2020 proved to be a year of turmoil for the United States. The Coronavirus pandemic, political and economic instability, police violence, and civil unrest altogether appeared like a nightmare for Americans.

Where these problems brought a storm of turmoil, gun violence has become another source of worry in America and, more specifically, New York.

Recently The New York Times published an article entitled “Bravado, Self-Defense, Fear: Why These Young Men Carry Guns” to highlight the escalating rate of gun violence in the city.

According to the article, New York has witnessed a dramatic spike in gun violence cases this year, almost double that in 2019.

“More than 1730 people have been shot so far this year as of Nov. 29, double the number for the same period a year ago – a level of gun violence not seen in 15 years.”

Although this gun violence has a strong tie with gangs, COVID-19 related economic crises also substantially increased gun-related activities in New York. The persistent lockdowns, aggravating health crises, and mental problems induced by the Pandemic can not be overlooked in this regard. In short, the current scenario appears to be a collective product of gangsterism and COVID-19.

According to the New York police, the aggressive encounters between militant street crews are the primary cause of spiraling gun violence and mass shooting.

“The police say feuds between street crews over turf and drug deals are driving most of the violence. A single gang feud in Brooklyn, for instance, has been blamed for 26 deaths. Those conflicts have been made worse by the Pandemic’s economic and emotional toll on low-income families”.

Not only New York, but the increasing incidents across the United States are also evidence that the whole country is on the verge of gun violence crises. But after reading the New York Times this statement about gun culture, it seems that it has no idea of ethnic mosaic and violent culture prevailing in the city.

“But the authorities said they are also grappling with a deep-rooted gun culture in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, where some young men carry firearms not just to commit crimes but also in a misguided attempt to protect themselves.”

In fact, The New York Times put the blame on other states. The author of New York’s Time article stated that New York has strong gun control laws, and most of the guns recovered from the crime scenes have been found to be from states having Lax gun laws. According to the New York Times, most of the guns used in crimes come from six adjacent states having weak gun laws.

Source image abc.net.au: Tens of thousands of protesters gathered on the National Mall in the rain for a March.

“Black market guns, usually bought in other states with lax laws and smuggled to New York City in cars, were easy to buy on the street, they said, where they cost anywhere from $300-$1000.”

Now come to Basaime Spate, one of the authors of the study published in the New York Times, who formulated a new cause of increasing gun violence in the city. He called the violent culture a part of American culture since the earliest days.

According to Spate

“Guns have long been mythologized in the United States, equated in popular culture with self-reliance and power, and it was no different in densely populated cities. This is about America embracing the gun culture,’ Mr. Spate said. ‘This is an American problem.'”

Yes, it is true that Americans do have a deep and permanent connection with guns. It would not be wrong to say that these guns integrated into their fabric have become a point of pride for most Americans. Since the country’s initial days, Americans have been carrying firearms along with them for purposes other than violence, i.e., Protection, hunting, sport shooting, etc.

But it would not be fair to blame the guns for increased violence cases in New York. It is not the gun; it is the criminal who uses the equipment for ill means.

Both Spate Edgar and Sandoval, the article’s author, blamed the gun culture for violence but did not focus on the zero bail policy. The policy, that was introduced to release the criminals, accused of low-level offenses, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in American jails.

Now have a glance at what police commissioner Dermot Shea said on Tuesday said about the zero bail policy and gun violence.

“We have made staggering numbers of gun arrests, taking guns off the streets from felons. But when you look, three days later, four days later, those individuals are back on the street committing more gun violence”. Shooting or gun violence is a learned behavior; it has nothing to do with American culture. It is not a culture, it is a mindset, and if Americans want to decrease gun violence, they need to reverse their attitude and mindset.   

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