Gun Violence In New York: A 24 Hour History


1:30 pm: Thursday, August 23
Two men are shot on a crowded Bronx street corner, victims were taken to Lincoln Hospital with bullet wounds to the torso.
12:40 am: Friday, August 24
Ronald Wallace, age 13, is shot a block from his Brownsville home. Wallace died of his wounds at Brookdale Hospital.
9:00 am: Friday, August 24
10 people are shot, at least one fatally, by gunman Jeffrey Johnson outside the Empire State Building. Johnson was shot and killed by responding NYPD officers.

Those are some of the things in the news today.

The big story, obviously, is the shooting at the Empire State Building. The New York Times reported from Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference where the mayor said that the shooter was “a man who had been fired from an apparel importer in the shadow of the Empire State Building [who then] shot and killed a former co-worker on Friday morning The man then walked along the curb in front of the Empire State Building, where he ‘turned his gun’ on two officers on duty at the main entrance ‘and tried to shoot them.’” Both the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that some of the people wounded or grazed by bullets “may have been hit by police bullets during the confrontation with the suspect.” They believe “that some of the shooting victims had been shot by the officers ‘based on the number of people shot and the capacity of’ the shooter’s weapon.”

Shootings in the Bronx and in Brownsville have become devastatingly commonplace this summer. The last few weeks have made it so that when we read about a teenager being gunned down in his own neighborhood, our immediate thought is Again?

We live in a city whose mayor is one of the vocal advocates of gun control in the country. We live in a city with a controversial—some say unconstitutional—policy in place where the police can, and do, stop-and-frisk anyone that they feel like, ostensibly to look for guns. And still it’s not enough. Not even close.

Another story in the Times today featured a profile of a small, upstate town—Ilion, New York—where the Remington Arms Company runs a factory. Town residents are worried about the state’s proposed stricter gun laws because the legislation include things like microstamping firearms as a method of ballistics identification. Residents fear that the Remington factory will decide to decamp to a state with more lax gun control laws. The people of Ilion are far more worried about their jobs than they are about gun control. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of guns, they could all work manufacturing yogurt?