As COVID restrictions lift, mass shootings take center stage again

 “This is a moment in time when we’re finally coming out after months of hiding in the shadows from Covid, and I deeply fear we’re going to see another spate of mass shootings,” said author Seamus McGraw for NBC.com. 

Upon tuning into some form of news each morning, Americans are once again greeted by carnage taking place all around the country. Yet, it seemed that mass shootings had taken a backseat in America, and they were almost a thing of the past. Now, however, mass shootings in a public space are once again the “new normal”  and Americans are left wondering why. 

Recently, eight people were shot and killed, and seven more were injured, at a FedEx Plant in Indianapolis. This event has been preceded by multiple other tragedies. In fact, as of April 30, America has seen a total of 178 mass shootings, with a large influx of casualties in March, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This sudden increase in mass shootings is terrifying for everyone in proximity, but it is also recognized as a return to normalcy. 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 417 mass shootings in 2019. Of course, due to COVID, things came to somewhat of a standstill. During the tumultuous year of 2020, because there was a severe lack of public gatherings, mass shootings in public areas didn’t occur as often. 2020 gave a reprieve from these unspeakable tragedies, but as restrictions become less severe, and as social gatherings begin to grow, so does the amount of mass shootings. This isn’t to say that gun violence itself decreased, just the number of mass shootings. 

The new large-scale mass shooting trend due to lifted COVID restrictions seemed to suddenly take America by storm once again in March of 2021, after a gunman entered an Asian spa and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian American. This seemingly racially charged event shook people in ways that were all too familiar. Since then, there has been nonstop news coverage of a new shooting almost everyday. It leads people to wonder if there is a correlation. 

According to NBC.com, as of April 26, 2021 there have been a total of 160 mass shootings. By this same time in 2020, however, there were 90 mass shootings. There is an obvious rise in gun violence between the two years, and it’s likely that numbers will only continue to rise as this year goes on.

To many experts, this comes as no surprise.

According to Assistant Professor at the City University of New York Christopher Herrmann, it has become normal for the United States, unfortunately, to hear about a mass shooting once a week.”

Since restrictions are being lifted all across America, the return to normal for Americans is much darker than people realize. 

When Americans across the country begin to fear facing gun violence in public, it’s hard not to turn to schools with worry, since schools have also begun opening up again. Just recently, on April 12, 2021, a student brought a handgun to school, and while this person was shot before they could do any damage, it still gives students a realistic picture of the painful reality. 

According to Edweek.org, there were only 10 school shootings in 2020, as compared to 24 in 2018, and 25 in 2019. Since most students were out of school due to the pandemic, school shootings came to mostly a stop. Yet, as schools are beginning to open up again, experts are expecting the previous trend to continue. 

However, while mass shootings in 2020 took a pause, violence itself did not. Homicides, suicides, and domestic violence all rose over the past year. Due to the fact that millions of Americans were cooped up in their homes, many of them resorted to violence due to the prolonged quarantine. Experts also say that because people had less contact with each other, it became difficult for people to tell whether someone was exhibiting the warning signs of someone who was about to commit a deadly crime.

It’s wrong to say that 2020 wasn’t a violent year, but senseless killings of a large group of people certainly wasn’t happening as often in the United States.

As Americans once again enter the outside world, they are reminded of the pandemic that has been ravaging the country long before COVID: gun violence. If someone has hinted that they are planning to do something horrible to others, it’s important to say something immediately. It will take a long time for America to find a cure to gun violence, but for now: stay safe.

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