Here are parts from a highly informative 2016 article in the New York Times news section that I’ve alluded to many times but will quote at greater length here:
THE DAILY TOLL
Most shootings with four deaths or injuries are invisible outside their communities. And most of the lives they scar are black.
By Sharon LaFraniere, Daniela Porat and Agustin Armendariz
May 22, 2016
CINCINNATI — After the slaughter of nine worshipers at a South Carolina church last June, but before the massacre of eight students and a teacher at an Oregon community college in October, there was a shooting that the police here have labeled Incident 159022597.01. It happened on a clear Friday night at an Elks Lodge, on a modest block of clapboard houses northeast of this city’s hilly downtown. Unlike the butchery that bookended it, it merited no presidential statements, no saturation television coverage.
But what took place at 6101 Prentice Street on Aug. 21 may say more about the nature of gun violence in the United States than any of those far more famous rampages. It is a snapshot of a different sort of mass violence — one that erupts with such anesthetic regularity that it is rendered almost invisible, except to the mostly black victims, survivors and attackers.
According to the police account, more than 30 people had gathered in the paneled basement bar of the lodge to mark the 39th birthday of a man named Greg Wallace when a former neighbor, Timothy Murphy, showed up, drunk. Fists flew. Mr. Murphy ducked out the door, burst back in with a handgun, and opened fire.
… By the end, 27 bullets had flown, hitting seven people. …
The Elks Lodge episode was one of at least 358 armed encounters nationwide last year — nearly one a day, on average — in which four or more people were killed or wounded, including attackers. The toll: 462 dead and 1,330 injured, sometimes for life, typically in bursts of gunfire lasting but seconds. …
Seeking deeper insight into the phenomenon, The New York Times identified and analyzed these 358 shootings with four or more casualties, drawing on two databases assembled from news reports and citizen contributors, and then verifying details with law enforcement agencies.
Only a small handful were high-profile mass shootings like those in South Carolina [Dylann Roof] and Oregon. The rest are a pencil sketch of everyday America at its most violent.
They chronicle how easily lives are shattered when a firearm is readily available — in a waistband, a glove compartment, a mailbox or garbage can that serves as a gang’s gun locker….
The typical victim was a man between 18 and 30, but more than 1 in 10 were 17 or younger. Less is known about those who pulled the triggers because nearly half of the cases remain unsolved.
Barely half of the mass shootings of 2015 had been cleared by May 2016.
But of those arrested or identified as suspects, the average age was 27.
Most of the shootings occurred in economically downtrodden neighborhoods. These shootings, by and large, are not a middle-class phenomenon.
The divide is racial as well. Among the cases examined by The Times were 39 domestic violence shootings, and they largely involved white attackers and victims. So did many of the high-profile massacres, including a wild shootout between Texas biker gangs that left nine people dead and 18 wounded.
Over all, though, nearly three-fourths of victims and suspected assailants whose race could be identified were black. Some experts suggest that helps explain why the drumbeat of dead and wounded does not inspire more outrage.
… Droves of experts study high-profile massacres by so-called lone-wolf assailants, usually driven by mental disorders, at schools, workplaces and other public spaces. Academics regularly crunch data on single homicides and assaults. But the near-daily shootings that wound or kill several victims — a relatively small subset of the shootings that kill nearly 11,000 people and wound roughly 60,000 more each year — are uncharted territory for researchers, said Richard B. Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
According to Gun Violence Archive, we got close to two mass shootings per day in 2021: 692. This year looks like we’ll be back down toward 600, like in 2020: the New Normal.
The Times compiled its list of 358 shootings with four or more casualties from largely crowd-sourced lists managed by the social media network Reddit and Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization. The groups recently combined their efforts at the website gunviolencearchive.org.
Four or more casualties is a far broader measure than “mass shootings,” which are commonly defined as the killing of at least four people, not including the attacker. …
Counting assailants among casualties increased the total number of cases by fewer than three dozen, most of them domestic violence shootings that ended in suicide. Hispanics were not separately identified, because police reports do not systematically identify victims and suspects by ethnicity, only by race.
There are 358 reasons for those 358 shootings, though some remain a mystery; in about a fourth of the cases, investigators have discerned no motive.
As for the rest, some patterns stand out. The fewest occurred while another felony, such as a burglary, was underway. Domestic violence shootings were nearly as infrequent, but were among the deadliest.
About a third were provoked by arguments, typically drug- or alcohol-fueled, often over petty grievances.
Outside a crowded bar in Decatur, Ill., a customer found an expensive watch. When another man insisted it was his, the customer pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, shot the man in the face and wounded four people near him.
After a day of drinking, singing karaoke and watching football, four middle-aged friends in a small town north of Baton Rouge, La., got into a fight — some said over the choice of music. One shot the other three, then killed himself.
Outside an Orlando, Fla., housing project, lewd comments about a young man’s pregnant girlfriend resulted in 15 to 20 gunshots. A 10-year-old boy who peered out his window at the fracas was struck directly in one eye. One of three wounded adults later acknowledged that “a one-on-one fist fight would have settled the issue,” the police report said.
Another third of the 358 cases — and the most common in cities with more than 250,000 residents — were either gang-related or were drive-by shootings typical of gangs.
But the police and prosecutors say many of those were not directly linked to criminal activity, such as a dispute over a drug deal. More often, a minor dust-up — a boast, an insult, a decision to play basketball on another gang’s favorite court — was taken as a sign of disrespect and answered with a bullet, said Andrew V. Papachristos, a Yale University professor who studies gang behavior.
Over all, two-thirds of shootings took place outdoors, endangering innocent people. More than 100 bystanders, from toddlers to grandparents, were injured or killed.
In Cincinnati, where last year’s toll of 479 gun deaths and injuries was the highest in nine years, a growing share of shootings involves more than one victim — 1 in 8 attacks with guns in the first half of last year compared with 1 in 12 over the same span in 2010.
Police officials in some other cities have noted a similar trend, though others say they have not. What is behind the upticks, they said, is a matter of speculation.
In Rochester, multiple-victim shootings accounted for fewer than 15 percent of victims in 2006; so far this year, they make up 38 percent. Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said that he suspected that social media was playing a role by simultaneously catalyzing minor disputes into deadly standoffs and drawing more people into them.
Police chiefs are always complaining that social media leads to murders, but the news media only gets mad at social media over other things.
Larry C. Smith, interim chief of police in Durham, N.C., and a 28-year veteran of the force, said, “Are we starting to reap the video-game age? I don’t know.”
“But five, or certainly 10 years ago,” he added, “it wasn’t like this.” …
The Elks Lodge shooting was one of five last year in Cincinnati that resulted in at least four casualties. The others took place on street corners, on a front porch and at a cookout in a parking lot.
Police officials say they suspect that as many as half of the 24 victims were not the intended targets; community workers blame self-taught gunmen who are often high on drugs or are drunk. “They are not marksmen,” said Aaron Pullins, an anti-violence worker. “They don’t know how to hold the gun. They just shoot.”
Investigators have linked three of those shootings to gangs, although like many of their counterparts in other cities, they say the word gang conjures up a false image of a tight-knit, hierarchical criminal organization. Instead, they describe fluid, sometimes tiny bands of teenagers and young adults bound by illegal activity. “They are groups of friends who rob and shoot each other,” Detective Greg Gehring said. “That’s just what they do.”
… Urban gun violence tends to spread around specific blocks or intersections, like a contagious disease.
… Street violence is self-perpetuating that way: Shootings beget shootings that beget more gunmen. Professor Papachristos, the gang expert, said the more violent the neighborhood, the more teenagers and young men seek safety in numbers.
“The No. 1 reason people join gangs is for protection,” he said. “The perverse irony is they are then more at risk.”
… Nationally, reliable racial breakdowns exist only for victims and offenders in gun homicides, not assaults, but those show a huge disparity.
The gun homicide rate peaked in 1993, in tandem with a nationwide crack epidemic, and then plummeted over the next seven years. But blacks still die from gun attacks at six to 10 times the rate of whites, depending on whether the data is drawn from medical sources or the police. F.B.I. statistics show that African-Americans, who constitute about 13 percent of the population, make up about half of both gun homicide victims and their known or suspected attackers.
“Every time we look at the numbers, we are pretty discouraged, I have to tell you,” said Gary LaFree, a professor of criminology at the University of Maryland.
Some researchers say the single strongest predictor of gun homicide rates is the proportion of an area’s population that is black. But race, they say, is merely a proxy for poverty, joblessness and other socio-economic disadvantages that help breed violence.
Ehhh…. You’re researchers. You can do better than that. The black rate of homicide is much higher than that of other poor groups in America, such Latinos, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, Hmongs, Cambodians, and white hillbillies. The closest group are the blacker sort of Caribbean Latinos but they are well behind African-Americans.
You don’t have to blame it on black genes. You can point to African-American culture, which is one of the most famous and influential cultures in the world. I read an article once about the troubled youth of Guadalcanal Island in the South Pacific. They all love American rap and many aspire to acquire guns so that they can shoot each other like their African-American heroes.
It doesn’t have to be quite like that.
… Nationally, nearly half of last year’s shootings with four or more casualties ended in the same way: no arrest; often, not even a suspect. At least 160 assailants, responsible for 102 murders and 635 gun injuries, were still on the streets at year’s end.
A case was more likely to be solved if one or more victims died — the situation in about half the cases. But even some double, triple and quadruple murders continue to stump investigators.
The national clearance rate for homicides has fallen from nearly three in four in 1980 to fewer than two in three today. That is partly because public attention has driven down the share of domestic violence killings, which are routinely solved, Professor Rosenfeld said.
Much of what remains are killings involving gangs, drugs and witnesses with criminal backgrounds who are wary of talking to the police. “You are left with a larger percentage of homicides that are more difficult for police to clear,” he said.
A shift in law enforcement from solving crimes to preventing them has also contributed, as has rising distrust of the police in some cities, said Charles F. Wellford, emeritus professor of criminology at the University of Maryland. Still, he said, some law enforcement agencies are much worse at closing murder cases than others. Some of those same departments are worse at closing shootings with four or more casualties, too.
In Baltimore, the police have not solved any of 11 shootings last year. New Orleans made arrests in only one of eight cases; Chicago, two of 16.
Cincinnati was more typical, solving two of its five cases, at least in part.
Detective Charles Zopfi had real hopes of arresting the gunmen behind a drive-by shooting here last September. About 20 people had gathered on a warm Monday night for a cookout in a parking lot beside an apartment building. “There were kids and older people, not your usual crowd of 16- to 23-year-old guys,” the detective said.
As a car sped down the street, someone fired at least 10 bullets out a window. Detective Zopfi said he knew from experience how people respond in such situations: They look in the direction of the gunfire, and only then dive for cover.
But eight months later, he said, he has been unable even to nail down whether the vehicle was black or green. He heard that of the five victims, a 30-year-old African-American man was left paralyzed from the waist down. But that man refused to take his phone calls, then changed his telephone number.
A wounded 3-year-old named Jabarri seemed the best hope of persuading witnesses to come forward, the detective said. Sometimes, the moral outrage over a child victim overwhelms the code of silence. And Jabarri, he said, was “the cutest little boy” who had smiled beguilingly at him from a hospital gurney even after being shot in the leg.
At the detective’s request, Jabarri’s mother agreed to meet with a reporter. But when the reporter showed up at her home, she backed out, pleading a haircut appointment. “The code of silence is strictly enforced,” the detective said.
Mr. Abdullah, the anti-violence worker, talks to some of the victims and witnesses who will not give information to the police. “They are scared,” he said. “We have had cases where people found out who talked and that person wound up dead. ‘So if the police cannot protect me, why would I jeopardize my life and my family?’ ”
“It’s so much bigger than the idea of ‘no snitching,’ ” he said.