Freddie Gray, the Ghetto Lottery, and the Value of a Black Life

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 months, you know all about the death of Freddie Gray and how it sparked some of the worst rioting in 50 years in the city of Baltimore. A few days ago, the city Baltimore agreed to a $6.4 million settlement with the Freddie Gray family over the strange death of their son in police custody. The Gray family’s lawyers will get a huge chunk of the settlement money. If the example of other ghetto lottery winners is instructive, this money will not be used to get the Gray family out of poverty, but instead will be blown on profligate consumption and be gone in less than 5 years.

The family of Eric Garner, who died under far more questionable (and video recorded) circumstances, only received $5.9 million from the city of New York (though in his case as well, Eric Garner possessed an earnings capacity of “zero.”)

Adding insult to injury, is the very real possibility that Freddie Gray self-inflicted his injuries in the back of the police van, towards the end of winning a police brutality settlement with the city via the ghetto lottery. Interestingly enough, if this was Freddie’s goal, he succeeded – though apparently, he succeeded too much.

One gentleman in the CNN video says that Freddie Gray was worth “more than the money.”

I’m not so sure.

The True Value of Freddie Gray’s Life

Looking objectively at the facts, how can Freddie Gray’s life possibly be worth $6.4 million? Jonathan Keller at American Thinker suggests the settlement is simply a way to mollify rioters. I’m not sure if this is the sole purpose, but the odds seem good. The peculiar thing, is that the riot-ready blacks of Baltimore will not receive a single dime from the settlement, but yet they are ready to risk getting felonies and going to prison over the corpse of a low-level drug dealer.

David Carroll, as usual, asks all the right questions and gives all the right answers. Why give $6.4 million for Freddie Gray, when at the age of 25, he had no skills, no education, and a lengthy criminal record? Freddie Gray’s earning capacity truly could be described as “zero.”

Before I proceed further, I should remind the reader that I am not an actuary. I have no experience in calculating the worth of people’s lives. I leave it to the reader to judge the validity of the assumptions and approach I took.

Crunching the Numbers on the Worth of Freddie Gray

What could Freddie Gray’s life truly be worth, at the absolute maximum? Let’s run some numbers:

  • We’ll assume Freddie Gray is alive today, cleans up his act, stops committing crimes, and obtains gainful employment.
  • Given Freddie’s poor qualifications and criminal record, the best he can hope for is a job in the food service industry. Wages at McDonald’s are currently about $10 an hour.
  • Assume Freddie Gray follows the advice prescribed in “The Richest Man in Babylon.” He sets aside a portion of his earnings for investment purposes. We will furthermore assume that Freddie is able to live at home rent-free, utility-free, and grocery-free, and can catch the bus to work. As such, Freddie is in an excellent investing position, and can theoretically invest 100% of his income.
  • Assume Freddie’s investments return at 7%.
  • We’ll furthermore assume that Freddie is a diligent worker, and never misses days of work where he can be earning money.
  • Freddie pays little to no taxes.
  • We will assume Freddie avoids getting himself into unnecessary, high-interest debts, e.g. credit cards and car notes.
  • We will assume Freddie avoids having children in his life. Children are very expensive.
  • We’ll assume a rich uncle gives Freddie Gray the initial $3,000 he would need to invest at a brokerage firm like Vanguard.
  • Assume a zero inflation rate.

Given these extraordinarily generous assumptions, and 40 years of diligent labor, what was Freddie’s life truly worth at the absolute maximum? Let’s see what the BankRate Investment Calculator tells us. The picture below shows the actual inputs I used and the final output:

the value of freddie grays life

Financial report from’s calculator used to compute the maximum value of Freddie Gray’s life.

The absolute maximum worth of Freddie Gray’s life is calculated as $4,317,115. Thus, we show that the family has received about $2.1 million in excess of Freddies theoretical maximum net worth.

The Actual Worth of Freddie Gray’s Life

This value is of course, nowhere near the actual worth of Freddie Gray’s life. Freddie was in truth, a social parasite and a drain on society. Freddie sold heroin, mainly to other black people. It would take a brainiac econometrician to compute the true losses that a drug dealer exacts on his own community, but I will try to take a stab at it anyways. One easy way to calculate the true value of Freddie Gray’s life is to assume that Freddie eventually goes to jail. This was actually coming down the pipe for him, since:

“In 2014, he was arrested on suspicion of serving as a lookout for a heroin dealer and the charges stemming from it could have sent him to prison for a long time.”

If we assume “a long time” is 25 years, and it costs $38,383 a year to incarcerate him in the state of Maryland, Freddie’s life is, ignoring the time value of money, worth about negative $959,575. This ignores whatever welfare benefits Freddie Gray would be able to scam out of the government before and after his incarceration, and ignores the possibility that he will return to dealing heroin and get sent to prison again.

Black Lives…. Matter?

The above (rather depressing) results have broader implications. Freddie Gray is not a unique case to the cities of Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, or Atlanta. These cities are populated with legions of directionless, angry, impoverished, young black men who, having been raised without a father in their home, don’t know how to act and live correctly. These young men, just like Freddie Gray, have earnings potentials of zero. They coat themselves from head to toe in tattoos. They wear crazy hair. They don’t know how to prepare a resume. They have no skills or talents, and performed poorly in school or dropped out altogether.

Their lives, as cruel as it sounds… are worthless.

Saint Freddie

And despite the essentially worthless value of Freddie Gray’s life, he has been painted as a saint by the (apparently, gullible as hell) black community. Black leaders have even named and dedicated a community center after Freddie Gray – something that would never have been done when he was alive. How can black agitators endlessly proclaim that “Black Lives Matter”, when their own actions betray their thinking that a dead young black male is more valuable than a live one?

From that link, I quote:

“The Freddie Gray Youth Empowerment Center will hold year-round classes and camps to educate youngsters on how to be leaders and positive role models in the community.”

  • What leadership qualities did Freddie Gray remotely possess? He a was a low-on-the-totem pole two-bit drug dealer. He was dumb enough to assume all of the risk of getting caught or shot selling dope, while his suppliers sat back and collected the money. Freddie Gray was many things, but a “leader” wasn’t one of them.
  • How was Freddie Gray, a guy who was about to go to prison for a long time, a “positive role model” for the black community?

Couldn’t these black pastors have found someone – anyone! – better than Freddie Gray to name their community center after?

To these crooked black pastors, I only have one thing to say: Isaiah 5:20.


4 thoughts on “Freddie Gray, the Ghetto Lottery, and the Value of a Black Life

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