Wicked Problems: Gun Violence


To reference Canada again, to have a permit and purchase a gun, the person has to state a “valid reason” for acquiring the firearm. Wonder what the anti-aircraft missile launcher advocate you spoke to would say to this? :slightly_smiling_face:

What do you think about an age requirement for gun purchase? It varies state-to-state in the US, but some people point to, while not a cure-all for gun deaths, raising the age to 21 as maybe a part of the answer to the mass shootings. Here’s an article if you’re interested: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/opinions-when-a-teenager-wants-a-semiautomatic-rifle-thats-enough-of-a-red-flag/ar-AAXPuIz?li=BBnb7Kz


Yeah regarding age requirements, last year California passed a law restricting semiautomatic rifles to 21 years of age or older. A Trump-appointed federal judge struck it down as against the 2nd amendment. That court action was just 3 weeks ago. In the days that followed that action, we have had 2 separate instances of teenagers massacring people. I would be in favor of age limits of at least 21 for any kind of gun purchase or ownership or possesion and also complete nationwide bans on semiautomatic weapons for private citizens, for all ages.


In Technology we have a saying, “What’s the biggest impediment to progress? Installed base.” It is estimated there are over 400 million guns in the US today. If we look at the NICS Background checks performed, it would appear that we are adding close to 40M firearms per year. It appears that roughly 1/3 of Americans currently own firearms, 1/3 might someday own a gun, and 1/3 would never own a gun.

I would point out that in the very early debate between @corey-devos and @firefly, Firefly was off by a factor of 100 on his percentages (easy to do, surprised no one caught this earlier). Given this, Corey’s usage of “Wicked Problem” would seem more a marketing tag line (Clink the Wicked) than assessment based in reality. Even combining gun homicides and suicides (about the equal), gun deaths don’t break into the CDC’s top 10 causes list. Using updated numbers incorporating the Defund the Police spike in homicides, gun homicides for 2020 were 19,411 which is roughly 0.006% of the population/year. Or less than 1/100th of a percent. Side bar, if Abortions were viewed similarly, they would represent the #2 cause of death only behind heart disease or roughly 32 times gun homicides.

CDC data on Firearm related Homicide by Race

Researchers note that gun buyers are increasingly diverse and are becoming gun owners for a variety of reasons including increasing insecurity caused by the pandemic, rising crime, and racial tensions. We find that 47% of White, 37% of Black, and 26% of Hispanic, and 20% of Asian households in America owns firearms. Digging a little deeper, we find that the demographics of gun owners is changing. According to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, since 2019, nearly half of first time gun buyers are women. In that time, 3.5 million American women became first time firearm owners.

After conducting over 19,000 interviews as part of the 2021 National Firearms Survey, researchers found that the COVID-19 pandemic, the #MeToo movement, and the unrest following the murder of George Floyd have all contributed to increased gun ownership among American women.


NICS Background Checks in US - 1998 - 2021 - we should likely assume that most background checks resulted in a firearm sale:


Treating the US as a monolithic entity might be to low resolution for reasonable decision making:

I’m always curious how some of these “discussions” would hold up under a detailed AQAL Quadrant / Zone analysis specifically on - Why this topic of all the topics out there? - and - Are these topics started with an end goal in mind?


If we were to start discussions without both cause and solution determined a priori and then argued perhaps we might more likely determine “root cause” issues and therefor focus on meaningful/Integral solutions?

As we take the Integral view, looking at multiple perspectives perhaps the simplistic answer is not the most meaningful answer.

“Every publicized mass-shooting incident elicits the same rhetoric of gun control from the “left” and reactionary gun-rights protection from the “right.” We dig into the assailant’s social-media history to find out what he was interested in and inquire about his video-game usage.
We do everything possible to find the root cause of a broken man showing such disregard for life — yet we consistently overlook a significant contributing factor: fatherlessness.
So there is no misunderstanding: No matter how horrible your childhood was, it does not give you license to take the lives of innocent people.”

“Since the Columbine school-shooting days, access to guns hasn’t changed much yet the rate of mass shootings has steadily increased. I believe it’s because there is a crisis among our young men who are growing up in homes where they are disconnected from their fathers either physically or emotionally.”



This is one where you might want to watch the content before commenting.

It seems to me that saying “guys this really isn’t a big deal” the same week all these kids got slaughtered in their own school seems a bit tasteless.

“Given this, Corey’s usage of ‘Wicked Problem’ would seem more a marketing tag line (Clink the Wicked) than assessment based in reality.”

Not going to lie, I find this accusation offensive. You are calling me a ghoul, accusing me of trying to do opportunistic “marketing” over the corpses of dead Americans. I don’t know why you continue to assume I am working in such bad faith. I assure you, if I was going for “clickbait” I’d go for something far more provocative than the title I chose.

This isn’t a marketing piece. It is a carefully researched 8-hour (!) discussion with Ken about the unique problem of gun violence in America, which is worse than other nations by orders of magnitude. And it’s an attempt to look at as many different factors as we can, and to maybe even suggest some solutions across the quadrants that may have an impact.

The definition of a “wicked problem” is any multi-factored problem that does not have a simple solution, but instead requires a number of interventions across a number of quadrants.

And this problem is particularly “wicked”, because while I don’t have much use for words like “evil”, there is no other word to describe killing kids in their own school. Which is something that does not happen in any other country. That feels about as wicked as it gets. Trying to sweep this very real problem under the carpet of statistical noise is not helpful, either to us as a community, or to the communities that have been affected by gun violence. We even have people in our own small integral community who have been victims of these mass shootings.

“Why this topic of all the topics out there? - and - Are these topics started with an end goal in mind?”

Because, when it comes to the Ken Show, I select the topics, and I try to choose topics that a) our audience is interested in, b) that are culturally relevant, c) that integral solutions may actually be able to help with.

(My co-hosts typically select the topics for our shows together, but for the Ken Show, I am producing it from top to bottom.)

Yes, fatherlessness is one of the many factors we discuss. But it is clearly not the primary factor, because other countries also have comparable divorce rates (also consume much of the same media, play the same video games, etc.) yet no where near as much gun violence. Blaming our gun violence entirely on fatherlessness is about as useful as Ted Cruz blaming it on doors.


@corey-devos I just wanted to say I do like how the sub-topics were divided into more digestible 4 chunks, which also reduces the main to a digestible 1:15.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this or not, but it’s much easier for me to listen to things that are broken up, and I can easily focus on my area of interest without watching a full 2.5 hour session without time stamps.


Awesome Ray, I am glad you liked the format. It is daunting to put up an 8 hour discussion and expect people to actually watch it, so I really put a lot of effort into the overall page presentation to make it feel more digestible, so people can click the pieces they are most interested in, and maybe come back to the others later. And to me anyway, being able to easily visualize these factors through a quadrivia makes the “wickedness” of the problem feel just little bit more approachable.

One of my favorite factors in that section is in the LL, the “Gun as an American archetype” section, which I continue to think is an absolutely critical factor here — any solutions we come up with, need to take that piece into account, in my mind. And it shows there is still a great deal of clean-up work to be done, in terms of acknowledging the gun’s place in the American mythos, while also getting the gun out of our collective shadow.


I actually have an Integral solution to “The Gun Violence Problem” - or, at least, whatever level I am at.

I come about to this solution by following the data and also through a modified approach of “fierce compassion”.

Three things stand out at me:
1 - The biggest number of gun deaths are due to suicide
2 - Accidental deaths are also a high cause of death
3 - The most outrage is against mass shootings

My solution comes in four easy steps:
1 - Make sure everyone in your household has “Woke up” enough that depression much less suicide is not even a remote possibility. Make your household a place of joy and happiness and have processes within your family group to identify and address issues before they become serious. In other words, become an Integral practitioner within your own household.
2 - Own guns - because the whackos have guns and have threatened over decades their intent to use them in a “Civil War” and we see this escalating decade after decade.
3 - Make sure every member of that household is educated in gun safety and implement draconian procedures to ensure gun safety. Use the military as an example or template, because the military is obviously the most well armed demographic group but also has an extremely low incidence of gun accidents. For example, require two locks on all guns and for these keys to be held by at least two separate responsible adults. Store the firing mechanisms separately and the ammo also separately. So that’s six locks minimum to get a gun “locked and loaded”. Half of the locks should be keyed and half combinations.
4 - Move away from “whacko” populations. These are the well-armed parts of the country where gun violence is also high. You can use statistics for opium addition, crime, gun deaths, and many other “flags” such as no funding for treatment of mental illness. Never live in any place without making informed decisions.

What will be the result if every Integral Person does this? Well, those who want to arm themselves who also suffer from minor mental illness (AKA Trumpism, AKA Conspiracism, etc) will increasingly either kill themselves or their neighbors.

I don’t think legislation will work at all. Gun laws seem to me to have a kind of rescuer - victim - persecutor mentality where if we pass a national law on gun control that only feeds their paranoia that you are out to get them.

On the topic of Jordan Peterson, etc.
The problem with most of these “Traditional Liberals” is that they are adopting the shadow methods of Green. You know this group when they talk like victims … how badly they have been attacked and harmed by feminists, etc. and many talks that is 90% of the content - attack groups who they perceive attacked them and their group.


So, question: Your # 3 @raybennett. While doing all that you say for household gun safety is useful in preventing children (including the teens) from getting hold of the gun, and useful perhaps for anyone in the house who might be suicidal–and all of these suggestions you make are pretty good–I’ve always wondered how guns and ammo so secured in the home are useful for self-defense in the situation, say, that someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night. Seems it would take too long to assemble everything to give the gun utility. So what–a bat? a fireplace poker? I’m only sort of joking :slightly_smiling_face:


All 4 steps promote personal Agency and Responsibility. I agree completely and find refreshing from the many outsource Agency/Responsibility to State proposals.

Of utmost importance in your family mental and emotional health. With this all legislation becomes unnecessary.
Many might say that w +300M legal firearms in the US, if legal firearms ownership were the problem we would know it.

Here’s an interesting article discussing mass shooter emotional well being.


I haven’t seen any discussion yet on the police delaying engaging the Uvalde shooter for 20 minutes, detaining parents from attempting to rescue their own kids all while children were being murdered. Some might say “leave it to the pros” (relenquish parental Agency) might not be the wise choice.



It was actually 76 minutes. To suggest that the solution is to watch parents being slaughtered is beyond sick. This is what happens when there is an idea like “agency” and then you apply it to everything without thought or compassion. This civilian version of the M-16 is too dangerous. What makes me the sickest is the horror this is causing goes well beyond the UR death or wounding. Every child and parent in that community will suffer from trauma the rest of their lives. There is no answer to trauma that I have found. It’s like nothing else. To be so flippant and callous about this and for what…a gun. This attachment to guns is a disorder.


Anyone got any stats on how often having a gun at home has been successful in dealing with an intruder in the family home such that no-one involved has been injured or killed?

Going on from that, is it plausible that: if insurance companies made greater profits where guns were banned in the U S, their lobbying power would soon cause a change in the law limiting gun ownership?



To flippantly imply that we live in a “Utopian Nirvana” if only for the guns is delusional.

There are very few people that could protect themselves and their families from even a single psychotic murderer with a club or knife, much less a firearm.

I’ll bet you chill out in a really nice neighborhood where the worst concern you have is if someone might maybe be committing a perceived microaggression three blocks away. Takes a lot of hubris to tell parents they should not have the right nor means to protect their own children. See if you can sell that virtue signalling crap to the parents ARRESTED outside the school while the police listened to the gunshots killing their children.

And before we flip flap flop into the Dystopian, no wait, Utopian, no wait, Dystopian debate, there are 400 MILLION guns in the US. If legal law abiding gun owners were an issue, would the US even exist?


Thank you! An interesting rabbit hole to go down. I wonder if there could be a four quadrant meta analysis of the stats available out there, and if not, I wonder if it would be a project for someone, but where would the funding come from?


I say this because it’s clear to me that if I’m going to have what I believe to be a coherent view on the issue of gun control, I really need to understand all the varying points of view and where their justification comes from. If I can’t explain another’s point of view to them to their satisfaction, then I would find it difficult to justify any comment I make thereon as valid.
But the whole topic is too vast for me to get such a handle on it. Usually I would look to suitable experts to inform me. But I then have the issue of which experts to trust?
And btw any ad hominem attacks simply coarsen the thread and render it less interesting.


Just pointing out that you’ve framed your surface as “issue of gun control”. Looking forward to what you come up with!


The Comedian Bill Burr in my opinion accurately describes the absurdity of home defense with a gun (below).
But here’s the thing - are you going to store night vision goggles next to that loaded gun?
I do not want to sleep next to a person with a loaded .45 with the knowledge that they’ll just blast away into the dark at vaguely recognizable targets, lol. I don’t even want them sleeping in the next room.

So - home defense. Here are some alternatives to spraying hot lead throughout your house, potentially hitting family members at random:

  • Choose your neighborhood sensibly, including the state. Criminals very rarely travel across the state to rob someone’s house.
  • Physical barriers. Many houses I’ve lived in, including the current one have some kind of physical barrier over windows. My current windows have a wire mesh and the door have both deadlocks and heavy duty interior latches. It’s also possible to invest in glass that cannot be easily broken. Heck, even just anti-pigeon spikes on the window sills will deter all but the most determined and well prepared home invader. It’s important to remember we are not defending against Seal Team 6, but in all likelihood petty criminals looking for an easy opportunity. If it is Seal Team 6 or your local SWAT team, or Paramilitary Drug Cartel, you aren’t going to win a firefight anyway.
  • Lights and sirens throughout the house will wake everyone on the street up and also put any invaders into automatic flight mode.
  • Dogs, and not the shelter rescue or cute type. This is where I really disagree with many in my community. I want specific breeds that I know are bred to perform in certain ways. Like the Bull Terrier, who will die protecting its “family” and has huge jaws. Of course, training them diligently, including to attack on command is also part of this. Some people prefer German Shepherds, but I don’t like their short memory. Here’s a trick with Dogs - have the biggest visible and the loudest unseen and far away from any fence, like in the home. If invaders see one dog and hear another, that is a dangerous unknown and they will move on.
    I do have several weapons around my house - but they have “plausible deniability”, meaning I cannot be accused of planning to harm someone. They are just various tools that “happen to be” laying around the house. Here is one I keep in the truck:
    It can also rescue someone from a burning vehicle, including myself, by breaking the glass.


This is all included in the need for police reform and the need to hold police accountable.
I do not think police should have let the parents go in - unless they were trained Special forces or something. The last thing needed in that situation is more untrained people spraying bullets everywhere, and getting in the way of a future organized effort.
What it does show, though - is that just having guns in the vicinity is not going to automatically deter or stop a mass shooter.


The police have the “Agency” - training, mission, arms, protective gear, and responsibility to handle these situations. I’m fairly certain that in Texas they will be held accountable at some level.

And completely agree that the parents should not have been “going in”. They shouldn’t have had to think of that as an option given all the administrators wearing body armor “on the job”.

The instances of people “blasting hot lead” in self defense situations are not as common as they are discussed in the media. Tragic instances of children or bystanders getting shot inadvertently are also not as common as are discussed in the media, but of course are very tragic when they do happen.
Where we do see it are in the gang-style drive by shooting. Seems street parties and neighborhood picnics are fair game for criminals to attack their rival criminals. Call it Red on Red rumblings perhaps.

The tongue and cheek comments on user training are actually quite relevant. This goes along quite well with your 4 items above - know what you’re doing well enough to be confident, yet not cocky (agency). Given the discussions it’s fairly clear that the anti-gun people don’t know much about gun safety, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Just as you wouldn’t drive your car on the sidewalk (unless you’re insane), you don’t point a deadly weapon at someone unless it’s imperative they be stopped.

I’m a big believer in our 4-legs family members. We’ve got a pair of small 4 legs that always let us know if a pine cone hits the roof or car door closes near the house. Think of it as a Layered Defense System. LOL.

You usually want your firearm loaded and ready. Loads of statistics on how effective handgun or interlock devices are and they’re very inexpensive (~$100). High intensity gun mounted lights and laser pointers are also very inexpensive as China Inc is geared up to meet the demand.
I wouldn’t let suicidal people have access to the guns. Do you also get rid of all the kitchen equipment?