Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[AP/Morry Gash]

Daily Bulletin: The Racial Disparities in Homicide Reporting

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Researchers have quantified the news coverage gaps for homicide victims in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Scholars from the University of Chicago and Stanford analyzed more than 2,200 news articles about homicides in Chicago in 2016. Their findings put numbers to complaints that racial justice activists have long made:

  • Victims killed in majority-Black neighborhoods received less coverage than those in white areas
  • When the media did report on victims in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, the articles were less likely to depict those who’d been killed as multifaceted, complex people

Forrest Stuart, one of the paper’s co-authors, amplified the study results in a series of tweets. “We discovered that articles about White victims are much longer than those about Black and Brown folks, and use more humanizing language,” he wrote. “One of the more interesting and important findings is that neighborhood really matters,” perhaps even more than the individual victim’s race.

Senate Dems seek to boot the NRA Foundation from federal charity program. Government workers give tens of millions of dollars each year to nonprofits through the annual Combined Federal Campaign. Senator Bob Menendez and 13 Senate Democratic colleagues are asking the head of the Office of Personnel Management — which oversees the program — to remove the National Rifle Association Foundation from the list of nonprofits who’ll benefit from this year’s donation drive in light of lawsuits by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and New York alleging pervasive financial improprieties at the gun group. “In short, the allegations raised by the attorneys general contradict OPM’s goal of demonstrating a commitment to public service, and if true, violate federal regulations,” the letter reads. By one estimate, the federal charity campaign raised nearly $500,000 for the NRA Foundation from 2014 to 2018.

A police shooting almost killed her when she was 15 years old. She aches for those who never get to tell their story. “I never want to feel what that officer — whose face was so full of hate — felt,” Pamela Ferrell says in a moving Washington Post profile of her life since a Rhode Island police officer shot her at point blank range in 1975. As a victim of police violence from before the era of cell phone cameras, she’s now dedicated to exposing the structures that for generations allowed law enforcement to distort public understanding of officers’ use of force. “There is a system in place that lies — a system that tells only the police’s story,” Ferrell says. “I survived. Someone who doesn’t survive doesn’t get to tell their story.”

Days after officials reject banning firearms in the Michigan Capitol, hundreds of gun carriers demonstrated outside the complex. Yesterday’s open carry rally in Lansing was planned weeks ago, reports Michigan Live, but its timing was potent: On Monday, after delaying a decision for months, the commission with oversight of the state Capitol voted down a pair of proposals that would have banned guns in the building. State Democrats — and a few Republicans — have clamored for the prohibition since an April protest against coronavirus restrictions saw armed demonstrators throng the legislative chamber. Commission members are continuing to discuss options with lawmakers.

A peaceful protester in Portland, Oregon, who was critically injured by an “impact munition” is back in the hospital. In July, a federal officer fired a rubber bullet that struck Donavan La Bella in the face, causing extensive skull damage. He’s had persistent complications and needed numerous surgeries. “This poor kid can’t catch a break. He just wants to get out of there and heal up,” his mother told The Oregonian. A probe of the shooting by the Justice Department’s inspector general is ongoing.

A Florida deputy who was fired after the Parkland shooting will be reinstated. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office dismissed Josh Stambaugh for alleged inaction during the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was the second time in four months that a deputy fired for their response to the shooting was rehired after a state arbitrator ruled that the department had missed legal deadlines.

DATA POINT

Domestic violence homicides rose by 36 percent in Wisconsin last year, and experts say the number is likely to increase again in 2020. Yesterday, The Trace profiled one Wisconsin woman terrified of what will happen when her abuser — who obtained a gun during the pandemic — gets out of prison. [The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]