By Tom Rhodes, 10/2/2013
You've probably heard of Root Cause Analysis (RCA), in its most simple terms it is an attempt to use the scientific method to find the truth about the cause of some problem. RCA is an attempt to find objective truth, regardless of the emotional and consequential reactions. Business use RCA to improve safety, production, quality, processes, and to reduce failures and risk. Applying systematic RCA has proven to be an effective tool. What Liberals won't allow is to perform an RCA on guns, violence and crime. They say gun violence is a problem and eliminating guns and more government is the solution but refuse to do Root Cause Analysis.
Wikipedia has a decent description of the general principles of Root Cause Analysis:
1) The primary aim of RCA is to identify the factors that resulted in the nature, the magnitude, the location, and the timing of the harmful outcomes (consequences) of one or more past events in order to identify what behaviors, actions, inactions, or conditions need to be changed to prevent recurrence of similar harmful outcomes and to identify the lessons to be learned to promote the achievement of better consequences. ("Success" is defined as the near-certain prevention of recurrence.)
2) To be effective, RCA must be performed systematically, usually as part of an investigation, with conclusions and root causes that are identified backed up by documented evidence. Usually a team effort is required.
3) There may be more than one root cause for an event or a problem, the difficult part is demonstrating the persistence and sustaining the effort required to determine them.
4) The purpose of identifying all solutions to a problem is to prevent recurrence at lowest cost in the simplest way. If there are alternatives that are equally effective, then the simplest or lowest cost approach is preferred.
5) Root causes identified depend on the way in which the problem or event is defined. Effective problem statements and event descriptions (as failures, for example) are helpful, or even required.
6) To be effective, the analysis should establish a sequence of events or timeline to understand the relationships between contributory (causal) factors, root cause(s) and the defined problem or event to prevent in the future.
7) Root cause analysis can help transform a reactive culture (that reacts to problems) into a forward-looking culture that solves problems before they occur or escalate. More importantly, it reduces the frequency of problems occurring over time within the environment where the RCA process is used.
8) RCA is a threat to many cultures and environments. Threats to cultures often meet with resistance. There may be other forms of management support required to achieve RCA effectiveness and success. For example, a "non-punitive" policy toward problem identifiers may be required.
The one thing effective RCA isn't is Politically Correct. I've been part of industrial and other RCA teams. The reality is, on a few occasions, management accepted the validity of an RCA but refused to publish or act on the results because of point 8, the cultural change required to correct the root cause was unacceptable to management. That is the same reason RCA on gun violence in the USA is not something the statist controlled media nor liberals will tolerate.
But to piss off statists and liberals let's do a little preliminary work for an RCA on gun violence in America. Their responses will be an exercise in proving that they work on emotion and desire not reason and facts. Working with the above RCA general principles let's start with the definition of the problem. Obama and the liberals in the press claim an epidemic of gun violence and that the cause is the easy availability of guns to the general public.
1st failure in an RCA, the problem is falsely identified, at least according to the FBI.
Gun violence is a problem but that problem is location specific, and defining the location where the problem occurs is one of the primary aims of doing an RCA. Here is one non-PC fact that if ignored makes RCA of violent crime in America much less than accurate: If you exclude black on black violence in our biggest cities, the actual rate of violent crime in the USA is very low, comparable to the least violent nations in the world.
History also crushes the premise that gun availability is a cause of gun violence. In the USA restrictions on gun ownership is relatively new. Advertisements were directed to children and parents in Catalogs and magazines until the 70's. The 1902 Sears catalog had over 30 pages of firearm advertisements. Anybody could simply send in their money and a firearm, including machine guns, and a firearm was shipped to their door, no government tracking, paperwork, no background check, not even age restrictions. Any 12 year old boy could walk into the local hardware store in virtually anywhere and buy a gun and ammo. Schools had and promoted gun clubs and shooting teams. The frequency of gun violence was less than the peek we saw in 1991 (when bad gun laws started to be removed and gun rights started to be restored to the people), and was less than we see today with far more restrictive gun laws. Clearly availability is not a root cause. A gun is a tool it has no behavior, gun violence and crime are behavior, so the RCA of gun violence needs to look at behaviors not inanimate objects. Good gun laws have made modern guns safer, fewer accidental injuries and deaths bear this out, and contrary to what liberals would have you believe, guns are not exempt from product liability laws, and like other products are routinely recalled for the most minor of flaws.
As Dr. Walter Williams notes, "Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not just laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society, not restraints on inanimate objects. These behavioral norms -- transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings -- represent a body of wisdom distilled through ages of experience, trial and error, and looking at what works. The benefit of having customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. In other words, it's morality that is society's first line of defense against uncivilized behavior."
Evidence that it our culture not tools have resulted in lawlessness can be seen in the actions of parents to NFL star Brian Holloway. Over labor day 300 teens broke into his upstate NY summer home, held a kegger and did $20K of damage to his private property, these people proceded to post on FB images of themselves and their friends partying and trashing the place and stealing his stuff. Holloway created a web page posting the pictures and names of the vandals offering them an opportunity to make things right without being arrested. Only four of 300 responded. Culture not the tools used to commit crime is the culprit. The fact that not only did the thieving vandals not show any remorse, but some of their parents have gone so far as to threatened to sue Holloway for posting their teen's photos from the party, even though it was the teens who made the images public.
Not teaching our children that trashing, stealing, and abusing other people's private property is morally wrong is one of multiple root causes to crime and violence in the USA. Teaching our children not to judgmental, that one lifestyle or value is just as good as another, results is lower and lower moral standards for society. Being non-judgemental results in accepting the a value set that includes "might makes right" as equal to any other value set. Laws and police enforcement are the last stand of civilization not the first, if our culture accepts violence and disregards property rights, more and more police intervention will be required. How can we teach our children that Islam is as valid a culture as any modern western culture, and wonder at them beating women, committing honor killings, and thinking those who don't think like them are second class citizens, all values of Islam.
The mindless cures for gun violence offered by statists and liberals don't work. Idiocy "zero tolerance" for playing cops and robbers during recess, doodling guns, eating your pop tart into a gun shape, imaginary grenades, is unadulterated insanity. It attempts to put the focus on an inanimate object, instead of addressing morality, character, respect, virtue, and mental illness. No systematic rational examination of the evidence could ever produce an RCA on violence in America and conclude that the problem and solution is to restrict access to firearms.
They won't even consider other solutions, like laws requiring the head of every household to be armed. That solution reduced crime in Kennesaw Georgia by 80%. Discounting solutions, especially solutions that have proven to work is a clear violation of basic RCA principles. Statists and liberals dismiss and ignore any data regardless of how honest and truthful that doesn't support their emotionally driven goals. The most recent Harvard Study concluded from looking at all the research available that more gun laws don't have a beneficial effect on behavior. Even anti-gun scientists who are honest agree with the research that shows more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens result in less crime and suffering for those law abiding citizens. The data is clear, our own government has found that nothing reduces the chances of being killed or injured if the victim of a violent crime better than being armed with a gun. All these results are counter the politically correct wants, desires, and emotions of the state and liberal media; hence an accurate RCA on guns, violence, and crime is not permitted.
We will never have a true comprehensive RCA on guns, violence, or crime in America because the root causes that would be exposed won't support more power to the state and will offer stark conclusions about the culture and specific subcultures in America that are too politically incorrect to be talked about honestly. Such an RCA would be a threat to statism and modern liberal ideology.
Author's Note: I don't expect this op-ed will have much effect, especially on liberals, it is dialectic not rhetorical. Because self esteem and how you feel about something has become more important than objective truth, measurable facts, and honest debate. Replies from liberals to this article with be a litany of logical fallacies and could be used as examples in the Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. Not to discount the emotions of people, they are valid and have value, but when emotions override objective observable truth, then the conclusions reached using emotions rather than reason can and should be discounted as irrelevant. Emotions can and should be used to derive the importance and significance of factual evidence, and evaluate how effective possible solutions may be, but not to discount or ignore evidence that doesn't agree emotional desires for a specific outcome.