Nine Mass Shootings – The New York Times
Many crime experts define a mass shooting as an event in which four or more people are shot. Last weekend there were a shocking number – at least nine – across the United States
In Norfolk, Va., an argument outside a pizzeria resulted in a shooting that killed two people, including a 25-year-old reporter who was a bystander. In the farming community of Dumas, Ark., a shooting erupted during an annual auto show, killing one person and injuring 27. In downtown Austin, Texas, four people were shot and injured during of the last weekend of the SXSW festival.
The outbreak of weekend violence continues a trend that began nearly two years ago, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and shows no signs of abating, as my colleagues Tim Arango and Troy Closson. Murders have increased by more than 30% since 2019, according to recent data. They are still well below the levels of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, but have reached their highest level in more than two decades.
“We can’t take this anymore, we just can’t,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said after two shootings last weekend led the city to impose a midnight curfew.
What explains the crime wave? There is no entirely satisfactory answer, but experts point to several plausible partial explanations. They include: Social isolation and frustration caused by the pandemic. A sense of anarchy stemming from police violence (like the murder of George Floyd). The shyness of the police in the face of recent criticism against them. And an increase in gun sales during the pandemic.
Yet the crime wave seems both too broad and too distinctly American for any of these factors to be a clear explanation.
Gun crime is not the only type of violent crime that is increasing, for example. Nor is the increase in crime limited to places where police brutality has been worst. As for the pandemic, if it were the only cause, one would expect crime to have increased in many countries. Instead, it has remained fairly stable in Britain, Canada, France, Japan and elsewhere.
The closest thing I’ve heard to a convincing answer comes from history. Criminologists and historians who have studied past crime waves – like Gary Lalibre, Richard Rosenfeld and Randolph Roth — point out that they often arise when people feel frustrated with society, the government and their fellow citizens. This frustration can fuel a breakdown in societal norms and a rise in what sociologist Émile Durkheim called “anomie”.
“Sense of camaraderie”
Roth, examining homicide rates in the United States and Western Europe over the past 400 years, argues that crime tends to increase if people lose faith in societal institutions and basic fairness. When empathy for fellow citizens — or “sense of camaraderie,” as Roth and others call it — declines and anomie increases, so does crime. The increases in American crime of the 1960s and 1970s are a good example, say criminologists.
Most citizens don’t commit crimes, of course. But social distancing makes some people more willing to break the rules and act violently. A broader sense of disorder can create a so-called moral party, like The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood wrote.
Yesterday, when I was discussing this idea with colleagues, German Lopez – who writes about the crime wave in this newsletter – pointed out that the theory of anomie can seem unsatisfying because it is ephemeral and unprovable. But it also fits the facts better than any alternative, German added.
In many ways, Americans feel frustrated with their government, their economy, and their fellow citizens. Nearly 80% are dissatisfied with the country’s direction, according to Gallup. People spend hours yelling at each other on social media. Many Americans consider people with opposing political views so wrong that they don’t deserve the right to voice their opinions. Polls also show an alarming degree of skepticism about democracy and openness to political violence.
Along with these signs of alienation, a wide range of behaviors deteriorated. Alcohol abuse and drug overdoses have increased. Americans’ blood pressure is up and measures of mental health are down. Vehicle accidents have increased.
In each of these cases, the pandemic appears to be playing a role: the trends began or accelerated shortly after Covid overwhelmed daily life in the spring of 2020. But the pandemic appears to be only part of the story. story. The recent dysfunction of this country is more important than Covid. It is a dark new form of American exceptionalism.
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Where does jazz live now
When you hear the words “jazz club,” a specific image comes to mind. It probably includes dim lighting and tight tables. You can even imagine it’s in New York, considered the jazz capital of America.
Most mainstream New York clubs (think Village Vanguard or Blue Note) have survived the pandemic. But young bandleaders, many of whom have found large audiences on streaming services, are also taking jazz to different spaces around the city.
Alphabet City’s Nublu venue, which describes itself as “a little clubhouse where friends get together and just play music,” hosts Monday nights that combine jazz, electronic music and rock. And the Haitian restaurant Cafe Erzulie, on the border of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, has blue-green walls with palm leaf patterns rather than the dark ambiance of a jazz bar.
“Updating our sense of where this music happens could be fundamental to restoring jazz’s place in culture,” writes Giovanni Russonello in The Times, “especially at a time when culture seems poised for a new wave. jazz”. Check out some of the new artists and spaces here.