USA TODAY did an investigative piece on what we pay, that's WE pay, for gun violence. I am not against guns, I own guns but our country has gone whacko for guns and it is out of control. People I talk to agree, some think my calling the NRA the Mafia is out of line. Good friends defend their gun practices to me but they don't own AK47s. And, they are not walking around department stores or coffee shops swinging guns around like they were toys.
Here is a brief rundown of the cost of gun violence in 2010 from USA TODAY
(Keep in mind that it has only gotten worse in 2014.)
Government statistics were analyzed by Ted Miller for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
Total cost for 2010 was $174.1 BILLION Try and think about BILLIONS of dollars here. From a medical standpoint:
$153.3 billion was from fatalities.
$16.6 billion from hospital admissions.
$4.2 billion& from emergency room visits.
Costs were broken down this way for 2010:
$5.4 billion in tax revenue lost because of lost work
$4.7 billion in court costs (Current statistics for 2014 court costs, 12 billion.)
$1.4 billion in Medicare and Medicaid costs for firearm injuries and deaths
$180 million in mental health care costs for gunshot victims
$224 million in insurance claims processing
$133 million for responding to shooting injuries
Miller also found that Medicaid covers 28% of hospital admissions for firearm injuries, 37% of hospital days and 42% of medical costs. But in another study, he found that even if people weren't on Medicaid when they were injured, about 8% ultimately enroll in Medicaid after their injuries. "So about half of the medical costs borne by Medicaid may be the best estimate," he said. (BB gun injuries were not included in the statistics.)
Manish Sethi, a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University and a researcher for the study, said his team decided to look at the numbers after seeing "a bunch of African-American kids with gunshot wounds" coming through the emergency room. "We have to do something."
So why isn't anything being done?
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled unanimously that a federal law barring people who have been committed to mental institutions from owning guns is unconstitutional.
Decisions like this make one think about the wisdom of our courts. Yes, in THIS case, the person was mentally incapacitated for a short period of time.
And today we have white supremacists, anarchists challenging the cops on their turf in Texas. They create roadblocks on their own and stop people and warn them of a DUI roadblock ahead, for instance. They follow cops around and aggressively approach cops when they make a stop or an arrest in the name of COP WATCHING. Cop watchers sometimes wear pig ears and brag about making 12 to 20 confrontations per night. Life is getting pretty scary with so many guns, and so many mass shootings.
My friend Domenic Torchia has an answer:
Do you want affordable health care - put a $5 surcharge on every bullet and $100 tax per gun sold that we could use to lower our insurance premiums for health care. (Anyone caught selling bullets or guns on the black market - $1,000 fine for first offense and $5,000 for each subsequent transgression.
I say the gun activists would find a way around that just as they always have.I don't have answers but tonight, on PBS, FRONTLINE, I hope to understand why change doesn't happen when most people are against the wild proliferation of guns and gun use in public. Stay tuned: