Gun violence increases as restrictions are lifted

Amelia Symons, Staff Writer

As officials around the globe try to get the coronavirus under control and begin to get everyone’s lives back to “normal,” data shows that gun violence has erupted. The FBI defines a “mass shooting” as “mass murder” being “a number of murders (three or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between murder.” Data shows at least 147 shootings have taken place since the beginning of the year, killing and injuring at least 700 people. In recent weeks, three shootings in a spa parlor, grocery store, and business complex have made headlines more than others. 

On Wednesday, March 31 a gunman opened fire in a business complex in Orange, California, where he killed four people, one of them a child, and injured another. Police have compared this situation to the “1997 Caltrans shooting,” where a former state employee opened fire on a state maintenance yard. The police have not yet released the exact location of the shooting, but they speculate it began in one of the complex’s suites and moved into the courtyard area.

A shooting in a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store on Monday, April 5 left ten people dead, including a police officer. As of April 8, the suspect was in custody and was also injured during the shooting. Investigators are still speculating what motivated this crime. The suspect was taken into custody and charged with ten counts of murder. His name was already known to the FBI because of a situation when he was in high school, where he was convicted of a misdemeanor assault against another classmate. The police officer who was killed was 51-year-old Eric Talley, who had been with the Boulder, Colorado Police Department since 2010.

On March 16, there was a series of mass shootings in a metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia. Out of the three shootings, eight people were killed and another was injured. There was word that these shootings could be connected to the recent increase in violence against Asian-Americans, and these attacks have been labeled as hate crimes. The suspect, a 21-year-old male, was taken into custody the same afternoon. According to the police, the suspect was a former patron at two of the parlors that he attacked, and he was motivated by sex addiction and religious beliefs. On March 17, he was charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. He confessed to the killings while in custody and waived his rights to appear in court.

Data shows that gun violence was highest in urban areas where mass destruction could be done. While people may never know the true cause for events like these, the director of Guns Down America hypothesized the high number of gun violence-related deaths could be due to “increased unemployment, the stress of the virus, the stress of having to be at home in communities with high infection rates.” While these are not excuses for this kind of violence, it’s not hard to understand how violence increases when people and economies are under so much stress.