By Edan Held
World News Editor
Police help escort survivors of the supermarket shooting out of the building in Boulder, Colorado
On Thursday, October 21, while filming an upcoming movie, actor Alec Baldwin shot a prop gun equipped with a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring film director Joel Souza. While the discrepancies and small details are still unknown, and consequences will likely be settled in court, this accidental shooting is just a small representation of gun violence in America.
Baldwin claims he did not know the prop gun was equipped with a live round, though reports say he purposefully aimed, cocked, and fired it even though no directions were given to do so. Reports also claim that on the scene of the movie, Rust, proper gun safety measures were not taken, and there were other occasions when a prop gun was fired and a live round ejected. This situation as a whole is a microcosm of gun violence in America, where, on a daily basis, individuals refuse to follow gun safety protocols and put everyone in harm's way.
From January to November of this year, 1,500 people were shot in Philadelphia alone, with 500 of those resulting in death. Philadelphia police are on track to confiscate 6,000 illegally owned guns, which is helping to alleviate some fears, though gun violence is still on the rise. Students of Philadelphia schools fear for their lives every day as they enter the school building, whether their school may fall victim to gun violence, or their family members may while they aren’t home.
Philadelphia’s own gun violence problems translate to most cities across America, though the severity differs. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks gun violence across America, has traced 17,000 deaths this year to gun violence, not counting suicides, with an additional 34,000 injuries also linked to gun violence.
In addition to minor incidents of gun violence (in comparison), mass shootings continue to be on the rise. There have been over 600 mass shootings in 2021 alone, and so far, as sadly as it sounds, the deadliest mass shooting came in Boulder, Colorado on March 22nd. A gunman opened fire on a supermarket, King Soopers, in Boulder, killing ten people, including a police officer. Because of the shooting that lasted 58 minutes, the dangers now associated with the everyday task of grocery shopping are ingrained in Boulder residents’ minds forever.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, the COVID-19 pandemic has not helped the gun violence epidemic. Homicides involving a gun, even if accidental, increased 25% in 2020, with gun-related suicides also tallying 24,000. The purchase of guns increased 65% from 2019, due to a number of reasons, including: it being an election year, the outbreak of COVID, and an economic recession, which led people to feel scared and as if their best line of defense was a firearm. With this came an increase in domestic abuse, more specifically, domestic abuse homicides involving firearms, rising 25% in 2020. Partners became easily frustrated with each other after being stuck in the same home or apartment for long periods of time during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this led to spikes in domestic abuse homicides.
As America continues to grapple with the gun violence epidemic, the COVID-19 situation has not helped; in fact, it has made conditions and grounds for gun violence even worse. Our immediate neighborhood, Philadelphia, has taken a giant hit, and gun violence is taking a toll on residents lives’, just like it is in so many cities across the country. The shooting involving Alec Baldwin on the Rust movie set depicts just a small world in which we live, where gun violence, and failing gun laws, continue to affect our country and the small things we wish to do, creating yet another everyday worry.