The most common gun violence, by contrast, is drearily predictable and is the source on average of nearly ten thousand homicides a year. Such violence occurs overwhelmingly in certain locations of cities—over the past 30 years in Boston, for example, 75 percent of the city’s shootings occurred in 4.5% of its area, whereas 88.5 percent of the city’s street segments experienced not a single shooting.
Urban shootings are retaliatory or the product of the most trivial of slights. They are committed by handguns, not assault rifles. Victims and perpetrators usually know each other, absent bullets going astray. Reforming the involuntary commitment laws and beefing up mental health services are largely irrelevant to these shootings, since though the shooters have serious problems with impulse control and are clearly a danger to themselves and others, few would be deemed mentally ill.
And both victims and perpetrators are disproportionately minority, by huge margins. New York City is emblematic of the country’s gun violence. According to victims and witnesses, blacks commit80% of all shootings in New York, though they are 23% of the city’s residents. Add Hispanics and you account for 98% of all shootings. Whites commit a little over 1% of shootings, though they are 35% of the city’s population. These disproportions pertain across the country.
Similar statistics like these are repeated across the country.