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Friday, April 17, 2015

Mother Jones Counts Phony “Costs”

In a piece dominated by breathtakingly selective compassion, Mother Jones continues its assault on firearms ownership. In a now-familiar mix of serpentine statistics and one conflation after another (like adding criminal homicide to suicide numbers), four authors including Senior Editor Mark Follman assert a “cost” for gun violence of a whopping $229 billion.

It’s only in paragraph 23 that a reader discovers that “at least” $221 billion are “indirect costs.” In other words, researcher Ted Miller simply picked more than 96.5 percent of the costs in his tally, like “trauma and fear that stunt neighborhood development.” Seriously.

Let’s be clear: Victims of crime deserve apolitical care and compassion, and suicide is a hideous scourge on too many American families. But essentially made-up numbers and an increasingly stubborn, politically motivated refusal to look at real causes is of no help to anyone.