The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 15, 2013

Violence-Plagued Urban Neighborhood Feels Ignored in Gun Debate



By Krissah Thompson and Hamil R. Harris

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The gun debate taking place on Capitol Hill has been filled with measured questions on the meaning of the Second Amendment and remembrances of innocents lost in suburban mass shootings. It is a conversation largely swept clean of the sort of gritty trauma that too often marks the streets of Capitol View in Northeast Washington.

Here, in the shadow of this tree-lined neighborhood of World War II-era brick homes and apartment buildings, which was named for its panoramic view of the U.S. Capitol, 27-year-old Dominic Davis was shot to death on a January morning a block from Drew Elementary School. His was the first shooting death of the year in Washington, where the homicide rate continues to fall but gun violence remains endemic in some neighborhoods. On Monday, 13 people were wounded in a drive-by shooting several miles north of Drew.

"They shoot and don't ask questions," said Saybo Williams, 19, whose older brother Jerry was shot and killed last summer in Capitol View.

Many residents of the neighborhood say it came as no surprise that America's political system swung into action after the December mass killings at an elementary school in mostly white, middle-class Newtown, Conn. But the current political wrangling on Capitol Hill has just served to underscore residents' suspicions that Americans as a whole undervalue the lives lost to gun violence in inner-city neighborhoods such as theirs.

The focus on suburban shootings at the hands of unstable men armed with assault weapons also fails to capture the big picture of gun violence in America. Handguns are the weapons of choice in about 90 percent of gun crimes, with assault weapons used in about 8 percent. And most gun violence occurs in urban communities such as Capitol View and the North Capitol Street area, where Monday's shootings took place.

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