I don’t play the lottery often. I generally consider it a waste of money, although I have made exceptions from time to time.
When I was in college the daily number cost one dollar, and I would ask young women I met at parties to give me 3 numbers, promising I’d play them the next day. It seemed like a great way to start conversations and provide an excuse for follow-up later. In reality, the results would best be described as “mixed”, although it was no less effective than my other strategies, which included growing mutton chops and loudly begging for dates at the dorm cafateria salad bar.
Another, more current exception is my propensity to buy Powerball tickets whenever the amount in the pot exceeds about 750 million dollars. I figure that the possible gain of three-quarters of a billion dollars makes the trip to my local Wawa worth it. I mean, who the hell is going to drive to a convenience store and brave the mob in the slim-jim aisle for a mere 4 or 5 hundred million dollars? I’m not an idiot! (clearly)
But not all lotteries are good. Not all of them offer money or Taylor Swift tickets to the winner. In fact, not all of them are even voluntary.
Every day each of us living in America is given no choice but to play a very deadly lottery. This is the gun-lottery. Whenever we leave the house we metophorically purchase a scratch-card, cross our fingers and hope the mass shootings that will occur that day won’t involve us.
Over the past three years, mass shootings (defined as any shooting where at least four people are either killed or wounded by gunfire) have averaged more than 600 per year in the USA. That’s almost two per day, every day, seven days a week.
Understandably school shootings get the most attention due to the age, innocence and vulnerability of the victims. In 2022 there were 46 school shootings killing 34 people and directly involving 43,450 children.
But of course, schools are not the only places that mass shootings occur. We’ve seen this violence happen in supermarkets, movie theaters, concerts, bars, restaurants, college campuses, parks…anywhere really.
I was thinking about this grim reality in the context of the lottery and it occurred to me…