By Jennifer Harper


“Why must the tragic Colorado theater shootings stimulate a debate on more than mere gun control? Not simply because, or however remarkable the fact that, violent mass killings — whether in Columbine, Virginia Tech or now Aurora — tend to have little sustained influence or impact over public attitudes vis-a-vis gun control, but because the root cause of violence is much more multifaceted and complex than access to military-grade weaponry,” says Michael Shank, vice president of the Institute for Economics and Peace and a Huffington Post contributor.

How much will the shootings ultimately cost the public? Using government statistics and socio-economic data, Mr. Shank’s organization tracks violence in terms of dollars. Last year, violence in America cost $460 billion, he says; Colorado’s share of that was nearly $7 billion, he says.

“One homicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can cost well over $1.3 million, and that’s just in medical, judicial and police costs. There is a much bigger cost to the economy. Consider that the 12 killed in Aurora will no longer be part of America’s workforce, ever. That’s a long-term cost that must be calculated as well when understanding the devastating impact of violence to America,” Mr. Shank observes.