Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 10:28 am
We have a default template for the way we process mass shootings. We scour through every available scrap of the perpetrators' interior lives – Facebook postings, YouTube videos, interviews with former roommates — to try to find out what drove them to kill. The sites of the massacres become a kind of shorthand: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood. We conduct protracted, unsatisfying conversations about gun rights, and about mental illness, and about how we have to make sure that they never happen again.
New Orleans is making progress toward losing the "murder capital" label. For a second straight year, homicides declined in the city, in keeping with a nationwide trend.
For African-Americans in the city, though, the numbers are less comforting. Of the nearly 350 killings in the past two years, 91 percent of the victims have been black. It's a cycle that's worrisome to the city's African-American community — and law enforcement.