Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Costs of Mass Killings

In response to the recent mass murder event at the Washington Navy Yard:

The Mall, Reflecting Pool, and Washington Monument 13466

In addition to the tragic loss of human lives, these mass murders cost millions of dollars. Beyond several days work lost by Navy staff or a night's wages by a Nationals hot dog vendor, there is the cost of the massive law enforcement effort and subsequent investigations and years in prison or death penalty trials, if a shooter survives. Then there is the cost of congressional deliberations on the issue. But the largest cost is related to the loss of innocent humans killed and injured, families torn in anguish, lost incomes of breadwinners, this is nearly immeasurable.

Yes, insurance firms will pay for some of this, but who pays for the policies, and inevitable policy increases? Who pays for the loss of a father or mother at a child's bedside or the hours of weeping by a victim's father or mother, brother or sister?

Several associates of mine work in emergency rooms in major city hospitals. It is not at all uncommon for them to treat gunshot victims, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. They tell me the majority of these victims are poor and have no private health insurance. Our government pays for their extended treatment for gunshot wounds or even burials in paupers graves.

Additional hidden costs will come from the inevitable enhancements to security, at military bases as well as civilian facilities. The attacker appears to have had a vague history of mental health issues along with several firearm violations. It seems he negotiated his way out of a Dishonorable Discharge from the Navy and also kept his security clearance. This situation will bring closer scrutiny to millions of people now serving in the military as well as employees of defense contractors. While this may be a good thing it will certainly cost taxpayers more money.

Employees will now wait longer to get on bases while personal belongings and cars are more thoroughly searched. Prospective employees will wait more months prior to getting hired while more extensive background checks are conducted. Veterans and civilians who sought mental health treatment in the past may find it more difficult to gain employment in defense-related jobs or even civilian jobs. It all depends where employers and insurance firms choose to draw the line.

Even though Alexis did not use an assault rifle, and bought his shotgun legally, gun shops along with gun and ammunition manufacturers will see a massive increase in sales of handguns, assault rifles and bullets. They always do.

1 comment:

pramod said...

nice post and great writing.