REPORT: Black People Are Primary Victims of Mass Shootings

By Sameer Rao May 23, 2016

Despite the attention given to mass shootings with predominantly White victims, a new report from The New York Times argues that those shootings disproportionately affect African Americans.

The piece, published yesterday (May 22), investigated data from 358 shootings with four or more casualties. According to the authors’ analysis, "nearly three-fourths of victims and suspected assailants whose race could be identified were Black," painting a picture of gun violence in America that doesn’t receive the same attention as high-profile shootings like those in San Bernardino or Charleston last year.  

"Clearly, if it’s Black-on-Black, we don’t get the same attention because most people don’t identify with that. Most Americans are White," James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminology professor, said when asked why the majority of these multiple-casualty shootings don’t compel the same attention as the higher-profile ones. "People think, ‘That’s not my world. That’s not going to happen to me.’"

The analysis also found that "of the ZIP codes where four or more people were shot during a single encounter in 2015, 86 percent are poorer than the nation as a whole." And two-thirds of shootings took place outdoors, which increased risk of bystanders being shot, as they were in the following cases: 

Among them: eight family members shot as they bade one another goodbye after a reunion in Philadelphia; a soldier struck by a stray bullet during a shootout in a public square in Savannah, Ga.; a 19-year-old college sophomore killed when a gunman sprayed a crowd outside an Ocala, Fla., club.

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