In recent years, America has been the biggest victim of rising gun violence and mass shootings. The number of people gunned down in the US during the last 7 years alone are higher than the deaths in all other developed countries combined. People argue, considering different aspects that may be behind this rising menace, however, no one has been able to determine the root cause yet.
Different sources define mass shootings in their own ways. In general, any incidence of public killing in which four or more people lose their lives in known as a mass shooting.
The numbers are alarming
Since various record keepers define mass shootings differently, the numbers can vary. However, considering the definition stated earlier, there have been 31 such cases since 2015. If the term mass shooting is taken in a broader meaning, there have been 2,255 incidents since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Collectively, these events have taken 2,511 lives.
The most recent cases occurred on August 3rd when within 13 hours, two shooters ended the lives of 31 people, 22 in an El Paso Walmart and 9 in Dayton Ohio.
Are mental health problems responsible for the rise in mass shootings?
American authorities, the general public and experts around the world have been constantly looking into the factors that are causing cases of gun violence across the country. Some people suggest that mental illnesses are a common cause but the facts point to the contrary.
According to data analyzed by Lori Post, a Northwestern Medicine sociologist and epidemiologist, only 4% of all mass shooters till date have a diagnosable mental illness. This makes only a small chunk of people. In Post’s opinion, it is hatred that fuels an individual to commit acts of mass murder.
The debate for stricter gun laws continues to rage
Many root causes and subsequent solutions for this troubling situation are under discussion. By far the strongest of all is the call for tightening of gun laws in the country. America is by far the nation with the worst gun laws. Moreover, historical data from countries like Australia suggests that imposing stringent gun control regulations has a significant impact on the rates of violent acts in the region.
What experts believe?
While there is consensus on the fact that things are getting out of hand when it comes to mass shootings in America, experts still believe that the situation is tricky. A controversial point of view states that the American gun lobby has grown too powerful to allow any action against them. Any increment in gun laws will impact revenues and that becomes a cause of concern for them.
The US President recently took a swing at video games like PubG saying that they influence the mindset, particularly since the shooter at Christ Church, New Zealand live streamed the whole episode on his social media. If studies are anything to go by, this opinion doesn’t hold any ground, based on conclusions from a number of experts in the field.
As deliberations and considerations continue, there is a need for concrete action to reduce and eventually eliminate cases of gun violence from the country. Ground realities and practical evidence show that it can be done.
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