So let’s say the human tragedy part of a shooting death isn’t enough to change your mind about gun control.
Or perhaps it’s just bad luck that Amari Markel-Purrel Perkins, a Prince George’s County first-grader, is dead because a fool living in his home stashed a gun in a Spider-Man backpack.
Sure, let’s forget all that sad stuff. How about instead we talk about the Benjamins, baby. What do guns in the wrong hands cost us?
Take a look at the massacre at Virginia Tech that occurred five years ago. Put aside the loss of 32 lives, the devastation of 32 families, the permanent, emotional scarring of those who survived but were mentally or physically marred by the day one man unleashed all the demons in his head upon a university using a Walther P22 and a Glock 19.
What does allowing a mentally ill young man to legally buy two guns and an arsenal of magazines cost the rest of us in dollar terms?
About $48.2 million. That’s according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal D.C. think tank that analyzed Seung Hui Cho’s April 16, 2007, attack by sifting through the legal bills, university staffing costs, police costs, hospital bills and even autopsy receipts that kept piling up long after the candlelight vigils ended.
That $48.2 million tab for the two-hour spree was picked up by local, state and federal taxpayers, the public university system, parents and students. That’s a huge chunk of a state budget, and any other event that cost this much would get unblinking scrutiny.
“We have such a high demand in society for efficiency and careful use of tax dollars” that it made sense to look at such a tragedy through a fiscal lens, said Donna Cooper, a senior fellow with the economic policy team at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the cost study.
And yet, even after seeing the human tragedy and economic travesty that an assailant with guns can cause, crazy stuff is happening all around us to grant access to even more guns.
As if to spite the Virginia Tech community, the victims and their families on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the massacre, Virginia opened the door and basically hung a “Welcome Back!” sign for gun runners.
The state repealed its almost 20-year-old, common-sense law that limited people to purchasing just one gun every 30 days.
That law clearly didn’t stop Cho, who researched gun laws well and waited 32 days between his two gun purchases, but it does open the door for Virginia to become Guns R Us once again. Before the 30-day law was passed in 1993, Virginia was notorious for being the Northeast’s major gun supplier. In New York City in 1991, 40 percent of the weapons found at crime scenes were traced back to the Old Dominion.
Come on, show me a society where guns mean less violence. Even Wyatt Earp figured that one out when he banned guns from his territory.