Beliefs Kill People

Guns Don’t Kill People, Beliefs Kill People

BY MICHAEL SHERMER

f80c8e709e50ffa7c7697affd18fedb8If by fiat I had to draw one core generalization from a quarter century spent studying the psychology of beliefs, it is that almost everyone thinks that their beliefs are right, both ontologically and ethically. For the most part, people think that their beliefs are true, moral, or both. No one joins a cult—they join a group that they believe is going to help them and/or society. No one thinks they’re practicing pseudoscience—they believe they’ve discovered a new truth that mainstream science has yet to recognize. And very few believe their actions are immoral—at the time they had perfectly rational and moral reasons for acting as they did.

You do not have to give people reasons to be violent, because they already have plenty of reasons. All you have to do is take away their reasons to restrain themselves.

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Feebleminded Cuckolds

34887611I am convinced that pistols, guns, rifles and all things resembling the above are more interesting to the feebleminded, the weekend cuckolds or those who want to kill themselves. …

I don’t know who invented the pistol. Probably a coward who had nothing between his legs and feared face-to-face confrontation. Pistols are for chickens. One should be ashamed to use them. …

In contrast to the knife, with which you can at least cut up meat that’s on the table, as soon as you see a firearm, my God, you know it’s meant to kill in the most expeditious manner possible.

And one more terrifying passage:

For people in uniform, guys like us are wild animals, rabid beasts to be shot without warning.

— Alain Mabanckou, African Psycho