Until this month’s two deadly rages, mass shootings were largely absent from the headlines during the coronavirus epidemic. But people were still dying at record speeds.
According to the Inner Violence Archive, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans in 2020, more than two years in at least two decades. An additional 24,000 people committed suicide at gunpoint.
The vast majority of these tragedies take place away from the national spotlight, but instead take place in homes or on city streets և, like the COVID-19 crisis, disproportionately affect colored communities.
Last week’s shooting at an Atlanta spa center և Shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo on Monday, killed 18 people, rejuvenating national efforts to change gun laws. But such high-profile mass shootings try to overshadow the daily violence that accounts for gun deaths, potentially dampening some understanding of the problem and complicating the country’s response, experts say.
“There are many communities in this country dealing with persistent gun violence, which is only part of their day-to-day experience,” said Mark Barden, co-founder of the Sandy Hook Promise group to prevent gun violence. “It does not receive support, focus, national attention. “People do not understand that it is continuous, it is growing.”
The number of shooting deaths in 2020 exceeded the last highest rate in 2017 by more than 3,600. The growth is reminiscent of other alarming trends. Last year, the United States recorded the largest increase in homicides. Gunshot wounds also increased sharply, reaching almost 40,000, more than 8,000 more than in 2017.
“More than 100 Americans are being killed by gun violence every day,” said Ronnie Dunn, a professor of political science at Cleveland State University. “Most of them are in brown communities. “We do not really focus on gun violence until we have had these mass shootings, but it is an ongoing, chronic issue that affects a significant portion of our society.”
Researchers say the epidemic may have contributed to the growth in several ways. The spread of the coronavirus hampered anti-crime efforts, և escorting attendants fueled unemployment and stress while schools և other community programs were closed or online. They note the apparent decline in public confidence in law enforcement following the assassination of George Lloyd Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
COVID-19 և Protests against police brutality also led to an increase in arms sales. In 2020, people purchased about 23 million firearms, an increase of 64% over 2019 sales, according to the Post Analysis of Federal Data on Background Weapons.
Dan pointed to this barrage of gunfire as the most damaging factor in the fight against gun violence. “When filming becomes ‘the sound of inner-city neighborhoods,’ he said, ‘it increases anxiety and stress; it creates toxic stress.’ Dan compared the effects to post-traumatic stress disorder, which was similar to the experience of war veterans.
One recent study called gun violence “a public health crisis that has been going on for decades.” Analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that black males between the ages of 15 and 34 accounted for 37% of gun killings, although they accounted for 2% of the US population, which is 20 times higher than the same aged white males.
Failure to focus on this most common horse of gun violence obscures the severity of the crisis.
Nicole Hockley is another co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, who, like Barden, lost her first-grade son in a mass shooting at their elementary school in Newtown, Con. He said he still remembers regretting when he did not “Look at the far-reaching effects of gun violence.” When a gunman killed 12 people at an Aurora movie theater in Colo, Hawke was ironing clothes in his living room.
“When I heard it in the news, I was heartbroken, I was so sad,” he said. “But then I started my life.”
Five months later, his son was killed at school.
“If we think about how many people die every day, we think about how it will be in our family or in our community, maybe it will motivate us to take continuous action, not big blows of action when something happens. “Hockley said. ,
“Even if it doesn’t happen in your community, it does happen in the American community.”
The wave of shootings across the country has not spared young people.
According to the Archive of Gun Violence, almost 300 children were shot dead in 2020, an increase of 50% over the previous year. Last year, more than 5,100 children were killed or injured, including 17 teenagers. More than 1,000 more than any other year since 2014 when the site started following it.
The increase is particularly shocking, as it occurred a year later, when most children did not attend school in person, sparing deadly school shootings. Experts say that this is due to the severity of suicide and domestic violence.
The Sardi Hook Promise Crisis Center makes a record number of calls from young people who are considering suicide or other violence.
“For many students in our country, home is not the safest place,” he said.
Although the rate of mass shootings slowed last year, several occurred before the Boulder killings in Atlanta, according to The Post’s public shooting database.
As a result of 22 other shootings since last March, 22 people were killed. Over the weekend, during the 18th holiday in Charlotte, NC, on July 4, a block party in Chicago և at the Monitor Store in Springfield.
On average, in 2020 there was one mass shooting every 73 days, compared to every 36 days in 2019 և in 2017 և in 2018 every 45 days. The slowdown interrupted the five-year trend of more frequent և more lethal mass. shots
This gun violence generally increased, even as mass shootings decreased, underscoring the fact that these loud incidents accounted for a relatively small proportion of gun incidents. It should pay more attention to the victims of gun violence and the rest, Barden said.
“They will bear the scars of that catastrophe for the rest of their lives,” he said. “The collateral damage is innumerable, it reaches almost everyone.”
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Washington Post journalist Andrew Ba Tran contributed to this report.