What To Know Today

Gun Violence Archive resets for a new year. In the first three days of 2022, there have been at least nine mass shootings nationwide that left 10 people dead and 29 others injured, according to the site that just began its ninth year of tracking gun violence in America. Overall, there have been at least 280 gun violence deaths across the country. The nonprofit also released its preliminary 2021 year-end statistics, which included:

  • 691 mass shootings, the most since GVA started tracking in 2014
  • 20,658 gun deaths
  • 40,358 gun injuries 
  • 24,090 gun suicides (an estimate calculated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

2021 saw some reasons to be optimistic, too. Many cities saw record increases in homicides or shootings last year. But not all. According to news reports and AH Datalytics, a consultancy that tracks crime data, several cities actually reversed the trend for homicides. They included Boston (-26 percent), Dallas (-11 percent), Greensboro (-13 percent); Jacksonville (-25 percent), Kansas City (-12 percent), Miami (-15 percent), Seattle (-22 percent), and St. Louis (-25 percent). The sharp drop in St. Louis was especially notable — the city frequently records the highest murder rate in America. Local leaders pointed to an array of reasons for the decrease in violence, including grassroots violence prevention programs, a shift in policing tactics, and an easing of the pandemic. 

Gun violence prevention is high on the agenda as Eric Adams is sworn in as New York City’s mayor. On his second day in office on Sunday, the mayor’s itinerary included a roundtable on gun violence prevention. Homicides and shootings in the city increased again in 2021, and Adams has pledged to address the problem through a stronger emphasis on policing and more community-focused violence prevention programs. “I don’t subscribe to the belief of some that we can only have justice and not public safety. We will have them both,” Adams said. As The Trace’s Chip Brownlee reported in October, Adams’s policy is what one criminal justice expert called a “both-and” approach to violence prevention and police reform.

A Chicago teen turns her tragedy into triumph. One Saturday last September, 14-year Ayonna Fleming was wounded after someone opened fire at a back-to-school celebration organized by her father. The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the aftermath and how Fleming immediately started writing the lyrics to the song that became “Tragedy,” a defiant and celebratory anthem of her survival. “You don’t know how strong or tough you are until you’ve been put into a predicament where you have to be strong or tough,” she said. 

Nebraska seeks judgment against the Oath Keepers. The state’s attorney general is seeking to collect $9,300 from the far-right group for not providing workers’ compensation to its only employee in the state. The group has been subject to numerous legal disputes in the last year, mostly related to the Capitol insurrection, in which more than a dozen Oath Keepers have been charged.

Data Point

89.1 percent — the share of homicides committed with a gun in Philadelphia last year, where homicides reached a record high. That percentage of gun homicides was the second highest in 25 years and about 15 percent higher than the most recently available national average. [Philadelphia Inquirer]