Gun Violence in America is Nothing New

The numbers will continue to rise throughout this year and for the years to come if this problem is not solved. Policymakers show little, if any, intent to do just that.

The issue of gun violence, unfortunately, is nothing new. Observers who have studied gun violence trends talk about the ebbs and flows of violent crimes, sometimes up and sometimes down. Yet, gun violence has always been a constant staple in American life causing much pain, horror and brought-to-life nightmares that should have never happened in the first place. A discussion about trends can seem tone deaf.

As of 2021 and only nine months into this year,  over 32,000 lives have been taken by gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive …

The number of mass shootings in 2021 – just in the first nine months – have nearly surpassed the annual number for 2020, and ranges from 22 percent to 90 percent higher than mass shooting annual totals between 2012 – 2019. The gun murder rate is also 25 times higher than other countries with advanced economies, with Black Americans 10 times more at risk of dying by gun violence than their White counterparts …

The numbers will continue to rise throughout this year and for the years to come, of course, if this problem is not solved. Policymakers show little, if any, intent to do just that. Still, the issue begs more attention as more parents lose children, children are losing parents and communities are torn apart because there is no control over gun violence. Gun violence continues affecting major cities and there are reasons why this issue is steady on the rise.

In every part of America there is gun violence and each state is suffering from their own staggering case load depending on a variety of factors and which demographic – by race, class, income and zip code – is more vulnerable to violence. Currently in 2021, it is well-documented that Texas, California, and Florida are the three states that have the highest rates of gun violence.

It just so happens these three states are also the top three in having the most registered guns out of 10 top states with that ranking …

Other states known for this issue are also Illinois (Chicago), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and New York (New York City). This presents more reasons that gun control must be implemented as a serious policy action as gun violence continues causing damage, destruction, and terror at the toll of nearly $300 billion annually in combined medical, first responder, criminal justice, employer, work-loss and quality-of-life costs.

Communities of color, particularly Black communities, have been heavily impacted by these crime rates and continue finding themselves impacted daily. Living in an urban area and being Black is, tragically, a recipe for elevated risk of gun violence, whether it’s by another civilian or a police officer. While Whites, because they are the majority demographic, represent the highest number of police shooting victims, it’s reported that 241 Black lives were lost to police shootings in 2020.

That translates into a Black person in the United States being 3.23 times more likely to become a victim of police killings than a White person. Every community is affected – but in communities of color, the impact hits harder especially when historically disenfranchised and disadvantaged communities are not receiving the attention or support they need.

For example: The death rate for children in Chicago is at an all-time high, three times higher than 2020 to be exact. In the age range between 7 to 17, 43 children have lost their lives to gun violence … and that is just in this year alone, or more than 7.5 percent of all gun violence victims in Chicago.

Serenity Broughton, Jaslyn Adams, Nyandrea Dyer, Adam Toledo, Eric Crawford, Tyrese Taylor, Marquise Richardson, and Christopher Arredondo are just a few names of children who have died this year from gun violence in Chicago. So far, there have already been 575 murders In Chicago.

It goes without saying that we need to stop these mass shootings, movie theater shootings, church shootings, grocery store shootings, mall shootings, school shootings, and homicide shootings. The problem is we’re not hearing our own call for help, and there are policymakers who seem not to care as much, either. Solutions could entail the recognition of gun violence as a key issue and, perhaps, the most dangerous issue we face as a society. So many guns and so many gun deaths pose a national security threat. Along with passing some laws that help lower gun violence, more intensive background checks should be initiated on anyone who is looking to buy a firearm. Just a few of these suggestions being put into action can save many lives, but we all have to put in the work in order to make it happen.

CLMI FELLOW - PSALMS TRAYLOR - MISSION ACADEMY ONLINE ALUMNI

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