Violence: Categories & Data, Causes & Demographics

Not all violence is the same. There are specific demographics for specific kinds of violence and other harmful behaviors: homicide, suicide, drunk driving, accidental shootings, hate crimes, rapes, etc. But one category that stands out in the public mind is that of mass violence, specifically mass murder. And mass violence, depending on how it is defined and measured, does have a specific demographic profile. Before I get to that, let me take a broad approach.

Most violent crime correlates to social problems in general. Most social problems in general correlate to economic factors such as poverty but even moreso inequality. And in a country like the US, most economic factors correlate to social disadvantage and racial oppression, from economic segregation (redlining, sundown towns, etc) to environmental racism (ghettos located in polluted urban areas, high toxicity rates among minorities, etc) — consider how areas of historically high rates of slavery at present have higher levels of poverty and inequality, impacting not just blacks but also whites living in those communities.

The main difference among the races is that privilege within the racial order makes it easier for poor whites to escape poverty (and hence escape the related health problems, social problems, and criminal problems) because of a long and continuing history of racialized housing and employment practices, as seen in how more poor minorities than poor whites face intergenerational poverty in being trapped within poor communities. Compare this to the higher percentage of poor whites living in economically well off communities, one way that racial privilege allows whites to take advantage of wealth and resources unavailable to others by using their whiteness to cross class boundaries.

Historical legacies, intergenerational trauma, and epigenetic effects powerfully shape our entire society. Bad conditions lead to bad results. It’s unsurprising that poor minorities have experienced the worst oppression and have experienced the worst social problems, have been the most disadvantaged in the economy and most impoverished, have been most affected by the violence and have been more likely to get caught up in a racially-biased criminal system. When external factors are controlled for, racial disparities in violent crime mostly disappear as do racial disparities in IQ and much else — for similar reasons such as how racially disparate rates of lead toxicity is a proven contributing factor to racially disparate rates of aggressive behavior and neurocognitive impairment.

But what stands out is that specific categories of violent and dangerous behavior are to a greater extent found among whites, such as abuse and bullying, not to mention drunk driving and suicide. Even more interesting is that not all of it can be explained by economics, in scapegoating poor ‘white trash’ (related to this, it was middle-to-upper class whites and not poor whites who were the strongest, loudest, and largest group of supporters for Donald Trump). It is specifically middle class whites, not poorest of the poor, who appear to be predisposed to becoming violently radicalized in American society (militias, neo-Nazis, etc) and committing violent rampages, specifically public mass murder. By the way, it isn’t only middle class whites who join right-wing militant groups as was seen with the Second Klan for middle class whites also join left-wing militant groups like the Weather Underground, although the latter never sought to kill people. Middle class whites in general are the most politically engaged demographic and, when they become outraged, they are the most politically violent demographic. The violence of poor people, on the other hand, doesn’t tend to be politically-oriented and so is less often publicly enacted as terrorism.

Speaking more generally, no one knows the actual racial breakdown of total crime and other dangerously deviant behavior. What we do know is that minorities are disproportionately targeted and more harshly treated by the police and judicial system. FBI statistics only show arrests and not convictions or anything else. Besides, most crimes including most violent crimes (along with most mass killings) don’t lead to arrest or conviction. And because of racial profiling and greater police patrolling in minority areas, whites more easily get away with crimes. Whites, especially middle-to-upper class whites, are less likely have to deal with legal and criminal consequences such as the low prosecution rate of whites for drug addiction, white collar crime, and other illegal behavior.

Even many crimes that whites commit at higher rates (e.g., per capita of whites using, carrying, and selling illegal drugs) are prosecuted at higher rates among non-whites. Studies show that police are more likely to perceive blacks as carrying guns when they’re not and more likely to perceive whites as not carrying guns when they are, which unsurprisingly leads to large numbers of innocent blacks being victimized, brutalized, and killed by cops (and no official records are nationally kept for homicides by police, maybe the single largest category of serial killers, whether or not one thinks it is justified serial killing). Some data from stop and frisk shows that whites are more likely to carry illegal weapons just as they are more likely to carry illegal drugs, likely for the reason that whites for good reason are less afraid of being targeted by police. Also, even when arrested for homicide, whites are more likely than blacks to be deemed justified in their killing others such as with stand your ground laws, in particular when those killed aren’t white. This relates to how white killers tend to be portrayed positively or sympathetically by the media — called mentally ill rather than thugs or terrorists, although sometimes called heroes depending on who they kill such as the race, religion, or politics of their victim (e.g., right-wing media praised and celebrated the targeted assassination of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor at a women’s clinic).

The main thing I was thinking about is the varieties of violence, how we label crime and how we divide up the data. The US is a more violent country than comparable Western countries. It’s not that there is more overall crime in the US but that crime is more likely to end in violence, partly because US laws incentivize criminals to kill their victims so as to leave no witnesses — one of the sad consequences of emphasizing punishment over rehabilitation. But such general criminal violence is in some ways less interesting because the motivations are more obvious.

Large-scale violence tends to get more attention. There is gang violence and drive-by shootings, of course. Some prefer to separate that out from other forms of major violence: school attacks, homicidal rampages, terrorist bombings, etc. Does the purpose and method matter or should all violence be thrown together? Are harmed bystanders to be treated as the same as intended victims? Is the focus on mass acts of violence in how many are targeted or in how many are actually killed? Should we exclude violent actions that lead to large numbers of injuries but few if any deaths? Yet if it is specifically the success rate of killing we are concerned about, then how many victims do there need to be: 2 or more deaths, 3 or more deaths, 4 or more deaths? Also, does it matter if it is a private act such as someone killing their family versus a public act such as someone plowing their car into a crowd?

Much of the decrease in killings, individual and mass, has to do with improved emergency healthcare. And emergency healthcare has improved the most in wealthy white communities and the least in poor minority communities, which is to say for the exact same injury a poor minority is more likely to die than a wealthier white, a significant issue considering minorities have a higher rates of poverty and residence in poor communities. Racial disparities in criminal victimhood in terms of mortality rates is directly correlated to racial disparities in healthcare, which is to say that our society considers some people more worth saving, and that would directly contribute to the violent crime data since it isn’t a homicide or mass murder when the victims don’t die. That is ignoring the issue that higher rates of lead toxicity among poor minorities also contributes to brain damage and violent crime, a lack of healthcare being exacerbated by a lack of public health concern. And on top of that, the poor are also less likely to get the mental health services to deal with the consequences. So, both victimizers and victims among the poor are affected by physical and mental health issues, which contributes to the victimization cycle.

Depending on the focus of concern and frame of interpretation, depending on how violence is being defined and measured, depending on the source of data and how it is analyzed, the demographic breakdown varies immensely. There is rarely any media reporting on the inaccuracy and unreliability of much of the data itself, such as the bias in the very criminal system that records the data. This goes beyond who the police primarily target and who the courts treat unfairly. It also is about how the arresting officer records the details, such as they’re more likely to list the race of a black suspect than the race of a white suspect since in a racist society being black is central to being accused of a crime, which affects how the accused is perceived such as more likely to be seen as threatening and so to get shot or more likely to be judged guilty and so arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. Even black jurors are more likely to deem blacks to be guilty and more likely to do so the darker their skin. Racism is pervasive not only within the system but also within our psyches, all of it probably more often than not operating unconsciously.

Here is a clear example. The New York Times used the loosest definition of mass shooting possible and found the majority of alleged shooters who had their race recorded were black. They took the data at face value and concluded that most mass shooters were black. But if we were to be honest, all this can tell us is that blacks are the majority of people arrested, whether or not convicted, who are then judged according to their race. This says nothing at all about those within communities that are less heavily policed, those who weren’t arrested, weren’t convicted, or didn’t have their race recorded which is to say the majority of shooters and alleged shooters. We should keep in mind that most violent victimizations remain unreported (3.4 million from 2006 to 2010, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics) and much that is reported goes unsolved because in most cases no one is caught in the act and so little of gets investigated; the proportion of violent crime investigated in poor minority communities is even lower as the victims are considered of low value in our society (the higher rates of black arrests is caused by higher rates of patrolling in black communities, not higher rates of investigating crime in black communities). The fact of the matter is most violent criminals aren’t arrested and a large number of the arrested are innocent, even though many take plea deals because of immoral and anti-democratic threats made by prosecutors in their piling on charges that they know won’t stick, while few of the accused ever get legal counsel (studies have found that upwards of 7% of prisoners are innocent of the crimes they were convicted of).

Furthermore once in the criminal system, the lives of ex-cons are under careful scrutiny which increases the likelihood of further arrests. And because of discrimination, ex-cons have a hard time finding work which leads to recidivism. And because ex-cons are legally disallowed to receive welfare or live in assisted housing, they are often faced with the option of turning to the black market or becoming homeless. That combined with the fact that poor minorities, even compared to poor whites, are already disproportionately affected by high unemployment, economic segregation, environmental racism, heavy metal toxicity, inadequate healthcare, lack of public funding, etc. To add insult to injury, blacks without a criminal record are less likely to get hired than whites with a criminal record, similar to how blacks with a college degree are less likely to get hired than whites with only a high school diploma. This is a sad state of affairs since unemployment is an obvious risk factor for criminal activity. So, it is easier for a white person to escape poverty and to escape their own criminal pasts, while blacks even when they do everything right have lower rates of socioeconomic mobility.

About a specific category of violent crime, consider serial killings that is defined by the FBI as “The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events.” That is so broad as to be meaningless, as it has no correlation whatsoever to how most people think about serial killers. Someone living in a dangerous neighborhood who kills two people in separate acts of defense but gets convicted of homicide because of racism will be categorized as a serial killer, whereas a white person who does the same thing is less likely to get arrested, convicted, and labeled in the same manner (it is a similar problem to including someone with a public exposure charge for publicly urinating on a sex offender list along with pedophiles and rapists; labels socially construct public perception with those controlling the former controlling the latter). One set of data from Radford University found that most serial killers were blacks according to this broad definition, although it should be noted that other analyses of data shows the complete opposite pattern with the vast majority of serial killers being white (see below: African Americans and the Criminal Justice System by Marvin D. Free). Depending on what purpose or bias one has, it will determine the results one finds for there is a lot of data out there that can be diced and spliced in so many ways. And as researchers admit, there is little agreement about how to define specific categories of violence: mass murder, serial killing, terrorism, etc. What definition one uses will determine which data one uses and how one analyzes it.

That is even more problematic considering that homicides committed by whites, specifically against minorities, are more likely to be deemed as legally justified within the criminal system (along with socially and morally justified within the media) and so less likely to lead to a criminal charge, not to mention white criminals being less likely to be arrested in the first place. But if all killings were included and if whites were policed and arrested, prosecuted and convicted to the same degree as blacks for the exact same crimes, the percentage of whites in the violent criminal data would increase drastically no matter the definitions and measure used.

A violent crime is still a violent crime, even when it doesn’t lead to prosecution and punishment. If a loved one was killed by a white guy who isn’t arrested or else isn’t convicted such as his claiming justification through racially-biased stand your ground laws, would you feel better than a loved one having been killed by a black guy who was imprisoned? Probably not. Yet according to the data, the former is perfectly legal and only the latter is a violent crime. That is why a violent killer like George Zimmerman is still walking free. All of us should be worried about this for we are all less safe with violent people out in the general population, as seen with the continued violence that Zimmerman has been involved in. This is the moral hazard of racial privilege.

Some would like to dismiss the fact that violent crime taken as a whole is largely caused by whites, arguing that it is comparable to their proportionate numbers. Nonetheless, it remains problematic that, in a white dominant society, most of the violence is committed by whites. What doesn’t get acknowledged or appreciated is that these white dangerous perpetrators, for the most part, aren’t only whites but almost entirely white men who as a demographic are less than a third of the total population and represent an even more specific sub-group(s) among white men. Besides, it’s not just any violence we are talking about since this white male violence includes several of the largest terrorist attacks in US history and involves political and religious radicalization, from bombings of abortion clinics to bombing of the trade center, not to mention the likes of the Ted Kaczynski and Joe Stack. One might note that these are part of the same general white male demographic that is primarily responsible for passing, enacting, and enforcing laws; not to mention that is disproportionately culpable for most state-sanctioned violence, from police committing brutality on the public to politicians starting wars of aggression against poor brown people.

That isn’t to say we should use this as an excuse to instead overlook violence found in other demographics (besides violent neocon politicians like Hillary Clinton, women as mothers and caretakers do commit high rates of child abuse and neglect which no doubt contributes to the system and cycle of victimization). Still, we aren’t likely to improve our society by focusing on the lesser problems caused by the rest of the population with the least representation, advantages, and influence — specifically racial, ethnic, and religious minorities but also in terms of gender (and all of those within an intersectional understanding). No one is denying that poor minorities are dealing with problems and when involving crime should be held accountable, but even then many of those problems are part of a larger history of problems caused and benefited by mostly white men from the comfortable classes: colonial imperialism, genocide, slavery, re-enslavement through trumped-up charges and chain gangs, Jim Crow, KKK, sundown towns, redlining, housing covenants, racially-biased New Deal programs, race wars, COINTELPRO, war on drugs, tough-on-crime laws, mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipeline, ghettoization, environmental racism, neoliberal exploitation, and the list could go on and on. More importantly, it is an issue of leverage and impact. Because of the white majority and white dominance, white male violence has a greater and wider impact across society and so decreasing white male violence would decrease overall violence more than decreasing any other demographic of violence.

The fact remains that most Americans aren’t white men, even as most violent criminals are white men. It is hard for the rest of the citizenry to not notice this fact. And pointing out per capita isn’t always helpful, even though it is certainly relevant, specifically when we consider the total violence including slow violence and state violence. As a white man myself, I take racial problems as a personal issue. But the consequences are far beyond the mere personal. It’s about responsibility, not blame. Since white men have most of the power and authority, privilege and influence, resources and opportunities in our society, white men also have the most capacity to effectively deal with the problems of our society when those problems primarily involve white men like themselves. And if you are one of the many white men far from the echelons of the ruling elite, don’t make excuses for those seeking to manipulate you to their own advantage.

I must admit that I’m wary about putting too much emphasis on the male aspect, as it isn’t limited to men being the majority of violent criminals but also the majority of police, soldiers, firemen, paramedics, etc; any activity or occupation involving the risk of life, one’s own or others, including while saving lives. If men in general get most of the blame, then men in general also get most of the credit. But such simplistic generalizations aren’t entirely helpful, albeit sometimes necessary to emphasize in making a point about systemic patterns and biases.

The issue is that, no matter how it is analyzed, white men in particular including the wealthier are far from being above these problems of violence and other crimes even as they are better positioned to evade consequences. Not that white male privilege is all that much of a comfort to poor white guys. The purpose isn’t to scapegoat white men, even as it is to clarify the historical legacies of racism and patriarchy. I realize, as a working class white guy, I have little direct influence over systemic problems and yet I also realize that if enough white guys spoke out along with others speaking out then the systemic problems would begin to change. Still, let’s be honest in acknowledging that the system is rather shitty all around, including for most white guys which is all the more reason for the average white guy to not defend the system.

Data is a great thing when used well. But what is the purpose of the data we are keeping? And does the data we keep say more about specific sub-populations described in the data or does it simply express the biased worldview of the data-keepers along with the vested interests of the system that is being served? White men are disproportionately found among professional positions within police forces, courts, the FBI, academia, think tanks, corporate media, etc  — all of the places where data gets collected and disseminated, analyzed and interpreted. That might be a relevant detail to consider in discussing that data.

I’m not arguing you can’t find some data that supports any particular argument, including prejudices of race realists and white supremacists. It is unsurprising to find all kinds of social problems in a problematic society and it is equally unsurprising to find those social problems disproportionately found among those disproportionately oppressed, victimized, and disadvantaged. We live in a society that has been continuously racist, not to mention sexist and classist, for centuries and that is going to leave massive consequences on the victimized populations, such as being caught up in every aspect of violence coming from within and outside specific communities.

The question is what does any of this mean. Ignoring the most horrific public violence typically committed by more economically comfortable whites such as radicalized terrorism and state violence, most general violence happens in the most impoverished and desperate communities — as true for poor whites as for poor blacks. But that is like pointing out that Afghanistan and Iraq are violent places, after the US destroyed the government, infrastructure, and economy through mass bombing and ongoing military actions, one of those wars clearly being an internationally illegal war of aggression and crime against humanity. Why don’t the millions of innocent people killed in those countries by the US get counted as victims of violent crime with the politicians behind it prosecuted as war criminals? And why doesn’t the 40% of worldwide deaths of mostly poor dark-skinned people by pollution get labeled as violence? The same goes for the high mortality rates of racial minorities in the US not only because of similar problems but also because of toxicity, poverty, lack of healthcare, police violence, and much else.

Who keeps the data gets to decide what data gets kept and how it gets kept. The same system of power and authority decides who is guilty and who is innocent, who is a victimizer and who a victim. They decide whose suffering gets recorded, whose existence even gets acknowledged. They control the media narrative and political debate. As such, what does the data show and what does it hide? What does it distort and spin toward what end?

* * *

Study shows disparity in how media portray mass shooters of different races
by Brendan Crowley

She studied 170 stories printed from 2008 to 2017 that focused on lone, mass shooters. The stories came from the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today. She defined a mass shooter as someone who kills four or more people in a public place.

Frisby’s study broke the stories into four possible frames: the shooter was mentally ill; the shooter was a thug; the shooter was a terrorist; and the shooter was heroic, meaning the violence was portrayed as a justified way to resolve conflict and blame wasn’t put on the shooter.

The study showed how often each frame was used to talk about shooters of different races.

  • Mental illness: 80 percent referred to white shooters, 16 percent to black shooters, 4 percent to Muslim shooters.
  • Thug: 53 percent referred to black shooters, 28 percent to Hispanic shooters, 16 percent to white shooters and 3 percent to Muslim shooters.
  • Terrorist: 37 percent referred to Muslim shooters, 34 percent to black shooters, 17 percent to white shooters, and Hispanic and Asian shooters were each referred to in 6 percent of the stories.
  • Hero: 75 percent of stories referred to white shooters, 16 percent to black shooters and 9 percent referred to Hispanic shooters.

Frisby said how the news media frames a story may cause readers to make false associations.

Killings of Black Men by Whites are Far More Likely to be Ruled “Justifiable”

by Daniel Lathrop and Anna Flagg

When a white person kills a black man in America, the killer often faces no legal consequences.

In one in six of these killings, there is no criminal sanction, according to a new Marshall Project examination of 400,000 homicides committed by civilians between 1980 and 2014. That rate is far higher than the one for homicides involving other combinations of races.

In almost 17 percent of cases when a black man was killed by a non-Hispanic white civilian over the last three decades, the killing was categorized as justifiable, which is the term used when a police officer or a civilian kills someone committing a crime or in self-defense. Overall, the police classify fewer than 2 percent of homicides committed by civilians as justifiable.

The disparity persists across different cities, different ages, different weapons and different relationships between killer and victim.

[…] killings of black males by white people are labeled justifiable more than eight times as often as others. This racial disparity has persisted for decades and is hard to explain based solely on the circumstances reported by the police data.

In comparison, when Hispanics killed black men, about 5.5 percent of cases were called justifiable. When whites killed Hispanics, it was 3.1 percent. When blacks killed whites, the figure was just 0.8 percent. When black males were killed by other blacks, the figure was about 2 percent, the same as the overall rate. […]

Still, the disparities in how police classify these cases remain across widely different circumstances and causes of death. Whether the killer and victim were married, lovers, neighbors or complete strangers, whether they were shot, stabbed or beaten, the trend holds. The killings of black men by whites were two to 10 times as likely to be called justifiable.

Even after adjusting for the ages of the killer and victim, their relationship and the weapon used, the likelihood of a white-on-black-male case being called justifiable was still 4.7 times higher than in other cases.

Black Crime Rates: What Happens When Numbers Aren’t Neutral
by  Kim Farbota

(1) If a black person and a white person each commit a crime, the black person is more likely to be arrested. This is due in part to the fact that black people are more heavily policed.
Black people, more often than white people, live in dense urban areas. Dense urban areas are more heavily policed than suburban or rural areas. When people live in close proximity to one another, police can monitor more people more often. In more heavily policed areas, people committing crimes are caught more frequently. This could help explain why, for example, black people and white people smoke marijuana at similar rates, yet black people are 3.7 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. (The discrepancy could also be driven by overt racism, more frequent illegal searches of black people, or an increased willingness to let non-blacks off with a warning.)

(2) When black people are arrested for a crime, they are convicted more often than white people arrested for the same crime. 
An arrest and charge does not always lead to a conviction. A charge may be dismissed or a defendant may be declared not guilty at trial. Whether or not an arrestee is convicted is often determined by whether or not a defendant can afford a reputable attorney. The interaction of poverty and trial outcomes could help explain why, for example, while black defendants represent about 35% of drug arrests, 46% of those convicted of drug crimes are black. (This discrepancy could also be due to racial bias on the part of judges and jurors.)

(3) When black people are convicted of a crime, they are more likely to be sentenced to incarceration compared to whites convicted of the same crime. 
When a person is convicted of a crime, a judge often has discretion in determining whether the defendant will be incarcerated or given a less severe punishment such as probation, community service, or fines. One study found that in a particular region blacks were incarcerated for convicted felony offenses 51% of the time while whites convicted of felonies were incarcerated 38% of the time. The same study also used an empirical approach to determine that race, not confounded with any other factor, was a key determinant in judges’ decisions to incarcerate.

Black And White Homicide Rates: Who’s Killing Whom?
comment from steven tucker

update:
why is nobody apparently aware that the fbi data is for ARRESTS, and is not the number of crimes or criminals? Just arrests.

In 2014, a full 1/3 of murders (higher percentage for other violent crimes) did not even result in a known suspect. of ~12,500 murders (reported to fbi…) only 8200 arrests were made.

of these, only 5800 convictions were had, and 4100 of those were plea bargains. a full 30% of arrestees, race undocumented, were acquitted or case dismissed…

So – 35% of murderers unknown. 30% of supposedly known murderers arrested but not convicted. That means we have stats showing that of 12,500 homicides in 2014, 4100 people plea bargained, 1700 were convicted in court, 2450 were arrested and released, and so (at least) about 6700 killers are still at large, race unknown.

5800 killers in jail. A few no doubt wrongly, but 5800 nonetheless. but 6700 unknown.

The conclusions being drawn about crime and race from such data are, in total, without the slightest validity. They are neither right nor wrong, they are pure nonsense.

Why Counting Mass Shootings is a Bad Way to Understand Gun Violence in America
by Lois Beckett

Counting “mass shootings” is notoriously complicated and contested, since there is no standard definition of what they are. Is it best to count shootings that injure or kill a certain number of people? Or should the definition focus more narrowly on attacks in which the motivation of the shooter “appears to be indiscriminate killing”?

Which race does the most mass shootings per capita in the US?
by Brady Postma

There is no generally accepted definition of a “mass shooting.” Without one, we can’t count how many there are or the races of the shooters

The most obvious definition is a certain number of deaths from a single shooting; three perhaps, or four. But should a shooting with 20 victims none of whom die be excluded from the definition? What if two people are shot and two are stabbed; does that count as a shooting with four deaths? Is a case where someone kills their whole family in their home the same as a shooter killing strangers in a public place? Should a shootout between rival gangs count?

These questions alter the answer to your question, so they must be answered first.

School shootings are primarily (though not exclusively) white, as data from Mother Jones’ list of mass shootings by their definition shows. Gang shootings tend otherwise. There are other clusters of mass violence with different perpetrator demographics. Scaling perp counts to racial proportions of the population, as you’ve asked for, skews the data away from whites and toward minorities.

Ultimately, though, the results depend on your methodology

What makes a ‘mass shooting’ in America
by Christopher Ingraham

For starters, it’s important to realize that there has never been one universally accepted definition of a “mass shooting.” The government has never even defined “mass shooting” as a stand-alone category.

The FBI used to consider someone a “mass murderer” if they killed four or more people during one event, regardless of weapons used. But starting in 2013, federal statutes defined “mass killing” as three or more people killed, regardless of weapons. And unlike the tracker, the tally doesn’t include the killer if he or she is eventually killed by law enforcement or takes his or her own life.

But, according to the tracker’s users, that definition has a bit of a problem. It includes non-gun killings, for instance, and it excludes cases in which a lot of people are shot but few of them die.

Most victims of US mass shootings are black, data analysis finds
by Lois Beckett

A new analysis of 358 mass shootings in America in 2015 found that three-quarters of the victims whose race could be identified were black.

Roughly a third of the incidents with known circumstances were drive-by shootings or were identified by law enforcement as gang-related. Another third were sparked by arguments, often among people who were drunk or high.

About one in 10 of the shootings were identified as related to domestic violence. In these shootings the majority of victims and perpetrators were white. Domestic violence incidents were also much more likely to be fatal. The 39 domestic violence cases represented 11% of the total incidents but 31% of victims who died.

The analysis, conducted by the New York Times with data collected by Reddit’s mass shooting tracker and the Gun Violence Archive, used law enforcement reports on shootings that left four or more people injured or dead in 2015.

Few of the incidents resembled the kinds of planned massacres in schools, churches and movie theaters that have attracted intense media and political attention. Instead, the analysis, defined purely by the number of victims injured, revealed that many were part of the broader burden of everyday gun violence on economically struggling neighborhoods.

Nearly 90% of the zip codes that saw mass shootings had higher-than-average poverty rates. […]

Only about half of the mass shootings had been solved, the Times found. In some cities, the number was lower. Chicago had made arrests in only two of 16 mass shootings, while Baltimore had 11 incidents in 2015 and had not solved one.

Mass Shooters Aren’t Disproportionately White
by Daniel Engber

According to the study, white and Asian mass murderers perpetrated crimes with more victims, on average, and they were more likely to carry out those crimes in public places. Nearly one-fourth of the white mass murderers and one-fifth of the Asians in the group engaged in public killings. Among the black mass murderers, this proportion was just 6 percent. Lankford suggests the relative whiteness of public killings, in particular, could indeed result from structural advantage and “aggrieved entitlement.”

MASS SHOOTERS HAVE A GENDER AND A RACE
by Tiffany Xie

Although White individuals made up 69.2% of arrests for crimes in 20111, Black men still account for the majority of the prison population, more than six times as likely to be incarcerated than White men. Black men are also subjected, according to Lawrence Grossman, former President of CBS News and PBS, to media stereotyping where TV newscasts “disproportionately show African Americans under arrest, living in slums, on welfare, and in need of help from the community.” However, men of color do not represent the majority of school shooters or mass murderers.

Recent studies reveal that most school shooters are White males, with 97 percent being male and 79 percent White. Over the last three decades, 90 percent of high school or elementary school shootings were the result of White, often upper-middle class, perpetrators.

White-On-White Crime Strikes Again In Waco
by Julia Craven

Around 83 percent of white victims in 2011 were murdered by other whites, based on the most recent FBI homicide data.

As many as 3,172 white people were killed in 2011 — and 2,630 of them lost their lives at the hands of another white person. This is compared to 2,695 black people, 2,447 of whom were killed by another black person. […]

Whites lead when it comes to gang violence too: 53.3 percent of gang-related murders between 1980 and 2008 were committed by white people, according to the Justice Department, compared to 42.2 percent committed by blacks. Victims of gang-related violence were also mostly white.

White on White Crime: An Unspoken Tragedy
by Kerry Coddett

In America, whites commit the majority of crimes. What’s even more troubling is that they are also responsible for a vast majority of violent crimes. In 2013, whites led all other groups in aggravated assault, larceny-theft, arson, weapons-carrying, and vandalism. When it comes to sexual assault, whites take the forcible rape cake. They are also more likely to kill children, the elderly, family members, their significant others, and even themselves! They commit more sex-related crimes, gang related crimes, and are more likely to kill at their places of employment. In 2013, an estimated 10,076 people died in the U.S. due to drunk driving crashes. Driving while drunk is almost exclusively a white crime because everyone knows black people prefer to drink on their porches or inside their homes.

So why is white on white crime so prevalent, one may ask? Is it the music they listen to? Is it the white divorce rate, resulting in more white children coming from broken homes? Perhaps it’s the TV shows they watch or the violent sports they play. More than likely, it is a combination of all of those things, with the exact root cause unclear. What is clear, though, is that not enough people are talking about the crime plaguing the white community. We need to spread the word, holding protests and demonstrations that call attention to this growing matter. Because, after all—-white lives matter, too.

White Men Commit Mass Shootings More Than Any Other Group — Why Aren’t We Talking About That?
by Cate Carrejo

Yet there is little public discourse about how to address this longstanding problem, because in large part, people aren’t ready to fully admit the problem exists. White men commit more mass shootings than any other demographic, but their white privilege prevents people from approaching the problem from a systemic perspective. […]

But the narrative surrounding white men are simply different than that of other groups. Even after the anecdotal and statistical evidence connecting white men to violence, people are disinclined to readjust their thinking about white men, in part because it would be so triggering all the time. If Americans walked around being as terrified of white men as many are of Muslims, society wouldn’t be able to function.

Arguably though, people, and particularly women, have every reason to walk around being terrified of white men. It’s proof positive of white men’s privilege that people still go about their lives under the constant threat of white men as a whole. White men commit the vast majority of rapes and murders, and according to some studies, they commit the most violent crimes in this country. Six in 10 sex offenders are white men, and white men kill more people in America every year than international terrorists. You can say all you want that it’s “Not All (White) Men,” but the statistics point to white men being the most dangerous of all other groups in the country.

How common are African-American mass shooters?
by TheGrio

Of the approximately 62 mass shootings (in which four or more people were killed) in the U.S. since 1982, including 25 since 2006 (and seven in 2012 alone), according to figures compiled by Mother Jones, “more than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.”

The percentage of black assailants who kill on a scale such as Monday’s Navy Yard shootings is about equal to the percentage of black Americans, says former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.

“African-American shooters tend to at least represent their statistical portion of the U.S. population and include past killers like like Omar S. Thornton, Maurice Clemmons, Charles Lee Thornton, William D. Baker, Arthur Wise, Clifton McCree, Nathan Dunlap, Colin Ferguson, and the DC Snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo,” Van Zandt told theGrio.

Hunting Serial Predators
by Grover Maurice Godwin

[…] most likely victims of serial murderers are White (Caucasian). This finding is given importance when coupled with the fact that in this study of 107 serial murderers, 81% of the offenders were White. This finding supports the claims by other researchers that suggest that serial murder is primarily intra-racial. […]

82% of the serial murderers in this study were White. In research by James, he found that 86% of his offender sample was White (Caucasian).154 Also, in Hanfland’s study of child murderers, 80% of the child killers were White.

Race Matters: Study Claims White Men Are More Likely To Commit Mass Murders Than Blacks Or Any Other Racial Group
by Bossip Staff

Is there something about the white, male, middle-class experience that makes it easier for sick young men to turn schools and movie theaters into graveyards? Some studies say, yes.

Via LAWSONRY News And Analysis reports:

While the majority of all violent crimes are perpetuated by men, American mass murders in particular seem to be the territory of white men. The Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime writes that, “Compared with assailants who kill but one victim, mass murderers are overwhelmingly likely to be male, [and] are far more likely to be white,” and the numbers prove it. According to Wikipedia, 75% of the rampage killings on US record were perpetrated by white males, as were 71% of massacres in schools, and 60% of workplace rampages – a seriously disproportionate number for the number of white males that make up the general population. Clearly, there is more at play here than the advantage of opportunity.

Historically, the focus on serial killers and mass murderers has been on the individual motives for the crimes, and little on the overarching trend. It’s plausible that the elevated social status of white males combined with isolation, desperation, opportunity, and mental illness has led the white men who have gone on rampages to make their pain felt by those around them in a very violent way.

Of course, it isn’t just male privilege that makes men more prone to violent crime than their female counterparts. From the time they are toddlers, men are socialized to express their emotions through violence. Western culture – and especially American culture – teaches boys that emotional intelligence and expression is worthless and effeminate, and that the acceptable masculine response to anger, sadness, and/or frustration is to act out physically. If this mentality is particularly deeply rooted in an individual man, he may find it incredibly difficult to form an emotional support system, leading to more self-inflicted and outwardly motivated violence among men.

 News outlets have a also broken down by demographic, shooter’s identities, weapons and number of victims of these shooters. The most common denominator, most of these killers were white men…Via MotherJones reports:

Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We’ve mapped them below, including details on the shooters’ identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.

*Mass Murder- The shooter took the lives of at least four people. An FBI crime classification report identifies an individual as a mass murderer—as opposed to a spree killer or a serial killer—if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), and typically in a single location.

Here is a sample of the timeline of mass murders. Only 6 of the 62 mass muderers featured were people of color…

Why Are So Many Mass Shootings Committed by Young White Men?

by Josiah Hesse

When trying to decipher gun violence, it’s tempting to focus on impoverished minority neighborhoods defined by structural woes like mass incarceration, poverty, lack of education, and so on. But research shows that mass shootings are primarily committed by white males—the most privileged class in society. So why are they the ones who snap? And is calling them “mentally ill” a way to avoid talking about race?

“If you look at how the James Holmes case has played out, it’s amazing how the themes [of other shootings] line up,” true-crime author Stephen Singular, who collaborated with his wife, Joyce, on the new book The Spiral Notebook: The Aurora Theater Shooter and the Epidemic of Mass Violence Committed by American Youth, tells VICE. “Most of these young white shooters—they’re not underprivileged, they have so many advantages, particularly in the Holmes case. He was dealing with an inner reality that he didn’t know how to contend with.”

As Mother Jones reported, “Since 1982, there have been at least 70 mass shootings across the country… Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.” So white men have been responsible for about 63 percent of mass shootings in that span, despite comprising a far smaller portion of the total population. And while the motives for mass murder vary from perpetrator to perpetrator, since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, there has been a remarkable consistency—if not uniformity—in the age, gender, and race of the people who carry out these egregious crimes. […]

A 2013 study at the University of Washington looked at the disproportionately high numbers of mass killings—defined as having at least three or more victims during a single episode—committed by young white men in America, and found a correlation between feelings of entitlement among white males and homicidal revenge against a specific demographic.

“Among many mass killers, the triple privileges of white heterosexual masculinity which make subsequent life course losses more unexpected and thus more painfully shameful ultimately buckle under the failures of downward mobility and result in a final cumulative act of violence to stave off subordinated masculinity,” the authors wrote. […]

“There’s a feeling of entitlement that white men have that black men don’t,” Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University and co-author of Extreme Killing, told the Washington Post in a 2012 interview. “They often complain that their job was taken by blacks or Mexicans or Jews. They feel that a well-paid job is their birthright. It’s a blow to their psyche when they lose that.”

African Americans and the Criminal Justice System
by Marvin D. Free
pp. 58-60

The preceding theories also tend to ignore the possibility that some of the discrepancy in black-white rates of offending may be due to differential patrolling by the police. Because many lower-class African Americans live in heavily patrolled ares of the city, any transgression of the law is more likely to result in a police contact than a similar violation of the law occurring in suburban or rural areas. Using arrest data for 1975, Hawkins (1983, p. 410) observed that African Americans living in rural areas comprised 10 percent of the rural population and 10 percent of the arrests for all types of crimes. African Americans living in suburbs were actually slightly underrepresented in arrest statistics (15 percent of the suburban population and 12 percent of all arrests). Only in the heavily patrolled urban areas were African Americans disproportionately arrested.

Coramae Mann (1993, p. 103), in commenting on mainstream theories of minority crime, notes the irony “that so many of the explanations of minority crime focus on minority violence when American history is filled with violence, particularly as directed against its minority citizens.” And despite the preoccupation of some sociological theories with African American violence, Hickey (1991, p. 77) found that black serial murderers constituted only 10 percent of the offenders in is study. In fact, 97 percent of the female serial killers and 85 percent of the male serial killers were white (pp. 110 & 133). […]

Despite these condemnations of the theory, conflict theory (along with labeling theory) has helped criminology to overcome its preoccupation with criminal actors by redirecting its attention to the role of law enforcement in the creation of crime. It has also served the purpose of reminding criminologists of the fallacy involved in assuming that laws always reflect a consensus in society. Moreover, there is some empirical support for the basic tenets of the theory. Jackson and Carroll (1981), for example, examined the relationship between race and police expenditures for 90 nonsouthern U.S. cities. Because conflict theory asserts that the law is an instrument of oppression used by the dominant group against subordinate groups, they hypothesized that “the amount of resources devoted to policing will vary directly with the threat posed by subordinate to dominant groups (p. 293). If African Americans (the subordinate group) are viewed as a treat by whites (the dominant group), then conflict theory would predict that expenditures for police should be related to the racial composition of the city, the number of race riots during the 1960s, and the level of civil rights mobilization activity. The authors found general support of their hypothesis.

Violent Offenders
by Matt DeLisi and Peter J. Conis
pp. 106-17

It is plausible to suggest that race predicts homicide offenders and victims because African American and Caucasian boys differ on predictive risk factors. According to this hypothesis, race should not predict homicide offenders and victims after controlling for predictive risk factors. Indeed, after entering the eight significant explanatory risk factors in a logistic regression analysis, race did not significantly predict homicide offenders. After entering the nine significant explanatory risk factors in a logistics regression analysis, race was still a significant predictor of homicide victims (LRCS=4.61, p=.032). However, the predictive power of race was considerably reduced after controlling for other risk factors. It might be concluded that race predicts homicide offenders and victims primarily because of racial differences in predictive risk factors. The most important risk factors that were significantly associated with race and that predicted homicide offenders and/or victims were a bad neighborhood, a broken family, the family on welfare, and a young mother.

* * *

The Moral Arc
by Michael Shermer
Kindle Locations 6724-6737

[C]riminals— especially psychopathic criminals (which, recall, make up at least half of the prison population of violent offenders)— show different physiological responses to such emotions as distress or sadness when compared to noncriminal brains. “They failed to show the emotions required; they failed to show the physical response. It was as though they knew the words but not the music of empathy.” Brain scans revealed that “Our population of inmates had a deficient amygdala, which likely led to their lack of empathy and their immoral behavior.” 26

One avenue of treatment for these neurologically impaired psychopaths is neurogenesis, or the birth of new neurons in the adult brain. Take mice. If you raise them in a prison-cell-like environment devoid of stimulation, they lose their capacity to form bonds with their fellow mice when they are reintroduced to them. But if you raise mice in an enriched environment, they not only form normal attachments with their fellow group members, they also experience the growth of new brain cells and connections, which not only leads them to “perform better on a range of learning and memory tasks,” says Reisel, but also “their improved environment results in healthy, sociable behavior.” Reisel then draws the analogy with prison: “When you think about it, it is ironic that our current solution for people with dysfunctional amygdalas is to place them in an environment that actually inhibits any chance of further growth.” Of course, our natural propensity to punish wrongdoers results in a system of retributive justice, but Reisel would like us to also consider the treatment of these broken brains through rehabilitation programs and restorative justice programs,

Neuronal depletion of the amygdala resembles the learning deficits induced by low level lead exposure in rats.
Munoz, Garbe, Lilienthal, and Winneke

The behavioral deficits observed after lead exposure have been related to limbic system dysfunction. In a previous study it was shown that the neurotoxicity of lead could not be explained by the damage of the hippocampus alone. The purpose of the present investigation was to use behavioral comparisons to test the hypothesis that the intrinsic neurons of several nuclei of the amygdala, where lead has been found to accumulate, can be a target of the effects of the metal as well. A group of rats were maternally and permanently exposed to lead (750 ppm in the diet as lead acetate). Another group of equally aged and housed rats, never experimentally exposed to lead, were injected ibotenic acid into the amygdala. All groups plus sham-operated and unoperated controls were tested in the open field, the radial arm maze, and a passive avoidance task. The results showed that lead exposure (both permanent and maternal) and amygdalectomy produced a) no effect on locomotor activity, b) impairments in the acquisition phase of the radial maze, and c) impairments in passive avoidance. These results suggest an involvement of the amygdala in the neurotoxic action of lead, but not as the only brain structure. The deficits in permanently lead-exposed rats are more pronounced than in only maternally-exposed animals suggesting a longlasting, but not totally irreversible effect of early lead exposure.

Regional distribution of lead in human brains
by Philippe Grandjean

Brains from four adult males without occupational exposure to lead have been analyzed for lead. The highest lead levels were found in the hippocampus and the amygdala, while lower lead concentrations were present in the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum. The corpus callosum and the optic tract were lowest in lead. The lead concentrations were significantly correlated to the potassium concentrations in the regions studied. This indicates that lead is mostly accumulated in cell-rich parts of the brain. Differences in the vulnerability of brain regions in lead poisoning is, therefore, possibly a result of differences in cellular sensitivity to lead.

Environmental Policy As Social Policy?
by Jessica Wolpaw Reyes

This paper argues that the removal of lead from gasoline in the late 1970s under the Clean Air Act is an additional important factor in explaining the decline in crime in the 1990s. The main result of the paper is that changes in childhood lead exposure are responsible for a 56% drop in violent crime in the 1990s. This paper argues that the removal of lead from gasoline in the late 1970s under the Clean Air Act is an additional important factor in explaining the decline in crime in the 1990s. The main result of the paper is that changes in childhood lead exposure are responsible for a 56% drop in violent crime in the 1990s.

The decline in crime among black youths
by Max Brantley

In the last 20 years in particular, the FBI reports, rates of crime among African American youth have plummeted: All offenses (down 47%), drug offenses (down 50%), property offenses (down 51%), serious Part I offenses (down 53%), assault (down 59%), robbery (down 60%), all violent offenses (down 60%), rape (down 66%), and murder (down 82%).

New, 2012 figures from California’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center reveal that the state’s black youth show the lowest level of homicide arrest since statewide racial tabulations were first assembled in 1960. Nearly every type of offense—felony, misdemeanor, and status—is much rarer among black youth today than in past generations.

Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?
by Dominic Casciani

Dr Bernard Gesch says the data now suggests that lead could account for as much as 90% of the changing crime rate during the 20th Century across all of the world.

Crime Is at its Lowest Level in 50 Years. A Simple Molecule May Be the Reason Why.
by Kevin Drum

If this curve were the only bit of evidence we had, the connection between lead and violent crime would be pretty thin. But it’s not. You should read the story to understand just how many different studies confirm this relationship. In addition, over the last decade there’s been a tsunami of new medical research about just what lead poisoning—even at very low levels—does to children. […]

We now have a huge amount of evidence linking lead to violent crime. We have evidence not just at the national level, but also at the state level, the city level, and the international level. We have longitudinal studies that track children from birth to adulthood to find out if higher blood lead levels lead to more arrests for violent crimes. And perhaps most important, this is a theory that just makes sense. Everything we now know about the effects of lead on the brain tells us that even moderately high levels of lead exposure are associated with aggressivity, impulsivity, ADHD, and lower IQ. And right there, you’ve practically defined the profile of a violent young offender.

Lead and Crime: Some New Evidence From a Century Ago
by Kevin Drum

Cities with at least some lead piping had murder rates that were, on average, 8.6 percent higher than cities with galvanized iron or wrought iron pipes. Other causes of death were mostly unrelated. Only the murder rates changed1.

Red Barns and White Barns: Why Rural Crime Skyrocketed in the Late 1800s
by Kevin Drum

In the post-World War II era, lead exposure came mainly from automobile exhausts, but in the post-Civil War era it came mainly from the growth in the use of lead paint. And when lead paint became available in rural areas, farmers found it just as useful as everyone else. Given what we now know about the effects of lead, it should come as no surprise that a couple of decades later the murder rate in rural areas went up substantially.

Are Big Cities More Dangerous Than Small Ones?
by Kevin Drum

So where did we see the most exposure to gasoline lead? Answer: in places with the densest concentration of automobiles. And that’s in the inner core of big cities. In the early ’60s, big cities had double the ambient air lead levels of midsize cities, which in turn had air lead levels 40 percent higher than small cities. (Nevin, p. 316.) So if lead exposure produces a rise in crime, you’d expect to see a bigger rise in big cities than in small ones. Over time, big cities would become increasingly more dangerous than small ones.

Likewise, when lead was removed from gasoline, and children started to grow up normally, you’d expect to see a bigger crime decrease in big cities. Over time, crime rates would start to converge.

And that’s exactly what we see in the data.

Children, Brain Damage and Lead
from The Franklin Institute

Low-income children are eight times more likely to be exposed to lead paint, and African-American children are five times more likely than Anglo children to suffer from lead poisoning.

Violent Behavior: A Solution in Plain Sight
by Sylvia Onusic

Heavy metal exposure compromises normal brain development and neurotransmitter function, leading to long-term deficits in learning and social behavior. Studies show that hyperactive children and criminal offenders have significantly elevated levels of lead, manganese or cadmium compared to controls; high blood lead at age seven predicts juvenile delinquency and adult crime.

Environmental racism
from Wikipedia

The study revealed, “ Three of the four commercial hazardous waste landfills in the Southeast United States were located in majority black communities.” The General Accounting Office Study, or GAO study, solely studied off-site hazardous waste landfills in the Southeastern United States limiting the scope of the study.[60] In response to this limitation the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, or CRJ, directed a comprehensive national study on demographic patterns associated with the location of hazardous waste sites.[60] The CRJ national study conducted two examinations of areas surrounding commercial hazardous waste facilities and the location of uncontrolled toxic waste sites.[60] The first study examined the association between race and socio-economic status and the location of commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.[60] After statistical analysis, the first study concluded that “the percentage of community residents that belonged to a racial or ethnic group was a stronger predictor of the level of commercial hazardous waste activity than was household income, the value of the homes, the number of uncontrolled waste sites, or the estimated amount of hazardous wastes generated by industry”.[61] The second study examined the presence of uncontrolled toxic waste sites in ethnic and racial minority communities, and found that 3 out of every 5 African and Hispanic Americans lived in communities with uncontrolled waste sites.[62]

Other studies like the 1987, “Toxic Waste and Race in the United States,” by the Commission for Racial Justice, found race to be the most influential variable in predicting where waste facilities were located.[63]

Freddie Gray’s life a study on the effects of lead paint on poor blacks
by Terrence McCoy

“A child who was poisoned with lead is seven times more likely to drop out of school and six times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system,” Norton said. She called lead poisoning Baltimore’s “toxic legacy” — a still-unfolding tragedy with which she says the city has yet to come to terms. Those kids who were poisoned decades ago are now adults. And the trauma associated with lead poisoning ­“creates too much of a burden on a community,” she said.

* * *

The Desperate Acting Desperately
Are White Appalachians A Special Case?
Opportunity Precedes Achievement, Good Timing Also Helps
Facing Shared Trauma and Seeking Hope
Society: Precarious or Persistent?

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistance of Racial Inequalit in America
by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City
by William Julius Wilson

Worse Than Slavery
by David M. Oshinsky

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism
James W. Loewen

Slavery by another Name: the Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civll War to World War II
by Douglas A. Blackmon

Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy
by Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen

Who Are the Criminals?: The Politics of Crime Policy from the Age of Roosevelt to the Age of Reagan
by John Hagan

Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse
by Todd R. Clear

The Many Colors of Crime
by John Hagan

Race, Incarceration, and American Values
by Glenn C. Loury

Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma
by Michael Tonry

Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration
by Devah Pager

Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment
by Marc Mauer and Meda Chesney-Lind

Crime Is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America
by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Daedalus 140:2 (Spring 2011) – Race, Inequality & Culture, Vol. 2

Unequal Under Law: Race in the War on Drugs
by Doris Marie Provine

Race to Incarcerate
by Marc Mauer

Doing Time on the Outside: Incarceration and Family Life in Urban America
by Donald Braman

When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry
by Joan Petersilia

Thinking About Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture
by Michael Tonry

Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics
by Katherine Beckett

Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America
by Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert

The Culture of Punishment
by Michelle Brown

Harsh Justice: Criminal Punishment and the Widening Divide between America and Europe
by James Q. Whitman

The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty, and the Politics of Crime Control
by Lisa L. Miller

The Politics of Imprisonment: How the Democratic Process Shapes the Way America Punishes Offenders
by Vanessa Barker

American Homicide
by Randolph Roth

Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race
by Joe Soss, Richard C. Fording and Sanford F. Schram

Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity
by Loic Wacquant

The Anatomy of Racial Inequality
by Glenn C. Loury

Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality
by Patrick Sharkey

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor
by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh

Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
by Victor M. Rios

Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America
by F. Michael Higginbotham

Daedalus 139:3 (Summer 2010) – On Mass Incarceration

The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide
by Barbara J. Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Rose M. Brewer, Rebecca Adamson and Meizhu Lui

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in the Twentieth-Century
by Ira Katznelson

The Segreated Origins of Social Security: African Americans and the Welfare State
by Mary Poole

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life
by Annette Lareau

The Moynihan Report Revisited: Lessons and Reflections after Four Decades
by Douglas S. Massey and Robert J. Sampson

The Sociology of Discrimination: Racial Discrimination in Employment, Housing, Credit, and Consumer Markets
by Devah Pager and Hana Shepherd

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do About It
by Claude M. Steele

Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity
by Guy P. Harrison

Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History
by Keith Wailoo, Alondra Nelson and Catherine Lee

Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice
by Catherine Bliss

Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
by Dorothy Roberts

The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the New Millennium
by Joseph L. Graves Jr.

Race?: Debunking a Scientific Myth
by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in Ameican Life
by Barbara J. Fields and Karen Fields

White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism
by Ashley W. Doane and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the United States
by Moon-Kie Jung, Joao Costa Vargas and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority
by Tom Burrell

What Is Intelligence?
by James R. Flynn

Intelligence and How to Get it: Why Schools and Cultures Count
by Richard E. Nisbett

The Myth of Inteligence
by Patrick Winn

3 thoughts on “Violence: Categories & Data, Causes & Demographics

  1. There is a post on mass violence written by someone on the political left. It felt dissatisfying and even a bit frustrating to read it, all the more because I respect the guy who wrote it. He is trying to maintain high standards of intellect and morality, as he understands it. I get where he is coming from since I’ve long shared a similar mindset in having been raised in the liberal worldview, but in his good intentions of liberal fairness he falls into the trap of false equivalency that the powerful have used over and over again to distract and shut down public debate in our society.

    I was trying to be diplomatic in the comments I left there. And I was thinking about leaving another comment when I realized how critical I was feeling. This guy’s view and my own are simply too far apart on this one difference, despite both of us sharing a general liberal-mindedness. Anyway, below is the comment I wrote and decided to not leave at his post, but still wanted to leave it somewhere as to express my worry about creeping authoritarianism in the face of weak liberalism. Here is the post and following it my comment.

    https://philebersole.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/why-so-many-suicidal-mass-gun-killings/

    You make a strong argument for mass violence being more or less evenly divided according to race and ethnicity. That is true of violence in general, although there are a few specific demographic groupings that stand out in either direction, especially when separating out categories of violence. If I were to pick demographics to focus on to look more meaningful differences, I might not focus on race and ethnicity. But even within that focus, there are differences that, as should be emphasized, are rooted in historical and still existing injustices and oppressions that have been systemic and institutionalized.

    Ignoring that for a moment, one could note that ideology does play a major role in mass violence. During the Bush administration, the FBI put out two reports that specifically singled out right-wingers, especially veterans, as the single greatest threat. That is amazing considering how far right Bush pushed the political system, but even that administration didn’t suppress this knowledge.
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/right-wing-political-correctness-on-right-wing-terrorism/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/using-free-speech-rhetoric-to-silence-opponents/
    Here is a quote from one of the FBI reports, 2002-2005:

    “Right-wing extremism, however, primarily in the form of domestic militias and conservative special interest causes, began to overtake left-wing extremism as the most dangerous, if not the most prolific, domestic terrorist threat to the country during the 1990s. In contrast to the ALF and the ELF, which have pursued a philosophy that avoids physical violence in favor of acts of property damage that cause their victims economic harm, right-wing extremists pursued a qualitatively different method of operation by targeting people.”

    The sad part is that the FBI, in being “fair and balanced”, added the left-wing environmentalist group Earth Liberation Front (ELF) to their terrorist list, despite the fact that no environmentalist group in US history has ever sought to harm human lives, quite the opposite in fact. I’ve never heard of a single case of a member of an environmentalist group killing someone in the name of Mother Earth or whatever. That is true for left-wing groups in general over recent history. Compare the ultra-violent anti-choice activists with the ultra-pacifist pro-choice activists, and one quickly realizes there is no fair equivalency. The most violent left-wing group in the US since the early-1900s radicals was the Weather Underground that went to immense effort in their planned attacks in not harming anyone, not even security guards. As with ELF, the Weather Underground targeted property, not human lives. That is the complete opposite of a consistent pattern seen it right-wing militant groups going back generations.

    But the definition of terrorism now includes harming property. And an attack on corporate profits is now deemed a direct existential threat to the national security of the corporocratic state. Killing your fellow American citizens is now judged with equal moral weight as doing property damage to a transnational corporation. Such false equivalency is dangerous, no matter who promotes it: government, corporate media, politicians, self-identified moderates, etc. It offers cover for the right-wing that has become increasingly violent. It is decades of false equivalency from the supposed political left, such as the Clinton Democrats, that the Overton Window was so violently shoved to the far right. There simply is no comparison between radicalized white hate groups and other sources of violence, mass and otherwise.

    To pretend otherwise is not only dangerous but fundamentally illiberal. It saddens me that there are those on the political left that don’t understand this, a pattern that has been seen before such as how German liberals capitulated to the Nazis out of a desire to be ‘moderate’ and out of a fear of the left-wing. Without liberal support, the Nazis would not have come to power. It’s not authoritarians I fear but the liberals who help put them into power. We are now facing that dilemma at this very moment and too many people don’t see it coming. May the liberal class awaken to the threat before it’s too late.
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/the-hidden-lesson-of-the-handmaids-tale/

    https://boingboing.net/2018/11/13/new-fbi-report-shows-record-hi.html

    “The Federal Bureau of Investigations just released its 2017 Hate Crime Report. In Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States, FBI reports a record high, with thousands more hate crimes than the year prior.”

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5z8a7/hate-crimes-against-blacks-and-jews-drove-big-spike-during-trumps-first-year-in-office

    “The majority of reported hate crimes in 2017 included bias against someone’s race, ethnicity or ancestry, according to the FBI data, which also counts acts of discrimination based on protected statuses like gender, disability, sexual orientation and religion. Victims were most often black or Jewish, and anti-Semitic crimes rose 37 percent in 2017, data shows.”

    https://psmag.com/news/anti-black-and-anti-semitic-attacks-top-the-fbis-2017-records-for-hate-crimes

    “The majority of those crimes were driven by hatred against black and Jewish people, but they also included crimes against people for being gay, Muslim, Hispanic, and other identifiers. Several hundred crimes were coded as being anti-white, although those appeared at a far lower rate than the percentage of the United States population that is white. (Eighteen percent of race-based hate crimes reported to the FBI last year were anti-white, while whites make up 77 percent of the U.S. population. Compare that to black Americans, who make up 13 percent of the country, but suffered 49 percent of reported race-based hate crimes.)”

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/every-tally-hate-crimes-blacks-are-most-frequent-victims-n938541

    ““One of the things that is amazing about black experiences in America is that the country wants to at once send you very clear messages that you don’t belong,” said Koritha Mitchell, an associate processor of English at Ohio State University who researches hate crimes and their depiction in literature. “That you should expect and accept some kind of half measure of citizenship and then pretend that the country did not send you that message.”

    “She added: “There is this constant demand for our silence about what we experience and, failing that, our forgiveness before our loved one’s bodies are in the ground. It’s like a form of national gaslighting.”

    “Whatever does Mitchell mean? Let us return to the Obamas. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama received such an intense barrage of threats that his campaign was forced to request Secret Service protection earlier than any other candidate in U.S. history. But, once elected — with the votes of people of color and a minority of white voters — the now laughable notion of a post-racial society proliferated far and wide.

    “In 2015, when the nation’s current surge in hate crime began, Donald Trump announced his run for president. He did so with a speech which, among other things described Mexican immigrants as rapists.

    “One day later, Dylann Roof, a white nationalist, attended a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He had spent the preceding months touring plantations and Confederate monuments, and then drafted an online manifesto littered with white nationalist ideas, including a call for a race war. At the church, he and shot and killed nine black people. In the first days after the attack, some elected officials insisted the crime had been motivated by anti-Christian, rather than racist ideas. […]

    “In 2017, African Americans comprised 13 percent of the nation’s population and 28 percent of all hate crime victims, according to a report released by the FBI last week. As hate crimes against other groups have surged in the last three years, bias-driven crimes directed at black Americans have declined but continued to outnumber any other form of hate crime. […]

    “More recently, when Levin worked with a research partner, Jim Nolan, a sociologist with the West Virginia University Research Center on Violence, the men discovered that Nov. 10, 2016 — the day after Trump’s election — marked the apex of the single worst month in hate crime the country had seen in 14 years.

    “”Beyond the hate crimes statistics, Levin said he sees strong and more terrifying indications that we are living in an era of “ascendant white nationalism.”

    ““One of them, without question, is that white nationalist ideology has become accepted as mainstream political thinking,” Levin said. “We have, at this point, a socio-political movement framed around racial resentment, fear of economic and social change and clinging to certain expectations. And that stuff is not called racism, it’s not called what it is.””

    https://www.jta.org/2018/11/13/united-states/hate-crimes-jews-rise-37-fbi-reports

    “Hate crimes against Jews in America rose by more than a third last year and accounted for 58 percent of all religion-based hate crimes, according to data released Tuesday by the FBI.

    “Overall, hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017, the data showed. with 7,175 hate crimes reported, up from 6,121 in 2016. Some of the increase may be because more police departments are reporting their hate crimes data to the FBI than ever before, 6 percent above the previous year.

    “The number of hate crimes based on religion is the second highest ever, behind only 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The report noted a 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes in 2017 to 1,564, representing about 20 percent of all hate crimes.

    “There were a total of 938 hate crimes committed against Jews in 2017, up from 684 in 2016.

    “In addition, some 58 percent of all hate crimes in 2017 were based on race, including 28 percent against African-Americans. There was also a 5 percent rise in crimes directed against LGBT individuals, to 1,130 in 2017 from 1,076 the previous year.”

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-whites-hate-crimes-20170106-story.html

    “According to the 2015 FBI hate crime statistics, the latest available, there were 613 anti-white-related crimes out of 5,850 total cases. That’s around 10.5 percent of all reported hate crimes, and within the yearly average, federal numbers show.

    “By comparison, the FBI reports there were 1,745 anti-black hate crimes or about 30 percent of all reported incidents. Jews were the most targeted religious group that year and were victims of 11 percent of all hate crimes. It’s not clear how many anti-Jewish hate crime victims also may have been attacked because of their race.

    “That data also suggested that blacks and Jews remain disproportionally targets of hate crimes compared to their population as opposed to whites. African-Americans are only 13 percent of the U.S. population, while non-Hispanic whites are 61 percent. […]

    “he 2015 FBI data showed that of the 734 total reported offenses committed against whites — a single incident could have multiple offenses like assault or theft — 46 percent of those were committed by blacks.

    “In contrast, of the 2,125 reported offenses committed against blacks, 58 percent of those who committed by whites.”

    https://hateinamerica.news21.com/black-americans-hate-crime-victims-more-than-any-group/

    “Although black Americans are targeted in hate crimes more than any other group, according to available data from the FBI, only about 2 percent of total hate crimes are reported to the bureau, according to the NAACP. That means no one really knows how many times black Americans have been victims of hate.

    “”Even the data that we have can be misleading, and it’s useful for seeing trends maybe from year to year, assuming that nothing changes in terms of our reporting and how we report,” said Kevin Buckler, a criminal justice professor at the University of Houston. “But I don’t know if it’s a true indication of the number of criminal events that are motivated by hatred.” […]

    ““Hate is always there under the surface, but sometimes people hate more openly,” Marks said. “We still have a long, long way to go. Since the Civil Rights movement, I think we’ve come a little ways since then because of laws, but I don’t think as people, we’re much farther along.”

    “A 2018 report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that hate crimes reported to police in the 10 largest cities in America increased by 12.5 percent in 2017, marking the fourth consecutive annual rise in a row and the highest spike in more than a decade. In 2017, anti-Black crimes were among the most common in the nation’s 10 largest cities, according to the study. […]

    “Since 1995, black Americans have been targeted in 34.6 percent of all hate crimes reported to the FBI, despite making up only about 13.2 percent of the country’s population.

    “Furthermore, only about 12 percent of the nation’s police departments reported any hate crimes to the FBI in 2015 and 2016.

    “A News21 analysis of the hate crimes reported to the FBI from 2012 to 2016 determined that, on average, 16.6 million black Americans, or 39.5 percent of the country’s black population, lived in a county that reported no anti-black hate crimes in a given year.

    “Many victims told News21 that authorities were skeptical of their claims, and they needed to record hateful incidents for police to believe them and prosecutors to pursue hate crime charges.”

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Hate-Crimes-on-Campuses-Are/245093

    “Nearly 280 hate crimes were reported in 2017 to the FBI by select campus police departments, up from 257 in 2016 and 194 in 2015. The FBI collects hate-crime data from a much smaller sample of colleges than does the Education Department. The largest year-to-year increases in hate crimes reported to the FBI, in terms of motivating bias, occurred in crimes against multiracial victims, African-Americans, and Jews.”

    https://www.revealnews.org/blog/the-hate-report-sikh-americans-continue-being-targeted-in-hate-crimes/

    “Sikhs remain hundreds of times more likely to experience bias, bigotry, backlash, hate crimes and everything in between than the average American,”

    https://kjzz.com/news/local/fbi-stats-lds-members-less-frequently-victims-of-hate-crimes-than-other-religions

    “With FBI statistics that track crimes hate crimes by religion, it is far statistically safer to be LDS than Jewish, Muslim, or in other Christian churches. Jewish people faced the steepest risks and were far more likely to be victimized than other religions.

    “In 2017, members of what the FBI defined as “Mormons” were the target of .9 percent of hate crimes in the U.S. The FBI recorded 15 individuals suffering “anti-Mormon bias” in crimes. That is the same as the number of people, 15, who suffered anti-Hindu bias, with approximately three times as many members. The same number of Hindus were attacked, but from a significantly smaller population.

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered a similar number of anti-religious hate crimes with 13 attacks, also from a smaller population than who the FBI defines as Mormons.”

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