Caught by a Stray - What does NWA film shooting teach us?

August 21st 2014

Alece Oxendine

Chris Rock on bullet control...

The set of a new NWA biopic was recently shaken by a drive-by shooting. Although no one was seriously injured, it brings attention to a variety of stories about stray bullets this summer. 

 Shootings are happening in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, and Queens with many of the victims being children. According to a study conducted at UC-Davis, victims of stray bullets are likely to be female children or senior citizens, and the shooters are overwhelmingly male (92%). These shootings are likely to happen in the summer months, specifically on a Thursday evening.

Being killed by a stray bullet is obviously heartbreaking, rips communities apart, as well as creates a fear of being outside. So maybe there is a kernel of truth in Chris Rock's quote, that if bullets were more expensive, deaths by stray ones would drastically decrease. An aggressive hike in bullet fees, for instance, might encourage avid hunters and potential shooters to conserve their shots and aim for more precise targets. Right now, the average cost of a bullet for a common 9mm handgun is 34 cents. But what if the average was $1, or $10 or $100? According to The New York Times, this discussion has occurred before: the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously proclaimed "Guns don’t kill people; bullets do", and was a crusader for a bullet tax. And in 2013, California Assemblyman Roger Dickinson proposed a bill that would impose a 5 cent tax on bullets to help fund mental health programs for children. If higher taxes truly discourage consumption and can raise revenue for public health causes, it seems that Chris Rock might be onto something...