Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shooting Other People

Gary Silverman of the Financial Times, writes in his column, New York Notebook, July 27, 2012 about one of the victims in the recent Colorado shooting, Caleb Medley, age 23. Caleb worked at Target and Walmart but his real love was appearing in amature stand-up comedy venues in the Denver area. He was shot in the right eye and of this writing is in an induced coma. Oh, his wife, age 21 was uninjured and just had their first child. Both mother and child are doing well.

Because of the international outrage and publicity, Caleb's friends have been able to collect a lot of money for his care and maintenance. This is great and of course our thoughts and prayers go out to Caleb, his wife, child and all the families and victims of this senseless tragedy.

But suppose, as Silverman does, Caleb had been an innocent bystander at one of the comedy clubs and he got shot in the right eye with a subsequent induced coma, and had a 21 year old wife with a brand new baby. And suppose he was uninsured ( as he is). Family and friends would probably hold a fund raiser, but otherwise the rest of the world moves on. Here is where Silverman believes:

"If we as a people have a right to bear arms in this country and, without debating the details, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution says something about that - then, we as a people bear some responsibility for the improper use of those arms. Perhaps we should impose a new tax on the sale of weapons and ammunition to raise money for the care of the victims of gun violence."

Silverman is open to better ideas, but if your suggestion is to do something about the Second Amendment 'forgetaboutit'. A majority of citizens support it, politicians are afraid to touch it and there exists a powerful and very wealthy gun lobby in this country.

So back to Mr. Silverman's idea. Look at your cell phone bill you may see a charge under something like, Taxes, Fees and Surcharges eluding to a "911 service, or discounted lifeline service for low-income subscribers." Also there may be a charge for, "… federally mandated programs such as wireless-number portability, services for hearing- and speech-impaired subscribers, and technology for enhanced 911 services, which track your location in case of an emergency." Just for fun I might add that at one time you were paying and excise tax for the Spanish-American War and while it no longer applies to your cell phone bill, I think it applies to land lines.

If you drive you must first past a driving and written test along with certain physical and mental thresholds. But, in additon almost all states require insurance before you can legally drive a car. And, the last time I checked, 21 states require you to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

So, what do you think? Where are the Calebs of this world who suffer traumatic injuries from the everyday gun violence?  I imagine indirectly were are all paying for their care and maintenance, plus through various welfare programs we maybe paying for the people they left behind? 

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