Posts Tagged ‘violence’


Special mention

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Special mention

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In the United States, there are now somewhere between 270 million and 310 million guns, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s almost one gun for every person in the nation.

While we spend a lot of time discussing Second Amendment rights and gun-control measures, the fact is guns are big business in the United States.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. gun manufacturing has more than tripled since 2001 (from 2.9 million to 10.8 million total firearms produced).


Meantime, as Jim Tankersley explains, gun manufacturer profits have risen as well.

The stock market shows that story. If you’d bought shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 2009, they’d be worth about 10 times as much today. That’s a slightly better return than if you’d bought Apple.


And while some U.S.-manufactured guns are exported (a bit less than 400 thousand in 2013), that was more than made up for by firearms imports into the United States (more than 5.5 million in 2013).

You want to understand the escalation of gun violence in the United States? Just follow the money. . .

Chart of the day

Posted: 3 October 2015 in Uncategorized
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While we’re at it (trying to make sense of the extraordinary number of mass shootings and other gun-violence victims in the United States), here’s another way.

CNN [ht: ja] decided to tally up the number of Americans killed through terrorist attacks (both foreign and domestic) in the last decade and compare it with the number of Americans who have died in gun violence.

Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that from 2004 to 2013, 316,545 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide.

According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2004 to 2013 was 277.

In addition, we compiled all terrorism incidents inside the U.S.* and found that between 2004 and 2013, there were 36 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism. This brings the total to 313.

Have we had enough yet—enough to control the production and ownership of firearms and to eliminate the other structural causes of violence within the United States?

Chart of the day

Posted: 2 October 2015 in Uncategorized
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mass shootings

Yesterday’s gun attack at a community college in Oregon, which killed at least nine people and wounded seven more, brought the total of U.S. mass shootings this year—incidents where 4 or more people are killed or injured by gunfire—to 294.

Charleston. Lafayette. Virginia. Now, Roseburg Oregon. But beneath the steady drumbeat of these high-profile cases lay the hundreds daily mass shootings that most of us never hear about. 11 wounded in a Georgia barroom.Six shot outside a Tulsa nightclub. A pregnant mom and grandmother killed, an infant wounded in Chicago.

We’ve gone no more than eight days without one of these incidents this year. On six days in September, there were 3 mass shootings or more. If the initial casualty figures in Oregon hold up, that would bring the total of deaths by mass shooting this year to 380 so far, with well over one thousand injured.

And of course, there’s the broader universe of nearly 10,000 people killed and 20,000 wounded in nearly 40,000 gun violence incidents so far this year.

These numbers only tell the smallest part of the story. And these very numbers will need to be updated again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that.



At least fourteen people were shot—six of them killed, the others wounded—during a single 15-hour period in Chicago.

The burst of violence follows two straight weekends when more than 50 people were shot in Chicago. That’s the first time that has happened on back-to-back weekends over the four years the Tribune has been tracking shootings. In August, more than 40 were shot on four consecutive weekends.

So far this year, at least 2,300 people have been shot in Chicago, about 400 more than during the same period last year, according to a Tribune analysis. Through Sunday, homicides have risen to 359, up 21 percent from 296 a year earlier, according to preliminary data from Chicago police.


It’s more than 50 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and we’re still having a hard time thinking through the relationship between race and class in the United States, as we have seen in the recent tensions between Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders campaign.

For the organizers of the 1963 march, issues of race and class were inextricably connected. That’s why the coalition that sponsored the march focused on both civil rights and the creation of jobs through public works, on eliminating segregation and raising the minimum wage, on making sure that whites and blacks were able to march together. They weren’t “class reductionists.” They were attempting to forge a movement that could eliminate both racial disparities and economic exploitation.

Touré F. Reed [ht: db] delves back into that history in order to demonstrate that, while liberals have always had a difficult time in focusing on the nexus between racism and class, the United States has a long history of thinking through and organizing around both issues.

Many contemporary activists, broadly defined, are quick to dismiss as racist deflection any attempts to view racial disparities through the lens of class inequality, but in the 1930s and 1940s mainstream African-American civil rights leaders — among them Lester Granger of the National Urban League, Walter White of the NAACP, John P. Davis of the National Negro Congress, and of course A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) — frequently argued that precisely because most blacks were working class, racial equality could only be achieved through a combination of anti-discrimination policies and social-democratic economic policies.

But by the 1950s, the anticommunism of the Cold War had a chilling effect on class-oriented civil rights politics, setting the stage for analyses of racism that divorced prejudice from economic exploitation — the fundamental reason for slavery and Jim Crow. Indeed, this was the era in which racism was recast as a psychological affliction rather than a product of political economy.

As McCarthyism receded by the end of the 1950s, however, mainstream black civil rights leaders once again identified economic opportunity for all — decent-paying jobs and social-democratic policies — as essential to racial equality.

The black organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (it is telling that “Jobs and Freedom” are no longer part of collective reflections of the march), Randolph and Bayard Rustin — both of them socialists — were very clear about this.

Which brings us up to the issue of Ferguson and other instances of police brutality today.

In separating the problem of police brutality from political economy, many activists — like, ironically, the liberal as opposed to left approach to racial inequality — not only undercut the opportunity for broader political alliances and perhaps some meaningful victories, but sidestep the same crucial point about police brutality that both liberals and conservatives look past. . .

If one views the excesses and failures of the criminal justice system solely through the lens of race, then victims of police brutality and prosecutorial misconduct tend to be black or Latino. However, if one understands race and class are inextricably linked, then the victims of police brutality are not simply black or Latino (and Latinos outnumber blacks in federal prisons at this point) but they tend to belong to groups that lack political, economic, and social influence and power.

From that vantage point, the worldview expressed by Johnson and others misses the mark and falls into the same trap that, ironically, liberals have offered a stratum of credentialed black Americans for decades: opportunity within a market-driven political and economic framework that disparages demands for social and economic justice for all (including most black people) as socialist, communist, un-American, or even class-reductionist.