Mass shootings have increased by nearly 73% so far in 2021, and gun violence researchers describe it as a contagious effect.


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A monument outside the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado. Ten people were killed in a mass shooting at the store. Courtesy of David Kalish

  • Mass shootings in the United States have increased by nearly 73% compared to the same period last year.

  • Studies show that violence spreads like a contagion, increasing the likelihood of one incident being another.

  • Gun violence researchers say little has been done to prevent the next mass shooting.

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In the three and a half months to 2021, mass shootings in the United States increased by nearly 73% from the same period last year. Gun violence researchers say that every new mass shooting is likely to result in another mass shooting.

There have been 147 mass shootings in the United States since New Year’s Day, compared to 85 cases from January 1st to April 16th, 2020, according to data released by. Cancer violence archive. Mass shootings are defined in the database as cases in which four or more people were shot dead, excluding the shooter.

The 2021 shootings were also more deadly than early last year. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 92 people died during the same period in 2020, compared to 176 so far this year.

“It’s sick, violent, and contagious,” Dr. Gary Slutkin, a former head of the World Health Organization’s intervention development unit, told insiders.

“Just as one event with COVID is a risk factor for another event with COVID, one event is a risk factor for another event,” he added.

In recent weeks, coverage of one deadly shooting has often been interrupted by another breaking news.

March 16 Eight people were killed in several hot springs, including six Asian women A man armed with an AR-15 is in Metro Atlanta. Two weeks later, a gunman with the same weapon killed 10 people At a grocery store in Colorado.

Another man with a rifle killed eight and injured several others on Thursday At the FedEx facility near Indianapolis International Airport.

According to research, these timings are The incident wouldn’t be a coincidence, Slatkin said that the more people who see violence and accept it as “ordinary”, the more likely they are to commit violence on their own.

Dr. Jonathan M. Metsle, director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Social Sciences at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, told insiders: “Therefore, one in the news tends to spur many imitation events, and people feel a contagious effect. One leads to another, leads to another.”

“This is a lot of people who have the means to do something and see others doing it,” he added.

Slatkin tells insiders, “shooting anger” It has been rising for decades, The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily interrupted the 2020 trend and made the violence of the last few weeks even more unpleasant.

“People weren’t in churches, parking lots, or shopping stores,” Slatkin said of the pandemic. “Few people were in public places, so we just restarted.”

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Eight people were killed when armed shooters rampaged in hot springs in the Atlanta area in March. Reuters / Chris Arca Berry

Gun violence researchers want community intervention and stronger gun control

Against the backdrop of the rise in mass shootings, gun violence researchers point out that little has been done to prevent the next mass shooting.

Slatkin said his organization relied heavily on the cooperation of politicians to deal with gun-controlled mass shootings. Cure Violence Global, We aim to reduce violence by embedding it in the community. The organization operates around the world and has established an “interruption network” of outreach workers who listen to the debate about violence and try to stop it.

According to Slatkin, this practice of interruption reduces shooting and killing by 40% to 70%, but the same has not been established for mass shootings.

“The missing part is really an intervention that stops its progress and its spread within you,” Slatkin said. “In COVID, it’s a mask or distance. Because of this, the network for interruptions, it’s not there.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive, at least 12,417 people have died in gun violence so far this year in the United States, of which at least 6,996 have died in suicide. Gun violence researchers say that laws that require a waiting period after purchasing a gun can reduce the number of lives lost in both mass shootings and suicide.Suspect Atlanta And Boulder Mass shootings bought guns within a few days of those attacks.

“Obviously, it cannot prevent all violence and self-harm, but there are good studies showing that preventing impulsive and momentary violence leads to a reduction in both suicide and murder.” Freirich, director of state policy at the Arigifford Law Center, told insiders.

Metzl believes that passing gun controls, such as background checks and a ban on large magazines, can reduce casualties from gun violence.

“It’s important to remember that more than 40,000 guns die each year at such times,” says Metsle. “Therefore, there are many policies that can be announced to reduce daily gun mortality. Not many.” Oh, this one policy will stop mass shootings, “but enacting a common-sense policy. You can save more lives. .. “

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