On December 31, 2020, 27-year-old Alante Heinz died on the streets of Chicago after being shot in the arm, chest and leg. This is the last homicide in Chicago in 2020. In a city where violence is prevalent and crime is high, this case seems to be forgotten soon. However, 2020 is not easy to be forgotten for Chicago. This year, 787 murders occurred in Chicago, which is a 56% increase compared to 2019 and almost three times that of the whole of Italy. Chicago is only a microcosm of the proliferation of violent murders in the United States. In 2020, the entire United States has experienced a sad and bloody year.
Kalila Corey grew up in the West Side of Chicago and is now an early education teacher and a single mother with five children. She has two brothers who died in the shooting. Six years ago, Calila moved her family from Chicago to Minneapolis. She wanted to give her children a better life, but she didn’t want them to live in fear every day. October 11, 2020 is the 12th birthday of Caryla’s third son. Caryla prepared dinner for the children at home early, and he can celebrate it after his eldest son Wanya, who is playing basketball nearby, returns. Something.
Wanya sent a text message to Kalila earlier, telling her that she was on her way home. After waiting for a long time, Wanya hadn’t arrived home, and Kalila became a little worried. When the police were anxious, the police knocked on the door, and Kalila received the terrible news like a bolt from the blue. Wanya had just died in a speeding shooting. Three days later, October 14th happened to be Kalila’s birthday. It was supposed to be the birthday banquet for her sons, but instead she held a funeral for her 19-year-old son. Since the “George Floyd case” on May 25, the city of Minneapolis seems to have been trapped in a haze. As of October, there have been 80 murders, the highest since the 1990s. Level.
In fact, not only did the Kalila family fail to find a peaceful and happy life in Minneapolis, most families in the United States live in fear and anxiety. According to the “Economist” report, in 2020, the nationwide murder rate in the United States will increase by about 23%. The growth rate in cities reached 30%, the highest growth rate in 50 years. Murders in New York City have risen by 45%, while Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia have also seen larger increases. Between 1993 and 2019, the United States “criminal rate fell sharply”, the violent crime rate fell by nearly half, but this “myth” was broken in 2020. John Roman, a criminologist at the University of Chicago, said: “It feels like our crime governance achievements over the past 20 years have disappeared all at once.”
Many commentators believe that the “George Floyd case” occurred in Minneapolis in May. It is the direct cause of the surge in the murder rate in the United States. This case has once again exposed the chronic illness of racism in the United States and has become a minority human rights incident that has been of high concern in the United States and even more countries in recent years. Since May 26, a large-scale protest march has erupted in Minnesota. Subsequently, a wave of “black life is also fate” has swept across the United States and many countries. Paul Cassel, a professor of law at the University of Utah, called this series of movements the “Minneapolis effect.” During this time period, there has indeed been a surge in murders in the United States. Between May 27 and June 2 alone, 42 people were killed in Chicago. This was the week with the highest number of murders in Chicago since 2001; in Louisville, the murder rate rose by 77%; in Milwaukee, it was almost 100. %. According to past experience in the United States, cities that have experienced large-scale police protests usually experience subsequent waves of violence. In 2015, in Baltimore, Freddie Gray died while in police custody, after which the murder rate rose by 50%, and has been hovering around this level ever since.
The “George Floyd Case” also revealed the deep and lasting conflicts between African Americans and law enforcement agencies. After the incident, African Americans’ distrust and resistance to the police have deepened, which will contribute to the rise in crime rates. Pastor Darren Faulkner of Kansas City, Missouri is committed to helping vulnerable groups. According to him, for a long time, many people he serves have dared not call the police when they are in danger because many people are afraid of being treated unfairly by the police. Of course, some people believe that the reason for the increase in crime rate is that too much police force has been transferred to the scene of protests, thus leaving a law enforcement vacuum zone for neighborhoods with high crime rates.
At the same time, many people made it clear that the “George Freud” incident was not a direct cause. The upward trend in the murder rate has been obvious since the beginning of the year. These people attribute this trend to the general background of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. “Any city in the world with frequent violent incidents is because there are too many idle young people.” Home orders and business closures caused by the epidemic have expanded the unemployed population, and schools, churches, and community centers have suspended work related to conflict prevention. , Which easily escalates the conflict. Some psychiatric experts believe that the increase in violent incidents is largely due to the new coronary pneumonia pandemic and the mental pressure it brings to people, and people in a disadvantaged position will face more destructive behaviors.
So is the epidemic the direct cause of the increase in crime rates? Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton University, pointed out that “the sales of guns, alcohol, and drugs have soared during the epidemic, and these can be catalysts for violent crime.” The increase in consumption of alcohol and drugs is easier to understand. After all, people need during the epidemic. These things are used to pass more leisure time and boredom, but buying guns is a bit confusing. 2020 is a year when American society and politics are facing severe turbulence. The United States is also experiencing a pandemic, economic recession, and severe ethnic and political divisions. In June, there was a surge in gun purchases in the United States. According to a report by the Small Arms Analysis and Forecasting Corporation, Americans purchased 2.4 million guns in June, an increase of 145% from June 2019. This is obviously due to the combined effects of the soaring support for Biden, the spread of the epidemic, and the continued protests triggered by the “George Floyd case.”
The main reason is security. After the “George Floyd case,” violence began to rise, and people felt a greater sense of insecurity. Tracy Bodai, who lives in Florida, is the mother of three children. She bought the first pistol in her life in 2020. In an interview with the news, Trish said: “I have never had a gun, nor did I want to have it. I have never seen a gun in my home before. However, when I often see news about riots, robberies and violence, I Changed my mind. Shooting is the last thing I want to do, but when I and my family, especially my children, need protection, I will do it.” Irene, a single mother Hart has the same concerns. The social and political polarization of her community has shaken her sense of security. “My most terrifying dream is to be home alone in the middle of the night, with only myself and the children, and then someone comes in to hurt us. Now If there is any wind or grass near home, I will be terrified.” Trish and Hart represent the aspirations of many Americans at the moment. In the context of rising violent crime rates, a security dilemma has first formed among the people.
The surge in gun sales is usually related to politics. When Democrats are in power or are considered to be in power, they tend to promote gun sales because people worry that it will become more difficult to buy guns in the future. In the eight years of Obama’s administration, gun sales have risen, but there has been a slight pause in the early days of Trump’s administration. People are worried that Biden is likely to enact legislation to “restrict the purchase of guns” after he is elected president, so buy guns as early as possible to prevent future troubles. However, for whatever reason, the increase in gun ownership has not solved the social security problem, but has formed a vicious interaction with the security environment. Harvard University’s Center for Injury Control Research said that the spread of guns may further lead to an increase in violent crimes such as murder. Public health experts also warned that, especially during the pandemic, the risk of domestic violence and suicide is increasing after having a gun.
The murder rate surge is a magnifying glass of the US economic and social crisis
Concerns and fears about the safety of the American people have never stopped. On the eve of the handover of the Trump regime and the Biden regime, the Capitol once fell.
If we only attribute the deterioration of the social security environment in the United States in 2020 to the impact of the epidemic, it would be somewhat biased. In fact, the overall global crime rate under the epidemic is on a downward trend. Looking at the world, murders have decreased significantly in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela, which have historically been the countries with the most murders in Latin America and the Caribbean. The murder rate in the United States has not decreased but increased, and its social roots cannot be waived.
The epidemic only amplifies a series of crisis issues such as political polarization, economic downturn, inter-ethnic inequality, and institutional rigidity in the United States. Although part of the murders were based on personal grievances, a large part of them were shooting incidents targeting innocent people. The murderers were motivated by either racial prejudice or resentment due to social injustice. In this type of violent incidents, the victims are severely unequal in class, ethnicity, and gender. The structure of the victims is the most direct manifestation of the structure of social crisis. The ordinary people at the bottom are often the most direct victims. They live peacefully and are the most vulnerable in the face of violence. Mothers, children, and ethnic minorities are the most common labels for these victims.
American gun shops lined up to buy guns and ammunition.
African Americans are the most vulnerable group in the face of systemic violence in the United States. “Tracking”, an organization that focuses on research on gun violence in the United States, believes that nearly 50% of shooting incidents occurred in communities with a majority of African descent. In 2020, almost every city where there have been more than 5 mass shootings will have this pattern. Dvorone Bogen, executive director of the violence prevention organization “Promote Peace”, said more directly: “This has never been considered a mass shooting. We didn’t start to hear about mass shootings until the whites began to die. Incidents. But this type of violence always occurs, regardless of whether there is an epidemic.”
During the epidemic, Asian Americans became the focus of violence. One year since the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been nearly 3,800 attacks on Asian Americans in the United States. Women and older Asian Americans have frequently suffered injuries and blows, which shows that this is not only an issue of inter-racial hatred, but also a loss of social ethics as a whole. Professor Zheng Russell of San Francisco State University specializes in the research of Asian American ethnic groups. At the same time, he is also committed to eliminating hatred of Asians and Pacific Islanders. He pointed out that Trump’s inflammatory remarks about the “Chinese virus” have induced widespread hatred against Asian groups on social media. In the summer of 2020, the epidemic failed to stop the large-scale celebrations held every year in Syracuse. On June 20, hundreds of residents gathered in an outdoor performance venue, hoping to use this gathering to relieve the depression caused by the epidemic. At the party, a girl is broadcasting her dance live online. Soon after the performance, there was a sudden riot in the video. People began to scream and fled. Then more than a dozen gunshots were fired and some people were injured and fell to the ground. Local youth pastor Nick Jones found a teenager who was shot in the head among the injured. Jones was waiting for medical staff to come to help, while comforting his panicked mother. His mother stood helplessly with her bare feet, wearing a shirt with the words “Mom proud of you” printed on the back. This teenager was sent to the hospital and died after being rescued. His name was Charil Osorio, he was only 17 years old, and this day happened to be the day he graduated from high school.
Entering 2021, in the context of the continuous deterioration of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the murder shooting problem in the United States has not changed. The simple and good life that ordinary people desire seems to be abruptly stopped at any time, and worries and fears seem to be endless.