by Ian Frazier published in The New Yorker
Read original on The New Yorker's website
In the middle of a global pandemic, gun-related de...Show description
Posted 702 days ago
Gun violence and control is a topic that I think leaves most of us cynical and feeling helpless. The sheer numbers are horribly depressing and make us wonder what could be wrong with our political system that perpetuates them. As Frazier writes:
What I mainly took away from the conference was statistics: about forty thousand Americans died that year from gun violence, about sixty per cent of them suicides; more Americans have died from guns in recent years than have died in car accidents; guns are the No. 1 cause of death for African-American children and young men; the mentally ill are more often the victims of gun violence than they are the perpetrators of it; ninety-six per cent of all mass shooters are male; there may be ten million assault rifles in private hands; and seventy-five per cent of gun owners say that owning a gun is essential to their sense of freedom.
We obviously know what the problem of gun violence is: toxic masculinity and mental health issues will lead to shootings. But it seems near impossible to get our political system to do anything about it.
It's nice to read Frazier's article, which focuses on community-based / grassroots activism. Although I don't think it will completely solve these issues, it's sure a step in the right direction and indicates that something can be done. But I also think we must be realistic when evaluating these programs. An 88% increase in violence (allbeit during a pandemic where any statistics go adrift) indicates that something in preventative measures is not going well. Whether it's the progressive view of incarceration that causes it, or the conservative view of a reduction in policing and policies, it's clear that something must be done.
It also seems like there are two distinct problems (and surely more), which may or may not have similar underlying causes. The first is that 96% of "all mass shooters are male" and in a set of data collected in New York City on the Fourth of July weekend, 95% of victims "were Black or Hispanic." I have no idea how to address these problems, and I wish Frazier's article went more in-depth here. But it seems that nobody has the solution at the moment.