In an article entitled "The True Cost of Gun Violence", the publication "Mother Jones" probed not only the pain, agony and fear resulting from this country’s gun fetish but, perhaps for the first time, attempted to put a price tag on gun violence in America. It is a revealing study.
Adding together the cost of initial medical attention, long term care, legal and penal costs, as well as lost productivity and quality of life the true cost of our fixation with firearms is staggering. The cost of gun violence is nearly 10 times what this country spends on foreign aid, nearly one and a half times Apple Corporation’s annual revenue, more than we spend on obesity, and nearly what this country spends on Medicaid. The cost to this society of each homicide is roughly four hundred and fifty thousand dollars and this country is presented with 32 of these bills each and every day. "Each gun death averages about $6 million in total costs each gun injury requiring hospitalization costs about $583,000.
The overall data is overwhelming: Guns kill 33,000 Americans every year, and injure 80,000. The total annual cost, both direct and indirect, as tabulated by "Mother Jones" is now estimated to be about 229 billion dollars a year, which factors out to about $700.00 for every man, woman and child now living in the United States. (1) There are other costs, impossible to tabulate such as the cost of fear and the inability of whole communities to rebuild because violence and threat of violence looms everywhere.
It also appears that, contrary to the propaganda put out by the National Rifle Association and other crypto-fascist organs, guns are not making us any more secure. Dick Cheney’s Wyoming, for instance, has "the highest rate of gun deaths despite its small population. It also has the has the highest costs per capita of any state $1,397." Louisiana, another gun nuts paradise where "nearly half the households in the state own a gun" has "the country’s highest gun homicide rate, 9.4 per 100,000 residents." Conversely, Obama’s Hawaii and Kennedy’s Massachusetts present the nation with the best records regarding gun violence; Hawaii with the lowest "costs per capita for gun violence in the country ($234.) followed by Massachusetts. These states also had the lowest gun death rates in 2012." Once again, Liberalism works.
We are now losing, in any given year, more Americans to this insane fixation with firearms than our armed forces have lost since the end of the Second World War. So the next time a conservative tells you that we cannot afford our Medicaid or Medicare, our Social Security or our Food Stamps, calmly suggest that perhaps the most important economy we can achieve would be to disarm America. Not only would we save money, we will sleep more safe and sound.
1. Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee and James West, "The True Cost of Gun Violence, A Mother Jones Investigation" "Mother Jones" April 15, 2015.