My theory: the Democrats, and left-leaning groups in general, are turning their focus to making big, broad, platitudinous statements designed to sound good to people who don’t really think about issues all that hard.
Last week was a case in point; the Strib was pimping a piece purporting to show the costs of “gun violence”, as well as some proposed “solutions”.
The piece – an “analytical report” by Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is the Gabby Giffords checkbook advocacy group – claims to run down the costs of “gun violence”.
And it starts off with a local example:
One recent tragedy at a small law firm in the Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul illustrates this all too well. On April 7, 2016, a disgruntled former client, Ryan David Petersen, entered the offices of North Star Criminal Defense, located on the second floor of the historic Dacotah Building, intending to kill either Dan Adkins, one of the firm’s managing partners, or Chase Passauer, the firm’s office manager. Petersen arrived at the office before Dan did and directed his focus on Chase—shooting him eight times with a .40 caliber handgun. The 23-year-old died in his office chair.3 Chase, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, had wanted to become a lawyer to help others before his life was cut short by…
Let’s stop right there.
Who killed Chase Passauer? Was Ryan Peterson:
- A pedestrian who found a loaded gun unattended on the street, and stopped into the law office to seek help?
- A Quaker missionary who found himself drawn to a gun at Cabela’s and, hypnotized by its dangerous allure, decided he just had to kill someone?
- A DFL activist practicing for the post-Trump revolution?
We’ll come back to that.
Wait! You Ignored Change Under Bus Seats!: The report goes into some depth on the costs of single incidents of “gun violence” – noting that the medical costs of even a single episode of “gun violence” are astronomical; the average cost of a fatal shooting is over $40K; of non-fatal shootings, over $60,000.
Well, yeah – the cost of healthcare is pretty high for everyone. It’s been in all the papers.
It also notes that the cost of investigating the crimes, trying to cases, and incarcerating offenders is way, way up there:
According to estimates by PIRE, the average cost of a police investigation and related criminal justice expenses for a fatal shooting is $439,217.13 Criminal justice expenses include salaries and benefits for public officials such as judges, prosecutors, and public defenders, as well as the cost of incarceration, which in a federal facility averages more than $30,000 per year for each inmate.14 Minnesota taxpayers spend approximately $45,688 per year incarcerating each inmate in state prisons
Yep. Lawyers, judges and prisons don’t come cheap.
So the alternative is…what?
Does harassing the law-abiding gun owner in any way address this? Other than creating more felons?
The report also goes through costs to employers – like Mr. Passauer’s – as well as, incredibly, lost wages. Not only those of the victim…:
According to data derived from the PIRE cost of injury model, the average value of lost work for a single fatal shooting is $1,742,722, while for a nonfatal shooting requiring hospitalization, the figure is $81,559.
When a gunshot victim…
…but also the perp:
…or incarcerated perpetrator is an income earner for his or her family—especially the primary breadwinner—the impact of lost wages on the family can be severe.
Ah. Clearly the answer is to not send murderers to jail.
Well, no. That’s not what the report suggests.
Where Have We Seen This?: The report does suggest “solutions”.
The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota identifies three sets of solutions, each addressing a specific risk factor: universal background checks for gun sales, neighborhood revitalization programs, and hospital-based violence intervention strategies. The investment required to implement these lifesaving solutions is minuscule compared to the yearly cost of gun violence in our state.
“Hospital based violence intervention strategies” – trying to talk victims and perpetrators out of lives of violence – might be less stupid. As the report rather un-PC-ly notes:
“Interpersonal shootings disproportionately involve young men of color living in underserved neighborhoods, so any effective violence intervention strategy must focus attention on this at-risk population.
…where “underserved neighborhoods” is PC code for “crime-ridden cesspool in a city ruined by decades of Democrat rule”, dealing with those actually involved in the vast majority of criminal shootings might actually make sense.
On the other hand, we’ve been trying “neighborhood revitalization” for decades. It turns out that prosperity – organic, market prosperity, not government subsidy – and law and order, and lots of both, is the only real neighborhood revitalization program that works – and that doesn’t happen in inner cities run by Democrats.
Of course, that could happen.
But as to “universal background checks?”
I’d love to ask the people who wrote this report: “So tell me how the people who are committing the vast majority of the crime today – who overwhelmingly use guns that are stolen, purchased by straw buyers, or, in the world of gangs, often shared among gang members in multiple crimes – who aren’t currently getting background checks, are supposed to start getting them?
Which takes us back to Chase Passauer.
A Minor Technicality: In re the murder of Mr. Passauer, the report notes that Ryan Peterson was, in fact…
a convicted felon who was legally prohibited from possessing a gun.
Who would not have taken a background check.
Whether his neighborhood was revitalized, and whether a social worker talked with him at a hospital, or not.