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Street-burning “matches” and holiday plastic decorations – “Andersen’s Fairy Tales” under the U.S. epidemic

In a few days, the New Year’s holiday will be on the way in the United States. However, the festival that should have been decorated with lanterns and families is a different scene for Americans today. A December survey of U.S. residents showed that 75% of Americans thought 2020 was a difficult year, and the bad news about the epidemic was under too much pressure. Desperate people turned to decorating the wishing tree, pinning their hopes for the coming year through the plastic decorations on the tree…

The despair of the American people is not groundless. Since the United States reported the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on January 22, 2020, the coronavirus epidemic has continued to worsen in the United States. As of 18:22 ET on December 21 (7:22 a.m. Beijing time on December 22), statistics from Johns Hopkins University in the United States show that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States has exceeded 18 million, reaching 1,8006,061, and the cumulative number of deaths has exceeded 31. There were 90,000 cases, reaching 319,190 cases.

△ Statistical chart of average weekly new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States from January 22, 2020 to now (Image source: Johns Hopkins University)

The ongoing epidemic has exacerbated the chronic diseases that already spread throughout American society. According to the latest data from Gun Violence Archives, in the first 11 months of 2020, there were 592 mass shootings in the United States, an increase of 42% compared with the whole year last year, with more than 17,000 people killed and 37,000 people. Gunshot wounds. Behind the soaring data, the gap between rich and poor intensified in American society is hidden.

“He just opens the door and his life is gone”

“The next day, he died.” Hassan Saleh said.

△ A report by Indy Weekly on December 16 records the relevant words and deeds of Hassan Saleh in the Trevião Amerson case.

Hasan Salih is responsible for the day-to-day management of an apartment in Durham, North Carolina, United States. At noon on November 24, there was a shooting in his apartment under his charge. The victim was a 23-year-old young man named Trayvion Amerson. In the U.S. Indy Weekly, Hassan Saleh’s statement gives the impression that he is used to such incidents. In fact, he had to do so. This year in Durham alone, more than 800 shootings were reported in the media. Speaking of the possible cause of Amerson’s death, Saleh said: “He just opens the door, and his life will be gone.”

Three weeks later, in Chicago, northern America, a purple wishing tree decorated with names, photos and star signs stood on Daly City Square. It’s just that these stars are not used to celebrate the upcoming holiday, but to commemorate those who died in the shooting.

△ On December 14, a purple wishing tree decorated with names, photos and star signs was erected in Daly City Square, Chicago, to pay tribute to people who had previously died of gun violence. ( Image Source: USA Today)

One of the many stars belongs to Amaria Jones. This summer, her life will always stay at the age of 13. She was in the living room, happily showing her mother a dance she had just learned from the Internet. A stray bullet flew out of the window while she was dancing, piercing Amalia’s neck. But this is not the end of the Jones family’ tragedy. 18-year-old Roderick Jones, a rapper who dreams of being able to exude, died of shooting in early December. Before his death, his family was still planning to buy him a handsome windbreaker, and embroidered his favorite lyrics with green cotton thread on his back.

“You can never breathe here”

At the memorial service in the Municipal Square, Amaria’s sister, Mercedes Jones, said that she would go to pay tribute to her sister’s tomb and bring a small gift. It was a purple banner that reads “Dance Diva”. During the pandemic, Jones’ family went through pandemics and unemployment, and the pandemic didn’t take away her family, but in a different form, it prevented the family from recovering from the pain of losing loved ones.” My son is 7 years old and he has gone through too much grief.” But the reality of busyness requires her to constantly face the death of her two relatives. Mercedes plans to move Rodrick’s tomb to Amalia as soon as possible. She continued, “You can never breathe here. You can’t.”

△Singhil Gaston, who died of gun violence, was only 20 months old when he was killed. ( Image Source: USA Today)

Among the owners of these memorial stars were 20-month-old Sinsel Gaston, who was shot and killed on the way home from the laundromat with her mother; Lena Nunez, 10, was hit in the head by a stray bullet on TV at her grandmother’s house. Eventual death. Both of the shooting deaths of children in Chicago even occurred on June 27, only a few hours apart.

While people in Chicago are mourning those who lost their lives in the shooting incident, the streets where Saleh is located in Durham are firing again. During this period, Saleh obtained police permission to enter the apartment where Amerson died for cleaning. There was still a scarlet blood stain on the dark wooden floor in front of the apartment. Saleh, 63, has been unable to remember how many cases of gun violence he experienced and witnessed, but Saleh knows that there is a more serious drug epidemic behind gun violence.

△Hillside Park, Durham

In an open space next to Hillside Park in Durham, it is an extrajudicial place for the homeless, drug traffickers, violent groups and sex workers. On a cold night overwhelmed by the epidemic, homeless people surrounded by a rusty tin oil barrel, pulling out wood from a pile of used furniture and garbage nearby and lighting up rusty oil buckets for warmth. Some of them will be addicted to heroin and cocaine. They will meet in the street and then hang out in the street for days. Saleh said, “I once asked one of the women, ‘What if you have a cold?’ She said, ‘I can catch a cold.’ I saw her this week, and she seemed to have pneumonia symptoms at that time.

“But more people have nothing”

△Natalia Wallace, a 7-year-old girl, died of gun violence on July 5, 2020, in the South Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Image Source: Associated Press)

For mothers who have lost their children under the pressure of the epidemic, the coronavirus epidemic can’t stop the violence from causing harm to them and their families, but rather it will bear more. Tamar Manasseh, founder of the anti-gun violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings, said: “Some people think the coronavirus can stop guns. Violence. It’s not realistic at all, it just makes the poor poorer.”

△Trayvion Amerson, who died of gun violence, was only 23 years old at the time of the shooting (Image source: Hindi Weekly)

Less than a month after Amerson’s death, Saleh finally received information from the police, who said that they had completed the investigation of the case and could basically declare the case closed, although the suspect was still unknown. Saleh, 63, often misses the old town. “Many big people used to live here.” In the face of the current chaos, he sighed: “These are the stories of this city. There are many rich people here now, but more people have nothing.”

△ From January 1, 2020 to December 21, 2020, a map of shooting deaths across the United States, each red dot represents at least one death. ( Image Source: Archives of Gun Violence)

The residents of Durham and Chicago are more or less vaguely aware of gun violence and drug floods that plague these two cities, and are ultimately closely related to social inequality and excessive gap between rich and poor. The damage caused by the epidemic to the American people is not only the surge in confirmed cases and the high death toll, but also the fuel, which is enough to make the social problems rooted in the United States the last straw to crush the American people. Chicago’s homicide rate rose 52% in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, data released by the Cook County Medical Prosecutor’s Office. Gun Violence Archive’s latest data shows that gun violence has disproportionately affected teenagers and children this year across the United States, killing nearly 300 children under the age of 11 and injuring more than 660; more than 1,000 of teenagers aged 12 to 17 have been shot dead and nearly 3,000 people. Injured.

△Everytown, an independent think tank, investigates the surge in shooting cases in the United States during the epidemic (Image source: Everytown)

In line with Manassi and Saleh’s perception of the widening gap between rich and poor in society, the latest data released by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the wages of the richest 1% of the United States have soared by 160% over the past 40 years. For the lowest 90% of the earners, their salaries are shrinking as a share of all Americans’ total income. In a study published on December 12, the independent think tank Everytown attributed the widespread gun violence in 2020 to the indirect impact of the epidemic. The bottom of the people’s unemployment has led to lower incomes, and the federal government has suspended many government services and social welfare due to the epidemic. The bipartisan quarrels have led to the delay in the delivery of rescue funds, and many epidemic prevention measures lack relevant compensatory policies, resulting in the absence of education and public services in American society, contributing to a large number of Adolescents and the unemployed do nothing. In addition, the economic downturn caused by the epidemic, coupled with the encouragement of advocacy of interest groups, has pushed gun sales in the United States to reach a new high in 2020, and policy loopholes have allowed a large number of unregistered “black guns” to flow into American society, both of which have further spread civilian guns in the United States…

The burned “matches” and plastic decorations on the wishing tree

On the 14th, Mercedes Jones and relatives of other victims of gun violence mourned the 672 victims under the purple wishing tree. It is planned that Rodrick’s tomb should also be moved next to Amalia on the 18th. This year has been a year of sadness, both for Mercedes and her 7-year-old son. After attending the memorial service on the 14th, she suppressed her grief and prepared for his son’s festival at the end of this year.” I have to do this because I have a 7 year old son who has been looking forward to it.”

Saleh, 63, is also busy in the apartment he is in charge of. He may occasionally think of Durham, which used to be visited and settled by bigwigs, and may be preparing for the upcoming festivals and holidays.

In the fairy tales written by Andersen a hundred years ago, the “matches” used by little girls to find sustenance and hope are now burned on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Coronavirus, gun violence, and the intensification of the divide between rich and poor… All of this has made the life of ordinary people in the United States more difficult this year. With the end of the year, the traditional festival is coming, and the American people have to hope for a better year from the plastic decorations on the wishing tree.

△ The National Rifle Association (NRA) posted information on social platforms to encourage people to buy guns as holiday gifts.

Unfortunately, the reality is far less beautiful than expected. On the 21st local time, the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced on social platforms encouraging the American people to put guns in gift boxes and put them under the wishing tree as gifts to celebrate the festival. In this cold winter, the American people set a little light reflected in the “match”, in the face of the cruel reality, destined to be extinguished…

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