ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
It's been three weeks since the Marathon bombings. Just under three weeks since the creation of The One Fund Boston, meant to funnel funds towards victims of the bombings. Two and a half weeks since the lockdown, during which time we wished for bacon, not guns.

I knew many people who'd gone to watch at least some of the Marathon; it wouldn't have surprised me if my husband, an avid runner, had decided to take a long lunch that day and wander down to the finish line to see some of the action. I might have even been there myself if I'd felt like dealing with the crowds, because it's an important event in my personal conception of Boston. Thankfully, neither of us were. But that was just one day, one shocking event that might have affected us. In truth, we both worry about each other *every* day, about the epidemic of violence in the neighborhood we live in and commute through, about surviving to come home to each other. Because we live in Roxbury.

Since April 15, the day of the bombings, Boston has had 28 shootings. Roxbury *alone* has had 14 people shot, five of them murdered.

- May 3, 1:30 pm: two shot at 416 Warren St. Both died.
- May 3, 12:45 am: two shot at 41 Prentiss St. One died.
- April 29, 9:00 pm: two shot at 65 Beech Glen St.
- April 26, 10:30 pm: one shot at 90 Regent St.
- April 20, 1:35 am: one shot at 52 Copeland St. Died. Hours after the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs came to a close.
- April 17, 10:00 pm: two shot at 609 Shawmut Ave. These would be out of a total of six seven shootings overnight 4/17-4/18 in the entire city of Boston, five of those in majority-black service-class neighborhoods in Boston.
- April 17, 8:30 pm: one shot at 237 Dudley St. Died.
- April 16, 2:30 pm: three shot at Martin Luther King Blvd at Mayfair St.

This list does not include shootings where nobody was reported injured, nor self-inflicted shootings like the one on April 15 near Dudley, nor stabbings, nor other acts of violence, because isn't this depressing enough?

Edit: have a map of the Roxbury shootings, for context.

I linked to the Universal Hub articles rather than the Boston.com ones, because, well. The morning of April 18, where there were seven shootings in Boston the night before? I wish I'd thought to grab a screenshot of Boston.com. Above the fold: seven stories, a slideshow, a liveblog, all about the Marathon bombings. Screen two: 30 more stories related to the incidents at the Marathon, with another link to "Complete Coverage of Marathon Bombings." Screen three finally gets to other news, and it wasn't even until screen four that *one* of the shooting incidents got a link. (The two shot in Dorchester.)

Eileen McNamara, a journalism professor at Brandeis, notes:

We are very particular in this country about the kind of violence that mobilizes us to talk — if not act — about public safety and gun control. The slaughter of little children in a Connecticut elementary school. The carnage in a Colorado movie theater. An assassination attempt at a Tuscon shopping mall. An act of terror at the Boston Marathon.

The more insidious and persistent violence, that spawned by gangs and drugs and poverty and despair, barely registers on the consciousness of those with the good fortune to live outside the battle zone.

(One might also note that the Sikh temple shootings weren't mentioned in that first paragraph, and for good reason - America didn't want to talk about that, either.)

Jamahrl Crawford ([twitter.com profile] blackstonian) points out:

When the tragedy at the Boston Marathon occurred there was a noticeable difference in the handling by law enforcement and the media and elected officials and the private sector which all echoed the fact that THIS IS important. Conversely, the lack of response to primarily Black and Brown pain and trauma indicates that THIS ISN’T important.

At the prompting of Gov. Patrick and Mayor Menino, local corporations and every day citizens alike began contributing to the “One Fund” and within one week had generated over $20 million dollars (now at $26.7 mil) which to many communities of color struggling with violence, school closings, community center closings, etc. seemed like a huge slap in the face. Its as if there is a magic money bag that appears when something “important” happens or when there is a “tragedy” or a loss of people of “value” to instantly address the situation and care for “victims” who have been traumatized. Unfortunately for Black and Brown people from Boston to New York to Detroit to Chicago to Atlanta to Compton we are left to fend for ourselves and bury our own dead.

So I went and looked at the 2010 Census data, and plotted out the demographics for the census tracts where the Marathon bombings took place, and the census tracts where the Roxbury shootings since then have taken place. (I've also got the data for the non-Roxbury shootings in notes, but I haven't had a chance to enter it into the spreadsheet yet, nor research those incidents' media coverage, and I want to get this posted.) The breakdown:

- Three shootings were in majority-white tracts (in Brighton, the South End, and Roslindale).
- Seven shootings were in multiracial tracts, where no one race dominates. This includes the two Prentiss Street shootings, which is technically considered Roxbury, but Prentiss Street is in an area where Northeastern University students dominate the population (over 50% of the 18-and-over population in that tract is under 25).
- Six shootings were in majority-black tracts in Dorchester.
- The remaining 12 shootings were in majority-black tracts in Roxbury.

I was at a group dinner Thursday night, with mostly white professional-class people (if minorities along other vectors). When I mentioned that we were apartment hunting because we were tired of the violence in our neighborhood, people in my vicinity mostly nodded sympathetically, continuing other talk as is typical for a long-table dinner gathering. When I cited the numbers in passing, it brought dinner conversation to a dead halt. Nobody knew how to respond.

Then again, it's not like I have any answers, either. Because three weeks ago, I was cursing the 45 senators that voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment (which was primarily to close a loophole on the lack of mandatory background checks at gun shows, an act supported by 90% of Americans) and the gun lobbyists who donated money to 42 of them. But Manchin-Toomey doesn't matter in a world where you can now print yourself a plastic gun and ammo that shoots standard ammunition, with absolutely no background check whatsoever. And even if you don't personally have access to a 3D printer (spoiler: you can buy them at Staples; that price will only continue to drop), there are still people like Kyle Coplen and his Armed Citizens Project, giving away guns.

And [twitter.com profile] blackstonian continues to update the count as it grows.

Shootings in Boston: 28 since the Marathon. One Boston?


ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
she of the remarkable biochemical capabilities!

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