On the menu today: Our biggest cities are seeing a lot of shootings, stabbings, and violence in the past weeks, a crime surge that appears to be unrelated to the ongoing protests; a look at what the unexpected dramatic reduction in summer jobs means for America’s youth; and the NR crew chews over the surprising — and in many eyes, frustrating — Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County.
The Non-Protest-Related Wave of Violence That Is Plaguing Our Cities
The shooting at a protest in Albuquerque, N.M., between rival groups disagreeing about the removal of a statue of Juan de Oñate, the conquistador of New Mexico, is a big deal, and is getting considerable attention this morning. But you probably won’t hear as much about the ongoing wave of shooting and violence that is plaguing many American cities as they gradually reopen from lockdowns and quarantines, violence that appears to be quite separate from looting, arson, or other crimes connected to the protests against police brutality.
New York City: “Over the month until June 7 — including the crucial Memorial Day weekend — New York’s murder rate more than doubled, to 42 murders, from 18 the year before — a jolt of 133 percent. Shooting victims, including wounded, are up 45 percent. Stabbings are up, too.”
Minneapolis, Minn.: “Investigators say a fight broke out inside the 200 Club on West Broadway Avenue, also known as the Broadway Pub & Grille, at about 2 a.m. It then spilled into the street, with several people pulling out guns and firing at each other. Six people went to the hospital early Sunday morning. One of them, a man in his 20s, died Monday.”
Chicago, Ill.: “While Chicago was roiled by another day of protests and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, 18 people were killed Sunday, May 31, making it the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The lab’s data doesn’t go back further than 1961.” That was a few weeks ago; this past weekend, “two men were killed and 31 other people were injured in shootings across Chicago over the weekend.”
Saint Louis, Mo.: “Seven people were shot — two of them fatally — in the City of St. Louis within a 6-hour span on Monday. The shootings come after a violent weekend in the city where 21 people were shot from Friday to Sunday. Six of those people were fatally shot.”
South Bend, Ind. : “Police are asking for your help after at least 5 people were shot and over 300 shots were fired following a violent weekend in South Bend. Patrol Division Chief Eric Crittendon say it is one of the most shots he has ever seen in one weekend since joining the South Bend Police Department nearly 30 years ago.”
Ocean City, N.J.: “Thus far this month, the incidents have been decidedly more frequent and more violent involving larger groups of individuals intent on disturbing the peace. In the span of about a week beginning last Sunday, there have been at least two stabbings and several major altercations on the Boardwalk including a major fight last Tuesday that resulted in the severe beating of a young man.”
Baltimore, Md.: “In the first incident in Fells Point, five people were shot on Broadway early Saturday morning . . . The second incident happened around 3 a.m. Sunday in the 2300 block of Winchester Street in west Baltimore. Officers were responding to multiple complaints about a large party in a parking lot. As people were leaving, a Range Rover barreled into the lot, police said. Minutes later, the driver, 30-year-old Christopher Earl from Windsor Mill, shot an officer during a struggle.”
Philadelphia, Pa.: “Two people were slain, five others were shot, and four were stabbed from Friday through Sunday in Philadelphia. The deadly violence pushed the city’s number of homicide victims this year to 182, an increase of 35 victims, or 24 percent, compared with this time last year, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.”
Pittsburgh, Pa.: “Police are investigating after three people were injured from a shooting during a backyard party in Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood. According to investigators, there about 20 gunshots while a backyard party was happening in the area. It’s unclear how many people were there at the time. Three people, including a woman and a girl, were hospitalized after being grazed by bullets. A third victim walked into Allegheny General Hospital after also being struck.”
San Antonio, Texas: “No arrests have been made three days after a shooting at a North Side bar that injured eight people, San Antonio police said Monday. Police are still searching for the man who allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of REBAR, a bar in the 8000 block of Broadway, around 11:30 p.m. Friday. Five women and three men, ages 23 to 41, were shot and hospitalized but are expected to survive, police said over the weekend.”
Houston, Texas: “Children ran for their lives and ducked for cover under vehicles to avoid being hit by gunfire that broke out at a block party in north Houston. Police say at least one person was shot to death. The shooting happened off Chapman Street around 9 p.m. Sunday. There were 200-300 people partying in the street when police say three people pulled out guns and started shooting. One man was shot and killed.”
Union County, S.C.: “A large block party turned violent when attendees started shooting at one another, Union County Sheriff David Taylor said. Seven people were shot and 2 of them died. The coroner identified the victims as Jabbrie Brandon, 17, of Union, and Curtis Lamont Bomar, 21, of Spartanburg.”
These shootings do not appear to be tied to the protests. Some of these shootings occurred at bars (Minneapolis, San Antonio) and parties (Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Union County, S.C.), and may well be the participants’ first large gatherings since the lockdowns and quarantines. (Excessive alcohol consumption and firearms are not a good combination.)
How likely is it that this surge of violence has something to do with the 13.3 percent unemployment rate; the closure of all schools in the country since March, the cancelation of summer jobs programs; the closure of basketball courts, gyms, and many other public recreation locations; the lack of almost all athletic events; the lack of movies in movie theaters; and the widespread disruption to normal human behavior since March?
How many of the participants in this almost-entirely nocturnal violence have to get up and go to work in the morning on Monday?
What Are Young People Supposed to Do Without Those First Summer Jobs?
This summer in the United States, there are no major or minor league ballgames, no hot dog vendors walking up and down the aisles of the stadiums. No one is working the soda machine at the concession stand or refilling the ketchup and mustard dispensers. We have few movie theaters with fewer teenagers working the concession stand or selling tickets. We have fewer restaurants, hiring fewer waiters and waitresses and busboys and hostesses. Closed pools have no need for lifeguards. Retail stores are slow to rehire. Many companies canceled their planned summer internships.
Our response to the coronavirus yanked away what was usually a vital first step in young people’s preparation for adulthood:
Riverside Golf Club in Riverside, Ill., normally hires nearly 140 teenaged caddies with roughly 70 working on any given day, said Joe Green, the club’s caddie master. Courses are open but local laws don’t permit caddies to work this summer.
Mr. Green said many of his summer caddies can make between $5,000 and $6,000.
“I don’t see how we’re going to bring them back safe this year,” he said. “To me, it’s the best job these kids can have. It teaches discipline, social skills, networking. It’s a great learning experience.”
Summer jobs are not glamorous and usually don’t pay all that well, but for a lot of people, they’re a key first step on the path of their careers. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in From the Ground Up, “the value of early work experiences can exceed the amount of a paycheck. Work done well — building a house, helping a customer find the perfect new shoes, earning a promotion by serving cups of coffee — imbues us with a sense of self-worth as well as a sense of purpose. With dignity. And if you’re a lost young person with little proof of your potential, work can provide a window into yourself.”
ADDENDA: I’m no legal scholar, but Michael Brendan Dougherty, Alexandra DeSanctis, Ilya Shapiro, and the Editors all see problems in the Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County. The editors conclude, “The law is now read to mean something different in 2020 from what even the most liberal Justices would have said in 1964. Congress for years has been debating bills to amend the statute to cover these topics; the Court just did its work for it, and without any of the compromises or conscience protections that legislators typically debate.”