A friend of mine went to a major league baseball game last night — the first live sports event he had attended in a year and a half — and this happened:
This was my first live sporting event since the Michigan-Maryland hoops game on 3/12/20. I went with my cousin. We sat in the upper deck behind 3rd base. We heard what we were fairly sure was a series of gunshots immediately behind us. Though loud, it sounded like they came from the street. This happens in DC, I suppose, so we kind of just figured it was what it was, the game would go on, NBD.
Nothing happens for like 30-60 seconds. Then we notice fans in the stands along the first base side of the stadium running. Like, really running. Jumping over railings, sprinting, etc. My immediate reaction was that they were running from a live shooter inside the stadium. Then there are people running onto the field to go into the dugouts. We notice then that the dugouts are empty of players. Then people on our side (the third base side of the stadium) are running. You look out to the center field gate and hundreds of people are running out of the stadium.
No announcement on the PA at all. We don’t know whether it’s safer to stay in the stadium or to leave. There’s really no way to know. I wanted to leave; my cousin wanted to stay. He was right, but thousands of people left, which was the wrong move, it turns out.
Finally, after about 5 minutes, they finally announce over the PA that the incident was outside of the stadium and that we should stay inside. We stay for a few minutes. They then announce that you can leave via 2 exits (not the one that I needed to use, which was right by the shooting, but whatever). We leave, it’s a PITA go get outta there, but whatever.
For a couple minutes there, I was taking shelter almost under seats. There were little kids crying. Never been a part of anything like that. What a shithole country. I should have just stayed in my basement.
(1) There were almost 40,000 gun deaths in America in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available. 23,941 of these were suicides (about half of all suicides are impulsive rather than planned, and the availability of a gun makes it much more likely that the former type of suicide occurs), while 14,414 were homicides, 486 were accidental, and 520 were the result of what the CDC refers to delicately as “legal intervention.”
(2) All these numbers are vastly higher than comparable per capita numbers for any other developed country.
(3) The biggest victims by far of all this are young black men. Young black men make up 2% of the total population but 37% of the gun homicide victims. The gun homicide rate for black males 15-34 in 2019 was 78 per 100,000. Currently, close to one out of every one thousand young black men in the United States is murdered with a gun every year. Of course most of these homicides were committed by other young black men so they don’t actually count. (Those are the rules).
(4) While mass public gun massacres are still quite rare statistically, they are common enough to receive regular saturation media coverage, and thus to require that we carry out “active shooter drills” for the benefit of the youngest children in our schools. This means among other things that the sound of gunfire off in the distance has an increasing potential to cause a mass panic event such as the one my friend endured last night.
(5) Police homicides via gun are also rare relative to the total gun carnage in this nation, but they are still exponentially more common than they are in the civilized parts of the world.