In March this year, Jack Young, then mayor of Baltimore, Maryland in the U.S., urged residents to put down their guns after a shooting incident.
“We cannot clog up our hospitals or their beds with people who are being shot senselessly because we’re going to need those beds for people who might be infected with the coronavirus,” Young said.
Since the beginning of this year, the pressing problem of frequent violent crimes in America has been becoming more salient due to multiple factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, societal breakdown and increasing political uncertainty.
The problem of violent crimes in America is long-standing, and frequent mass shootings have become a defining feature of the U.S.
At present, the U.S. population accounts for only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet 31 percent of the world’s mass shooting incidents in public places have happened in the country. In 2019, 39,052 people died from gun-related violence in the U.S.
The “Crime in the United States, 2018” report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2019 showed that in 2018, an estimated 1,206,836 violent crimes occurred nationwide.
The number of violent-crime victims aged 12 or older in the United States was 3.3 million in 2018, rising for three consecutive years, according to the “Criminal Victimization, 2018” report released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2019.
“This seems to be the age of mass shootings,” commented USA Today.
Due to the severe pandemic, violent crimes in some U.S. cities have risen dramatically. There were more than seven violent shooting incidents in Chicago every day on average in 2019, resulting in 2,255 injuries and 452 deaths, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. This year, 3,619 people had been shot in the city as of Nov. 9.
Citing data from the police department, CNN reported that New York City had recorded about 1,300 shootings since the beginning of this year, up 94 percent over the same period last year.
The Washington Post pointed out that a survey of 67 big-city police departments in the U.S. found an aggregate 28.7 percent increase in slayings and 10.6 percent rise in aggravated assaults in these cities in the first nine months of this year.
The rampant violent crimes in America are inevitably traced to the scourge of gun violence. Strangely enough, the U.S. Congress has rejected more than 100 gun control proposals.
It should be noted that the surge in gun sales across the U.S. and an increase in the number of first-time gun buyers this year are worsening the risk of violent crimes and making it harder to solve the problem.
In the first 10 months of this year, more than 15.4 million guns had been purchased in the U.S., according to statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in the U.S. The NSSF predicted that gun sales in the country would hit a record high in 2020.
A new survey found that about 110,000 people in California purchased a firearm this year, including 47,000 first-time gun owners, out of their concerns over violence and civil unrest amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Los Angeles Times.
Obviously, too many guns have become a serious issue in the U.S. and the scourge of gun violence in America has become a living nightmare.
The U.S. has fallen into a vicious circle. On the one hand, violent crimes caused by guns are on the rise. On the other hand, growing shooting incidents have prompted more U.S. people to buy guns.
Poor governance in the U.S. is obvious to all. CNN pointed out that the fact that the life of American people couldn’t be basically guaranteed has greatly increased the crime rate.
The surging crime rate in America is an inevitable result of a combination of the long-standing social conflicts, which have intertwined during the pandemic. Meanwhile, protests against racism and police violence have intensified conflicts between Americans and law enforcement authorities and between local governments and the federal government, leading to more violent crimes.
The surge in violent crimes was entirely caused by policies of the U.S. government, said John Catanzara, head of the Chicago police union, who suggested the government roll out more effective policies to maintain social stability.
No one thing will prevent gun violence; however, Americans should do something to make them safer, said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, expressing the wishes of the U.S. people.
There is no doubt that if the root causes for violent crimes are not addressed, safety is an impossible luxury for the American people. The U.S. has long been facing complicated structural problems, including severe racial conflicts, deepening social division, interest groups holding each other back, and inadequate governance capability.
Americans have nothing to do but feel pity for themselves or shout out helplessly through one violent incident after another. Moreover, it seems that the next severe violent crime is looming, but no one can predict when and where it will happen.