Gun Victims’ Compensation Fund

The Shawshank Redemption is a movie I could watch a thousand times.  By the time the last scene plays, my heart is once again filled with hope.  In one prison scene Red tells Andy that hope is a dangerous thing and that it can drive a man insane.  Andy, the optimist, believes that hope is the best of things, and that no good thing ever dies.  To be clear, I’m not in prison and never have been, but as a citizen of Empire I find it increasingly difficult to keep hope in my heart.

Here in the belly of the beast social progress takes a step forward followed by three steps back.  Forward:  Marriage equality is approved by SCOTUS.  Back:  A terrorist mass shooting takes 9 innocent lives, POTUS escalates the impending war against the BRICS nations, and another half dozen neoconservative jackals enter the 2016 election circus.  Forward:  The Confederate Flag is strongly condemned by everyone except the craziest of the crazies.  Back:  VP Joe Biden’s son is making a fortune fracking the Ukraine, our elected representatives vote to fast-track the most radical and toxic so-called free trade treaty in history, and Empire ramps up its crusade against whistle-blowers and uncooperative journalists.  One forward, three back.  And again and again and again.

Every time there’s a mass-shooting the corporate media is abuzz with talk of how we need to keep guns out of the hands of the criminally insane.  And by the time the chatter dies off, another two, twelve, or twenty innocent people are once again bleeding to death in the streets.  What nobody seems to want to address is the reality of the human fuse.  It is short.  The line between genius and insanity is unclear.  Even the seemingly most stable among us can be pushed beyond our limits.  People are imbalanced, unpredictable, and prone to violence.  Mashugana.  And it seems obvious to me that the most unstable among us might just be those who deem it necessary to own firearms.  Multiple portable WMDs.  Assault rifles.  Glocks.  Are rocket launchers legal yet?

Guns don’t kill people.  People with guns kill people.  Gun manufacturers kill people.  Gun dealers kill people.  The NRA kills people.  In the USA a vast majority of murders are accomplished thanks to the easy, impersonal, and supremely satisfying squeeze of a trigger.  Happiness is a warm gun.  The threat of execution has proven to be ineffective in deterring gun violence.  Year after year the USA retains its title as Murder Capital of the World.  Hands down.

Does the not so clear intention of the gun crowd’s beloved Second Amendment trump my right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed by The Declaration of Independence?  There seems to be no middle ground, no way for the pro and anti gun crowd to come to terms.  “From my cold dead hands” was the cry of now cold and dead Charlton Heston.   But perhaps there is a solution.  A way for gun nuts to keep the protection they seem to need, while insuring the rest of us a little peace of mind.  “Insuring” is the key word here.

As a past victim of gun violence, I’ll grudgingly acknowledge my fellow citizens’ right to own firearms.  In return, I demand my right to not be a victim of another wacko with a gun.  What I propose is a national “Gun Victims’ Compensation Fund”.  It would work something like this:

Although there is no real way to put a dollar value on human life, let’s compensate the families of gun murder victims with oh, say $10 million.  In nonlethal cases the dollar amounts would vary from $250,000 for a simple flesh wound to $5 million for debilitating, crippling injuries.  When property is damaged, such as bullet holes blasted into homes or vehicles, the violated would be paid for repairs plus $100,000 for mental anguish.

The “Gun Victims’ Compensation Fund” would be wholly financed by the gun industry and gun owners.  The NRA and similar organizations would contribute a mandatory 50% of their annual dues.  Gun manufacturers would charge their clients a 50% surcharge which would go into the fund.  Gun dealers would collect a 100% tax on each sale as their contribution to the fund.  These amounts would apply to both guns and ammunition.

The net effect of this scenario would be this:  Firearms and ammo would cost potential owners about 400% more than current prices.  Fewer guns would find their way into society.  And the victims of gun violence would, if only in a small way, be compensated for their losses.  The fund would also be used to completely finance the incarceration of the perpetrators of gun related crimes.

Of course, measures would be necessary to keep folks from shooting themselves in the leg for a quick profit.  Shooters would need to be found, ballistics used to locate the crime weapons.  All gun and ammo sales would need to be recorded.  Victims of shootings would have no recourse if they reside in a household where guns are kept.

Now I have no reason to believe that the “Gun Victims’ Compensation Fund” could ever come to be.  The NRA has bought and paid for virtually all of our state and federal congressmen and senators.  They are a dark and powerful organization that thrives on violence and they’ll be hard to stop.  They own the hearts and souls of legions of frightened, insecure little people who’d be afraid of their own shadows unless they were packing heat.  But this plan is the only one I’ve ever seen that would potentially put both gun owners and those of us who walk the earth unarmed, finally at ease.

I have no reason to have hope for another step forward.  Even now we’re gearing up for another rigged national election, the CIA is working at destabilizing dozens of democratically elected governments throughout the world, and Monsanto’s poisons are seeping into every aquifer on earth.  Perhaps the “Gun Victims’ Compensation Fund” could be that small step forward.

I hope the USA doesn’t bully Russia and China into World War III and the end of life on earth as we know it.  I hope that somehow the obscenely wealthy and their corporations lose control of our government.  I hope that someday we see the last of the voracious form of capitalism which portends much darker days ahead.  I hope the day comes when all people in all countries have the right to food, shelter, education, medical care, and dignity.  I hope that gun victims will finally be able to live in a world without unnecessary violence and are compensated for the crimes against them.  I hope.

John R. Hall, having finally realized that no human being in possession of normal perception has a snowball's chance in hell of changing the course of earth's ongoing trophic avalanche, now studies sorcery with the naguals don Juan Matus and don Carlos Castaneda in the second attention. If you're patient, you might just catch him at his new email address, but if his assemblage point happens to be displaced, it could take a while. That address is: Read other articles by John R..