Two Very Different .01 Percents


Most readers here know about the top .01%. They’re the richest of the rich, the top 1% of the top 1% in America. They number about 33,000. They control over 10% of the nation’s wealth and about 6% of our income. They are responsible for the lion’s share of contributions to both political parties. Call them the lucky .01%.

I’ve given a lot of thought to the lucky .01% in my work regarding the concentration of wealth in America.

For the past few days, thought, I’ve been thinking more about a different .01% of us: the 33,000 or so Americans who will lose their lives to gun violence next year if our gun policies and our “gun culture” does not change. They’re the unlucky .01%.

Of course, the two .01 percents are not mutually exclusive. theoretically, a person could belong to both groups. Indeed, if the unlucky .01% were chosen at random from the entire population, we would expect 3 or 4 members of the lucky .01% also to be members of the unlucky .01%.

What if we  knew in advance that the lucky .01%, as a group, was destined to become next year’s unlucky .01%.

How would we do things? Would we change our gun laws? Would we do anything more than we are doing today to bring the number — 33,000 gun deaths per year — down in a hurry?

I’ll go out on a limb here and say “yes” we would make the reduction of gun deaths our absolute highest priority.

So, riddle me this: If “All Lives Matter”, as conservative scolds tell us repeatedly in response to “Black Lives Matter”, don’t all lives matter equally? Seems like they do.

If you’re with me so far, if we believe all lives matter equally, why should the steps we take to address gun deaths in America depend on who we believe the members of the unlucky 1% will turn out to be?

Don’t we have a  moral obligation to take the same steps to save the lives of the unlucky .01% as we would if we knew the lucky .01% was about to become the unlucky .01%?

And if we fail, as we now have for over a decade, to collectively live up to that moral obligation, is it not time we stop referring to ourselves as “exceptional”?


  1. I thought that when a member of Congress was shot and almost killed, it might have some influence. I thought that when young children were massacred, it might have some influence. But the NRA has simply bought too many politicians. They are much more worried about getting crosswise with the NRA than with their constituents.

    • I WISH the NRA had that kind of influence. As it is, every time some insane monster starts shooting up some innocent victims, the liberal politicians start screaming for more gun control, usually offering ideas that wouldn’t have have stopped what happened anyway. That is when the various gun organization, their members and millions of other believers in the 2nd Amendment have to mobilize and try to stop the idiotic and often unconstitutional legislation that emerges from the opportunity the emotions and fear created.

  2. If the Lucky .01% became the victims of gun violence, the laws would change, I believe. They would use their wealth and influence to create laws that would strip access to guns away from the rest of us while protecting their right to have them available. According to everything I read on this blog that is what they already do when things affect them…they protect themselves while penalizing the rest of us.

    What you ask, though, is a fantasy. Whenever a tragedy like this latest shooting spree happens, liberal politicians immediately talk about more gun control laws. Of course, what they propose would not have prevented what happened, but it would affect the law abiding citizen. Almost invariably, when these shooting sprees take place, they do so in “Gun Free” zones. The shooter knows there will be only unarmed victims and they can commit murder to their hearts content. On those rare occasions where a shooter chooses a location where there are others who are armed, they are stopped with minimal casualties. I think that is why schools are so often the targets of these monsters.

    Anyway, your question is an interesting one that is just one more example that wealth buys security.

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