The weekend’s headlines were grim. “At least 13 wounded and 11 killed, in 7 separate mass shootings this weekend week”, highlighted the portal Axios. NBC News read: “At least 10 dead in another weekend of mass shootings across America.” “At least 10 killed in 10 mass shootings in the US at the end week,” reported Yahoo! News.
The headlines are clearly designed to create the impression that the United States is experiencing a Buffalo or Uvalde almost every day. Is not true. None of the weekend shootings had anything in common with these horrific events. As far as I could determine, none were executed with an AR rifle-15 and most involved fights between people at parties, in or around bars, with many having the characteristics of gang shootings.
The first incident, narrated by Axios, involved two cars that stopped at a graduation party in Summerton (South Carolina) and opened fire, killing one and wounding one. another seven. Almost all the victims were teenagers. According to the police, it was a gang-related shooting, a consequence of previous shootings.
The everyday violence of teenagers shooting teenagers in petty disputes and gang-related vendettas should not be minimized – in fact, it is a significant blight on American life, disproportionately affecting young African Americans and rendering certain neighborhoods across the country uninhabitable. But they are a different category than what we commonly think of as a mass shooting.
There is a difference between the phenomenon of a disturbed young man who was inspired by previous mass shooters to go to a school or other public place and kill as many people as possible, and the gang member who targets his rivals.
The former are relatively rare and unique events for a community and the nation in general, being, unfortunately, very difficult to combat.
The latter are much more common, generally do not gain national attention, and are more susceptible to standard anti-crime initiatives, including more policing and prosecutions
A bizarre feature of the debate over firearms homicide is that the same people who fervently believe we need to enact gun control measures, with very little effect on the first category of shootings , tend to be hostile or indifferent to measures that, will unquestionably decrease the latter category of shootings.
The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics wore shirts with the phrase “End Gun Violence” on them. , before the NBA Finals game the other night. This sentiment is bland and politically correct enough to be perfect for professional athletes, but slogans accomplish nothing, and the usual gun control measures will not “end” gun violence.
These same players would presumably not dare wear T-shirts calling for policies to prevent youths from shooting other youths in the country’s disheartening and far more routine cycle of violence – “Support more policing”, “Prosecute gun crimes” or “Arrest offenders”. repeat offenders”, for example. This would cause an uproar in polite circles and would be considered totally unacceptable.
The fact is that gun control is ideologically compatible with the media and the left, while arresting people is not.
It is difficult to say exactly how many firearm homicides in the country are gang-related (among other things, witnesses are reluctant to speak). But the Department of Justice’s National Gang Center, in what is almost certainly an underestimate, reports that there have been about 2,000 gang homicides annually, from 2007 to 2012, representing about 13% of all homicides. In Chicago and Los Angeles, about half of all homicides were gang-related.
If we’re going to take these murders more seriously, that’s a good thing. Tough anti-crime policies as well as more personalized anti-gang measures such as targeted simultaneous arrests have been shown to have an effect. It makes no sense to pose against gun violence in general without tackling this particular scourge – unless the goal is to pose.
Rich Lowry is editor-in-chief of National Review.
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