These Moms Lost Sons to Gun Violence. The Want Help.
Across five cities, gun violence slowed neighborhood home appreciation by about 4 percent, according to The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center.
The research also showed that surges in gun violence, defined as a sudden and sharp uptick in violence, also led to lower credit scores and home ownership rates.
All told, gun violence exacts an economic toll of a staggering $229 billion a year, according to Brady: United Against Gun Violence.
That tally “includes $8.6 billion in direct expenses such as for emergency and medical care,” according to The Washington Post. And, as the Urban Institute notes, those costs are disproportionately borne by communities of color.
“We talk about gun violence as a public health crisis and a state of emergency,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, the Philadelphia Democrat who chairs the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.
But as was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing emergency declaration, families in need received services and financial assistance, Bullock pointed out.
And if policymakers are going to walk the talk about the public health toll of gun violence, then the families whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence should receive the same kind of help from the state.
Bullock, the mother of two sons, says she prays the Black mother’s prayer every day that her children return home safely and, then, referring to the mothers arrayed behind her holding photos of their fallen children, that “I don’t join your club — that’s real.”
“Let’s do right by these families,” she said, by passing Davis’ legislation. “That’s the best thing we can do for these families.”
State Rep. Ed Gainey, now the Democratic nominee for Pittsburgh mayor, echoed that sentiment, arguing also that the cost and trauma of gun violence cut across racial, geographic and class lines.
Policymakers, he said, needed to come up with more than band-aids, they needed to learn “why people wake up with murder on their minds … Until we come up with a plan that addresses the root causes of crime, we’re going to be back here every year.”
For Ford, who deals with the post-traumatic effects of her son’s death — anxiety and insomnia — that help can’t come soon enough. Until it does, she said, she and her fellow MOMs will persevere.
“We can’t stop the violence in the streets,” she said. “But we can help the mothers.”
An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.Copyright 2021 John L. Micek, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.Copyright 2021 John Micek, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com