In the end, the only true way to address gun violence in America is to admit the racial dynamic to fatal and nonfatal gun violence in the USA. It’s that simple.

The Buffalo News was just capable of admitting those responsible for gun violence in the city – disproportionately impacting black people in Buffalo – are black. Not white supremacists, not white separatists, not white nationalists, not those clinging to white privilege nor maintaining systemic racism or implicit bias, but black people shooting other black people in the city of Buffalo.[Surge in gun violence disproportionately hits Buffalo’s Black residents, Buffalo News, October 2, 2020]:

Behind a boarded-up brick building on the corner of Jefferson and Glenwood avenues, blue balloons, purple flowers and stuffed teddy bears carry the memory of a young mother of three killed a week after her 23rd birthday.

Messages of love scrawled in blue, red and black marker hang on pieces of poster board. On a nearby sidewalk, 37 tealight candles spell out “Ray.”

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On Sept. 19, Rayshionna Johnson was killed and four others were shot near that intersection, in the second quintuple shooting of the year in Buffalo. All five victims were Black.

Gun violence in Buffalo continues to disproportionately affect people of color. So far this year, more than eight of every 10 shooting victims were Black.

Poverty in these neighborhoods is key factor, community activists say. So is access to handguns, often trafficked illegally from other states, they say. Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood and activists both agree that more needs to be done to steer young people away from resorting to violence. Many of the shootings involve neighborhood gangs and are done in retaliation for previous shootings.

The shootings in Buffalo mirror what’s happening in other major cities across America and criminologists are still trying to parse out the role of the Covid-19 pandemic in the surge in violence. They also are happening as the Black Lives Matter movement has forced questions about race, racism and the U.S. criminal justice system.

The shooting at Jefferson and Glenwood was Buffalo’s second quintuple shooting in less than a month.

Lockwood said police investigations often find one individual responsible for three or four shootings.

“It’s a very small number of people causing this havoc on the East Side,” Lockwood said. “The vast majority of people are law abiding citizens.”

Through the end of August, 217 people have either been injured or killed in a shooting in the city, according Buffalo Police Department data. That’s 82% higher than over the same period in 2019, according to a Buffalo News analysis of the data. It’s also about 35% higher than the average over that eight-month period from 2015 through last year, according to The News’ analysis.

For three straight months, the number of people shot each month exceeded 40 – in June, 41; then 48 in July; and 49 in August. Before 2020, the last time 40 people were shot in one month in Buffalo was July 2011, according to police data.

Through early August, the number of shooting victims in the city already eclipsed the total number of people shot last year.

“Young people, they don’t really have anywhere to go,” said Leroy Love, who runs a barbershop around the corner. “So when they meet up – it’s hundreds of them, usually – they’ll pick a block or something, have a party. Or if there happens to be a party, they’ll show up there, and something seems to go wrong.”

The shooting at Jefferson and Glenwood was Buffalo’s second quintuple shooting in less than a month.

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Lockwood said police investigations often find one individual responsible for three or four shootings.

“It’s a very small number of people causing this havoc on the East Side,” Lockwood said. “The vast majority of people are law abiding citizens.”

Through the end of August, 217 people have either been injured or killed in a shooting in the city, according Buffalo Police Department data. That’s 82% higher than over the same period in 2019, according to a Buffalo News analysis of the data. It’s also about 35% higher than the average over that eight-month period from 2015 through last year, according to The News’ analysis.

For three straight months, the number of people shot each month exceeded 40 – in June, 41; then 48 in July; and 49 in August. Before 2020, the last time 40 people were shot in one month in Buffalo was July 2011, according to police data.

Through early August, the number of shooting victims in the city already eclipsed the total number of people shot last year.

“Young people, they don’t really have anywhere to go,” said Leroy Love, who runs a barbershop around the corner. “So when they meet up – it’s hundreds of them, usually – they’ll pick a block or something, have a party. Or if there happens to be a party, they’ll show up there, and something seems to go wrong.”

It’s also established that a disproportionate percentage of people arrested are Black, both locally and nationally.

According to 2019 Census Bureau estimates, Erie County’s population is 79.3% white and 14% Black. During that same year, 46% of those arrested in the county were white and 43% were Black, according to statistics compiled by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. For felonies, 34% of people arrested were white, 54% Black. Broken down to violent felonies, 23% were white and 64% Black.

Buffalo police in July began including some data on the race of shooting victims in documents released to The Buffalo News.

Residents who live in some areas of the city face disproportionate levels of gun violence. A 2016 News analysis of shooting data showed the entire East Side, which accounts for only a third of the city’s population, accounted for about three-quarters of all shootings in the city from 2011 through 2016.

Gunfire nearly every night

At the memorial to Rayshionna Johnson, some of the candles carry messages including “Rest in peace, RayRay,” and “Love you, CrayCray.” On a board covering a window on the back wall of the building, a message written in red marker reads “Life is precious people; this is not a joke! Ray is gone & 3 babies will feel the pain forever… Put down the guns, please!”

It won’t take revolutionary acts to cause seismic change in social policy in not just Buffalo, but all of America; it will only take the admission black gun violence – be it fatal or nonfatal – represents the overwhelmingly majority of gun violence in the nation, and that social policy regarding the 2nd Amendment and the African-in-America population must reflect this fact.

Such an admission though, is revolutionary indeed. It upends nearly a century of egalitarian thinking.

Courtesy of UNZ.com

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