The USS Quad Damage

Banning Pit-bulls

I'm not a dog person.

I had a conversation on twitter which ended rather quickly because proper conversations on twitter are actually pretty cumbersome. It was about banning pit-bulls. I want to start by saying I’m not a dog owner, nor a dog lover, and I’m a little afraid of pit-bulls. However, “Just fucking ban the dogs.” sounds a little knee-jerk. I replied with "dude that’s what some people say about the internet!"

It was half tongue in cheek. People might have talked about banning the entire internet in the 90s but definitely not now. However, even today there are many attempts to regulate it excessively. The conversation pretty much ended at “the internet is not a dog” (not a quote, but still essentially the point). I ceded. It’s true, but also not the point I was trying to make.

The thing is, it’s easy to say “just ban it” to anything. Whether it’s rap metal music when a girl dies in a mosh pit or guns or indeed, certain sections of the internet when it is used to protect child pornographers. Every situation is different, true, but the cry of “ban it” never comes from people who enjoy these things1.

The fact is, most of the time you can get by with a little bit of regulation, sometimes a little bit of technology, but mostly just a common-sense approach to the problem. Wholesale banning feels good, like solving a complex problem without thinking about it very hard, but it often damages or destroys fragile societal ecosystems — friendships or hobbies, pastimes, and generally just doing what you like.

The main thing is to realise that pit-bull owners love their dogs, and will go to some trouble to ensure that they are responsible members of society. Perhaps muzzling is an option, or better / tougher registration, or regular classes for dogs and their owners. In the end, this might be more trouble, and might end up more expensive, but everyone benefits. We ought to give some thought for those that would suffer most from our easy solutions.

1 from “these things” I’m not talking about child pornographers, I’m talking about, for example, Redditors.