I write about courts and cops for a living. Where I work, we are seeing an increase in gang violence.
Here is what I see:
1. People are too quick to dismiss gang members as "just kids." When someone wearing a red hat shoots at someone with a blue hat, he's a gangbanger and I treat him the same way I would treat a mama Grizzly bear. I don't care how old he is.
2. The "shoot for effect" thing is right on. One guy unloaded 15 rounds into a house in a driveby and only hit THE HOUSE five times. Where did the other 10 bullets go? Another hit a cabbie in the head in crossfire trying to shoot rival gang members. They might not hit what they're aiming at, but it makes them more dangerous, IMHO.
3. Getting a gun is easy, even for kids 12-15.
4. It's exactly right that shooting someone from 10 feet doesn't take as much skill as one might expect. In another incident, a guy shot a gas station clerk. First shot went wide. Second hit the guy in the forehead.
5. Caliber debates we have on here are the biggest, dumbest waste of time: In 8 years, I have seen people killed with a .25 auto up to a .45 acp. I have seen people wounded (and permanently disabled, mind you) with a .380 and a .40 S&W to the head. In the .45 acp killing, the woman had a contact wound and the bullet still did not exit her head. Saw the same thing with a male victim and a .38 spl, where the guy got up and started walking around and only died because he bled out.