In the wake of the Orlando shooting, it is no surprise that media outlets have spent much of their coverage discussing the night in great detail, playing phone calls received by the police from victims or focusing on the shooter’s background in the midst of a debate over gun rights and gun control. While the story rightfully deserves the attention it has received, few sources have addressed the staggering gun violence in marginalized communities, the numerous lives lost in the course of a day or weekend ignored.

This past Memorial Day weekend, gun violence ripped through the city of Chicago, leaving 64 injured and 6 dead. The New York Times noted that, “in a population made up of nearly equal numbers of whites, black and Hispanics, 52 of the shooting victims [were] black, 11 Hispanic and one white.” Shootings are up 50% from the previous year in Chicago and have become a chilling “new normal” for the residents in the South Side of Chicago.

Chicago, however, is merely one example of the gun violence plaguing marginalized communities. In analyzing the 358 shootings in which four or more people were shot or killed nationwide in 2015, the New York Times found that most of the shootings occurred in economically downtrodden neighborhoods and exhibited different patterns dependent on race. For example, the 39 domestic violence shootings were largely perpetrated by white attackers (63%) and involved white victims (64%). Mass shootings were also largely perpetrated by white attackers. However, when looking at all 358 shootings, nearly three-fourths of victims and suspected assailants whose race could be identified were black.

This web of gun violence may also contribute to the creation of an incomplete picture regarding domestic violence and gun-related domestic violence homicides. For example, FBI data shows Illinois has recorded 38 gun-related domestic violence homicides since 2006, but the actual number is likely higher. The Illinois State Police said that “the relationship of a homicide victim of the offender is considered supplementary data that is not required to be reported,” with only the Chicago and Rockford police departments reporting firearm-related domestic violence homicides to the FBI. Even when looking at the national numbers relating to those killed with guns annually by spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners, analysts recognize that totals are often inaccurately low, given that not all law enforcement agencies report the information necessary to determine if an action was an act of domestic violence or include children who were killed in their domestic violence-related homicide totals.

Reflecting back on the 358 shootings in which four or more people were shot or killed in 2015, the New York Times found that, where motives could be identified, roughly half involved or suggested crime or gang activity, followed by arguments that escalated to violence and acts of domestic violence. From the 358 shootings, 1,330 individuals were injured and 462 killed. Notably, a number of those individuals were simply bystanders caught in the fray: an 11-month-old clinging to his mother’s hip, shot as she prepared to load him into a car; a 77-year-old church deacon, killed by a stray bullet while watching television on his couch.

Urban gun violence has yet to receive the attention that other public acts of violence have received, perhaps due to the fact it largely impacts marginalized communities. However, as Michael Nutter (a former Philadelphia mayor and urban policy professor at Columbia University) notes, continuing to ignore the issue “only makes it easier for the country to tune out what amounts to ‘mass murder occurring in slow motion every day.”

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