Thousands of people had shown up at Lake Merritt near Oakland, California on Saturday to celebrate Juneteenth. Tragically, the festivities were violently disrupted when a mass shooting event took place, leaving one person dead and seven others hospitalized. By every standard definition used in major media outlets, this qualifies as a mass shooting. But you’re to be forgiven if you haven’t heard much (if anything) about the Lake Merritt event from most of the usual cable news outlets and major newspapers. You see, this was the wrong sort of mass shooting and didn’t fit the current narrative. Rather than some deranged cisgender white male gunning down a bunch of minority partiers, the Oakland police quickly determined that two rival gangs had shown up in the same location and decided to go to war. (CBS San Francisco)
Two warring gangs from San Francisco appear to be responsible for a mass shooting at Lake Merritt on Saturday, Oakland police said on Monday.
Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said his investigators were working with San Francisco police to find those responsible for the shooting a crowded event at Lake Merritt. One person was killed and eight others were injured; Armstrong said it’s believed the same group is responsible for multiple recent shootings.
“We believe this was directly related to group and gang violence and group and gang violence not even connected to the city of Oakland,” said Armstrong. “This appears to be group and gang violence related to the city of San Francisco.”
The Oakland Police Department got out ahead of the story and took to social media asking for tips to help them identify the shooters.
OPD Chief Armstrong announces at a press conference 8 victims, of which 1 deceased. OPD is looking for multiple shooters. This shooting appears to be gang related. If you have any information please call OPD’s Homicide Division at (510) 238-3821. pic.twitter.com/yjPC3CjC8f
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) June 21, 2021
Some of the victims were known associates of gangs in San Francisco. Others appeared to simply be people with no criminal records who where there to celebrate and were caught in the crossfire.
Based on the reports from investigating officers and witnesses, there were no scary “assault rifles” used during the shooting. All of the gang bangers were packing handguns, and at this point it probably doesn’t matter who fired first. Once the violence started, it immediately escalated.
If these suspects are apprehended and they follow the most common patterns identified in FBI records, it’s a fair bet that none of them had legal, registered firearms. The gang members almost always use illegal weapons purchased on the black market or through straw purchasers. I highly doubt any of them ever went through a background check and they probably would have flunked it if they did.
The Lake Merritt shooting is all too typical of the many mass shootings that you hear being mentioned as statistics on the news. And these shootings aren’t going to be stopped by new gun control laws or more background checks. Our problem isn’t “too many guns” in America, it’s too many illegal guns in the hands of gang members who are not supposed to be able to own them. If you want to have fewer shootings, stop trying to place more impediments in the path to legal gun ownership by the law-abiding and start getting illegal guns off the streets and locking up the gang members who are pulling the triggers for a long enough period of time to send a message to the rest of them.