As a society, we have all gone through some of the most difficult times in our lives this past year. Besides living through a worldwide pandemic, gun violence has been more prevalent than ever before. It is scary to constantly see on the news the violent acts people are committing in public places with guns. It is ever so important to educate the youth on gun violence and gun control in this country, and it is time for communities to start reviewing and analyzing this issue to help prevent further tragedies. Gun violence has always been a topic of discussion, but according to research, there has been a frightening increase in gun related deaths recently.
NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed Sonali Rajan, an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University, about the increase in gun-related deaths in 2020. Garcia-Navarro stated that the year 2020 ended on a day of sobering violence. On Thursday, December 31, there were 20 people shot and killed across the United States. Those deaths include a couple who were found shot to death inside a vehicle in Louisville, Kentucky, a 75 year-old man in Richmond, Virginia, and a man in San Jose, California. According to Rajan, “those deaths end a record-breaking year for gun homicides in America……… at least 19,223 people lost their lives due to gun violence in 2020. That is an almost 25% jump from the year before.”
These statistics are very alarming. During this interview, Rajan discussed the fact that the mental strain of the pandemic on people is a leading cause to this uptick in gun violence. Rajan reported that 2 million guns had been sold in March 2020 alone and that high numbers of gun sales continued throughout 2020. Rajan explained that, “….. there are different kinds of gun violence. We have mass shootings. We have day-to-day community gun violence. We see suicide by firearms. So, some factors may have played a greater role in contributing to the increase of one type of gun violence versus another. But that being said, one of the things that certainly could have played a factor is that public resources simply were diverted due to the pandemic – so the work of violence interrupters, social programs and support services [were] not as readily available.”
Whatever the reason, to think that 2 million individuals ran to gun shops to arm themselves in one month in this country is insanity. Why do people feel this destructive object is going to fix or resolve any issues they have? Stress on top of thoughtless acts leads to a dangerous path, which is where we are at in society. There are too many news stories featuring acts of gun violence. It is the duty of the person selling these items to protect the public. The government needs to help us in this way and not allow just anyone to buy a gun. Change needs to occur now for things to get better.
Communities need to educate all individual adults and the youth need to get involved as well. This topic of gun violence needs to be addressed and not pushed under the rug. Schools should take initiative on having assemblies and meetings on this topic. Give students options on joining petitions and having parents support them. There are so many resources online to help support the cause and make a stand for change. One resource is looking into the website change.org and signing a petition. Every person can make an impact if the word is spread, and action is taken.
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