If you've read the book, you know gun crime (fatal and nonfatal) has a color.
But if you really want to see the reality of just who is committing gun crime in America, look no further than this Brookings Institute study. [Guns and race: The different worlds of black and white Americans, Brookings Institute,
In 2013, firearm deaths accounted for over 11 percent of all years of potential life lost among the black population, but less than 6 percent of all years of potential life lost among the white population.
White suicides, black homicides
Gun deaths also vary dramatically by type. The vast majority (77 percent) of white gun deaths are suicides; less than one in five (19 percent) is a homicide. These figures are nearly opposite in the black population, where only 14 percent of gun deaths are suicides but 82 percent are homicides.
The firearm homicide rate among black men aged 20-29 is about 89 per 100,000.To put that fact in some international perspective, in Honduras—the country with the highest recorded homicide rate—there were 90.4 intentional murders per 100,000 people in 2012. That includes all means, not just firearm homicides.
Gun violence is part of a vicious cycle of race and inequality in the U.S., reflecting existing social inequalities, and also making it even more challenging for young black people, especially young black men, to escape poverty and violence.
Baltimore is one of only nine cities where gun violence is the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
The fallout from spinal cord injuries related to gun violence is a lifetime of medical challenges and what some call an epidemic: black men in wheelchairs, paralyzed from being shot on the streets of Baltimore.
"I see it especially at appointments at the hospital and in my passing. I see it all the time. It's crazy," said Tavon Harrington.
"It was at a cookout. Someone started shooting and I got hit," Harrington said.
The cookout at Douglass Homes at Caroline and Orleans streets took place in May 2010 when Harrington went home for a visit from a residential facility for at-risk young people. One bullet destroyed the new life he had been building.
"I got shot in the back and it hit my spine," Harrington said.
Harrington stayed in Shock Trauma for one month, then went to Good Samaritan Hospital for rehab for three months. The bullet fragments remain in his back.
"I'm totally devastated. It took a while to get used to," Harrington said.
"I've been struck for the last decade or two about the incredible number of young, predominantly African-American men who otherwise look totally healthy who are driving around in wheelchairs," said Dr. Peter Beilenson, who served 13 years as Baltimore's health commissioner.
Beilenson teaches a course at Johns Hopkins University called Politics, Policy and Public Health. The course touches on the public health and social ills of the city.
"In most of the country, spinal cord injuries are predominantly caused by auto accidents and falls being the No. 2 reason, and about 15 percent due to violence, but here in Baltimore, the leading cause of spinal cord injury leading to paralysis is violence," Beilenson said.
People like Harrington will need a lifetime of care and assistance with daily living, from eating and bathing to caring for bodily functions, and changing catheters, tubes and bladder bags.
The cost is staggering. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons said, over a lifetime, the costs to treat these victims is $2.2 million -- much of that coming from taxpayers.
"For the entire individual in the first year following spinal cord injury, it ranges from about $200,000 to $750,000 for healthcare costs and rehab costs," Beilenson said.
Patients are prone to skin infections, pneumonia and more. Harrington goes in and out of the hospital for various infections.Poverty and violence is a creation of young black men.
Only in horror stories should a cookout be the site of mass violence, but for black people this is just a reminder of the type of community they create.
The fight for our Second Amendment "rights" is racial, because the primary race committing violence with a gun (fatal/nonfatal shootings) is black.
The fight for our First Amendment "rights" is racial as well, because the primary race committing violence with a gun our black people and yet few people want to utilize freedom of speech to point out this fact.