Guns are the great equalizer. They let older, smaller, less athletic, less able-bodied people stand a chance when young, fit, energetic, predators try to prey on them.
Citizens use guns hundreds of thousands of times (or millions; it’s hard to define and hard to measure, but numbers I’ve seen from research papers range from maybe 250,000 to 7.5 million) each year to defend themselves from crimes. Guns save lives.
There are, I think, four main problems leading to the sort of rapid mass murder scenario we’ve had recently in Connecticut.
First, people are being pushed to the wall by social expectations of conformity and roll fulfillment, competition, and such, way too often.
Second, the culture of celebrity tells people that being “famous” is the greatest thing that can happen to a person. People who have seen every aspect of their life collapse can still view themselves as a success if they become famous.
Third, mainstream culture fetishizes the gun as a magical implement that bends people to your will, makes you taller, and so forth, while keeping people terrifically ignorant about real guns. This is not an attitude you find among actual “gun nuts”!
Fourth, getting assistance with mental health issues is stigmatized, and is not well supported in the health care system (which in turn doesn’t cover nearly enough people well enough in the first place).
Occasionally, these things come together with appallingly tragic results.
And, immediately, people start demanding that we take action against…none of the above. Instead, they want to deny basic civil rights to everybody in society.
People sometimes notice, and complain, that they can’t get the bandwidth they’re contracted for consistently. We certainly do.
However, in all fairness to the providers, most residential connections aren’t used very heavily at all. To offer competitive prices, the upstream connections need to be oversubscribed (at least with DSL, we really can get our full contracted bandwidth as far as the first router at Qwest, because that last mile of copper is not shared).
Our household has four adults who use the internet fairly heavily, including for Netflix streaming and such. One of us works from home across the internet.
And here’s what our last week of usage looks like:
This is based on sampling of counters in the router via SNMP every five minutes; our actual peaks certainly go higher than that (the connection has an inbound rated speed of 7 megabits). Also note that the chart is in bytes; that top line represents 3.52 megabits per second, a full half of the rated speed.
(And to those few of you who may be thinking this looks rather a lot like an MRTG chart, yes, it does, doesn’t it?)