Monday, July 23, 2012
Lowering Gun Violence through Economics
As I noted yesterday, all the outrage over the role played by high-powered weapons in the latest massacre (last Friday in Aurora, Colorado) will ... as it always does ... gradually die away and we will go on as before until the next terrible massacre, when the whole sad kabuki dance will begin again, run through its useless life cycle, and then gradually die away until ... well ... you know.
The extraordinary power of the gun lobby*, fueled by irresponsible hyperbole about The Terrible Government That Exists Only to Send Out Armies of Jack-Booted Thugs to Trample on Your Rights, will ensure that no new laws are enacted and that the laws already on the books are kept as ineffective as possible. So is there a new, creative way we can reduce the level of gun violence?
As it turns out, there is!
My friend Bob sent me an e-mail the other day suggesting a novel approach to the problem: instead of gun control, why not institute bullet control?
This could be done by keeping guns at their current price level, but raising the cost of bullets to ... say ... $5,000.00 apiece.
Here are some of the advantages of this approach:
1. No problem with violating our Second Amendment rights: a person could own as large an arsenal of guns as he wants, but the cost of bullets would make the use of that arsenal without extreme provocation and serious forethought economically infeasible.
2. Fewer innocent bystanders would be injured or killed. If bullets cost $5,000.00 apiece, murderers will aim more accurately in order to minimize the expense.
3. Cost/benefit analysis would play a major part in reducing the number of gun murders: "I really hate this guy, but is it worth $20,000 to shoot him four times, or is once enough? Or should I just hit him with a rock, or write him a nasty letter?"
3. Murderous anger becomes unaffordable. Consider this hysterically angry rant: "Man, I would blow your freaking head off, if I could afford it! I'm gonna get me another job, l'm gonna start saving some money, and you're a dead man! You better hope l can't get no bullets on layaway!''
4. Medical expenses and the strain on hospital emergency rooms would be reduced. Even if you get shot by a stray bullet, you wouldn't have to go to a doctor to get it taken out, because whoever shot you would want that $5,000.00 bullet back ("Excuse me, but I believe you got my property.").
Making bullets unaffordable. A possible way to reduce gun violence. Any other suggestions?
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.
* Remember: guns don't kill people, people kill people. And people with guns kill more people at a time, more quickly.