The Violence Policy Center released its analysis of homicide data for the year 2009 (the most recent year with full available statistics), and for the second year straight, Missouri leads the nation in black homicide victimization. With 239 black homicide victims statewide (206 male and 33 female), Missouri clocks a staggering rate of 34.72 black murders per 100,000 people. The rate for black homicides nationwide is 17.9 per 100,000 people. The national overall homicide rate is 4.76 murders per 100,000 people.
In the starkest possible terms, if you're black and living in Missouri, you are seven times more likely to be murdered than a white person.
Now, the VPC is a research organization that's committed to strengthening gun regulation -- the group touts rather proudly on its website that the National Rifle Association "acknowledge us at 'the most effective ... anti-gun rabble rouser in Washington.'" The group has a vested interest in shaping the public discussion on guns. The statistics cited in the report, however, come from the FBI crime data. You may quibble with the VPC's mission, but the numbers and statistics are not theirs -- they're ours, as in, all of us as Americans. And those numbers are grim.
In Missouri, 239 black people were murdered in 2009. Males accounted for 206 of those victims, or 87 percent. 200 of those 239 total deaths were committed by people using a firearm of some sort.
The ten states with the highest black homicide victimization rates follow. You can visit the VPC's website
if you want to see statistics crunched in various enlightening and depressing ways.
1) Missouri, 34.72 per 100,000
2) Michigan, 30.21 per 100,000
3) Pennsylvania, 28.30 per 100,000
4) Oklahoma, 27.96 per 100,000
5) Louisiana, 26.33 per 100,000
6) Indiana, 25.84 per 100,000
7) Tennessee, 23.01 per 100,000
8) Wisconsin, 22.71 per 100,000
9) California, 22.33 per 100,000
10) Nevada, 21.06 per 100,000