For the past year, chief executives have often talked about the new sense of moral responsibility that corporations have to help their communities and confront social challenges even when Washington won’t.
This presents vast opportunities for action.
Using Sorkin as our guide: “In the aftermath of” up to 900,000 deaths due to abortion each year and over 60 million babies who never saw the light of day since 1973, “and at a time when Washington shows little interest in limiting the sales of [abortions], there’s a real opportunity for the business community to fill the void and prove that all that talk about moral responsibility isn’t hollow.”
How about if the financial industry were to step in and “effectively set new rules for the sales of [abortions] in America?”
Sorkin paves the way for us here, as evidenced by the quotes above. While his suggestion is for financial institutions to decline services to businesses involved with “assault weapons” (similar to Obama’s Operation Choke Point), the number of people who die from firearms is actually quite small in comparison to the total US population (323 million) and to other causes of death.
Murders committed with firearms amounted to 8,454 crimes in 2013; of those, 285 were committed with rifles, according to FBI statistics. Presumably, a subset of these rifles are black and scary, as people unaccustomed to firearms typically define “assault weapons” (such as Sorkin).
While the death of anyone is tragic, there are other more numerous causes of death than firearms in general or the ill-defined “assault weapon” in particular.
Obviously, as a first target for financial restrictions, abortion makes the most sense: 900,000 vs. 285 dead. Doing this would have an immediate effect on lives saved.
Other potential targets:
- “Personal weapons,” defined by the FBI as hands, fists, feet, etc…, killed 687 people in 2013. We may need better licensing and background checks here to ensure only responsible people have these weapons. As an aside, these are probably the only weapons for which it is proper to say that they “killed” rather than that they were “used to kill” since they are appendages of the murderers themselves.
- Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc…) were used to kill 428 people. Why can anyone just walk into the home improvement store, pick up a hammer, and walk right out without any sort of “cooling off period?”
In addition to these aforementioned causes of death which involve active human agency, there are numerous causes of accidental or untimely death:
- Heart disease kills over 600,000 people per year. Perhaps we could block purchases of unhealthy foods, or financially choke off the suppliers of these poisons.
- Cancer kills over 590,000 people per year. Similar to our tactic in combatting heart disease, we could choke off supply and demand for things which contribute to cancer (e.g. tobacco, coffee now apparently also)
- Pools and spas kill 5000 people annually, mostly children. Do people really need pools? Are pools more important than a child’s life?
- Choking kills 5,000 people per year. We really need to do something about the bite sizes of our food, or perhaps provide blenders to each family so that they can properly liquify their food to remove this hazard. We’ll also need to consider a straw ration.
This may indeed mark the beginning of an enlightened new era in American political and moral discourse, where various groups seek to use commercial entities to achieve their goals.
Sorkin seems to think that badgering financial firms into blocking transactions concerning firearms which are used in a small number of crimes is a winning idea. On the other hand, however, firearms are used by people to defend themselves from criminals at least 500,000 times per year. This statistic and the fact that there are much larger killers of people leads me to believe that firearms are the least of our worries.