The Morning: Living in violence

In some communities, shootings are a daily occurrence.

Good morning. A small number of blocks often account for most of the gun violence in U.S. cities.

Jomarria Vaughn in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

Highly concentrated

Thirty-five people were killed in mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa over the past few weeks, focusing national attention on America's unique gun problem.

In that same time, around 1,800 people were killed and almost 500 wounded in nearly 1,600 other shootings in the U.S., including at a Los Angeles warehouse party over the weekend. Mass shootings account for less than 4 percent of gun homicides in a typical year, and most gun violence in the U.S. takes a different form. So I went to Chicago, where shootings are a daily occurrence in some areas, to see what more-typical gun violence looks like.

There, I met 24-year-old Jomarria Vaughn. After spending time in jail on domestic violence and weapon charges, he has tried to rebuild his life. But his past haunts him.

The last time he was on Facebook, he found out his best friend had been shot to death. He now tries to stay off the site, out of fear that posting the wrong thing could anger the wrong people — and make him a target.

In his neighborhood, he tries to avoid spending too much time "out on the block," he said. Even if he is not a target, violence is so common there that Vaughn worries he could be hit by a stray bullet.

"I'm scared," Vaughn told me. "I have my guard up all day."

This is what daily life looks like for many Black Chicagoans. Across the city, the murder rate for Black people is higher than it was from the 1980s through the 1990s — a violent period that drove a nationwide push for mass incarceration. Black Chicagoans are nearly 40 times more likely to be shot to death than their white peers, according to an analysis by the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Source: University of Chicago Crime Lab

The violence is highly concentrated: Just 4 percent of city blocks account for the majority of shootings across Chicago, according to the Crime Lab.

Similar disparities exist across America. Black and brown neighborhoods suffer higher rates of poverty, and violence concentrates around poverty. The violence is so intensive that a few neighborhoods, blocks or people often drive most of the shootings and murders in a city or county. And this is true in both urban and rural areas, said Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton.

The disparities have held up as murders have spiked across the country since 2020. So while the numbers are typically reported through a national lens, the reality on the ground is that a small slice of the population — disproportionately poor, Black and brown — suffers the most from it.

Two worlds

The concentration of violence has another effect: It pushes violence out of sight for most people.

In Chicago, 51 people were shot in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend — a five-year high. Almost all of the victims were on the city's South and West Sides, which are mostly Black and brown.

Only when violence hits closer to home does it typically grab more people's attention. That happened nationwide this year after mass shootings in schools and grocery stores, where Americans can imagine themselves or loved ones falling victim. In Chicago, public outrage over a shooting last month that killed a 16-year-old boy downtown — a richer, whiter area — prompted the mayor to impose a curfew for minors.

But that is the kind of violence that poorer, minority communities deal with daily, with little to no public attention. The vast majority of shootings never make national headlines.

Speaking to Black activists and residents in Chicago, I was struck by how they spoke almost dispassionately about the violence around them. They all had stories of dead friends and family members killed in gang shootings, episodes of domestic violence or road rage, or during petty conflicts over women — the shootings sometimes just days or weeks apart. Outside their homes, the sound of gunshots is common.

Chicago faith leaders regularly meet to find ways to reduce violence.Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

Vicious cycles

As I traveled around Chicago, the two worlds were clearly visible. Wealthier parts looked like a modern, rich city — parking meters and payment terminals built for smartphones, bustle around packed businesses, and residents on electric bikes and scooters. Poor areas were marked by disinvestment: homes in disrepair, boarded-up buildings and few to no stores.

What I saw exemplifies a vicious cycle that causes the concentration of violence in an area, experts said. Poverty leads to violence, which leads to disinvestment, which leads to more poverty and violence. Coupled with a police force that fails to solve most murders and shootings, the cycle becomes difficult to break.

By contrast, other communities have a host of social supports keeping violence at bay, including good jobs, better schools, well-kept parks and recreation centers, and responsive police.

So for most Americans, violence is something they may hear about on the news but do not deal with on a regular basis. But for people in the hardest-hit communities, violence is a fact of daily life. Like Vaughn, they come to expect it — and worry that they could be the next victim.

For More


The Economy
Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair.Olivier Douliery/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An industrial raft on the Ruki River.Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times
Other Big Stories

Jessica Bennett discussed 50 years of Ms. magazine with Gloria Steinem.

Crypto is crashing, but the tech behind it will live on, Maria Bustillos argues.

The Senate's proposed gun safety bill isn't perfect, but it's better than nothing, Gail Collins says.

Your support makes our reporting possible.

Help 1,700 journalists continue their mission. Subscribe now with this special offer.


Artbag, on Madison Avenue, will close after 90 years.Elianel Clinton for The New York Times

Inside Kraken: A corporate culture war stoked by a crypto C.E.O.

Acting: Emma Thompson discussed baring it all onscreen at 63.

A Times classic: What ancient DNA tells us.

Advice from Wirecutter: How to pick patio furniture.

Lives Lived: The Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua captured the discordance of living in a land fraught with moral and political conundrums. He died at 85.


A major game's misstep

Diablo is one of the most successful video game franchises, from one of the biggest developers in the world, Blizzard Entertainment. But the latest entry in the series, "Diablo Immortal," has received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics who say the game's payment model is predatory.

"Diablo Immortal" is free to download on computers and mobile devices, but it hosts a shop in which players can use real money to buy items to improve their avatar's gear. Those improvements are not guaranteed; players are, in essence, paying for a virtual scratch-off ticket. By some estimates, it can take thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars to fully upgrade a character.

Belgium and the Netherlands will not get "Diablo Immortal" as a result of anti-gambling rules that ban these types of games. And on Metacritic, a review aggregator, users have given the PC version of the game a score of 0.2 out of 10 — among the lowest of any Blizzard game.


What to Cook
Linda Xiao for The New York Times

This pasta includes celery, an underappreciated vegetable.

What to Watch

The premise of Pixar's "Lightyear": "In 1995, a boy named Andy got a toy from his favorite movie. This is that movie." (Some countries are banning the film over a same-sex kiss.)

What (and Where) to Read

The author Leïla Slimani recommends books that reveal hidden facets of Paris.

Late Night
Now Time to Play

The pangram from yesterday's Spelling Bee was challenge. Here is today's puzzle.

Here's today's Mini Crossword, and a clue: Canvas holder (five letters).

And here's today's Wordle. After, use our bot to get better.

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

P.S. Ben Hubbard, a Middle East reporter who has contributed to this newsletter, is The Times's new Istanbul bureau chief.

"The Daily" is about monkeypox. "First Person" chronicles the parental rights movement. The Modern Love podcast is about dating a younger man.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at

Need help? Review our newsletter help page or contact us for assistance.

You received this email because you signed up for the Morning newsletter from The New York Times, or as part of your New York Times account.

To stop receiving these emails, unsubscribe or manage your email preferences.

Subscribe to The Times

Connect with us on:


Change Your EmailPrivacy PolicyContact UsCalifornia Notices

The New York Times Company. 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018


Posts les plus consultés de ce blog

Chris Ramsey can take the heat, but what would relegation for QPR mean for black managers in the Premier League?

'Game of Thrones' gave fans of Missandei and Grey Worm something to love tonight