On a Tuesday morning, April 12, 2022, a gunman fired a total of 33 bullets from a handgun at innocent commuters in a Brooklyn, New York subway car. 10 passengers were wounded along with other minor injuries caused by the smoke bombs detonated inside the car prior to the shooting, set off by the shooter, Frank R. James. There were, however, no fatalities, which authorities attribute in part to Mr. James’ gun jamming and his poor marksmanship, especially with the gas caused by the smoke bombs affecting his visibility. Most of the injured have been released from hospital supervision.
But, despite the limited injuries and no casualties, the opposition against gun violence has grown immensely since the attack, as this was the first mass shooting in the Brooklyn subway’s history. Although the New York Times reports that Mr. James has been “charged with the federal crime of committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system,” many activists have looked at this as only the first step in the right direction, and see the fight to pass gun restriction laws as far from over.
Weeks before the shooting, Mr. James had posted multiple YouTube videos that focused around him wanting to seed violence and instigate chaos. In one of his videos, he laid out his plan for the location for the shooting. “[Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams] can’t stop no crime in no subways. He may slow it down but he ain’t stopping it.” Mental health experts and therapists have interpreted these videos as calls for mental and emotional help, pushing legislators and city officials to increase the efficiency of programs and resources for those suffering from conditions like depression and anxiety.
In a joint statement, New York State Assembly member Marcela Mitaynes and New York City Council Member Alexa Avilés asked their fellow government employees “for a multi-faceted, effective and evidence-based public safety response, including abundant mental health resources for victims in the near-term, in addition to dramatic investments in violence prevention and interruption programs, full employment, and guaranteed housing moving forward — before more people get hurt.”