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Gun Control & Causality; A philosophical discussion -2015 June 19, 2015

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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causeThis is an update from a post in 2014.  

It is now June 2015 and with yet another shooting in the news, the debate is again raging about gun control.

I personally believe these are healthy debates but I am often frustrated by the seemingly illogical positions taken on both sides of the debate.  Last year I wrote a post titled “A Perspective on Killing from a Marine and His Rifle” in which I provide personal as well as third party information on what is required to create a ‘killer’.   Adding to this I am including information that should help people better understand causality and point to the ‘actual’ cause of an event in which a firearm is used.  This is taken from the research brief titled: “Failed State of Security II; Victim Blaming in CyberCrime

With each shooting or killing the relevant question is certainly asked as to “what caused the action?” and “how could it have been prevented?”  We all want to stop crime and violence but we must balance a number of issues.  Irrespective of political leanings or other aspects, to get to the heart of the issue it is important to understand the “cause” of the event.  Many gun control advocates posit that guns are the ’cause’ of the murder.  With this in mind let’s take a look at the concept of causality.

Understanding Causality

The simple term “cause” can be deceptively complex to understand and apply.  The application becomes much more difficult when applied to social issues and events where ambiguity, subjectivity, and moral and ethical aspects must be considered.  While the concept of cause and causality has been studied and debated by philosophers for millennia a commonly accepted definition is still not found.   It was Virgil who, in Georgics 2 in 490 said: “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas” or “blessed accomplishment theirs, who can track the causes of things.[i]   The difficulty of defining the concept of “cause” is familiar to those with an interest in philosophy or science.  Without becoming a primer on the intricacies of the debate, suffice it to say that cause, like security, is necessarily contextual in nature.   Within the context of Victimology, it is important to understand the distinction between identifying what a person emotionally or philosophically believes is a ‘cause’ of an event that impacts a victim and the philosophical and legal concepts of ‘cause’ as they applies to a crime.

The Philosophical View of Causality

People often ascribe blame  or identify a cause of an event based upon their internal logical calculus or emotional belief as to what ’caused’ the event.  Within the context of firearm violence, this is particularly true.  Firearm control advocates often state that “firearms cause” violence.  While not always explicit even the argument that “if they did not have a gun, this would not have happened” is an implicit nod to the idea that the firearm was the causal agent of the event.  For this reason, it is important to understand the philosophical underpinnings of reasoning and how they apply to determining ‘cause’.  As important is the understanding of errors in logics. Within logic, errors in either reasoning or structure are known as fallacies.  With an understanding of the common fallacies that pertain to identification of cause, it is easier to understand and identify the true, or actual cause of an event. (more…)

“Wowee wow wow!”; The Costs Of CyberSecurity; Part II May 15, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity, Industry News, InfoSec & Privacy.
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In reading the Ponemon/Boomberg report on the costs of cybersecurity, I was shocked to see that companies would need to increase spending 700% to achieve 95% protection.  In reading closer, I was even more shocked to see that financial services companies would need to increase spending over 1,270% to achieve 95% protection. Of the 48 financial services firms surveyed the average annual security investment was $22.9 million.  To achieve the 95% goal, security investment would need to increase to $292.4 million per year.  You can see the results in an interactive chart here.

As stated in my previous post: “CyberSecurity Cold War; Spend Ourselves Into Oblivion”, it is obvious that companies cannot increase security investment 11 fold or even 7 fold.  There must be a better answer.

By the way..the “Wowee wow wow” is from Christopher Walken’ character The Continental 😉

“CyberSecurity Cold War” – Spending ourselves into Oblivion May 8, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in competitive intelligence, cybersecurity, Industry News.
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A recent report published by Bloomberg outlines the challenges of securing critical infrastructure against cyber attacks in the 21st century.  According to a survey of 172 companies in six industries, current security measures are only stopping 69% of cyber attacks against banks, utility companies and other ‘critical assets’.   To stop 95% of attacks, companies would need to spend 7 times more than they are today.  This would increase spending from $5.3 billion$30.8 million average) to $46.6 ($270.9 million average).  This, it is estimated, would still only prevent 95% of attacks.  While not a consistent increase, it could be calculated that for every 1% increase in protection, another $1.588 billion would need to be spent by the group.  This amounts to roughly $9.23 million per company…for each 1% increase in protection.  If this is indeed accurate, it is clear that the current perspectives and strategy of cybersecurity is fatally flawed.

During the 1980’s the US and Soviet Union were fully engaged in a Cold War.   With the election of President Ronald Reagan, the US’s strategy changed.  A major component of Reagan’s strategy was to exploit the inherent inefficiencies in the Soviet Union’s command economy. By increasing spending, and forcing the Soviets to match spending on an arms race, the theory held that the SU could be bankrupted.  This has become known as the “Reagan Victory School” and while not completely responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, can be credited as hastening their demise. As outlined in a Stanford piece: “A central instrument for putting pressure on the Soviet Union was Reagan’s massive defense build-up, which raised defense spending from $134 billion in 1980 to $253 billion in 1989. This raised American defense spending to 7 percent of GDP, dramatically increasing the federal deficit. Yet in its efforts to keep up with the American defense build-up, the Soviet Union was compelled in the first half of the 1980s to raise the share of its defense spending from 22 percent to 27 percent of GDP, while it froze the production of civilian goods at 1980 levels.” (more…)

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