I include the modifier “criminal” here, because descriptively homicide means causing the death of another person. This would include legally justifiable killing (e.g., in self-defense). Some who study “gun violence” actually do not distinguish between justifiable homicide and criminal homicide, but I think that is an important starting point.
It is also important to recognize that the majority of people who are criminal gunshot victims survive. Hence the gun trainer adage that “aggravated assault is just a failed homicide.”
The guiding idea of this module (as with the previous module on suicide and accidental gun injury) is that these negative outcomes with firearms are not randomly distributed through the population. Understanding the people and places where they cluster is essential to a sociological perspective on the issue.
Because this is the primary area of research on guns in the academy today, the recommended reading list is massive for this module.
Required readings for Module 9 are:
- Andrew Papachristos and Christopher Wildeman, “Network Exposure and Homicide Victimization in an African American Community.” American Journal of Public Health (2014). Uses tools of network analysis to describe and explain the extreme concentration of homicide victimization in an African American community in Chicago.
- Andrew Papachristos, Anthony A. Braga, and David M. Hureau, “Social Networks and the Risk of Gunshot Injury.” Journal of Urban Health (2012). Does the same as previous study, except focuses on gun injury in the Boston area.
- Crifasi, Cassandra K., Shani A. L. Buggs, Marisa D. Booty, Daniel W. Webster, and Susan G. Sherman, “Baltimore’s Underground Gun Market: Availability of and Access to Guns.” Violence and Gender (2020). Guns in the wrong hands are a precondition for criminal homicide and injury.
- Jooyoung Lee, “Wounded: Life after the Shooting.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2012). Landmark qualitative study of some of the majority of individuals who are shot but do not die, and the profound consequences that follow.
Recommended readings for Module 9 are:
- Fowler, Katherine A., Linda L. Dahlberg, Tadesse Haileyesus, and Joseph L. Annest. “Firearm Injuries in the United States.” Preventive Medicine (2015). A comprehensive overview of firearms injuries by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control.
- Fowler, Katherine A., Linda L. Dahlberg, Tadesse Haileyesus, Carmen Gutierrez, and Sarah Bacon. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States.” Pediatrics (2017) (with Errata). Does for children what Fowler, et al. (2015) did for the US population, a comprehensive overview of firearms injuries.
- Andrew Papachristos, Christopher Wildeman, and Elizabeth Roberto, “Tragic, but Not Random: The Social Contagion of Nonfatal Gunshot Injuries.” Social Science & Medicine (2015). A more thorough article than the two required articles by Papachristos and colleagues but less readable.
- Jooyoung Lee, “Bullet Riddled: Living and Suffering in Killadelphia,” in Gun Studies (2019). Similar to his assigned reading, here Lee draws on a single case — “Scarfo” — to explore the profound effect of violent victimization.
- John Rich, Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men (2011). African American medical doctor seeks to understand the cycle of violence afflicting young black men and its many consequences.
- James Alan Fox and Monica J. DeLateur “Mass Shootings in America Moving Beyond Newtown.” Homicide Studies (2014). I sometimes have a module on mass shootings but chose not to this year. As rare events, they are difficult to explain systematically and many myths therefore grow up around them.
- Adam Lankford, “Race and Mass Murder in the United States: A Social and Behavioral Analysis.” Current Sociology (2016). Although public massacres (schools, theaters, nightclubs, supermarkets) garner most of the attention, in reality most “mass shootings” are like regular murders just taken to the next level.
- Jacquelyn Campbell, et al., “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study.” American Journal of Public Health (2003). As important as the topic is, it’s a shame that this study hasn’t been replicated in nearly 2 decades since it was published.
- Susan Sorenson and Rebecca A. Schut, “Nonfatal Gun Use in Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse (2018). Mines the limited existing literature for some answers but highlights even more questions to be answered.
- Elizabeth Roberto, Anthony A. Braga, and Andrew V. Papachristos, “Closer to Guns: The Role of Street Gangs in Facilitating Access to Illegal Firearms.” Journal of Urban Health (2018). Not surprisingly, being involved in gangs and networks with high levels of criminal activity bring you closer to guns, and also to injury and death. These network analyses do a good job of telling us how much closer.
- Philip Cook, Susan T. Parker, and Harold A. Pollack. 2015. “Sources of Guns to Dangerous People: What We Learn by Asking Them.” Preventive Medicine (2015). Similar findings to the study of Baltimore being required this semester, but with a sample of criminal offenders in Chicago.
I don’t take the recommended readings to be comprehensive or complete. Suggestions are welcome.