Gun violence: dismal situation in the USA

It has become a human rights problem

The USA is known as the world’s leading democracy country. The question may arise whether the USA considers it its ‘right’ to inform other countries of the world about disappearances, murders or human rights violations.\

However, according to various reports, the human rights situation in the United States is worsening daily. Gun violence, murder, police torture is increasing. The justice system is dying in the country vocal about protecting global human rights, which is making citizens themselves worry.

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The State Council Information Office of China published a report on the US human rights situation in 2021. According to it, it has worsened compared to previous years. Millions of people have died due to the government’s failure to control the corona epidemic due to political instability. At the same time, gun violence casualties have multiplied. “False democracy” tramples on the political rights of the American people, and aggressive behavior by law enforcement agencies makes life difficult for immigrants and refugees in the USA.

Also, of concern is the country’s growing discrimination against ethnic minority groups, particularly people of Asian descent. According to many analysts, the US administration’s unilateral actions have created new humanitarian crises around the world.

According to recently released statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020 saw more gun-related deaths than any other year. This includes a record number of shooting deaths as well as gun suicides.

Analyzing data collected from various sources including CDC, FBI, US-based public opinion polling and research institute Pew Research Center says, in recent years, the complete data related to gun attacks in the USA is available in 2020. That year, 45,222 people lost their lives in such incidents.

For years, there have been more gun suicides in the USA than gun deaths, the CDC says. In 2020,54 percent of gun-related deaths in the country were suicides (24,292), while 43 percent were homicides (19,384). In addition, there were 535 “unintentional” gun deaths that year, 611 law enforcement-involved deaths, and over 400 “unspecified circumstances” deaths.

A total of 45,222 people died in gun-related incidents in 2020, which is 14 percent more than the year before, 25 percent more than five years ago and 43 percent more than a decade ago.

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Gun violence has taken a toll in recent years. It killed 19,384 people in 2020, the highest since 1968. Gun deaths were up 34 percent from 2019, 49 percent from five years ago, and 75 percent from 10 years ago.

The rate of gun violence is much higher than in other countries. Although a 2018 study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of 195 countries and territories says that in terms of such violence, several countries in Latin America outrank the USA.

Gun violence has emerged as a serious social problem in USA that cannot be stopped. Strict legislation and enforcement are needed. Instead of giving advice or advice to others, the US administration should focus on resolving its own crisis first.

The study cited 2016 as the most recent year for gun violence statistics. According to the research report, the death rate from gun violence was 10.6 percent per 100,000 people in the USA that year. Whereas in Canada this figure is 2.1, in Australia 1.0, in France 2.7, in Germany 0.9 and in Spain 0.6. But the rate is higher than in the sain countries such as El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras. Overall, the USA ranked 20th globally for gun violence deaths in 2016.

What is the annual death toll in mass shootings? It is difficult to give a definite answer because there is no single definition of ‘mass gun attack’ or ‘mass shooting’. Its definition can vary depending on various aspects, including the number of casualties and the circumstances.

According to the FBI, a mass shooting occurs when one or more individuals are actively involved in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. According to this definition, 38 people (excluding attackers) were killed in such incidents in 2020.

The US Gun Violence Archive (an online database of gun violence incidents) defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot, even if no one is killed (except the gunman). By this definition, 513 people were killed by gun violence in 2020. But however defined, mass shootings kill more people each year than all gun violence combined nationwide.

According to various monitoring organizations, more than 200 people died in the USA in the first five months of this year. As the general public panics over a spate of gun attacks, new questions have been raised about the role of the US police.

According to a newspaper report, since 2015, an average of 1,000 people have been killed by police in the USA every year.Earlier in 2014, after an unarmed black man named Michael Brown was killed by the police in Ferguson, USA, an investigation came out that half of the shootings or torture by police were not reported.

A newspaper analysis of more than five years of media coverage, social media posts and police reports found that the number and circumstances of fatal shootings and overall victimization rates remained relatively unchanged during that period. In 2021 also 1049 people were killed by police firing.

According to the report, an average of 1,000 people died annually in gun attacks or similar incidents across the USA. The same number of people were killed in police firing. Although half of those killed in police shootings are white, blacks account for the majority of victims as a percentage of the population. About 13 percent of the US population is black. Also, more than 95 percent of those killed by the police are men, between 20 and 40.

At 2:30 PM local time on May 14, a supermarket in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York, was suddenly shaken by the sound of gunfire. An 18-year-old started shooting indiscriminately with a semi-automatic assault rifle. He was in military uniform with body armour. The youth was also using a camera to broadcast his bloody rampage live online. Describing the aftermath of the attack, a local police officer said that day that it was like walking through the set of a ‘horror movie’. But it was all real. It was a battlefield.

13 people were shot in that attack. 10 died. Eleven of the 13 shot were black. The FBI described the attack as an incident of “violent extremism”. The FBI was investigatingtf it as a ‘hate crime’ and racially motivated violent extremism.

Immediately after, the local police arrested the suspected gunman named Peyton S. Gendron. He was charged with first-degree’murder. Then the investigation revealed the young man had posted a 180-page ‘manifesto’ online in support of white-supremacist beliefs. He also described immigrants and black people as “substitutes” for white people. Through this, the issue of racism icomes to a new discussion.

The idea that whites are being ‘replaced’ by blacks has recently moved from far-right political ideology in the US to mainstream Republican Party politics. Many US media personalities are helping to popularize this ideology, which is seamlessly being further influenced by Republican rhetoric.

The young attacker tried to justify himself by promoting the ideology that white people are being weakened by immigrants. And his manifesto was full of racist words about black Americans.

He claimed to be inspired by the killing of 51 worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. Christchurch attacker Brenton Tarrant was also using the camera to broadcast the attack live online. He also published his own manifesto before the attack. But the Buffalo attacker was more influenced by homegrown discontent than by the Christchurch massacre.

According to the US Gun Violence Archive, there were nearly 200 shootings or gun attacks from January to May. In addition, according to a recently published report, between 2019 and 2020, the death rate of gun attacks in the USA increased by about 35 percent overall.

But the Buffalo massacre stands out not only because of the number of victims, but also because of its political nature. Analysts say the incident must be seen in the context of the growing normalization of racism and political violence in the USA.

According to information from US-based independent media outlet Education Week, 17 states have recently signed laws banning or tightening ‘critical race theory’ or racism and sexuality education, and 12 more states are considering similar legislation. Apart from this, discussions are going on about removing some books that may spread racist attitudes.

But these collective efforts have also created a mockery of the history of American racism and xenophobia. Discussions of America’s racial history have turned the spotlight on the country’s existing poverty, unemployment, and social deprivation.

According to many social scientists, centuries of neglect, neglect, and lack of opportunity have driven a large portion of US blacks to violence. As a result, many white people feel unsafe. And hate is born from that insecurity.

According to various local media, more than 200 people have lost their lives in gun attacks in the country until this May. In this situation, lawmakers and experts demand reform of the private arms control law.

Gun violence has emerged as a serious social problem in USA that cannot be stopped. Strict legislation and enforcement are needed. Instead of giving advice or advice to others, the US administration should focus on resolving its own crisis first.

Samina Akhter
Samina Akhter
The writer is a freelance columnist


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