What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: The push to pay violence interrupters a living wage. Since last year, street outreach workers have been doing double duty educating their communities about gun violence and the coronavirus while risking their own health. Yet many advocates say the workers are often underpaid commensurate to their value and are barely getting by. Tina Padilla, program manager at a violence prevention group in Los Angeles, tells Jennifer Mascia that her group recently helped a 21-year-old client get a job at Walmart for $18 an hour. “My staff that’s been doing this work 10, 15 years are barely making that,” she said. We found that trying economic reality was a common refrain. “They are burnt out,” said Fernando Rejón, an anti-violence leader who is working to push for higher wages in LA. You can read the story here

Get in touch: Are you a violence interrupter or street outreach worker who wants to talk about your working conditions or compensation? Contact Jennifer Mascia via email at [email protected].

A study of mass killings found most perpetrators didn’t have serious mental illness, despite common narratives linking the two. About 11 percent of such killers were found to have lifetime psychotic symptoms in a new study of 1,315 mass murders (defined as three or more people killed) from 1900 through 2019. About 65 percent of the incidents involved firearms, and shooters had a slightly lower rate of mental illness — 8 percent compared to 18 percent for all perpetrators using other weapons. “The findings from this potentially definitive study suggest that emphasis on serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or psychotic mood disorders, as a risk factor for mass shootings is given undue emphasis, leading to public fear and stigmatization,” said Gary Brucato, a study co-leader and associate research scientist in Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry.

A man who refused to wear a mask at a high school basketball game fatally shot a police officer who intervened. When a staffer tried to block the suspect from entering a gym in New Orleans on Friday, the man allegedly punched the staffer, and 38-year-old Tulane University Police Officer Martinus Mitchum intervened. That’s when police say the 35-year-old suspect pulled a gun and fatally shot Mitchum. The suspect was charged with first-degree murder. A tragic trend: We’ve documented at least 19 shootings related to pandemic restrictions since the first statewide lockdown went into effect last March; at least four people have died and 12 have been wounded in the incidents.

In bankruptcy court, Ford asked the NRA for its cars back. The automaker has leased three vehicles to the National Rifle Association, for which the organization has been paying more than $2,000 per month. But in a recent filing in the group’s Chapter 11 proceedings, Ford said it was concerned the NRA wouldn’t meet its obligations after it missed lease payments in January. “Ford does not have and [the NRA] is not able to offer adequate protection of Ford’s interest in the vehicle[s],” the company wrote in the filing. A lawyer for the NRA told the Washington Free Beacon that it was current on payments until it filed for bankruptcy in January. 

On the first day of resumed in-person learning, an Arkansas junior high was the site of a shooting. A 15-year-old student was wounded after a fellow student shot him at Watson Chapel Junior High School in Pine Bluff, police said. While school shootings make up a tiny percentage of overall gun violence, a nationwide move to remote learning saw the number that resulted in injury or death drop significantly last year — from 25 such incidents in 2019 to 10 last year, according to a database from Education Week.

Merrick Garland’s nomination set for final vote after passing out of committee. President Joe Biden’s attorney general pick, who has pledged to prioritize the fight against domestic terrorism, could be confirmed as soon as this week.

Data Point

77.7 percent — the share of political contributions in 2020 from people who self-identified their job as “police” that went to Republican candidates or committees. That’s up from 50 and 58 percent respectively in the last two presidential election cycles (2012 and 2016). [The Washington Post]