NYT: Repeat After Me—The Murder Spree Was Caused By The PANDEMIC…Not George Floyd
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From the New York Times news section, an exercise in pounding home the Democrats’ talking point that the late May 2020 explosion in gun murders was due to the pandemic. The pandemic was the cause. The cause was the pandemic. Pandemic, pandemic, pandemic.

Number of times mentioned by NYT:

Pandemic: 26
George Floyd: 1
Protest: 1
Black Lives Matter: 0
Riot: 0
Defund: 0
Depolice: 0
Racial reckoning: 0

How the Pandemic Reshaped American Gun Violence

By Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Eli Murray, Josh Williams and Rebecca Lieberman May 14, 2024

Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is a routine activity for many Americans. Yet for 47 million people — about one in seven — such a walk would pass near the location of a recent gun homicide.

The number of people living this close to fatal violence grew drastically during the pandemic years, a New York Times analysis has found, as a surge in killings not only worsened gun violence in neighborhoods that were already suffering but also spread into new places.

To assess the impact of the pandemic years, The New York Times created a map of every gun homicide in the United States since 2020, using data collected from the police and news media accounts by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. …

Though the level of violence has fallen since the worst days of the pandemic, Americans are still shooting and killing one another more frequently than they did in the years before the coronavirus arrived. The long-term impact of the surge in violence is being felt in many corners of the nation, and researchers will undoubtedly study it for years to come. …

The rate of fatal shootings per 100,000 residents remains above pre-pandemic levels in many places.

… The analysis revealed that gun deaths spread into new neighborhoods during the pandemic: An additional 8.7 million Americans now live on a block near a gun homicide, a 23 percent increase from the prepandemic years.

But even as the geography of fatal shootings expanded, killings also rose sharply in the nation’s existing centers of violence. These neighborhoods saw the worst of the surge, perpetuating a pattern of concentrated violence that long predated the pandemic. …

One thing the pandemic did not change is the sharp racial disparity in the communities most exposed to fatal shootings. Black people were five times as likely to live near a gun homicide as white people, while Latinos were three times as likely, Asian Americans were twice as likely, and Native Americans were 1.4 times as likely. The violence mostly followed patterns of housing segregation, which often leaves people of color living in poorer neighborhoods where crime rates are often higher.

It’s not that black neighborhoods are shootier because blacks are shootier, it’s that segregation leaves people of color living in poorer neighborhoods where crime rates are often higher.

Criminologists have offered several explanations for the drastic rise in the number of fatal shootings during the pandemic:

A rise in gun ownership made it more likely for violent disputes to become deadly. An increase in drug use, and drug dealing, made violent conflicts more probable. The disruption of public schools abetted an expansion of youth gang activity. And an upheaval in policing led to reduced enforcement in many cities.

… Everett is a city of 110,000 north of Seattle that is a hub for aerospace manufacturing. It is one of many smaller American cities where the number of fatal shootings both increased and spread during the pandemic years.

… When George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer early in the pandemic, it set off an anti-police protest movement around the nation. In Everett and elsewhere, the result was more difficulty in recruiting police officers to do the kind of work necessary to curb crime, said the chief of the city’s Police Department, John DeRousse.

… “If you were to compare us to Oakland or San Francisco, we don’t have the level of support or the same level of resources,” said Andrea Sorce, an economics professor who is running for mayor of Vallejo. “So, yeah, when something hits like the pandemic, we do get hit hard.”

… Overall, the footprint of violence spread in four out of five major U.S. cities. In Atlanta, the percentage of residents exposed to nearby gun violence rose to 58 percent during the pandemic years, up from 36 percent in the four prior years. In Columbus, Ohio, the exposure went to 41 percent from 28 percent.

Pockets of Violence

Even as violence spread in cities where it had been relatively low before the pandemic, it also intensified and spread in the places that already had high homicide rates.

… Dr. Williams runs the trauma unit at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and said the number of children and teenagers wounded by gunfire more than doubled during the pandemic, including 96 children 5 and under who suffered gunshot wounds.

“During Covid, we were so worried about the effect that it had on older people,” she said. “But we failed to recognize the effect of our children being out of school, and being out of normal socialization.”

In poorer communities, children rely on public institutions like schools and recreation departments to provide structure, and when that support was cut back during the pandemic, poorer children were more likely to suffer the consequences. Dr. Williams said many young people dropped out of the school system when society shut down, and never rejoined.

The historic explosion in homicides took place May 29-31, 2020, a half week after George Floyd’s demise. That’s about when most schools shut down for summer vacation anyway.

“There’s just a lot more children in the community that don’t have any way to stay busy and be occupied, and that’s getting them into trouble,” she said.

Memphis had more than a thousand homicide victims during the pandemic but the impact was even broader, since more than 335,000 people lived on blocks in close proximity to the violence — 83 percent of them Black or Hispanic. Some researchers believe more attention should be paid to these indirect victims.

… Black people were already far more likely to live near shootings before the pandemic, so when violence spiked, they were most likely to be affected.

Black people, much less Black Lives Matter, didn’t have anything to do with why violence spiked.

In Milwaukee, for example, where shootings are so frequent that more than a third of white residents lived near one, their Black neighbors had it far worse: 83 percent lived near a gun homicide.

… Debate Over Reforms

While homicide rates are falling in many parts of the country, they are still higher than prepandemic levels, and in some places they are still going up. The policy implications are still playing out in two primary areas: the battle over gun regulations and the debate over the role of policing.

… More than 140 justice reform bills passed in 30 states in 2020 and 2021, measures that are still controversial in some jurisdictions.

“Everything seemed to be getting at making crime less costly to commit or making law enforcement more costly to do,” said Rafael A. Mangual, a fellow at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute who studies criminal justice. “I think people are unwilling to sacrifice the level of safety that was clearly sacrificed during the pandemic years.”

Whatever happens with the law and policing, researchers worry that the pandemic has left the nation more prone to gun violence than before.

“We are, as a society, experiencing long Covid,” said Dr. Wintemute, the University of California epidemiologist. “I don’t mean the physical effects of having the illness. We are only beginning to come to terms with the social damage that this pandemic has done.”

He added: “Many people’s futures, many people’s trajectories were altered by the pandemic, very few of them for the better. We’re going to be dealing with this for a long time.”


… Exposure is measured by the share of the population living in blocks where there was at least one fatal shooting within a quarter mile during the pandemic years. Population figures are based on the 2020 census. …

Change-over-time figures compare the pandemic years, 2020 through 2023, with the four preceding years, 2016 through 2019.

As you may recall (although the New York Times wishes you wouldn’t), there was not one but two major social events in 2020: the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter-George Floyd “racial reckoning.” The NYT was against the former but, at the time, adamantly in favor of the latter.

This article assumes upon little evidence that the pandemic was the driving force in the huge surge in homicides that exploded in the last days of May 2020 following George Floyd’s demise on May 25, 2020.

Thus, it uses the word “pandemic” 26 times in its article versus once for “George Floyd,” once for “protest,” and with no mentions whatsoever of Black Lives Matter, racial reckoning, defunding the police, depolicing, or other terms redolent of the summer of 2020 when murder rates soared.

Interestingly, motor vehicle accidents also rose sharply among blacks during the Floyd Effect, probably largely due to less fear of being pulled over for bad driving (and thus also less fear of being arrested for outstanding warrants or carrying an illegal handgun). The same thing had happened during the Ferguson Effect when BLM rode high in 2015-16 as cops retreated to the donut shop. Thus, in 2021, black homicide deaths were 44% higher than in 2019 before the racial reckoning and black traffic fatalities were up 39% as well.

Although the pandemic was worldwide, surges in murder and road mayhem were not seen in other countries. And in the U.S. they rose less among whites and Asians.

So, blame for the rise in black carnage rests mostly on overreaction to George Floyd and BLM.

I graphed black male age 15-44 deaths by week using CDC cause-of-death data:

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