• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Police Killed More People Last Year Than Mass Shooters

Photo by D.C.Atty | CC BY 2.0

This spring, an estimated 800,000 Americans gathered in Washington, DC to participate in the “March for Our Lives” organized by the teenage survivors of the school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Thousands more attended 800 sister marches across the nation and around the world for gun reform.

Gun control is often portrayed as a “white” issue, but the march was encouragingly intersectional. Organizers shared the stage with members of black and brown communities whose daily encounters with gun violence are rarely treated with the kind of media attention the Florida students have gotten.

A number of the Parkland students have been upfront about the privileges afforded to them by their race and socioeconomic status — and have used these privileges to create space for those from other communities. Alongside them were activists of color from Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC who testified to their personal experiences with gun violence.

There was no doubt at the March for Our Lives that black lives matter. National events still show, however, the extent to which black life is devalued.

On April 4, Saheed Vassell was killed by law enforcement officers in Brooklyn. He was unarmed and suffering from mental illness. What the officers claimed they thought was a gun was shown to be a piece of a welding torch Vassell used for work.

On March 18, Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, was killed by law enforcement officers in his grandparents’ backyard in Sacramento, California. He too was unarmed. Clark was shot at 20 times and hit eight times in the back.

Some 590 Americans were killed in mass shootings last year, according to MassShootingTracker.org, which counts events in which four or more people are shot. But that figure almost pales in comparison to the number of Americans subjected to gun violence by law enforcement.

According to the Washington Post, law enforcement officers shot and killed 987 Americans in 2017 alone. Despite constituting 12 percent of the population, nearly a quarter of those shot were black Americans. Of those 223 black Americans, all but nine were black men.

Because police don’t report this data themselves, counts can vary. MappingPoliceViolence.org, counting more than just shootings, determined that law enforcement officers killed 1,146 Americans in 2017. Similarly, one quarter of those were black.

Gun violence is devastating in all its forms and must be addressed at all levels of government. However, there’s something truly perverse about the frequency of the violence inflicted by law enforcement upon the communities they’re called to serve and protect.

Shootings in schools, wealthy suburbs, and city centers can be curbed with legislation that mandates universal background checks, a ban on bump stocks, a ban on assault weapons, and an increase in the age at which Americans are able to purchase guns.

But to those common demands I’d add: There should be more sensitivity training for law enforcement, community policing, and weapons training that reinforces that there are other ways to subdue a suspect than to kill them.

At the very least, all officers should be required to wear body cameras properly at all times. An officer that cannot be trusted to operate a body camera in good faith — like the ones who killed Stephon Clark after muting theirs — cannot and should not be trusted with a weapon.

If the movement behind the March for Our Lives wants to address gun violence in its totality, it should keep reaching out to all affected communities. And it must not only speak to instances of mass gun violence, but also to gun violence inflicted by law enforcement every day across the country.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail