The law of probability 

Lots of things are possible, not everything is probable. Understanding the real issue with statistics is harder than some may think.

America’s past time

There is a baseball myth called the “first pitch strike”. It is predicated on the assumption the pitcher will throw a strike as his first pitch to get ahead on the pitch count. It is not a bad theory since getting up on the batter early has it’s advantages. However, batters over the years have grown patient in the box and opted not to swing away. There are several reasons, the biggest one being as a team it increases the pitch count. If the pitcher gets ahead on the count they will have their full arsenal available placing the batter in tough spot. Baseball is not just a game of players, there are tons of statistics. When you study the statistics you get interesting information. Hence the myth of the first pitch strike.

Funny math

How does that relate to self defense shootings? Many rely on statistics as their basis for certain beliefs; which leads to tactics; which leads to training. They are quick to jump on a bandwagon because of a number. The interesting part to the baseball analogy is all the different variables. Variables such as is this the “first” pitch of the game, first time seeing the pitcher, first time in the ballpark, first time up to bat in the inning. The list goes on and on and the statistics for each are elaborate. The bottom line is a batter in the major league has developed skill. The skill necessary to be in the big leagues. Stepping into the batter’s box he takes a full array of skill and strategy. They have to be able to meld probability with reality.

Well rounded gunfighters

That is something I don’t often see in this industry. Yes, there is a high probability of being in a gunfight at close range. Reports collected of such shootings show interesting information. However, if you are not a police officer how relative are the numbers to you and vice versa? I think it is sensible to expect a close range gunfight. If you are out and about in a crowded area the suspect will need proximity to impose his will. What I am opposed to is when statistics are used as a justification not to practice at being a well rounded gunfighter. The harsh reality is statistics only favor you when they work in your favor. So, no matter how small the percentage is, there is still a probability it won’t happen.

You’re just lazy

To put it another way, with mass shootings becoming more popular are people putting more effort into their marksmanship training. Since many of these events take place in large areas where distance is present will they truly be prepared? Some argue the probability of being in a mass shooting event are lower than being robbed at gunpoint. I get it, but does that condone avoiding other facets to being a well rounded gunfighter. Do people use statistics to cover up being lazy in other words. To avoid working on their weakness or areas of improvement.

Don’t fall victim to statistics without giving thought to the big picture. There is always someone on the losing side of statistics, don’t let it be you.

"Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer." Ted Williams, Major League Baseball Player and Hall of Famer

One thought on “The law of probability 

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