**file photo**

There’s one thing to celebrate a “birthday party” like our nation’s 245th. But why must so many Americans find it necessary to use guns to have “fun?”
With restrictions lifted from the pandemic in most American cities, the Fourth of July weekend saw a rise gun violence with over 180 people killed and 516 injured in shootings across the U.S., according to data from Gun Violence Archive.
In the first five days of July, there were 20 mass shootings, bringing 2021’s total to 336. In May, the nation recorded 72 mass shootings while June clocked another 76, according to the archive.
“The 14 mass shootings over this past holiday weekend (Friday to Sunday) are the most of any weekend in 2021,” the organization said in a tweet.
In cities like “Chi-Raq,” (a name for Chicago which filmmaker Spike Lee coined for a movie he wrote and directed), and where gun violence is increasing this year, at least 82 people were shot – 14 fatally – over the holiday weekend. The number of shootings on Fourth of July weekend rose from 2019 when 68 people were shot, and 2020, when nearly 80 people were shot. One man, 40, was killed on Friday night after a neighbor complained about his music. After an argument, an unidentified person shot the victim several times in the torso, CBS Chicago reports.
In New York City, police reported 26 victims in 21 shootings over the holiday weekend.
In D.C., violence has brought to 93 (as of July 1) the number of people killed – up 18 percent from this time in 2020. The rise in shootings has placed deadly violence at the top of discussions in the District.
Chicago, New York and the District reported the highest number of injuries and deaths due to shootings during the July 4th weekend.
According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 22,662 gun violence deaths in 2021. This includes all causes, such as murder, unintentional killings and suicide. There have been 336 mass shootings and 16 mass murders.
Authorities had hoped that the spike in homicides last year would subside, but they remain higher than they were in pre-pandemic times.
America stands at the crossroads.
How many more deaths are needed before we stop talking about the problem and do something?

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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