Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, apparently Black lives DO NOT matter. Shocking? It’s true. Black lives don’t matter, at least when it comes to gun sales. After all, this is a capitalist country(formerly a democratic-republic). Under capitalism, at least a capitalism unrestrained by law, society, people and morality, everything has a price. But don’t the “Pro-life” people tell us that every life is priceless, while cradling their gun and arguing against even rudimentary legislation in a nation awash in weapon? It would seem a fundamental contradiction. What a conundrum.
Odd that the Ayn Rand-ian neo-Libertarians, gun pornographers, Second Amendment cultists and uber-capitalists don’t remind us that everything, including human life, in a pure capitalist system has a price. That said, it is a reality in present day America that the value of a life, or at the very least a Black life, is roughly the retail value of a firearm. Over at sites like Gun broker.com, virtually anyone can purchase a hand gun from a private owner for around $300 bucks. There are networks of known buyers and collectors who will, for the cost of a new gun or two for their private collection, purchase additional weapons for “new friends” from various inner city neighborhoods.
A University of Chicago Crime Lab study found that 29 percent of guns recovered in Chicago crimes were purchased legally in Cook County. In a piece, titled “How Criminals get guns,” ATF agent Jay Wachtel told Frontline that most of the firearms used in crimes are not stolen out of private gun owners’ homes and cars. “Stolen guns account for only about 10% to 15% of guns used in crimes,” he said.
Last August the Chicago Tribune reported “that some 29 percent of the guns recovered on Chicago’s streets between 2008 and the end of March were bought in the Cook County suburbs. Lake County, Ind., was the second largest source, accounting for six percent of the weapons, and other counties surrounding Chicago – including Lake County, Ill., and Will, DuPage and Kane counties – were also in the top 10 sources…Two gun stores in suburban Lyons and Riverdale accounted for more than 10 percent of the guns recovered. The Chicago police obtained the data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency that traces guns for local police…The study covers 17,230 guns the ATF successfully traced after they were recovered in Chicago.”
In other words local gun stores alone accounted for 40% of guns used in Chicago crimes, or about 6000 guns!
Crime is on the rise in Chicago, but even police aren’t buying the gun media fiction that cops aren’t doing their jobs or ignoring crime. One officer, speaking off the record said that there are simply far more guns on the street than ever before. While that officer declined to say where they were coming from it is easy to draw a link between more guns in the hands of criminals and children and more crime. It cannot be a coincidence that historically high gun sales show a much closer correlation to the spike in crime than any other indicator.
2014 and 2015 saw a full court press by the gun industry to shield sellers of guns from any oversight at all. According to Open Secrets.org, the NRA has poured more than $30 million into the pockets of lawmakers in the last 10 years. In that period the Clinton era decline in gun crime began to reverse to the current all time high the nation faces in gun murder, suicides and accidental homicides. The gun lobby and big Pharma are the two biggest lobbying industries in Washington, ahead of defense concerns. When, in 2014, the industry experienced a quarterly downturn in sales Rand Paul coincidentally offered a bill to require all pilots to purchase and carry guns against the advice of the FAA, the bill offered a potential windfall for the gun industry. I’m sure the idea was his alone. Paul is immune from coercion, right? Well, except for pushing legislation conceived and created by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which lobbies aggressively for corporate-favorable legislation.
That is the cost of a life, next time anyone asks. The bloodshed has far outweighed the anecdotal stories of people defending themselves with a gun, on an order of overwhelming magnitude. The fact is that society is far more dangerous now with unchecked gun proliferation. In ten years in my city neighborhood there were two shootings. Since the big push to arm everyone everywhere all the times began aggressively in 2014 and 2015, there have been 8 shootings in my neighborhood within the last year, all of them fatal. That math, to me, having been to war and growing up with and around guns, seems right on target.