Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How much is a human life worth?

Yes, dear readers, gun violence and gun crimes in general cost us all a lot of money. In fact, according to this new study, billions of dollars a year!! Does anyone care? Does anyone know? And if they know and they care, what will they do? What does the NRA and its' minions think about this? Do they care? Likely not. It doesn't fit with their narrative and their dark version of America. But this report showing the cost of gun violence to our country is actually the dark version of America. From the article:
"Yet rates of most violent crimes in the United States remain high compared to the 1950s and 1960s and to other advanced societies today. The U.S. murder rate, for example, has fallen to a 50-year low, but that rate is still nearly three times the level in Canada and more than four times the level in the United Kingdom. Among all of the world’s developed countries, the United States today, on a per capita basis, ranks second in murders, fourth in rapes, and sixth in robberies.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the majority of all violent crimes involve the use of weapons, and in two-thirds of all homicides and 41 percent of all robberies, the weapon is a handgun. (see Table 1)
Moreover, from 2005 to 2010 the nationwide incidence of homicides declined by 12.5 percent, the number of robberies decreased by nearly 9 percent, and the number of aggravated assaults declined by 7 percent. The share of crimes committed with guns in all three categories, however, remained constant."
This bears repeating. "The share of crimes committed with guns in all three categories, however, remained constant." So crime in general has gone down in the U.S. But yet, the NRA continues with their agenda of fear and paranoia as if none of this were true. You can see it here in this video of NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre ranting and raving:



Anyone should have a gun everywhere to protect themselves from all of those armed criminals out there. The facts don't support that idea. What the facts support is that people with guns still cause a lot of crime which sometimes ends in injury and death. What should we do about this anyway? Nothing? We could actually save money as well as lives if we decide as a country to actually address the problem. More analysis from the article about the study found that reducing gun violence also can save governmental entities money:
In today’s tight fiscal and economic environment, the mayors and city councils of every city—along with state and the federal governments—are searching for ways to reduce their spending and expand their revenues. The common challenge is to achieve sustainable fiscal conditions without hobbling government’s ability to provide the vital goods and services that most Americans expect, all without burdening businesses and families with onerous new taxes. This analysis provides another way available to many American municipalities: Secure budget savings, higher revenues, and personal income and wealth gains by reducing violent crime rates.
To calculate the extent of those savings and benefits, we analyze a broad range of direct costs associated with the violent crime in the eight cities sampled here. These direct costs start with local spending on policing, prosecuting, and incarcerating the perpetrators of those crimes. These costs also encompass out-of-pocket medical expenses borne by surviving victims of violent crime as well as the income those victims must forgo as a result of the crimes. These costs also include the lost incomes that would otherwise be earned by the perpetrators of violent crimes had they not been apprehended—as distasteful as it is to calculate the foregone income of rapists or armed robbers who are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. These direct, annual costs range from $90 million per year in Seattle to around $200 million per year in Boston, Jacksonville, and Milwaukee, to more than $700 million in Philadelphia and nearly $1.1 billion for Chicago.
This report also examines certain intangible costs associated with violent crime, including the pain and suffering of the surviving victims of violent crime and the costs to the families of murder victims. Across the eight cities examined here, the total annual costs of violent crimes, including these intangible costs as well as the more direct ones, range from more than $300 million per year in Seattle to more than $900 million in Boston, to some $3.7 billion per year in Philadelphia and $5.3 billion for Chicago.
So, there are so many reasons why reducing gun violence and gun crimes is a good idea. Saving lives is the most important. But cost saving? Who could be against that? The conservatives are always talking about reducing spending. Common sense tells us that saving money while saving lives is a really great idea. But never mind. I'm sure that the NRA will come up with some reason to be against saving money in this particular case. They don't want to do anything to save lives or money when it comes to guns and gun rights. And, here is an interesting fact. Gun violence in neighborhoods affects the cost of housing in that neighborhood. Who wants to buy a home where a murder took place or where bullets are flying in the streets? Again, from the article:
On average, a reduction in a given year of one homicide in a zip code causes a 1.5 percent increase in housing values in that same zip code the following year. We applied these findings to available data on the value of the housing stock in the metropolitan areas of all eight cities. The estimated increases in the value of the housing stock for the eight cities and their immediate metropolitan areas, following a 10 percent reduction in homicides, range from $600 million in Jacksonville and the surrounding area to $800 million in the Milwaukee area, to $3.2 billion in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, and $4.4 billion in the Boston area. Unfortunately, inconsistent reporting of other types of violent crime—rapes, assaults, and robberies—preclude a reliable analysis of the impact on housing values of changes in the incidence of those crimes.
Wow. Who knew? And before I go on, speaking of bullets flying in neighborhoods, a 5 year old boy was killed by a  bullet meant for someone else in the home in Minneapolis today. This is the second child in a matter of a few months who have died while just being at home doing what kids do at home. Three year old Terrell Mayes was shot last December also in Minneapolis. In this case, this 5 year old boy was sleeping. This is inexcusable and totally senseless. These are not only innocent victims. They are very young children whose lives had potential and now have been taken in a few seconds by guns that should not be on our streets. The cost of just these two lives? Priceless. We know from the report above that there is an actual dollars and cents consequence to shootings. You can read the entire study in the article I have provided.

Some of my readers love to point out to me that crime rates are down in America. They must think that that is yet another excuse to do nothing about this national public safety problem. This statement from the article above highlights why our country needs to do a lot more to reduce crime and gun violence:
Yet rates of most violent crimes in the United States remain high compared to the 1950s and 1960s and to other advanced societies today. The U.S. murder rate, for example, has fallen to a 50-year low, but that rate is still nearly three times the level in Canada and more than four times the level in the United Kingdom. Among all of the world’s developed countries, the United States today, on a per capita basis, ranks second in murders, fourth in rapes, and sixth in robberies.
Raise your hand if you think is acceptable. Which version of America do you like? The one that ignores a national public safety and health care problem that also costs the country a lot of money ( this would be the NRA's version) ? Or one where we stand up to powerful interests and demand action to reduce crime, reduce senseless shootings, reduce spending and have fewer victims?

2 comments:

  1. Just to reiterate: because our state and local governments have to pick up the tab for most of these shooting costs, that means that all of us who pay taxes are paying a share of it. Shootings, and violence in general, affects the entire community, not just the victim and their families. The violence, fear, anger, and sadness radiates outward.

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  2. People should be aware that carrying a gun requires discipline. They cannot just shoot anyone without any reason at all. Self defense is not justifiable unless someone is hunting you down and the authorities requires you to carry a gun. But cases like this where children are killed because of "killing is an enjoyment" thing is not a very good. They should just have a law on carrying guns. Fred of cdi torque product .

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