So-called gun violence is an issue. Homicides are skyrocketing and even if other crimes are still trending down, the murder rate is going to be a problem.
That, of course, sparked ABC News to try and get to the heart of the issue.
Now that we’ve started that effort, though, it seems ABC New found the issue.
Of late, police say, the increase in shootings is mainly due to urban gangs, but there are also variants, involving mass shootings, domestic violence and suicide. Much of it, experts say, is exacerbated by the health and economic strains wrought by COVID-19 and powered by the uniquely American affinity for and access to guns.
“You can’t shoot somebody without a gun,” said New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “Identifying who’s carrying guns, the cops going out there and making the arrests, taking the guns off the street is great. Really what we need is the individual carrying the gun off the street.”
In Shea’s New York City, there was a 100% increase in shootings in 2020 from the year prior. Accidental shootings, domestic violence, suicide, stray bullets and mass casualty all contributed to it, but Shea said the biggest drivers of gun violence are gangs.
“Domestic, road rage, we certainly have seen those incidents. Accidental shootings, playing with a gun, and a friend shoots a friend, we’ve seen all of it with a little more frequency. But if you step back and look at the big picture, that is such a small percentage of what we see regarding gun violence,” Shea told ABC News.
“The vast majority of what we see is still gang-related,” Shea added. “It could be over turf, it could be over drug money. Oftentimes, tragically, it’s over nothing.”
This is important to understand, and yet some folks try to go out of their way to avoid it.
Gang violence accounts for the lion’s share of these homicides. People feel like they’re being disrespected, so they lash out because saving face matters more than anything else. Going to prison isn’t an issue because that will actually improve their standing within the gang.
The thing is, though, most of these gang members have felony convictions. They’re not lawfully allowed to have a firearm. Further, in New York City where Shea is from, they have the toughest gun control laws in the nation. None of that is stopping these homicides from happening.
I mean, we’re talking about a 100 percent increase between 2019 and 2020. That’s not good.
Yet there was no real liberalization of New York City’s gun laws. Nothing happened that made guns more available. Murders still doubled, though.
Through it all, gangs are the drivers of these homicides.
Meanwhile, many believe the answer is to restrict access to firearms for those of us who have done nothing wrong. The killers are getting these guns in the most gun-controlled city in the nation, but restricting our access to guns will somehow make everything all better.
What’s curious, though, is how ABC News basically glosses over Shea’s revelation. In their effort to define the “gun violence” problem, they actually undermined a lot of the gun control narrative. They just opted to pretend they didn’t.