The Shock of Ordinary Gun Violence

editorial, New York Times, MAY 26, 2016

Only in America: A computer algorithm about guns has been created to predict who is most likely to be shot soon, or to shoot someone.

The Chicago Police Department, desperate to reduce gun violence by street gangs, authorized this unusual tool three years ago and has been using it to track and caution the most likely offenders.

It is a remarkable state of affairs that local governments must resort to such an approach to deal with the reality of gun mayhem. Yet it is sadly understandable, too, as a timid Congress cowed by the gun lobby fails to enact stronger gun-control laws for a nation increasingly flooded with high-powered weapons.

As a rule, a public anesthetized by gun abuse tends to pay attention to the ubiquity of guns in this country when massacres seize the headlines, like the San Bernardino terrorist attack that left 14 dead, or the shooting of 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut. But the full problem is far more widespread, deadly and almost routine, according to a survey by a team of reporters from The Times reviewing a year of these multiple shootings.

Tracking 358 armed encounters last year in which four or more people were killed or wounded, including attackers, the team counted 462 dead and 1,330 wounded, some scarred for life….

read more at New York Times

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