This piece in The New York Times is a deep and powerful investigation into an often overlooked segment of gun violence in this country. While media attention has been focused on “mass shootings” and police brutality, shooting murders of 4 or more people. Unlike the more high profile mass shootings that usually involve a white shooter with mental illness or a political/social agenda, these murders are largely black on black violence and often involve “gangs” (or, as the article puts it: “groups of friends who rob and shoot each other.”). And they are happening at a rate of nearly one shooting every day.
These murders are part of everyday life for many Black Americans, and yet they are usually ignored — one cannot help but think that this is another part of our institutional racism.
“Some researchers say the single strongest predictor of gun homicide rates is the proportion of an area’s population that is black. But race, they say, is merely a proxy for poverty, joblessness and other socio-economic disadvantages that help breed violence.”
Some will read this as a story of the inherent violence of black communities. Many others will no doubt breathe a secret sigh of relief that that this violence is happening to “their” neighborhoods and not in white american communities, feeling somehow uninvolved. But this is a story of whole communities left behind economically, often by design, and then given almost unrestricted access to the glut of guns flooding our streets. If you are reading this and are an American, you are very much involved.