Violence has always been critical component of crime, the modern epidemic is marked by high rates of gun violence. Individuals in our city possess and carry guns on a large scale, guns are often at the scene of violence, and guns are often used in the committing of crimes. Guns play a vital role in initiating, sustaining, and elevating the epidemic of violence.

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The demand for guns among individuals here in the city is fueled by an atmosphere of danger, made up of gangs, expanding drug markets with very high intrinsic levels of violence, high rates of adult violence and fatalities, as well as cultural styles of gun possession.

You might say that guns have become a symbol of respect, power, identity, and manhood to a generation of people, in addition to having strategic value for survival. This relationship between guns and the violence that individuals engage in is very complex. The effects of guns are mediated by structural factors that increase the demand for guns, the availability, and culture that fosters lethal ways to use guns.

Police Officer Fatally Shoots Man Near Ferguson, Missouri
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The drastic increase in gun violence in Tuscaloosa, and its concentrated and severe consequences, suggest to me that it is an epidemic with moral, social, and health ramifications. The health impacts are readily visible and straightforward. The concentration of gun violence among nonwhites in the inner city reals the social effects of this trend. The increase in deaths from firearm injuries is really disproportionately concentrated among nonwhites, especially among African American teens and young adults.

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