Melissa Harris-Perry: Gun Violence All Too Familiar For Many Americans


After watching the better part of a couple of days of coverage on this tragic school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT, I was glad to see at least one show on television where there was a discussion about the fact that what happened there, and the trauma that those children and their families are going through right now, is an all but too common occurrence which is sadly all too familiar to Americans living in our inner cities across the country.

Whether it's Chicago, or New Orleans or the other big cities across the country facing high crime rates, far too often the violence has been glossed over and ignored to the point by our national media, that it's just considered acceptable or something we're expected to live with.

As Melissa noted, to date Chicago has suffered at least 425 gun-related homicides in 2012 as of Dec. 14. The Huffington Post has more on that story here: Chicago Homicides Reach 400 This Year, City Turns To Twitter For Ideas To End Violence. And 117 of those victims this year alone were under the age of 21.

And in her home town of New Orleans, we've had 174 murders, most of which are gunshot deaths and in Los Angeles, there have been 512 homicides recorded for the year, and 75 percent of those deaths resulted from gunshot wounds.

HARRIS-PERRY: These are the gun related homicides that get treated as routine -- tragic, but expected. And yet, they need to be included when we talk about Newtown, CT, because their victims are just as real.

The Nation's Ari Melber followed with this:

MELBER: So while we understand exactly how terrible this is and why the story of it and the way it happened is so dramatic and we're rushing to it and the President's speaking to it, it's also true as a policy matter that if 27 people dying is something that connotes the President's attention or our attention and action, well then every day is this day, as you were saying and all around the country.

As Michael Eric Dyson noted, President Obama did bring up those in Chicago during his statement following this most recent shooting and made this important point:

DYSON: The reality is, we've become accustomed to believing that little black and brown kids and poor white kids in various spots across our landscape are doomed to this kind of violence by this... we are surprised it happened here. It's not supposed to happen here.

Which means by implication, that it's supposed to happen there, in Detroit, or Oakland, or California, in LA and the like. And I think that's the tragedy here.

As Harris-Perry rightfully noted a bit later in the segment, she just wants the same level of outrage when you're seeing these kids in our inner cities having their childhoods taken away from them with the violence that they are growing up around as a part of their daily lives as we've seen from these mass shootings that garner so much national attention in the media.

I hope if there is an ounce of good that comes out of this shooting, it's that conversations like this one are more common where we're talking about what we can do to put a stop to gun violence along with a host of other topics that are all interwoven with the same subject and those are not just gun control and gun violence, but mental health, providing adequate health care for all of our citizens, education, poverty, our social safety nets and just what kind of country we're allowing way too many of our children to grow up in.

Winter Donation Drive
A latte a month. That's all we ask!
Via snail mail:
P.O. BOX 66310
Los Angeles, CA 90066


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.