Oh say can you see all the shooting victims?

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

Not all of the loud banging sounds you heard over the 4th of July weekend were caused by fireworks, particularly if you live an any of the nation’s largest cities. Shootings were up by significant numbers in quite a few metropolitan areas. CNN is reporting that more than 150 people were killed in the course of more than 400 shootings across the United States between Friday and Sunday, with more numbers being added to the totals on Monday, which was observed as a day off for most people. The report focuses initially on New York City, which actually recorded fewer shootings and deaths than during the same holiday period last year… but only a few less. It was still a rather grim situation.

At least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the country during the Fourth of July weekend as major cities nationwide confront a surge in violent crime, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.

The data, which includes the number of shooting incidents and gun violence victims nationally over a 72-hour period from Friday through Sunday, is still evolving and will be updated.

In New York, where gun violence has been rising to levels not seen in years, there were 26 victims from 21 shootings from Friday to Sunday, a decrease from the same period last year when 30 people were shot in 25 shootings, the New York Police Department said.

Things may have been bad in the Big Apple, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Chicago. The crime statistics there are quickly starting to look more like something out of a game of Grand Theft Auto than any real-world news report. By Monday evening, the Windy City had recorded a staggering 104 shootings, leaving at least 19 dead, with 13 children and two cops among the wounded. Almost unbelievably, Chicago has now recorded more than 2,000 shootings this year and we’re barely into July. (Chicago Sun)

In the deadliest and most violent weekend this year in Chicago, over 100 people have been shot over the long Fourth of July weekend, 19 of them killed.

Among the wounded were at least 13 children and two Chicago police supervisors. Five of the kids were shot within nine hours Sunday evening through early Monday.

Both the number of fatal shootings and the number of shootings overall are highs for 2021, according to a Chicago Sun-Times database of shootings. By 5 p.m. Monday, Chicago had recorded 2,000 shootings this year, the Sun-Times’ database shows.

Compare those numbers to what we just said about New York City and then consider the fact that New York has nearly four times the population of Chicago. That should give you pause.

What goes almost unmentioned in most of the mainstream news coverage of these murder sprees is how many of them are committed by people using their own legally owned firearms and who passed a background check. I realize it takes time for the police to investigate and assemble that sort of data, but the FBI can make a fairly accurate projection based on previous trends. There’s also rarely any mention of how many of these shootings involved “scary-looking assault rifles” as opposed to the far more ubiquitous handguns. The answer to the first question is that very, very few of these crimes were committed by licensed gun owners. And nearly all of the victims were shot by handguns.

The reason for that is that the vast majority of these shootings (though certainly not 100%) were the product of gang violence and organized crime, including drug dealing and carjackings. And the shooters don’t sign up for firearm safety training or fill out forms for licensed gun dealers. The gang violence problem is spiking even faster than it has in recent years and one reason is that the gangs no longer fear the police and don’t believe their actions will carry any consequences, particularly when they enlist underage recruits to commit their crimes for them. Erielle Davidson points out what should have already been obvious.

Gang violence won’t decrease in Chicago until gangs actually fear the consequences. Broad daylight shootings, multiple assailants, and children in the crossfire. These gangs don’t care. Make them care.”

In order for that to happen, you would need municipal leadership that was actually ready to start cracking down and establishing order. As John pointed out last week, that has turned out to be something of a political minefield for Democrats. As incredible as it may sound, too many Democrats are hesitant to protect the law-abiding citizens in their own communities. Any talk of “cracking down on crime” is immediately met with accusations of racism, even if the elected official or police chief saying it is themself a minority. We’re still hearing calls among liberal influencers to empty the jails and defund the police.

The only sort of “reform” that most of these Democrats are comfortable with is more gun control laws that only impact the law-abiding for the most part. And those are not the people committing all of these shootings. And if the residents of these cities refuse to fix the problem at the ballot box by electing leaders who will be willing to confront the gangs by meeting force with force until they begin fearing law enforcement again, it’s really hard to have too much sympathy for them.