Cynthia Tucker: America’s toxic, deadly gun culture

Cynthia Tucker: America's toxic, deadly gun culture

As the threat of COVID-19 swelled and spread, so did the danger posed by another deadly epidemic: gun violence. But the lessening of the COVID threat has not been accompanied by a similar drop in gun homicides. As the nation cautiously reopens and summer leisure activities begin in earnest, gun crimes have surged. Although violent crime in America had dropped for decades, the homicide rate has soared over the past several months. Homicides were up in large cities last year by 30%, criminal justice experts say. Given the homicide rate so far this year, 2021 is likely to be worse. One night this month saw four incidents of mass shootings, The Washington Post reported. Homicides committed with firearms have increased throughout the nation, not just in large cities such as New York, Washington, Atlanta and Chicago, where violence has grabbed headlines. Gun violence has also jumped in small cities and semirural areas from California to Maine. Since criminologists have never been sure about the causes for the decline in crime — which started to drop in the early 1990s — they aren’t sure about the causes of the current escalation in homicides by firearm. But many of them suspect a proximate cause: the ubiquity of guns. “Somebody who would’ve been able to calm down, walk away and make a better choice 30 minutes later now has access to a gun and can use it in a very destructive way,” Bryanna Fox, criminology professor and former FBI agent, told the […]

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