Gun violence in US: A long list of forgotten victims

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: Amid the stream of mass shootings that have become chillingly commonplace in America, the reality of the nation’s staggering murder rate can often be seen more clearly in the deaths that never make national news. Take this weekend in Chicago. On Monday, a rooftop shooter opened fire into crowds gathered for an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb, killing at least seven people and wounding some 30.

Less talked about, Chicago Police say 68 people were shot in the city between Friday at 6 p.m. and just before midnight on Monday. Eight of them died.

Most gun violence in America is related to seemingly ordinary disputes that spin out of control and someone goes for a gun. Often, the victim and the shooter know one another. They are co-workers and acquaintances, siblings and neighbors. They are killed in farming villages, small towns and crowded cities.

They are people like David Guess, a 51-year-old small-town father of four who had struggled with addiction and who police say was shot by an acquaintance and dumped in an Alabama forest near a place called Chicken Foot Mountain.

His killing drew little attention outside the rural stretch of northern Alabama where Guess grew up and later worked as a mechanic and truck driver. But his death shattered many lives.

“It’s been absolutely devastating” to the Guess family, said his brother, Daniel Guess. Their 72-year-old father, Larry, now rarely leaves his home and often doesn’t get out of bed.

Daniel didn’t just lose his brother in the shooting. “I’ve lost my dad. too,” he said. “It is killing my dad.” Compared to much of the developed world, America is a murderous country. The United Nations estimates the U.S. homicide rate is three times that of Canada, five of France, 26 of Japan. According to some studies, there are more guns in America today than there are people.

But if Americans often see the country’s streets as ever more dangerous scenes of public mass killings, the reality is more complicated.

While mass murders soak up the vast majority of the attention, more than half of America’s roughly 45,000 annual firearm deaths are from suicide. Mass shootings – defined as the deaths of four or more people, not including the shooter – have killed from 85 to 175 people each year over the past decade. Plus, while America’s gun killings spiked wildly in 2020, recent statistics indicate they are coming down this year in many cities.


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