Saturday, December 4

The epidemic of violence in the United States does not seem to end


(CNN) — In the other epidemic in the United States, the deaths do not stop.

At least 150 people died during the long Independence Day weekend in more than 400 shootings, as the violence that coincided with the reopening of major cities intensifies. The data, collected by reporters from CNN and the Gun Violence Archive, covers the 72-hour period from Friday to Sunday, and the terrible balance of America’s birthday weekend is almost certain to increase.

In separate incidents this weekend, a golfer was shot dead at his country club in Georgia. Eight people were injured after an argument sparked a shooting at a car wash in Texas. Two people died in a park in Cincinnati, Ohio. No place is off limits: There have been shootings at grocery stores and at workplaces. Since the year began, more than 22,500 Americans have died in violent firearm incidents, including 10,000 from homicides and 12,000 from suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

This is not just the summer of the COVID-19 release. It is also the summer of gun violence.

In general, crime rates in the United States have dropped in recent years, and cities like New York are much safer than they were in the 1980s, for example. But the fears of the old days are starting to return. So far this year, gun violence in “Gotham” has risen 40% over the same period in 2020, with 767 shootings and 885 victims. And that 2020 was a bad year.

What has unleashed this outburst of horror? The economic and human cost of the pandemic has destabilized communities and increased criminal activity in some areas. It is also said that the months of confinement may have exacerbated mental health problems and pent-up anger that too easily turns into violence on the streets. All explanations are exacerbated by the fact that the United States is awash in guns. Firearms sales soared during the pandemic and now they are at record levels, to the point where there is a shortage of ammunition.

President Joe Biden has pleaded with lawmakers to do something, whatever it takes, to stop the shootings. But nothing is being done. Lawmakers can’t even agree on small reforms that broaden background checks for some gun purchases. The right to bear arms is often seen as a founding principle of American conservatism, so Republicans almost always block significant changes to firearms, even if they are far from overriding that constitutional right.

Indeed, many conservatives, who blame the tide of deaths on Democrats who underfund police budgets, argue that even more guns are needed so that more Americans can protect themselves from each other.

Editor’s note: This article was excerpted from the July 6 issue of CNN’s “Meanwhile in America,” the daily email on American politics for readers around the world. do click here to read previous issues and subscribe.


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