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

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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