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WHAT TO KNOW THIS WEEK
New research on the risks of firearms for groups with elevated suicide rates. Yesterday, we highlighted a federal grant to improve gun safety efforts targeted at young people. A new analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by Everytown for Gun Safety fleshes out the underlying risk:
- From 2008 to 2019, the rate of gun suicides among Americans aged 10 to 24 increased by 56 percent.
- Firearm suicides had increased the most among Asian and Pacific Islander (179 percent) and Black youth (83 percent). [Everytown provides grants to The Trace through its nonpolitical arm. Here’s our list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.]
Another study provides deeper understanding of gun ownership among LGBT people, who die by suicide at higher rates. A team from the University of California, Davis, found that 16 percent of LGBT Californians own guns, which is below the statewide gun ownership rate. The most common reason given — their own protection — was above the mean. “Efforts to prevent firearm injury, particularly among LGBT owners, will likely need to address suicide risk associated with ownership and self-protection as a primary driver of ownership,” the researchers write. [If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24 hours a day: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.]
NEW from THE TRACE: Are cities willing to cut police spending to invest in community violence prevention? In a commentary piece, two violence prevention leaders make the case for a public health approach to preventing violence that includes money for street outreach, neighborhood revitalization, and jobs programs. With city budgets strained across the country, they say funding will have to shift from massive police budgets to interventions backed by solid evidence. “The truth is, it costs less to prevent violence than to respond to it after the fact,” write Anthony Smith, the executive director at Cities United, and Rachel Davis, the executive director of the Prevention Institute.
Trump appointees downplayed threats from the right while hyping the antifa menace. Among the myriad allegations from a whistleblower complaint by Brian Murphy, a former Department of Homeland Security official: Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli instructed him to alter an intelligence report so that the threat of domestic white supremacist groups appeared “less severe.” At the same time, Cucccinell and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf asked him to modify intelligence analyses to “ensure that they matched up” with President Trump’s public pronouncements on antifa and anarchist groups. Murphy, who was later reassigned, says he refused both requests. Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has requested Murphy’s testimony.
- Not helping: The Facebook echo chamber. Megan Squire, a researcher at Elon University who tracks disinformation and the far-right, crunched the numbers on which posts referencing “antifa” have reached the most people on the social network during the last 30 days. The leaderboard was mostly “dominated by right-wing and far-right-wing media.” The highest performing antifa post from a mainstream or nononservative news source: an article from The Washington Post, at 46th place.
Witness claims officers killed the Portland, Oregon, shooting suspect without prior warning. Michael Forest Reinoehl, the suspect in the fatal shooting of a right-wing protester during a Trump truck rally earlier this month, was shot and killed during a police raid last week. Federal authorities and two witnesses at the scene said Reinoehl was armed at the time of the encounter. But a third witness told The Oregonian he never saw Reinoehl armed, and that officers did not identify themselves ahead of time or try to arrest him first.
A Black licensed gun carrier on why he leaves his gun at home. “It has become clear to me that open carry and concealed carry are white privileges — permit or not,” writes combat veteran and gun instructor Justin McFarlin in USA Today. He says he hasn’t carried in four years: “Despite having a license: I am afraid of being killed by police if I carry a gun in public.
According to the New York Police Department, the 160 gun arrests officers made last week represented a 25-year high. [NBC New York]