“Being male is probably the biggest factor in being likely to get murdered in our society, not being black or poor.”

This comment was by WellOkayThen on the post “Why Are So Many Black Males Being Murdered in Chicago?

I kept waiting for the article above to make the obvious point about MEN being the overwhelming vast majority of murder victims in this case, but it never quite got there.

If a poor black man is more likely to be a murder victim than anyone else, it is not just because of poverty and racism. It is also just as much because he is MALE. Look at the victim percentages any way you want, the biggest inequality is in gender. Being male is probably the biggest factor in being likely to get murdered in our society, not being black or poor. If it were primarily about race, one would expect there to be comparable numbers of black women murdered, but that is probably not the case.

Being a “black man” means that you are “black” and also that you are a “man.” Our society shoots at BOTH of those attributes. Being a black man is a double whammy, not a single whammy. Each of those characteristics puts a bull’s eye on your back.

On a separate note, it would be important to factor out differences in population density, especially when it comes to residential neighborhoods. The business district didn’t have murders, but maybe relatively few people live there anyway. The poorer neighborhoods have more people crammed into them, so mathematically they are bound to have slightly more murders than elsewhere, just because they have more people. “Half of the police districts” does not necessarily mean half of the population. (Maybe the precincts are supposed to serve an eqal number of people? I don’t know.) The distribution may be more even than it looks.

photo: mrbill / flickr

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  1. John Schtoll says:

    @Well: I would add to that , being killed because you ARE or AREN’T something shouldn’t elevate your murder up the “PITY” scale. That is what society is doing now though, if you belong to the right demographic then you get laws passed to protect you and if you are not part of that demographic, then alas, you are just another statistic.

    Think VAWA, although women are in the minority of victims of violent crime, they have their own law. A law that is being used to get buckets of money for people who will help the ‘right people’.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I see your point. I’m trying to mobilize a little bit of sympathy for men as victims, but mostly I’m thinking in terms of dangers and the likelihood of being a victim. I can see some good reasons for some (some!) targeted legal protections based on demographic category, even if they are relatively rare. For example, I have no problem with laws that give children a little extra protection from violence compared to adults. (If those laws actually do so.) Or extra protection for the elderly, who are also a very small minority of murder victims.

      I don’t even have a problem with a law that only tries to minimize violence against women and says nothing about male victims in the law, if that’s the main goal of that particular law. It’s just a specific law about one aspect of violence. My problem is the lack of any comparable law for men to go with it, if the lawmakers ignore male victims not just in that law but in the rest of their lawmaking as well. For me, VAWA was never the problem, the problem was the lack of anything else to go with it.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    I have no problem agreeing with the idea that men are also more likely to be the murderers as well as the murder victims. I think that’s clearly *part* of the reason why men are murdered more than women. Those two outcomes come out of some of the same causes. I get it.

    But, I don’t understand the impulse to just end the discussion there. There were five times as many men murdered in 2010 as women (according to FBI statistics), but that’s okay, because there were more than five times as many male murderers as female murderers, so it’s all good? The high rate of male violence excuses the high rate of male murder victims? Is that what I’m hearing?

    To say that men are murdered because they seek out trouble and refuse to back down — that sounds like blaming the victim to me. Grouping all men together as murderers and victims is a pretty lousy way to look at the murders of our fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, grandsons, etc. The men who are murdering are not necessarily the same men being murdered. Sure, there’s some overlap, but it’s ridiculous to discount men’s death because men are also more violent. It’s not the same men in both cases!

    Just because some men are murderously violent doesn’t mean that the lives of other men are therefore less worthy of protection. The murder of a man is not inherently less tragic than the murder of a woman. (Why is it taboo to say that?) (By the same token, a woman who murders is not more monstrous than a man who murders.) Being murdered for being male should not be any more acceptable than being murdered for being black or for any other demographic category.

  3. John Schtoll says:

    @Well: The reason is because when shooting you are supposed to aim for “Center of Mass” and the throat in this example if further from center of mass than the shoulder is.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Makes sense. I thought it might be something like that. I was trying to see it from the target’s point of view, and the numbering didn’t make sense – “well, at least I only got shot in the throat. Thank goodness it wasn’t someplace higher points, like my shoulder.”

  4. wellokaythen says:

    Can I ask about the photo included in this quote of the day?

    Why is a bullet to the throat/face only three points when a shot to the shoulder is 4 points? Is it really as unlikely to kill you as a shot in the arm? Or is it because you’re supposed to aim for the middle of the torso? Help me out here, guntoters.

    • All pure guesses here.
      Probably some random point scoring like you see on dartboards, I don’t think they’re meant to be indicative of effective shots.

      Reasons to shoot the shoulder are to disable your opponent vs just kill, hard to lift your gun to shoot with a bullet in your shoulder.
      Reason to shoot the neck. Well, S.W.A.T I believe aim for the spine at a certain point as it kills but stops muscles contraction so they don’t accidentally pull a trigger. Another reason is to shoot the throat so his friend is there trying to stop the bleeding (taking 2 people or more outa the action for a while).

      Center-mass because it’s easier to shoot and a lot of vital shit there to harm, the heart, lungs, etc.

      Low hip area? My guess simple points but a shot there will probably do a slower death? Tear through the intestines etc and you’ll have a big infection risk. I wouldn’t think of that as humane at all.

      If you want to kill then go for the center-mass or the head/brain, if you want to disable a shooter then go for the shoulder/arm/hand. Other shots are just nasty and quite frankly sick to do to someone since there’s no legit reason apart one in war where some will try to injure someone so much that they can’t fight, but they take up resources of other people trying to save their life and also having a demoralizing effect on soldiers (who wants to live with permanent injuries, shit into a bag, be paralyzed, etc). Not sure if the geneva convention bans this? It’s a very effective tactic in lowering the other side’s capability probably.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Makes sense that you would target different parts for different goals. I just imagine if I were defending myself with a firearm that I would not have the presence of mind to think about these anatomical nuances. I would probably be extremely lucky to hit an attacker anywhere at all…..

        • wellokaythen says:

          P.S. By the way, after reading the answers to my question about the target, I am hereby resolving to trying to avoid angering anyone on this site ever again…..

          • hahahaha. I only shoot paper, metal, MAYBE pest species but not really interested in killing anything. I just wanna kill old cars n paper targets, I admire the skill involved in longer range shooting. Even when I am angry I have no desire to kill, besides no one is worth jail!

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        Reason for shooting at center of mass is that, if you’re off by even a foot, you still might hit something. Being picky about, say, the shoulder means if you’re off to the side or high, you miss altogether, different directions for missing the throat, and such.
        The sniper’s triangle is a part of the spinal cord and brain in the mid-skull which will drop the individual without a single muscle twitch. Even if he had his finger on the trigger, it’s over. Now, you can shoot a guy practically anyplace and put him out of offensive action, most places and put him out of defensive action–but see, for contrast “Tango Mike Mike”–but the triangle is most useful when the target has a hostage at gunpoint, or a detonator ready to go. Other than that, there’s no reason to try, and any minor variable would cause a miss. Might’s well shoot center of mass.
        The military even has–although I only saw the Brit ones–of how long it takes to bleed out if stabbed in one artery or another. Brachial—90 seconds, irrc. Pretty grim. There’s a shorter period to become combat ineffective.
        Speaking of which, more or less, the murder rate would be considerably higher if we had the emergency services and ER technology and skill of the nineteen fifties. When you save somebody from nearly certain death…it’s not murder. And we’re saving them.

  5. For a long time white guys-in general- ignored the fact that black men and other men of color were suffering from the same ills, but at higher rates than they the average white guy. The financial meltdown changed all of that. Men of color are,for the male population of America, the canaries in the mind shaft.

  6. Good point. I think the reason you won’t see more focus on male’s as victims of violence is because, once again, it is treated as forbidden to actually talk about the way men are harmed as men.

    That’s why when even progressives talk about all of these murders of young black men they try to make it about economic status, class, and race and actively avoid gender.

    If it were primarily about race, one would expect there to be comparable numbers of black women murdered, but that is probably not the case.

    When changing focus from black men to black women it seems the non-sexual violence goes down and sexual violence goes up. But you’ll notice that when talking about sex crimes against women of color suddenly no has a problem bringing gender into the conversation. This creates the false illusion that being male is actually some sort of deterent to being the victim of a crime.

    In actuality at best gender MIGHT alter one’s chances of being the victim of a sex crime. But that doesn’t seem to pop up in the heads of folks that like to make male privilege checklists (notice how many of them have some “I have the male privielge of being less likely to be a victim of a sex crime.” yet how often do you see it acknowledged that there is a female privilege of being less likely to be a victim of a non-sexual crime?).

    Being a “black man” means that you are “black” and also that you are a “man.” Our society shoots at BOTH of those attributes. Being a black man is a double whammy, not a single whammy. Each of those characteristics puts a bull’s eye on your back.

    Yes it does. And do you know why it’s treated like a single whammy? Because to acknowledge that being male is a whammy shatters the idea that there is no such thing as gender oppression against males for being male.

  7. There’s the psycho-gender differences, such as bravado and macho-pride – so maybe that? Men don’t like to back-down, and it seems to have strong gender connection.

    Males are as into bringing drama into their lives as women, but we tend to go out and hunt-down dangerous drama a bit more (quite a bit more).

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Well, yes, guys get murdered about ten times as often as women. That’s why we needed the VAWA.. Wait. What?
    What is interesting is the amount of interest from the Right Sort of People. And how it breaks out. GMP had much, much more interest in one shooting–Trayvon Martin–than in Chicago’s five hundred. Now, what’s the difference?
    Well, in Martin’s case, a white guy shot him. Well, not really. It was a Hispanic with a German name. But it was close enough.
    Or maybe there was something else.
    But, anyway, if I were the family of one of Chicago’s murdered, and if I had emotion and interest to spare, I’d be really annoyed to find that my loved one doesn’t count because he wasn’t killed by a white man.

  9. wello, you had the most cotd’s for 2012. so you get to wear the 2012cotd crown, mantle, and nice floorlength gown

  10. Um. Yeah. Do your homework. This was fairly ignorant post.

    • Do black women get murdered more than white men by population ratio?

    • wellokaythen says:

      I assume you meant “This was a fairly ignorant post” rather than “This was fairly ignorant post.”

      It could be worse. Sometimes I’m called “totally ignorant.” Here I’m just “fairly ignorant.” Perhaps I’m improving.

      • sharon morales says:

        Pointing out a pretty obvious grammatical mistake is silly. I do think it is a article sucks as well. you should of done some research. “If it were primarily about race, one would expect there to be comparable numbers of black women murdered, but that is probably not the case.” you should know if that is the case. The reason women don’t get murdered as often probably has to do with the fact that men themselves are doing the killing. That doesnt seem strange to me. It seems obvious. if men were killing an equal number of women and men that would seem strange to me. Due to drug related/ gang related crimes.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Fair enough. I make lots of grammar mistakes and typos myself, so it’s hypocritical of me to point it out in others. I just thought it was specifically ironic in this case because the mistake was in a sentece decrying ignorance…. I would also see a similar irony in a message that tells me to do my homework but that shows a lack of proofreading…. It’s sort of like a message that says DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!

          What I hear you saying is that you agree that men are murdered more often than women are, and that does not surprise you. What I hear you saying is that the fact that men are murdered more often than women is not any particular cause of alarm, because of the fact that men are also much more likely to be the murderers as well. Did I get that right?

          • wellokaythen says:

            Crap, hoist on my own petard. I wrote “sentece” instead of “sentence.” What was I saying about proofreading? I “should of” given it more attention….

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