DC residents reportedly being murdered often over petty insults: ‘Really took off in 2020’

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Washington, D.C.’s current shockingly high murder rate, one higher than it’s been in decades, has been driven largely by petty arguments and a lack of anger management.

“A lot of these just petty arguments – just not being able to process anger – is leading to a lot of the homicides that we’ve been seeing,” according to Trina Antoine of D.C. Witness.

D.C. Witness is a nonprofit that tracks “homicide, domestic violence and sexual assault cases as they progress through the D.C. Superior Court” and then presents those findings to the public.

Speaking with Fox News for a video special, Antoine said that the majority of homicides in D.C. have been between “people who know each other” and got into it over something but “didn’t think they could get beyond without a gun.”

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“While rivalries between gangs or crews may drive killings, the underlying disputes frequently stem from petty insults. … These can often grow from disagreements over drugs or money or women, or sometimes even from a rapper in one crew disparaging another,” Fox News notes, citing both criminologists and local officials.

According to Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, these disagreements can stem from “surprisingly small things,” including “an insult on social media, a dispute over a girlfriend and so on.”

Antoine for her part argued that petty shootings “have been around for a long time and have been driving most homicides in the United States.”

However, she also conceded that things “really took off in 2020 and into” 2021. Indeed, amid the COVID pandemic and the BLM riots of 2020, murders have skyrocked across the country, including in and around D.C.

“A total of 416 people, mostly men in their 20s, died in homicides in [the Washington metropolitan area] in 2021,” NBC affiliate station WRC reported on New Year’s Eve 2021.

“In D.C., 227 people were homicide victims as of Friday morning, up from 198 people killed last year. Prince George’s County had 133 people killed, up from 99 people last year. Fairfax County’s count jumped from 15 to 21 people. And Montgomery County’s count jumped from 19 to 35 people.”

The good news for law-abiding citizens is that these homicides almost always involve beef between gang members.

“Group- and gang- involved” people are “at very high risk for involvement in violence just via their connection to groups and gangs,” according to Westfield State University criminal justice assistant professor Lisa Barao.

Even when, as is often the case, “a group or gang dispute isn’t at the heart of” the original conflict.

The tragically bad news is that innocent, law-abiding citizens sometimes wind up suffering the consequences of these beefs.

“A 6-year-old girl was killed during a July drive-by shooting. The next night, a shootout between two cars outside Nationals Park, which is frequented by political leaders, including Supreme Court Justices, caused a panicked crowd to flee the baseball stadium,” Fox News notes.

“In June, a stray bullet killed a Peace Corps worker on 14th Street NW – a popular area littered with bars and restaurants, like Le Diplomate, where both President Biden and Vice President Harris have been spotted. That stretch experienced another shooting just weeks later.”

But the worst news appears to be the fundamental misunderstanding among many (but not all) of why this is occurring.

“We’re talking about people who have lost hope, people who are at-risk, deeply traumatized and have also run out of options. They think the only way to solve that dispute … is by pulling out a gun,” city councilmember Charles Allen said to Fox News.

“Most homicides today are … between and among young men … without much opportunity or much hope, and there is a tit for tat cycle of retaliatory violence,” Abt added.

Missing from their commentary was a mention of missing fathers and broken/dysfunctional families.

But Tyrone Parker of the violence-prevention organization Alliance of Concerned Men — he gets it.

He told Fox News that these young men were never taught “morals, integrity and principles.”

This isn’t to say that every young man from a single-parent home ends up like this. Former Trump administration official Ben Carson certainly didn’t. Though in his case, he made it out OK thanks to a tough mother and a fierce commitment to faith.

“Not having that guiding influence of a father and an authority figure is very detrimental to many young men, particularly now. In my case, my mother was a very authoritarian figure, so it kind of made up for it a little bit,” he revealed in an interview over the summer.

“But to a degree a lot of it had to do with the fact that we were believers and believed that we had obligations to God, and I think that kept both me and my brother out of a lot of trouble that we would have gotten in otherwise.”

Trouble that, more often than not, leads to gang activity and then, inevitably, death …

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Vivek Saxena

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