One person was injured in a shooting Saturday in College Station, Arkansas, that took place after a funeral at an African American Baptist church, local police said Saturday. KLRT, Little Rock, said the shooter, whose gender was not identified, got into an argument with the victim, a male. After firing the gun, the shooter fled in an unidentified vehicle.
The Antioch Full Gospel Baptist Church and the North Little Rock police department, which has jurisdiction over College Station, did not return calls for more details.
The shooting comes as the U.S. is set for another year where thousands of people will die from gun-related violence. National statistics show that black men are both the most likely target and the most likely offender of the thousands of incidents, like the one that occurred Saturday, which happen every year.
The media tends to shine a bright spotlight on high-profile multiple homicide shootings, like the June 17 Charleston church massacre committed by a white racist, or Thursday’s Louisiana movie theater shooting committed by a mentally unstable white male who legally purchased his gun at a pawn shop.
But America’s gun proliferation problem simmers constantly in small news pieces that rarely get national attention, killing thousands of black males annually. Northern and northeastern urban areas are where most gun-related killings take place, thanks to population density, according to the Washington Post. Studies in the U.S. and globally have shown direct correlations between poverty and gun crimes.
“FRF [firearm-related fatality] rates were twice as high in African-Americans than Caucasians,” said a study released last September by BMJ Open that analysed 10 years of U.S. gun-crime data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to be killed by a firearm, about 18 per 100,000 residents compared to nine whites and seven Hispanics.
According to the most recent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data available, African American men made up 44 percent of the 12,253 people murdered in the U.S. in 2013, despite making up only about 7 percent of the total U.S. population. More than 9,000 of those killings were committed using firearms. The FBI releases annual data from the previous year in November, so 2013 is the latest year on record.
There are numerically more white males caught committing murder each year than black males -- 2,661, compared to 2,217 – but white people vastly outnumber black people in the United States. When taking that into account, black males are disproportionately more likely to be the offender. This means that gun-related violence in America is largely a black-on-black phenomenon, where black males wind up both the most likely offender and the most likely victim of gun violence.
U.S. handguns make up about 71 percent of the 9,199 firearms used in gun-related murders, but that figure is likely much higher since an estimated 2,000 firearms' types are not identified -- either because of faulty local police data or because the weapons are never retrieved. This means that debates over gun control should be more focused on the proliferation of handguns than of rifles or shotguns.