to myself "today may be the day" and I'm afraid but I'm not scared"

I think this is way too overboard. I was thinking more along the lines of the way we approach routine situations on a daily basis.
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Old January 14, 2009, 07:25 AM   #61
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[QUOTE]Should you walk outside of your house at night without first turning on the lights and looking out the window? Even though there has been no incident after several years doesnt mean it will never happen. In fact, after a series of no incidents tells me that it might be just about to happen... [QUOTE]

Um, no. Not unless you are talking about mutually inclusive events, which I don't believe you are.

For example, based on statistics of the sun coming up every day for the past 1460000000000 days (4 billion years of days), I can postulate that the sun will come up every day forever and have a very high statisticaly probability that this will in fact happen. This would be a misapplication of statistics because each day's event of rise isn't mutually exclusive from the past events.

You see, we know that the sun won't last for ever and does have a finite life as a star. So with every day that passes, there is a greater and greater chance that the sun will die and hence not "come up." In other words, each day's event is tied to the events of the past. They are mutually inclusive.

Take the example with tossing a coin and doing heads or tails where it is assumed that the coin is actually (truly) balanced and 'sides' or 'edges' are not a realistic option. Each toss results in a 50% chance of a given outcome. Now say that you had 9 results that were actually the same, say they were all heads. What is the chance the 10th toss will result in heads? It can be argued with statistics that the chances are very good given the 9 previous outcomes. It can be argued with statistics that the chance is very bad as the longer you continue with such a pattern of results, the more likely the pattern is to be broken. Both sets of analysis would in error because they are treating the events as being mutually inclusive.

In reality, the chance of that 10th toss being heads again is the exact same as the original toss, 50-50. That is because each toss is mutually exclusive.

Applying such statistics to human behavior is problematic for this reason. People love to use statistics for things like estimating how much ammo they will need in a gun fight. While it may be most common for folks to only need 2-3 rounds for a gun fight (mean, median, or mode), what has happened in past gun fights does not determine or give a percentage indication of what will happen in any new gun fight in which any of us participate.

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In fact, after a series of no incidents tells me that it might be just about to happen...
No. Note statistically, not unless you are doing something to influence that outcome. Mutually exclusive events are not linked through time (hence part of the reason they are mutually exclusive). There is no more chance of you having an event happen today than yesterday simply because of the passage of time just like there is no more chance of me winning the lottery today because I haven't won't it in the past 10 years of paying.
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Old January 14, 2009, 10:33 AM   #62
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So what are you suggesting as an alternative that would make one less likely to come up with a poor plan?
I think reading an academic study about crime and using the statistics within to formulate an action plan of self defense without understanding what the statistics mean and their context and bias might cause you to formulate a bad plan.
My alternative? Training by experienced people supplemented by some reading on the subject (not an academic study). Some advice I see on these forum (some) is more useful to me than reading Gary Kleck's works.
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Old January 14, 2009, 10:59 AM   #63
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It can be argued with statistics that the chances are very good given the 9 previous outcomes.
Actually, that can not be argued with statistics. It COULD be argued by a person that doesn't understand statistics. In order for it to be a valid experiment we must assume that the coin is balanced and that there is no external influence on its' landing. Making those assumptions, there is EXACTLY a 50% chance that the next toss will be heads. The odds of your 9 heads in a row is roughly 19 in 10,000. The odds of getting 100 heads in a row are very low (7.888609X10^-31, approximately) but it could happen. Once it does happen, the odds of getting heads on #101 are exactly 50%. Previous outcomes of random events DO NOT affect future outcomes.
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Old January 14, 2009, 11:04 AM   #64
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One should be a touch careful about basing arguments on 'experienced people' - let me give you a counter example.

Academic research using standard statistical methods have demonstrated the lack of utility of the AWB and the large number of defensive gun usages. These studies have been strong counterevidence to the folk knowledge of some (not all) antigun law enforcement experienced people - like chief of police types who are brought forward to support all gun bans, oppose shall issue laws and the like.

So, you might get what you wish for. Arguing from the one vivid instance and then overestimating the probability of such is a common mistake.

Cho used handguns - experts say handguns kill - ban them.
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Old January 14, 2009, 01:34 PM   #65
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The danger is that if you don't really understand what these mathmatical formulae mean then you might come up with a poor plan.

So what are you suggesting as an alternative that would make one less likely to come up with a poor plan?
good point, John. I suppose one could develop a plan from watching Rambo movies, or reading Sin City comics, or any of a number of other fictional sources. You don't always need to know what the formula means in order to understand the results. You really don't need to understand levels of confidence, multivariate and bivariate analysis, and so on to understand that you don't need to worry much about being attacked by a tiger in your living room when you find out the odds. The real dange, IMO, is developing plans based on incorrect perceptions, bad data, and so on. THAT is where the poor plan is more likely to come from, IMO.
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Old January 14, 2009, 01:40 PM   #66
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People love to use statistics for things like estimating how much ammo they will need in a gun fight. While it may be most common for folks to only need 2-3 rounds for a gun fight (mean, median, or mode), what has happened in past gun fights does not determine or give a percentage indication of what will happen in any new gun fight in which any of us participate.
Sure it does. It lets you know that there is a high percentage of probability that you will be able to solve the problem with a fairly low number of rounds. It tells us that we probably don't need to carry 100 rounds with us all the time. You might not be right in your decision about how much to carry, but the statistics have given you a pretty good idea about how many rounds you will neeed in a gunfight. Past gunfights don't determine what wil lhappen in a new gunfight, true, but they do give us an indication of what is likely to happen and what is unlikely.
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Old January 14, 2009, 02:52 PM   #67
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Academic research using standard statistical methods have demonstrated the lack of utility of the AWB and the large number of defensive gun usages. These studies have been strong counterevidence to the folk knowledge of some (not all) antigun law enforcement experienced people - like chief of police types who are brought forward to support all gun bans, oppose shall issue laws and the like.
I think using statistics to make policy decisions (like your example) has merit but that is off topic.

Quote:
The real dange, IMO, is developing plans based on incorrect perceptions, bad data, and so on. THAT is where the poor plan is more likely to come from, IMO.
Precisely my point. Many academic studies have all those faulty elements; poorly formed premises, measuring the wrong thing, not taking bias and other factors into consideration, etc. As I have stated earlier, just pulling some statistic from a study or report and then making a plan based on that without understanding what the stats mean or how they were gathered can cause you to form a bad plan. Just because some academic publishes something surely doesn't make it so. In fact if you read that stats from here You probably would plan to have no gun around ever.

But if you read this one: you might have ten guns.

Do I really need to read some mathematical formula to plan how to protect myself rather than use acknowledged experts in the field and my own common sense to filter their bias? I think not. BTW the references to Tigers attacking you is strawman stuff.

Quote:
So, you might get what you wish for. Arguing from the one vivid instance and then overestimating the probability of such is a common mistake.
I have not proposed that Glenn, that is not my position. However, if the vivid instance as you call it matches what I encounter it might have more relevance than a linear progression chart.

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Cho used handguns - experts say handguns kill - ban them.
I think the Volokh conspiracy calls that an intuitive argument.


Quote:
It COULD be argued by a person that doesn't understand statistics.
My point here is that most people don't understand statistics (and some who claim to don't either) other than in a very rudimentary way and I am dubious that this is really helping someone make informed decisions with their self defense tactics?
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Old January 14, 2009, 02:57 PM   #68
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I am dubious that this is really helping someone make informed decisions with their self defense tactics?
No argument there. It's a fun and interesting discussion though.

The main area that I think statistics can be useful is when we have little personal experience for a particular event but which might be more common than we expect. It's fairly dangerous to say "Well, it's never happened to me..." when you might be the exception rather than the rule. On the flip side, it can prevent us from being overly paranoid about things that we seem to think we need to be concerned with but are statistically highly improbable, like getting hit by "ice" dropped from an airliner.
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Old January 14, 2009, 03:33 PM   #69
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No argument there. It's a fun and interesting discussion though.
Yeah, I know but sometimes there is a bit of hot air about

Quote:
like getting hit by "ice" dropped from an airliner.
Yeah, I read something about that at www.snopes.com

I DO see a lot of uses for statistics concerning policy though but that is in another forum.
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Old January 14, 2009, 03:35 PM   #70
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In my experience the statistically correct amount of ammo to carry depends on such variables as how much I can fit in my gear and who's got extra mags...

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Old January 14, 2009, 08:23 PM   #71
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I dont think a tiger or space alien will be in your living room anytime in the future. The chances of that are zero.

However, there is a chance of someone forcing entry into your house to get into your living room. Although the chance is small, there is still a chance.

I recount a story that was told to me by an ex-girlfriend of being the victim of a home invasion incident. A group of three guys broke in and made the family get on the ground while they ransacked the place. The family was not hurt.

So, no, a tiger isnt coming to your living room, but someone else might...
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Old January 14, 2009, 09:04 PM   #72
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However, there is a chance of someone forcing entry into your house to get into your living room. Although the chance is small, there is still a chance.
And that is using statistics!
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Old January 15, 2009, 02:17 AM   #73
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I think reading an academic study about crime and using the statistics within to formulate an action plan of self defense without understanding what the statistics mean and their context and bias might cause you to formulate a bad plan.
My alternative? Training by experienced people supplemented by some reading on the subject (not an academic study). Some advice I see on these forum (some) is more useful to me than reading Gary Kleck's works.
Given that a lack of understanding of the data collection method and the context & bias seem to be your objections, how would one be better served by your solution?

I believe people have as much or more confusion about how to interpret a single person's experiences/anecdotes (experience as a data collection method) than they do about statistics. In fact, to some extent they go hand in hand. Similarly, determining the context & bias of a trainer or a person posting on the internet would seem to be just as difficult (if not more so) than determining the same for an academic researcher.

I agree that a person needs a basic understanding of the data collection method, and also needs to consider context and bias, I just don't see how that argues more strongly against statistical data provided via academic study than it does against experiential (anecdotal) data provided via word of mouth/internet.
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The real dange, IMO, is developing plans based on incorrect perceptions, bad data, and so on.
I believe that this is what it comes down to regardless of one's sources.
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Old January 15, 2009, 06:45 AM   #74
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Sure it does. It lets you know that there is a high percentage of probability that you will be able to solve the problem with a fairly low number of rounds.
No, simple percentage historical data only tell you what the chances where in the past. It is your interpretation of the historical data, your assumption, that they project into the future.

Part of the way in which the percentage average is kept low is due to gun capacities. Low capacity guns introduce a bias into the data that keep the percentages lower.

You have also assumed that the problem will "solved" with that number of rounds. In reality, that number of rounds average includes those where the shooter, good or bad, lost of the fight.
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Old January 15, 2009, 07:33 AM   #75
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Statistics

Statistics are just that, Statistics. I've read artical after artical of statistics. one thing that is the same in all. What can go wrong will go wrong. Plans are great until you have to act. I've been in law enforcement sense '92. I have planned for the worst but hoped for the best. I started shooting at age 9. I have won pistol matches too. I stopped a 15yo kid one night that was carring a 357 mag rev. Before I could put my car in park, he exited walking back at me. Plans are great, but that night my plan went out the door. My gun jamed. The same that I had trained with and shot matches with. Statisticly I should be dead. Turns out his gun was unloaded. I don't care for statistics. Alway plan for the oh s..., what now. And hope your plan works.
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