More than a year ago I wrote a column responding to NBC sportscaster Bob Costas' anti-gun halftime rant in which he lumped everyone into one American gun culture. I argued that America actually has two very distinct gun cultures and it is important to distinguish them from one another. The vast majority of the gun culture in this country is deeply seated in American history and through decades of law abiding ownership. The other can be found in the inner cities of Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles etc. and is responsible for the deadly violence that makes the biggest headlines.
New York City has recently experienced a rash of new shootings. The perpetrators? Teenagers who have obtained handguns illegally to get revenge for things like Facebook posts.
There are more than 300 of them in New York — violent crews of dozens of 12- to 20-year-olds with names such as Very Crispy Gangsters, True Money Gang and Cash Bama Bullies.
Police say these groups, clustered around a particular block or housing project, are responsible for about 40 percent of the city's shootings, with most of that violence stemming from the smallest of disses on the street, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
"It's like belonging to an evil fraternity," said Inspector Kevin Catalina, commander of the New York Police Department's gang division. "A lot of it is driven by nothing: A dispute over a girl or a wrong look or a perceived slight."
The trend of smaller, younger crews has also been seen in Chicago and Northeast cities over the last few years as police have cracked down on bigger, more traditional gangs, experts said.
Killing someone over a Facebook post, Instagram or a crush? That isn't a gun problem, that's a cultural problem. Until people like former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg realize this fact, nothing is going to change and the violence among gangster teenagers will continue.