By a Biometrica staffer
This year may have been the year of struggling to move past Covid-19, but it is also on track to the deadliest year for gun violence in the United States in decades. According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of Sept. 15, 14,516 people have died in the U. S. so far in 2021 as a result of gun violence, CNN reported. This is a 9% increase over the same period in 2020, amounting to about 1,300 more fatalities.
Mass shootings — events in which four or more people are killed or injured (excluding the gunman) — are also on the rise, with 498 such incidents recorded in the period until Sept. 15, which brings the average mass shootings per day in 2021 to 1.92. This is a significant rise from 2020, which saw 611 mass shootings in the entire year, an average of 1.67 per day.
Richard Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at University of Missouri – St. Louis, said there were many factors that could be affecting the gun violence rates. “Immediately after George Floyd was murdered and widespread protests broke out across the country,” Rosenfeld said, “that’s what we saw in a number of cities — a very, very large uptick” in homicides.
“What we’re seeing now is exactly what we saw (seven years) after the Ferguson incident and protests emerged across the country,” Rosenfeld added. “We saw a sizable uptick in homicide in the big cities, and that uptick persisted — depending upon the city — for a year, sometimes a little more than a year.”
As has become upsettingly commonplace, there were several incidents reported in various news outlets across the country over the most recent weekend as well.
In Pennsylvania three people were shot at a baby shower after a fight broke out over gifts, NBC News reported. The incident, which occurred in Lower Burrell, a small city 30 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh, resulted in a suspect being taken into custody and a 23-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman, and a 16-year-old boy being shot.
Separately, in North Philadelphia, six people were killed in different incidents. Two of the events happened on one street, only hours apart from each other, while two more men were gunned down inside a deli and one was killed on a porch elsewhere. In addition to the six killed, several others were injured, some seriously, and were receiving treatment in hospitals, Fox 29 reported.
The weekend was a bloody one in Chicago too, with six killed among 43 shot. City police said that they had responded to at least 35 separate incidents over the weekend, ABC News reported.
In one mass shooting incident, some men drove up in the Austin neighbourhood of Chicago and opened fire on a group of people gathered, with five individuals ranging in age from 18 to 47 being wounded. The gunmen got back in the car and fled, and no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.
In North Carolina as well, two men were killed at Central University, not far from where a college football game was being played. While it was unclear what caused the incident, police were looking for a black Nissan Altima with tinted windows, WRAL-TV reported.
In the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, a man named Randy Johnson was fatally shot by Jereme Lamond Jones, who was quickly apprehended and charged with first degree murder, according to Casino.org. While Jones left the casino after the incident, he was tracked down and arrested near Biloxi Bay Bridge, about a mile from the casino.
Just over Labor Day weekend, we wrote about how holidays have come to be marred with extreme gun violence. The spike in gun violence this year has been attributed to many factors, including destabilization caused by evictions being allowed to resume after a brief moratorium, as well as the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, various local, state, Tribal, and federal governments are working to curb this gun violence epidemic.