PUEBLO — While COVID-19 has taken so many lives since the pandemic first began, so has gun violence.
In 2020, the Gun Violence Archives recorded 19,397 deaths connected to gun violence, compared to 15,444 in 2019. The nearly 20,000 deaths does not include the 24,156 suicides using a gun, making the total number of deaths related to gun violence 43,553 nationwide in 2020.
As Sergeant Frank Ortega said with the Pueblo Police Department, 2020 was "all COVID, all the time, no matter what happened".
“The pandemic… It’s something that’s affected everything, I don’t know of any one thing that it has not affected and definitely it affected crime rates," said Ortega.
According to the annual report, the Pueblo Police Department saw an increase in homicides between 2019 and 2020. In the first five months of 2021, the city of Pueblo has had nine homicides.
“We’ve had a lot of homicides, I think the vast majority of them involved fire arms," said Ortega.
Jessica Witt, a psychology professor at Colorado State University, has been studying the way that holding a gun in someone's hand, can impact their perspective of their surroundings.
"I remember hearing about the shooting in Boulder, and my first reaction was, I’m surprised we haven’t been hearing more!" said Witt.
“We found that when a person is holding a gun, that they’re more likely to judge others as holding a gun as well.”
By May 10, 2021, 14 deaths had been recorded for the month of May in the state of Colorado associated with gun violence.
The National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center offers a self-help app for any survivors, family members, community leaders and mental health providers. They also have tip sheets that include:
- Managing Distress: Grounding Tips For Crime Victims, Survivors And Family Members Of Mass Violence Incidents (MVIs)
- Tips For Survivors: Coping With Grief After A Disaster Or Traumatic Event
- Tips For Survivors Of A Disaster Or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Distress
- Mass Violence resources from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Suggestions For Parents – Mass Violence Incidents
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.