USA TODAY – Feb. 28, 2021 – Mass shootings in Illinois increased to 69 in 2020 from 41 the year before, while nationally mass shootings jumped nearly 50% during a pandemic with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth.
In 2020, Illinois’ reported 69 mass shootings killed 42 and injured 301. A year earlier, the state’s 41 mass shootings killed 28 and injured 182.
Among Illinois’ deadliest shootings last year was one on July 4 in Chicago that killed four and injured four. The state’s bloodiest shootings included one July 21 in Chicago that injured 15.
Thirteen people were shot during an incident on Peoria’s riverfront last July.
With COVID-19 cases falling and vaccines rolling out, some criminologists hope a rebounding economy and reopened schools will drive down the national numbers in 2021.
Early results are promising, says Mark Bryant, founder of the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun incident trends. In the first seven weeks of this year, there were 63 mass shootings — defined as four or more people injured or killed in one shooting — which, if continued at that pace, would show a drop from 2020, he said.
“I’m hoping last year proves to be the anomaly,” said Bryant. “The stresses caused by last year, from jobs to illness, were not just an urban thing or a rural thing. We saw bumps in towns in Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as in Chicago and Philadelphia.”
Other experts warn that reducing mass shootings across the United States will require more than simply putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror.
COVID-19 highlighted long-standing health-care, education, housing and employment inequities in the nation’s communities of color, and only policy changes that improve living conditions will lead to shooting reductions, said Jerika Richardson, senior vice president for Equitable Justice & Strategic Initiatives at the National Urban League, a nonpartisan civil rights organization based in New York. [full article]