Friday, October 2, 2015

Mass Shootings vs Urban Violence

Yesterday's mass shooting in Oregon has led to a wave of new stories showing mass shootings in the US, prompting front page headlines. At the same time, constant violence is generating front page headlines in Chicago. Are these the same? Should they be discussed in one big conversation? Or are there different root causes, which need to have in-depth conversations? What information is available?

My Facebook and Twitter feed are full of stories about the mass shooting in Oregon, pointing out how this has become an epidemic across the USA. A few sites are using maps to show where these incidents have taken place. This Mass Shootings in US since 1966 report is one. Here's an analysis of data on this map, from the MotherJones site.

Here's another site with a good analysis of mass killings. Note that both of these map analysis reports do not focus on gang involved shootings/killings. I looked for maps showing gang involved shootings in the US. Here is a WBEZ map analysis showing gun violence in Chicago from 2002-2012. Here's another site that seems to include both mass killings and gang related gun violence across the country.

If you are motivated to get more involved, visiting these sites, then inviting friends, family, etc. to also visit the sites, would be a good start.

While mass shootings hit randomly in different towns/cities, they do not occur daily in the same town/city the way shootings do in Chicago and other cities., While access to guns is a common factor, root causes and possible solutions may differ.

Can you point to web sites where these similarities and/or differences are being discussed?

I collect and archive information like this on blogs and in the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library so that others can read and begin discussion causes and solutions without needing to do the searching for articles.

I support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that engage adults who don't live in poverty because those adults are a form of bridging social capital that can open doors to aspirations and opportunities beyond what urban youth see modeled every day in their own neighborhoods. However, I also view these programs as a strategy for engaging adults who don't live with the same daily challenges, such as daily shootings that terrorize even those who are not the targets. Unless we find ways to engage more people on a personal, self-interested level, I don't think we'll ever generated to public will to build sustained, long-term solutions to urban poverty, and urban violence.

I think the mass shootings plaguing the country have a different root cause, and possibly, a different set of solutions. What they have in common is an easy access to guns and ammunition. Take that away and the conversation is different.

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