Rochester City Newspaper — We’re Missing the Real Gun Violence Epidemic

by Mark Obbie
Rochester City Newspaper
June 20, 2022

… There is a solid body of science identifying the strategies that work best to reduce that everyday kind of violence, which claims far more victims in the U.S. than the sort of domestic violence incidents and mass shootings that are the primary focus of the policies proposed in the latest round of this endless debate.

… High-profile mass attacks, for obvious reasons, grab attention in dramatic fashion. But there’s a deeper disconnect at work, stemming from lawmakers’ preference for solutions that sound plausible, regardless of what the science tells us, and because the science of preventing mass shootings isn’t as developed as it is for everyday violence prevention, said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.

“I would call the mass shooting a low-base rate problem,” Butts said. “It’s horrific but infrequent and unpredictable. That would be like developing a protocol for not just car crashes but crashes where someone intentionally runs into someone else. How do you develop policy for that?”

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A group of children walk past a house on 221 Emerson St. where 16-year-old Zahira Smith was shot while attending a birthday party. (PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE)