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Friday, February 16, 2018

The deaths by armed violence in the United States


Wednesday's shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which killed at least 17 people, is the latest example of the increasing figures. The statistics are a hard blow of realism behind the epidemic of armed violence that shakes endlessly the United States. The numbers surprised because the “greatest nation in the world” does not seem to put an end to this.

The year 2018 had already seen 1,816 people died in the US due to armed violence, according to the latest data from the Gun Violence Archive. This is similar to say that we can count on an average of 40 deaths per day. In just six weeks, another 3,125 people have been injured by gunfire. There have been 30 mass shootings. Be aware that the organization does not include those killed by suicide in its statistics.

Within these parameters, the entity estimates that 15,590 people died by firearms in 2017 in the first world power. The avalanche of deaths due to armed violence makes the United States an anomaly in the developed world. There is not an exact figure of how many firearms are in the hands of civilians in the country, but it is estimated that there are about nine per ten citizens, which makes it the highest proportion of the planet.

The US Constitution protects the use of firearms, which many consider part of the national DNA. Its defenders are wary of any change that hinders the sale through a combination of fear of government interventionism and the belief that weapons are necessary to defend themselves. President Donald Trump and the Republicans defend that position.

The ritual is repeated after each slaughter in recent years. Initially, driven mainly by democratic politicians and social organizations, the debate on greater control over firearms reopens. But it is not long before the debate decays due to the lack of consensus among the legislators caused by the rejection of many conservative politicians and the pressure of the powerful lobby of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The last significant legal change in the United States dates from 2007 when the prohibition of sale to people with disorders and criminals was extended. The greatest restrictions in recent years have been promoted by the States. At first, the death in 2012 of 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut school seemed a turning point. The then president, Democrat Barack Obama, proposed extending background checks, banning assault rifles and limiting the number of bullets. But he did not get enough votes in Congress. Nor did the death of 49 people change in 2016 at a nightclub in Orlando, at that time the worst multiple shootings in the US. Neither has altered enough the consciences of the national legislators the death of 58 people last October in Las Vegas, the worst shooting in the history of the country. When will the last shooting take place? The definite one? Is it only a matter of gun control? Statistics are terrifying in the USA.