What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: It’s time to hold our leaders accountable on crime victims compensation. As Illinois enacts changes to its victims compensation program, a group of health care providers, survivors, and activists say now is the time to take bold action and solve the problems that prevent people who have faced gun violence from getting help. In a commentary piece for The Trace, Kevin Zickterman, Rhiannon Jimenez, Tanya L. Zakrison, and Paige-Ashley Campbell offer eight steps they believe the state must take to improve the system. “Until survivors and family members receive the compensation that they, by law, deserve, they remain at risk of … factors that sustain the cycle of gun violence,” they write. The article is a response to reporting from former Trace staffers Lakeidra Chavis and Daniel Nass, who in July explored why less than 40 percent of applicants to the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program receive benefits — and why many more don’t apply in the first place.

A fourth student dies as officials say Oxford high school shooting suspect had been flagged for “concerning” behavior. 17-year-old Justin Shilling on Wednesday died at the hospital from wounds sustained in Tuesday’s shooting. The other dead victims were Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17. Meanwhile, authorities revealed that the suspect and his parents met with school officials over his “concerning” behavior the day before the incident. After reviewing security camera footage, the Oakland County sheriff also said the 15-year-old gunman emerged armed from a bathroom and appeared to fire at targets randomly. Prosecutors in the Detroit suburb on Wednesday charged the teen as an adult and levied a slew of felony charges against him, including murder and terrorism. Prosecutors also suggested that they may charge the suspect’s parents for failure to secure the gun used in the shooting, which was allegedly purchased by the gunman’s father last week.

Chicago’s surrounding county is charging fewer people with crimes — but Black defendants now make up a greater share of those charged. Jared Rutecki of the Better Government Association and Josh McGee of Injustice Watch report that 57 percent of defendants in Cook County Circuit Court were Black in 2000, but by 2018, they made up 65 percent of those charged. Part of the increase was an uptick in weapons charges: The number of gun cases against Black defendants increased by 39 percent, while those against white defendants actually decreased by 49 percent. The authors write that while changes in policing and prosecution brought down the overall number of charges, they also meant more targeted prosecution efforts in areas low in resources and high in crime — often, majority nonwhite neighborhoods. “The concentration of poverty and violence in these neighborhoods leads to more policing and more arrests,” one expert told them. 

Americans bought 1.42 million guns last month. That’s according to our updated analysis of FBI data. This seasonally adjusted figure includes 860,000 handguns and 550,000 long guns (rifles and shotguns). November’s total was down 20 percent from the same month last year. Even so, it ranks as one of the higher monthly totals since the current background check system launched in 1998.

Data Point

44 — the number of people across the U.S. who have been charged for crimes involving the anti-government Boogaloo movement, according to a new tracker. [George Washington University’s Program on Extremism]