Here Are Five Key Facts About Gun Violence

It’s a dismal ritual of American life: A mass shooting occurs — sometimes more than one, in quick succession. The country mourns the victims. And nothing changes.

I expect the same will happen following the killings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo. But it is still worth taking a few minutes to lay out the basic facts about gun violence. The key one is simply this: The scale of gun deaths in the United States is not inevitable. The country could reduce the death toll, perhaps substantially, if it chose to.

When gun violence is counted as a single category — spanning homicides, suicides and accidents — it kills about 40,000 Americans a year.

That’s far behind the country’s biggest killers, like heart disease (about 650,000 annual deaths) or Alzheimer’s (about 125,000). But it is broadly comparable to the toll from many well-known causes of death, including an average flu season (35,000), vehicle accidents (39,000), breast cancer (42,000), liver disease (43,000) or pancreatic cancer (45,000).

dismissed calls for restricting gun availability, saying, “There’s not a big appetite among our members to do things that would appear to be addressing it, but actually don’t do anything to fix the problem.”

But there is overwhelming evidence that this country has a unique problem with gun violence, mostly because it has unique gun availability.

Michael Siegel of Boston University’s School of Public Health says.

“The main lesson that comes out of this research is that we know which laws work,” Siegel says. (Nicholas Kristof, the Times columnist, has written a good overview, called “How to Reduce Shootings.”)

one out of every 400 gun deaths was the result of a mass shooting (defined as any attack with at least four deaths). More than half of gun deaths are from suicides, as Margot Sanger-Katz of The Times has noted.

Still, many of the policies that experts say would reduce gun deaths — like requiring gun licenses and background checks — would likely affect both mass shootings and the larger problem.

Yes, an overwhelming majority of Americans support many gun-regulation proposals — like background checks — that congressional Republicans have blocked. And, yes, the campaign donations of the National Rifle Association influence the debate.

But the main reason that members of Congress feel comfortable blocking gun control is that most Americans don’t feel strongly enough about the issue to change their votes because of it. If Americans stopped voting for opponents of gun control, gun-control laws would pass very quickly. This country’s level of gun violence is as high as it is because many Americans have decided that they are OK with it.

Gun control is yet another issue in which the filibuster helps Republican policy priorities and hurts Democratic priorities. On guns (as on climate change, taxes, Medicare access, the minimum wage, immigration and other issues), Republicans are happier with the status quo than Democrats. The filibuster — which requires 60 Senate votes to pass most bills, rather than a straight majority of 51 — protects the status quo.

If Democrats were to change the filibuster, as many favor, it isn’t hard to imagine how a gun-control bill could become law this year. With the filibuster, it is almost impossible to imagine.

a song by Kermit the Frog.

Lives Lived: Jessica McClintock dressed generations of women in calico, lace and beribboned pastiches known as granny dresses. Her clients included Vanna White and a 27-year-old Hillary Rodham for her 1975 wedding to Bill Clinton. McClintock died at 90.

Ian Parker writes in The New Yorker. “The latest streaming-video subscriptions have been sold on the promise of content that is remarkable.” HGTV, as Parker notes, “is low-budget and unassuming.”

Torn Down for What.”

HGTV is now part of the Discovery+ streaming platform, which is tiny compared with Netflix and Disney+. But HGTV’s value also lies in the size of its library, which includes hundreds of episodes of popular shows like “House Hunters” and “Fixer Upper.”

For more: Discovery+ brings a cable-era way of watching TV to streaming.

play online.

today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Frequent flier (five letters).

If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. Priya Krishna, a food writer who previously worked at Bon Appétit, is joining The Times, where she will write and appear on NYT Cooking’s YouTube channel.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about the vaccine rollout. On “Sway,” Glennon Doyle discusses misogyny, the power of apologies and more.

Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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Ellen DeGeneres Loses 1 Million Viewers After Apologies for Toxic Workplace

Public perception of Ms. DeGeneres started to change in July when BuzzFeed reported that several of the show’s former and current staff members said they had confronted “racism, fear and intimidation” on the set. Several staff members also said producers had sexually harassed them. Warner Bros. investigated the workplace and found “deficiencies.” Three high-level producers were fired, including Ed Glavin, an executive producer; Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer; and Kevin Leman, the head writer. Ms. DeGeneres apologized to her staff before addressing her viewers in September.

Some observers believe the accusations may have weakened Ms. DeGeneres’s relationship with her audience. The host built her show as an oasis from the outside world, a place of goofy dancing, light jokes, cash giveaways to surprised audience members and high-wattage celebrity guests. Several years ago, she adopted “be kind” as her motto, in response to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a gay college student who took his own life after being bullied.

“Her brand is not just being fairly nice — it is ‘Be Kind,’” said Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of film and media arts. “She’s chosen two words to stamp herself. You cannot have hypocrisy better defined than when you’ve chosen those two words to define yourself and everyone is seeing the opposite is true inside your show.

“The reason the incident with the producers was such a difficult and perilous moment is it’s the first time where something surfaced to indicate that a family — Ellen’s own professional family — was dysfunctional,” he continued.

Ms. DeGeneres referred to her motto in her on-air apology. “Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in,” she said. “So let me give you some advice. If anyone is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the Be Kind Lady.” She added that she was indeed the cheerful person she appeared to be on television, but was also someone who experienced moments of sadness, anxiety and impatience.

In addition to her daytime show, Ms. DeGeneres is also a prime-time star for NBC — and her show for that network, “Ellen’s Game of Games,” also a Warner production, has lost 32 percent of its viewers this season, as well as 35 percent in the adult demographic important to advertisers.

Even with the complications affecting all talk shows during the pandemic, “Ellen,” with its loss of 43 percent of its audience, has suffered a steeper decline than its rivals. “Dr. Phil” is down 22 percent, and “The Kelly Clarkson” show has lost 26 percent of its viewers. Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest’s show has lost just 3 percent, and “Tamron Hall” is down 9 percent.

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Russia Erupts in Fury Over Biden’s Calling Putin a Killer

MOSCOW — Russia recalled its ambassador to the United States and unleashed a storm of derision aimed at President Biden after he said in a television interview that he thought President Vladimir V. Putin was a killer.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday that it had summoned its envoy in Washington, Anatoly I. Antonov, to Moscow “in order to analyze what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States.”

“We are interested in preventing an irreversible deterioration in relations, if the Americans become aware of the risks associated with this,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria V. Zakharova, said in a statement.

Ms. Zakharova did not specify whether a specific event had prompted the decision to recall Mr. Antonov, but the rare move came as Russian officials reacted with fury to an interview with Mr. Biden aired by ABC News. In the interview, when asked whether he thought Mr. Putin was a “killer,” Mr. Biden responded: “Mmm hmm, I do.”

post on Facebook on Thursday in reference to Mr. Biden’s interview. “Any expectations for the new U.S. administration’s new policy toward Russia have been written off by this boorish statement.”

Mr. Kosachev warned that Russia would respond further, without specifying how, to Mr. Biden’s comments “if explanations and apologies do not follow from the American side.”

quipping in December that if Russian agents had wanted to kill the opposition leader, “They would have probably finished the job.”

The Russian government has also been linked to attacks on foreign soil, including the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England, in 2018 and the shooting death of a former commander of Chechen separatists in Berlin the following year.

Mr. Putin signed a law in 2006 legalizing targeted killings abroad — legislation that Russian lawmakers said at the time was inspired by American and Israeli conduct.

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Linda Reynolds, Australian Minister, Settles ‘Lying Cow’ Defamation Case

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s defense minister on Friday settled a defamation complaint and agreed to pay damages to a former aide whom she called a “lying cow” after the woman reported being raped in the Parliament building.

The minister, Linda Reynolds, retracted the remark made in private after lawyers for the former aide, Brittany Higgins, sent a letter last week to Ms. Reynolds demanding a public apology for the “demeaning and belittling” comment. The letter described the remark as “defamatory of our client’s good character and unblemished reputation,” according to local news reports.

Last week, Ms. Reynolds issued a formal apology, saying she had never questioned Ms. Higgins’s account. On Friday, in a short public statement, the minister retracted the comment, which, she said, she had “never intended” to make public.

“I did not mean it in the sense that it has been understood,” Ms. Reynold said.

It was not immediately clear now much Ms. Reynolds agreed to pay in damages. In a text message, the minister’s office declined to reveal the amount. Ms. Higgins did not immediately respond to calls or text messages seeking clarification. But she said in a statement that damages beyond the cost of her legal fees would be donated to a charity supporting sexual assault survivors.

formal complaint to the Australian police.

She also said that days after she was assaulted, she had been questioned by Ms. Reynolds in the same room.

Last week, news.com.au reported that the defense minister had referred to Ms. Higgins as a “lying cow” to staff members in her office after Ms. Higgins came forward. Some staff members raised concerns at the time, and Ms. Reynolds had apologized to them, saying it was a “stressful time,” according to news.com.au.

Ms. Higgins said that Ms. Reynolds’s language about her was “further evidence of the toxic workplace culture that occurs behind closed doors in Parliament House.”

In response to the retraction on Friday, Ms. Higgins said in her statement: “I am pleased that the Minister has now withdrawn her comments and I accept her apology to me.” She added, “This has been an immensely challenging period for me and I wish to reiterate that the only reason I have chosen to come forward is to help others.”

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BBC Apologizes for Interview With Cory Booker Impostor

The BBC has issued an apology and started an investigation after airing an interview with a man who posed as Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

The network said in a statement that the unidentified man was interviewed on the “Newshour” radio program last Friday, adding that the appearance appeared to have been a “deliberate hoax.”

The statement said that the BBC had apologized to Mr. Booker and that the company was looking into “what went wrong” to ensure it does not happen again.

The interview aired once, live at 3 p.m. Eastern and mostly in the United States and a few other places around the world, a spokesman for the BBC said on Thursday. A second edition of “Newshour,” which airs at 4 p.m., was also broadcast in the United States and around the world, but without the interview, he said.

one woman said.

At least one other person responded directly to the BBC on Twitter, saying, “I’m not sure who the BBC World Service just interviewed on Newshour about US relations with Saudi Arabia, but it definitely was not Senator Cory Booker.”

she said.

Mr. Booker, a Democrat, is no stranger to the topic the impostor spoke about. In 2019 he voted in support of resolutions disapproving arm sales to Saudi Arabia. The year before, Mr. Booker called the death of Mr. Khashoggi “appalling” and said he joined colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee to seek sanctions against anyone involved in the “horrific” act.

Stories of pranksters and impersonators finagling their way into news programs are not uncommon.

Last December, an animal-rights activist pretending to be the chief executive of Smithfield Foods conducted an interview with Maria Bartiromo, the host of the Fox Business show “Mornings With Maria.” At the end of the broadcast, Ms. Bartiromo issued a public correction saying, “It appears we have been punked.”

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