Everyone has heard and is talking about the shooting in Lafayette last night, which is indeed horrible and a tragedy.
But what people don’t talk about is the ongoing gun violence that happens. In New Orleans, just a few hours down the road, someone has been shot literally every day this month. Every single day. It’s not uncommon that in a weekend here, as many people will be hurt or killed as in this mass shooting. This is an at a glance map of the last three weeks here - just three weeks - of homicides or gun violence. Murder rates in New Orleans are up 33% in 2015 so far, and before you go “Well....I mean New Orleans, cmon”, please know that most major U.S. cities are seeing large increases this year as well.
I know there are several practical reasons why people get more up in arms about mass shootings - the drama, the fact that daily shootings become common place and it’s hard to be constantly sad and angry all the time.
But I also know that our day to day shootings and violence overwhelmingly involve black people. And people just do not care as much. A white guy shoots up a theater, a mall, a school, places where nice middle class white people hang out, and it’s a huge tragedy. But ongoing violence - much, much, much greater in terms of numbers and community impact - tends to happen overwhelmingly to black people, Latinos, and the poor. And so no one cares, other than shaking their heads a little every now and then.
To every guns rights activist who claims “gun control won’t stop crazy people from getting them!”, I don’t disagree with them. But it is not the “crazy” people who are doing the vast amount of gun violence in this country.
I am not saying we shouldn’t care about mass shootings; they are terrible. But I am saying that they are not the biggest reason that we need gun control; they are a very very small percentage of gun deaths and crimes. Using them as our main foundation and what we base our arguing points on for the gun control discussion is fallacious - in my personal and completely armchair opinion, mass shootings say a lot more about the state of mental health care today than they do about gun control laws.
So please. If you use this event as an opening to talk about gun control, or the sadness of gun violence today, please try to also include the ongoing issues that all of our communities face daily.