Jacology: Gateway To Murder

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(KPLR) – In Wednesday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at how poverty and guns add up to a disturbing statistic for St. Louis.

As we noted yesterday, St. Louis has had quite a few murders in January. Tuesday night, the
Shooting festival continued. There was a shooting at the new bus Metrolink and Amtrak transit center downtown. There was a murder on North Taylor. There was a shooting on St. Louis Avenue. And with the murder numbers for January either at 15 or 127 bodies depending on whether you count reported self-defense killings as actual homicides, St. Louis is ending January with a murder rate five times that of Chicago, 21 times New York City's murder rate.

As noted before here, most of the shootings are done with handguns. Most of the shooters and most of the victims are African-American males. Most of the killings take place north of Delmar. Most of them involve shooters and victims who know each other. Most of them occur in the region's poorest neighborhoods.

The conclusion might be that African-American males from poor neighborhoods who have an argument with someone they know and have a handgun are the most likely to be either the killer or the corpse. And that conclusion is true for just about every city in the country.

But per-capita is worse in St. Louis than just about anywhere else. Why is that? Why should a person here run a twenty times greater chance of being shot and killed than they do in New York City? One reason might be that St. Louis is poorer than New York. St. Louis has a lower education level, a lower income level, a higher level of things like sexuality transmitted diseases.

The conclusion has to be that guns plus poverty equal violence. So do guns plus low education or guns plus bad behavior. Solving this means tighter gun controls. But that's only part of the problem.

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.

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