Last night I watched a special report on the World BBC about guns in Chicago. It was a powerful and overwhelming report. While there is much to comment on, there was one line that stood out from the piece. The sheer quantity of weapons in the neighborhood has overwhelmed the residents, even the gang members. In the interview with a young resident of the neighborhood he said something like, “It’s like someone dropped crates of guns on the street here.”
In effect, could that be true?
Let’s track who stands to benefit from the increasing availability of firearms. These are among the top beneficiaries:
- Manufacturers of firearms
- Manufacturers of police weaponry, body armor, vehicles, aircraft
- Manufacturers of prisons
- Raw materials sales and mining of materials
The manufactures alone bring in $13,500,000,000* in annual revenue. After materials cost, (and the profits those companies make), these end producers of weapons make $3,100,000,000 annually. (It’s important to see the zeros so we get the size of these profits, words like millions and billions have lost their meaning for us.)
The questions we have to ask are:
- Which are the top 10 corporations?
- What is their stock value and their projected growth rate?
- Who are the individual top recipients of these profits?
- How much are they making?
If we want to reverse the trajectory of American Civil Violence, and the civil conflicts eroding our neighborhoods and wholesome contributions to the future, these are the places to start.
Before we simply look at conditions of the ghettos, the lack of meaningful employment, the poor access to quality food or banking institutions, the restrictions on mortgages and equity building tracks, as the Tom Cruise character said in the movie Jerry McGuire, “Show me the money.”
*Statistics as per 2015 NBC Report