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The Value of Mass Shootings

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On the face of it, the value generated by a mass shooting is negative. People are murdered and injured. But it is important to go beneath the bloody surface and explore the depths in terms of value. Image Credit From an economic standpoint, a mass shooting has obvious negative value; but it also has positive economic value for some. Most obviously there is the death cost of a mass shooting. There is lost income, lost taxes, lost consumption of goods and services, and funeral expenses. The injured also suffer economic loss—they typically must pay their own medical expenses and they lose time from their life. But the medical bills they pay are income for others. While it does not always occur, the building where a mass shooting occurs is sometimes closed and replaced. This comes at a high cost but does generate positive value for those constructing the new building. A common response to mass shootings, especially those in schools, is to increase security. Guards are hired, people are trained, buildings are hardened, software is purchased—a loss for some, a gain for others. While it might seem odd, the gun industry can benefit economically from a mass shooting. After the most recent shootings in August, the stock of gun manufacturers increased. This is because people think that tougher gun laws might be passed, so there is a rush to buy weapons and ammunition. However, the long-term impact of mass shootings on the gun industry is likely to be negative. While the above are important (most especially the deaths and injuries) my focus will be on the political value of mass shootings. Republican politicians clearly recognize the political value of mass shootings—at least to Democrats who favor gun control. When a mass shooting occurs, two standard tactics are to assert that it is not time to talk about gun control and to accuse Democrats of trying to score political points. I will consider each of these in turn. The assertion that after a mass. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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