This Week in the Mayonnaise Clinic: Why Doesn't Josh Write About Guns?
Plus: Is ESG investing BS?
If it’s Wednesday, it’s the Mayonnaise Clinic! Let’s see what’s in the jar.
I think that the fact we have over 400 million guns in circulation in the US is a problem equal to COVID, Ukraine, inflation, etc. That we have an “armed citizenry” represents a public-safety issue, a public-health issue, and a threat to democracy all rolled into one, and this seems to be massively under-covered in the mainstream media and on Substack. Why do you think that is? Why don’t you focus on this issue?
John sent this question in a few weeks ago, but it’s especially relevant this week for obvious and tragic reasons.
I would not rank guns at the top of the list of problems John provides — drastically more people have died from COVID than from firearms over the last couple of years, for example.1 But I broadly agree that it would be desirable if the US had fewer guns, and if we had policies that materially restricted access to guns compared to the policies we have now.
Violent crime is a major problem in the US — one that’s gotten somewhat worse over the last three years — and one of the reasons it’s a bigger problem here than in peer countries is the large number of guns in circulation. Guns also facilitate suicide — suicide accounts for a majority of all gun deaths. Perhaps the largest public health benefit from reduced availability of guns would be fewer suicides.
The reason I don’t write about the topic very much is that I don’t think either the political arguments we have about guns or the available policy changes we might implement about guns are likely to have important effects on death rates or violent crime rates.