America Saw a Historic Rise in Murders in 2020. Why?

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For understandable reasons, “2020” and “coronavirus” are going to be synonymous in the American mind for generations to come. But there was another, quieter public-health menace that killed an alarming number of Americans last year: gun violence. We only have data for the first nine months of 2020, but according to the FBI there was a 20.9 percent increase in murders compared to the same period in 2019, a genuinely shocking increase. And exploring the reasons behind that increase can help illuminate just how insidious a problem violent crime is and how difficult it is to stem these cycles of violence once they accelerate.

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