Last week’s lecture focused primarily on the economic costs of violence and the important role they play in productivity losses. Most of the time was spent discussing monetary costs but costs of violence don’t always consist of monetary costs; there are also emotional costs.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, families, teachers, friends, and community members were all affected by the monstrosity that took place in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut. I think in light of such shooting, there is definitely more than one victim. Not only do parents suffer but everyone around the crime suffers as well. When I think about this shooting, I think about the people whose classmates were killed and how those 6 and 7 year-olds have to grow up pondering the thought of, “It could have been me.” Such trauma, as we discussed last week, can have very negative effects on a child. What if the child needs extensive therapy for years to come after the incident? What if the couples of the deceased children have to go to marriage counseling because they are so torn over the death of their child? I wonder if these sorts of things get factored into so-called “economic costs” of violence. I think the definitely should because heinous violence is what caused these people to seek out therapy. It’s hard to widen the parameters for what we consider to be an economic cost of violence but I think these things should be factored into funding for research on this cause.
Something else that I think about is the amount of people in jails for minimal crimes (like marijuana) that could be dealt with in another manner besides jail. And also how our tax dollars are used for people in jails that don’t necessarily need to be there. The system needs 1) a better way to control jail time, and 2) a way to avoid such heavy amounts of people in jail at once and focus on early rehabilitation that will turn kids away from jail. An article on NPR stated “correctional systems…cost the nation nearly $70 billion annually.” This article went on to further discuss how more money is being spent on jails than for our education system. While I do think that more money should be spent on schools, I think the bigger problem here is that we spend so much money on jails, when it could be put elsewhere, such as towards funding research on violence, rather than funding for people who are “violent”.