The country is currently focused on gun violence because of the recent mass shootings in stores and schools. But Rich Lowry reminds us that, “the same leftists who rightfully lament mass shootings avert their eyes from the much more common scourge of deadly gang violence.”
Some recent headlines seem intended to deceive. One headline howled that “at least 54 injured, 11 killed in 7 separate mass shootings this weekend.” Such headlines leave the reader with the impression that the US is experiencing a Buffalo or Uvalde nearly every day.
One of the shootings in the headline I just mentioned occurred when two cars pulled up to a graduation party in South Carolina. The perpetrators opened fire in what could best be described as a gang-related drive-by shooting.
Any shooting is horrific, yet Rich Lowry argues that “there is a difference between the phenomena of a disturbed young male who has been inspired by prior mass shooters to go to a school or other public place and slaughter as many people as possible, and the gang member who targets rivals.” The former is relatively rare. The latter has been much more common. But it doesn’t gain as much national attention.
Documenting the extent of gang violence is difficult. The National Gang Center at the Department of Justice estimates that roughly 2,000 gang homicides occurred from 2007 to 2012. But in Chicago and Los Angeles, around half of all homicides are gang related.
Mass shootings and gang shootings are very different. Focusing on effective criminal justice reforms will reduce the gang death toll in the future. That would include tough-on-crime policies along with anti-gang measures.