By MICHAELTARM and BRYNNANDERSON
Athens, Alabama (AP) — In the wake of mass shootings that have become so commonplace in the United States, the reality of the country’s astonishing murder rate can be seen more clearly with death, which never makes national news. I can do it.
Spend this weekend in Chicago. On Monday, rooftop shooters fired at a crowd gathered for an Independence Day parade on the outskirts of Chicago, killing at least seven people and injuring about 30.
Less often spoken, Chicago Police Department said 68 people were shot dead in the city between 6pm Friday and just before midnight on Monday. Eight of them died.
Most gun violence in the United States is seemingly related to ordinary controversy, going out of control and someone getting a gun. Blacks are disproportionately affected by gun violence in the United States and are far more likely to be victims of gun crime and murder.
Victims and shooters often know each other. They are colleagues, acquaintances, brothers and neighbors. They are killed in rural areas, small towns and crowded cities.
They were people like David Guess, the father of a 51-year-old small town who was suffering from addiction, and police were shot by acquaintances and dumped in the Alabama forest near a place called Chickenfoot Mountain. It is said that it was done.
His murder received little attention outside the countryside of northern Alabama, where Guess grew up and later worked as a mechanic and truck driver. But his death smashed many lives.
“It was absolutely devastating,” said his brother, Daniel Guess, to the Guess family. Their 72-year-old father, Larry, now rarely leaves home and often does not get out of bed.
Daniel didn’t just lose his brother in the shooting.
“I lost my dad. Too much,” he said. “It’s killing my father.”
Compared to many developed countries, the United States is a murderous country. The United Nations estimates that the homicide rate in the United States is three times that of Canada, five times that of France, and 26 times that of Japan. According to some studies, there are more guns in America today than humans.
But the reality is more complicated when Americans often see the streets of the country as a more dangerous scene of mass slaughter.
While genocide occupies most of the attention, more than half of the approximately 45,000 firearm deaths in the United States each year are due to suicide. Mass shootings (defined as four or more deaths, excluding gunshots) have killed 85 to 175 people each year in the last decade.
In addition, US gun killings surged in 2020, but recent statistics show that gun killings are declining in many cities this year.
To complicate matters, data on firearm killings are terribly incomplete, with more than 60% of national law enforcement agencies reporting crime statistics to the FBI’s national database.
“Our lack of shooting data is devastating in understanding the tendency of gun violence,” said a data analyst who creates his own crime database to avoid some of these shortcomings. Jeff Asher, co-founder of the company AH Datalytics, said. “This is a government issue, but citizens are forced to develop workarounds.” To get a clearer picture of what is happening.
The FBI collects national criminal data, but participation is voluntary at the federal level and thousands of law enforcement agencies do not send any or partial information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carefully counts homicides, but data on each death is limited.
Therefore, when politicians argue whether AR-15-style rifles will lead to more killings, or whether extended magazines carrying more bullets will lead to more deaths, everyone is really convinced. Is not … For example, according to the 2020 CDC statistics, authorities know what types of weapons were used in only 24% of firearm deaths. On the other hand, both sides of the gun control debate can assemble what facts are there to suit their purpose.
Throughout the United States, people are afraid.
According to a 2019 survey by the American Psychological Association, nearly one-third said they couldn’t go anywhere without worrying about being victims of mass shootings. Almost a quarter say they changed their lifestyles to avoid mass shootings, sometimes avoiding public events, malls and cinemas.
But are they afraid of doing the wrong thing?
“The press gave people the impression that things are different today. We have never actually experienced these (mass murders) before. But we do. The United States. It’s more common now, but still very rare, given the size of its population, “said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who has been tracking genocide with Associated Press and USA Today since 2006. ..
He believes that news coverage of hyperventilation contributed to the horror, with reports of overwhelming live coverage of mass shootings confusing mass shootings with injured multiple people and mass murder. He said that only 5% of mass shootings ended with more than four deaths.
Fox does not downplay the fear of genocide and the pain it causes to victims, families and communities. But he is worried that American reactions (eg, active shooting training and schools like bunker) will create massive horror and wasted resources.
They also give people the wrong impression of how Americans are dead. According to him, most murders are killing one person and another.
And one thing is certain: I haven’t heard of most of the shooting victims.
They are people like O’Neill Anderson, the owner of a love-cut barber shop in Miami Gardens, Florida, and police say they were killed by a former customer in front of his shop in March. There was Leslie Baylor, whose husband allegedly shot her repeatedly in her home in central Pennsylvania in April and then called police. She was dead when they arrived. Eighteen-year-old Jailyn Logan-Bledso was shot dead two weeks ago at a gas station in the suburbs of Chicago by two men who stole her car and disappeared.
On June 26, Atlanta police say Brittany Macon, a 26-year-old employee of a subway sandwich store, was shot dead when a customer was angry and fired. He injured another employee. According to police, customers were angry that the sandwich had too much mayonnaise.
Murder cases are often associated with big cities like Chicago, and police say the majority of murders are related to gang rivals. However, Chicago’s homicide rate is high, with nearly 800 people killed in 2.7 million cities last year, with a lower per capita homicide rate than in many smaller cities.
Gun death is far from just a big city phenomenon. According to the CDC, about 30% of gun deaths in 2020 occurred in small cities and rural areas of the country. Half were in big cities and their suburbs, and about 20 percent were in medium-sized cities and counties.
In Lawrence County, Alabama, where Guess was killed, two others were killed in the same week of March. Sheriff Max Sanders told reporters in March.
Sanders could not explain the surge in murders. One is that his husband shot his wife during a quarrel and then claimed his life. The other is accused of beating her mother with ashtrays throughout her house because her son kicked out the dog and refused to meet her girlfriend.
David Gest’s death began with a debate over auto parts.
Guess was suffering from addiction, but was clean for over a month before his death, his brother Daniel said. He adopted three of his four children and was once thinking of becoming a preacher. For the past few weeks he has lived in a camper parked next to his father’s mobile home.
He said, “Give you a shirt from his back,” his brother said.
On March 5, according to court documents, David Guess drove a dusty county road near the town of Hillsboro to the man’s house he knew. Later that night, another man, Charles Alan Kiel, arrived. He claimed that Guess owe $ 1,500 to the catalytic converter. Catalytic converters are valuable as scrap metal due to the expensive metal inside.
According to police, Mr. Kiel, 43, beat Guess with his 17-year-old son and other men, and someone hit his head with a pipe. Police say Kiel shot him with a pistol when Guess tried to escape. Five people have been charged, but only Kiel is facing murder.
Two days later, the delivery truck driver found that David Guess remained near a forest road two miles from where he was killed. A burnt black rubber ring was noted where police said the keel and several accomplices put tires on their bodies and set them on fire.
Larry Guess’s eyes cry when he sits at a tattered wooden dining table and remembers David’s call to him around midnight on March 5. David begged his father to bring $ 1,500 immediately.
“Otherwise he will kill me,” David said. Larry replied that he couldn’t make money so quickly.
The last word he heard from his son before Rhein died was David Guess’s begging someone nearby to “never hit me with that pipe again.”
A long list of forgotten victims – Daily Local
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