Yesterday my man Mike Hirsh sent me an editorial from The New York Times written by a physician in Philadelphia lamenting the lack of space and beds to treat COVID-19 victims because of the number of patients who show up to be treated for injuries from guns. And basically, the author, a critical-care doctor, was making the argument that as long as we continue to suffer from the pandemic known as gun violence, we won’t be able to deal with this new pandemic known as COVID-19.
I notice, incidentally, that Schmuck-o has stooped referring to COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese flu.’ He must be getting feedback from one of his focus groups that his usual messaging combining racism, stupidity, insults and bald face lies isn’t working out. Don’t worry. Give him another week to pretend he’s really acting like a President, and when that act doesn’t lift his ratings above Andy Cuomo, he’ll get back on the ‘blame the Chinese’ bandwagon again. Anyway.
The NYT editorial gave figures from our friends at the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) which apparently shows that over the month of March, fatal and non-fatal gun injuries haven’t really gone down. But over the last couple of days as I drove through what has always been a high-violence neighborhood in Springfield, MA I noticed the total lack of people walking around in the street. And since we know that most gun violence takes place in the street, perhaps the numbers from the GVA database hid more than they explained.
So I went to the GVA website and I read every, single account of any gun murder that occurred anywhere in the United States on April 1st, a day which saw 22 gun deaths, a fairly typical daily number in the last 30 days. I didn’t look at non-fatal shootings because as the GVA readily admits, those stories represent only a portion of the intentional shootings in which the shooter didn’t shoot straight. But since the CDC also has given up trying to figure out how many non-fatal, intentional injuries are committed with guns, why should I expect the GVA to be able to come up with a more number? I don’t. Back to the murders.
On April 1st the media and other public sources contained stories about 22 fatal gun events. Of these incidents, two of them were cops shooting civilians, and two others were homicides-suicides in which the guy first shot his wife and then shot himself. In one case both of them died, in the other the wife was wounded but still alive, the husband had no trouble aiming the gun accurately at himself.
So the actual number of intentional gun deaths yesterday found by the GVA was 18, most of which, incidentally, occurred in places where most fatal gun assaults take place: one in Chicago, one in Detroit, one in Da Bronx, almost all the rest in the Southern states. Not a single gun death occurred out West, either in California or Nevada, states that usually claim a goodly amount of gun violence from day to day.
Multiply 18 intentional gun deaths – one person shooting another – by 365 days and you get less than half as many deaths that have occurred each year over the last couple of years. Incidentally, over the entire month of March, the GVA says that 18 intentional gun deaths occurred in Philadelphia. This is twice as many gun suicides on a yearly basis as Philly recorded in all of 2017. Of course the whole social distancing thing didn’t really get going until about a week ago, which is why I looked at specific gun homicides in Philadelphia only on April 1st.
Does anyone really know how to prevent COVID-19 from going around? Does anyone really know how to prevent people from picking up guns and shooting themselves or someone else? At least in the case of the ‘Chinese flu’ there seems to be some effort to figure the problem out. But you would think that since the gun violence pandemic has been around for God knows how long that we might have figured that one out too.
You would think.