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Consider if you will a few dots that might connect to make a really interesting picture.

useful billionaires

The first dot: We’ve all seen the TV spots and print ads where some gazillionaire or other has now decided to use his mammoth fortune to Do Good for all us folks down here on the pick-and-shovel level and humbly offer himself (haven’t seen any herselves as yet) as a candidate for public office.

And, they all seem to follow the same script, too: “Hello. My name is (fill in the blank). After achieving great success in the business world, I feel that I can best serve the people of (fill in the blank) by running for the office of (fill in the blank). I promise use all of my abilities to clean up the mess in (fill in the blank). Can you chip in (fill in the blank) dollars to make our campaign a success? “

Now, consider the second dot: we’ve all been bombarded by the ads from one retailer or another promising to beat anybody’s price on whatever it is they’re selling. “And if you find a lower price anywhere, we’ll match it and give you ten percent” goes the pitch.

America has a huge problem with gun violence. Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. Gun deaths by intent average 36,383 per year. Gun injuries by intent average 100,120 per year

Now, consider the third dot: America has a huge problem with gun violence. Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. Gun deaths by intent average 36,383 per year. Gun injuries by intent average 100,120 per year

Consider also:

  • Firearms are the second leading cause of death for American children and teens and the first leading cause of death for Black children and teens.
  • Nearly 1,700 children and teens die by gun homicide every year.
  • Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide.
  • In an average month, 52 American women are shot to death by an intimate partner, and many more are injured.
  • 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetime.
  • Approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year.

As of September 1, there have been more mass shootings in the United States than days of the year: 283 mass shootings in 244 days. The term “mass shooting” is sometimes vague, but the FBI defines it as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.

The main reasons for this widespread carnage seems to be the major unwillingness by our elected officials at different levels to restricting access to firearms and ammunition.

And a main reason for this unwillingness seems to be boatloads of money spent on campaign contributions and lobbying by the gun support groups. Total campaign contributions by these groups, including the National Rifle Association, from 1990-2020 was $44,639,817. Total lobbying money by these groups from 1998-2019 was $133,503,295, for a grand total of $178,143.112, or an average of $8,097,414 per year.

So, yes. We do have a problem.

Now, back to our first dot, addressing the Sincere Beneficent Gazillionaire: Dear Sir: Since you haven’t got the chance of a snowball in Malibu of being elected, and most likely wouldn’t know how to do the job if you were, consider the idea of a “beat their price, plus ten percent” deal, to at least do something useful for the communities.

Simply put, offer any candidate who was thinking about taking gun group money the same amount, plus ten percent if they refuse to take it.

Partner the offer with a similar and generous buy-back offer to the owners of assault rifles (the weapon of choice at Aurora, Orlando, Parkland. Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Texas Church, San Bernardino, and Waffle House), and the mega-round magazines; offer to buy the AR-15 tooling from Colt; maybe toss in an offer for the body armor that the assault rifle crowd likes to wear to protect themselves from heavily-armed elk and deer. As a side note, there is some indication that such weaponry may become illegal in the near future, so this offer gives the owners a chance to get out of the market ahead of the game.

The dots are now connected, and we have an interesting picture indeed.

The Beneficent Gazillionaire is happy, because he gets to use his money to actually do something useful, creating a scenario where just about everybody wins, and getting the chance to become a national hero in the process. It may not get him elected to anything, but it will stoke his ego a bit.

The politicians will be happy, because they get their campaign money, plus a bonus. And, don’t have to answer awkward questions about blood on their hands.

The populace will be happy, since this generous scenario should take a fair number of firearms off the street thus reducing our chances of being maimed or murdered just going about our business.

The gun manufacturers may not be thrilled, but they can go back to making sporting and target arms, like they did in the days before assault rifle mania swept the country.

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Likewise, some of the assault rifle owners may be not be too happy about losing their toys, but they can always march around with their 1791-style weaponry in the true spirit of the Second Amendment.

So. For about the price of a medium-sized new yacht, some public-spirited gazillionaire (or, gazillionaires) could actually do something that helps our country and make themselves--if not really beloved, at least regarded with some affection and respect. A winning proposal if ever there was one.

john macmurray

So, gentlemen (or ladies), who’ll be the first to step up?

John MacMurray

For your further consideration:

Gun Violence in America

Gun Violence in America

There have been more mass shootings than days this year

Gun Violence Archive

Gun Rights: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups

Industry Profile: Summary, 1998

The NRA vs. The NRA

The NRA vs. The NRA

Were AR-15s Used in Every Major Mass Shooting in the United States After Aurora?

'It’s a weapon of war’: Democratic veteran dismantles bogus assault weapons argument in eight tweets