America is Especially Violent
Per the statistics, the US is an especially violent country.
It ranks 32nd in the world in terms of gun violence, and with nearly four deaths per 100,000 people, the US is eight times more deadly than Canada and nearly 100 times more deadly than the UK.1
2021 isn’t helping to lower these statistics. Per the FBI, gun ownership rose during the Pandemic, with a 20% increase in the number of federal background checks for gun purchases from March 2019 to March 2020.2
The worst part of these statistics is the increase in deaths attributable to guns, especially those of children. Although 2021 isn’t complete, its numbers already outpace most years.
Mass Shootings on the Rise
Another unfortunate statistic is the rise of mass shootings in the US.
As of September, the year 2021 year has already become one of the deadliest on record for mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA)3, 517 mass shootings have occurred in 2021, and more than 32,000 individuals have died via guns by their own hand and at the hand of another.
In many of these incidents, the scene often follows the same path: Someone is unhappy and plans retribution.
They are typically young, male and carry multiple weapons.
They park, grab their guns and walk towards the school/store/office … intent on harm.
The incident is usually over within 5 minutes, often too quickly for help to arrive.
And commonly, the entire act is caught on video.
Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t simply the plot of a sensational television show. It is the unfolding of events that have occurred at manufacturing plants, schools, stores and government facilities across the US:
- Five killed, six injured at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, IL in the winter of 2019.
- A teenager entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL on February 14, 2018, and killed 17 students and injured 17 more.
- May 26, 2021, an employee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority used two automatic pistols to kill 10 of his co-workers.
- Twenty-three people were killed, and another 23 people were injured in the deadliest shooting of the year at the Walmart in El Paso, TX on August 3, 2019.
- The Virginia Beach Operations Building saw 13 dead and four injured at the hand of a co-worker on May 31, 2019.
- The Kroger Grocery Store in Collierville, TN on September 23, 2021 where two died and 12 were wounded,
Technology Can Offer Mitigation
The GVA defines a mass shooting as an incident where a total of four or more victims are either injured or killed with a gun. Their definition does not include the gunman in the count.
One doesn’t need a formal definition to grasp the gravity of violence in the US, nor the staggering statistics to understand that we need a solution to stem this gun violence.
Metal detectors, audible gunshot detectors, community alarms, access control devices and video surveillance systems are all significant and necessary components of a sound mitigation plan. So is AI-driven, visual gun detection software.
Together, technology can offer proactive, preventative applications that strike a preemptive defense against gun violence.
517 is too many mass shootings. One is too many.
1Aizenman, N., (2021, March, 24) Gun Violence Deaths: How The US Compares With The Rest Of The World NPR Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/03/24/980838151/gun-violence-deaths-
2Schaeffer, K., (2021, September 13) Key Facts About Americans and Guns Pew Research Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns/
3Gun Violence Archive (2021, September 24) Retrieved from https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/