Bad Guys Have Experience

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Bad guys have experience, gun nut Tim notes:

One of the dirty little secrets of our criminal justice system is that bad guys only get hassled by the police on a relatively small percentage of their criminal acts. In Ohio recently the Attorney General Mike DeWine commissioned a study finding, among other things, that solid charges against bad guys often never reach a courtroom for disposition.


The same Ohio study found that less than 1% of Ohio’s population had been convicted of three violent felonies, but that small group of people (significantly less than 1% of the population) was responsible for more than a third of all violent crime convictions. Note those are just the convictions and don’t factor in reduced charges or crimes that were never solved due to lack of evidence, and it only accounts for the bad guys who caught three felony convictions.


If there’s a dude pointing a gun at you, it’s a fair bet that you aren’t his first victim. He has more experience with violence than you do, and as a serial transgressor against society’s rules he knows very well how to use those rules against you. You’ve been raised all your life to be polite and not judge people based on appearance. He knows this. That’s why he’s not going to approach you like a rabid junkyard dog from 50 yards away. He’s going to look normal or at least normal enough that your civilized brain which has been taught a bunch of claptrap about not judging others is going to overrule that primeval instinct in your brain that gives you a vague sense of discomfort and nervousness as he approaches. He knows you’ll probably be indecisive enough to let him get close, and once he’s close that’s when he’s going to stick the gun in your face.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    This is a point that survivalists with their AR15s in the closet don’t quite get. A group of bad guys is more than a group of survivalists can handle. If there were a societal breakdown, the bad guys would run off the police and take over fairly large chunks of territory, both urban and rural. Read the recent stories about Camden, NJ, and how the cops are afraid to patrol whole sections of the city and make arrests.

  2. Chris C. says:

    Agreed. But if the history of the American West in the 19th century is any guide (specifically, San Francisco), eventually the non-bad folks get fed up and form vigilance committees or the like. It takes some time, and the outcome is not always optimal (usually goes too far), but that particular lot of bad guys gets eliminated. Or the bad guys’ charismatic leader forms a government and passes laws to institutionalize their predation.

  3. William Newman says:

    Bob and Chris: Yes and yes. Serious bad guys can become a very big problem. And as they become a very big problem, the reaction can change the dynamics in a big way. In most predator-prey relationships in nature the prey doesn’t have that much scope to adapt quickly, but humans and human organizations can change a lot.

    One of the big ways that things change is when the prey get serious about hunting the predators down and not minding some collateral damage, indeed perhaps relishing some collateral damage. Unless you have special circumstances making a strong refuge — today often governmental limitations like the stuff called “anarchotyranny”, but historically sometimes natural geographical features raiders coming out of bad terrain, or across long stretches they can ride across more easily than their farmer prey can march, or across the sea in longboats — it can become a dangerous time to be a predator or merely to resemble one too much.

    Today I doubt there are many suitable geographical refuges on the planet given anything like current transportation, communications, and weapons technology. And modern technology seems to give a large economic advantage to people with secure stationary bases, and gives economic power a lot of traction in increasing effectiveness in mobile warfare, so I think it’s not a good time to be a roving bandit unless it’s some powerful stationary actor’s hobby to protect you directly and/or to prevent your victims from protecting themselves. But we’re still working out the military practicalities of a lot of technologies so maybe I’ll be surprised somehow.

    (None of this to say that good guys will win, just that if the big winners are bad guys they’re likely to be stationary bandits, not roving bandits.)

    (It’s still relatively straightforward to cause so much trouble that a stationary entity has trouble coming out ahead in taxes/tribute/whatever in a region. But if you piss them off enough, good luck keeping them from nearly breaking even: modern tech has made it very cost-effective to make a desert and call it peace.)

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