But how can we blame this one white gun owners? [Shootings of Children Nearly Doubled During the Pandemic — and Black Kids Bore the Brunt of the Violence: A new study found that racial disparities among young shooting victims widened as overall gun violence spiked., The Trace, March 16, 2023]
Black children were 100 times more likely to be shot than white children during the first 21.5 months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“This study shows how important it is to bring a health disparity lens to research,” said Jonathan Jay, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and one of the study’s authors. “It shows how structural racism, including the inequitable distribution of resources, residential racial segregation, and distribution of opportunities not only harms children of color, but privileges white children.”
Firearm homicide rates rose dramatically in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and research has linked the spike to poverty. Initial scholarship focused on gun violence affecting adults or the general public, but emerging work is revealing that children were particularly affected. A recent study of pandemic-era pediatric firearm assaults in St. Louis found that the monthly gun injury rate among children increased by almost 52 percent compared to the five years before the pandemic, while the death rate among children increased by 29 percent. Black boys averaging 13 years old were the most likely victims.
The study analyzed data from Philadelphia, which has the highest firearm homicide rate nationwide, and the three most populous cities in the U.S: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
The researchers, who used standard practices of statistical modeling, found that firearm assaults among people 18 and younger nearly doubled from 2015 to 2021, from nearly nine children per 100,000 to nearly 17 children per 100,000. The dataset included both fatal and nonfatal shootings for every city except Chicago (for which data on nonfatal injuries among children was not available).
Among non-Hispanic white children, there was no increase in shootings. Black children saw the most significant increase, from 27 children per 100,000 to 34. The Black-white disparity grew from a relative risk of 25 percent to 100 percent; the Hispanic-white disparity tripled; and the disparity between Asian and white children nearly tripled.
“These stats are astonishing, but not surprising. The number is quite high, but it is very consistent with what we see on the frontlines,” said Dr. Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Northwell Health in New York. “Last year, we saw a 350 percent increase at our children’s hospital of kids coming in with bullet wounds. The majority of those children are Black children.”
Dr. Sathya, who also serves as the director for Northwell Health’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, said that solutions to address these issues have to directly combat firearm violence among marginalized communities. Standardized hospital-based violence intervention programs, for example, must be paired with community programs including mentorships and faith-based organizations. “The elephant in the room that we don’t discuss as much — probably because we don’t know how to combat it yet — is that we also have to address the availability of illegal firearms in the country.”
This story has the wrong lede. It should be: Black people were 100 times more likely to shot black children than white people were to shot white children. America does need gun control, but it has nothing to do with disarming white people…
The ultimate question: how much gun crime would there be in the USA if there was no black population in the nation?