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Gun-Related Deaths Surge During the Pandemic

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The number of deaths resulting from firearms has been consistently rising, with the peak occurring at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The CDC reported a worrying 35 percent increase from the previous years. 

While gun violence and death have risen yearly, long before the pandemic, many people speculate that COVID-19 largely contributed to this increase. In fact, investigations have shown that difficult living conditions due to the onset of this pandemic lead to these staggering statistics. Social isolation, loss of employment, and economic instability also significantly contributed to the higher number of people purchasing firearms. 

In addition, worldwide city lockdowns resulted in the use of lethal force by the police to restrain citizens, and long-term indoor confinement increased the cases of domestic violence. These facts can make the correlation between the pandemic and the uptick in gun crimes seem even more apparent.

Trends in Gun Violence 

Investigations done by CDC officials revealed that the surge in gun deaths was observed primarily in poor counties across America. Areas and neighborhoods dominated by Hispanic, Black, and Native American individuals were reported to have the highest gun homicide rates. Reports also showed that the number of gun-related deaths among women had risen substantially.

Similarly, gun-related suicides also rose sharply, with significant increases among Native Americans and other minority groups. However, these figures were less than those of White men above the age of 50.

During an event to discuss crime, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti further explained how the pandemic could have caused an increase in gun homicides. He related the countrywide devastating mental health system, or lack thereof, as a significant contributor to the increased deaths. 

The FBI reported new records of firearm background checks in 2020 as the pandemic saw millions of guns circulate throughout the American population. Reports have suggested that people might have been scared and felt the need to acquire guns for their own personal safety. 

However, guns have been noted to endanger the members of the households which possess them. This is because they increase the probability of a gun homicide or suicide threefold compared to a home that does not have guns. Ironically, Americans can be more at risk by the very object thought and purchased to provide protection.

New Reforms

Congress is now keen on ensuring that solid gun control measures are in place. In an attempt to reduce the rates of firearm homicides, several research projects are in the works, and acts have been reinstated that aim to promote gun safety.

One of the policies currently being reworked includes the free distribution of lockboxes to help store firearms at home. This measure ensures that guns are only accessible by the right people at the right time. 

With the pandemic slowly ending and people resuming their everyday lives, researchers hope that the number of gun-related deaths will decrease. Whether the pandemic was responsible for the surge in firearm homicides, gun deaths continue to be a significant challenge facing America.  

Jenny is one of the oldest contributors of Bigtime Daily with a unique perspective of the world events. She aims to empower the readers with delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from around the World.

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World

Top 5 Countries for Free Higher Education

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In this growing era of competitiveness, higher education is becoming a necessity for every individual. Without proper higher education, the opportunities to get hired for jobs are getting thinner. No matter the caste or creed, education is considered to be the basic right of every individual by international organizations such as the United Nations. 

Although the cost of higher education is skyrocketing due to its rising demand, there are some countries that offer free education that translates into a valuable degree. These countries are a gateway for smart people who have fewer resources and opportunities. Most of the Central and Eastern European countries invest heavily to ensure the provision of free higher education.

1. Germany 

Germany is one of the most important countries of Europe, that has time and again saved many other European nations from defaulting. In 2014, the government of Germany abolished any fee for higher education in the public universities of its 16 states.

Most of these German universities offer German as well as English courses to accommodate foreign students. Within a short span of 8 years, it has become a student’s best choice to attain free higher education. 

The technical, as well as the manufacturing industries of Germany are state-of-the-art. These industries provide numerous job opportunities right after graduation. 

2. Norway

If you are planning to study in Norway, you do not have to worry about the exorbitant tuition fee for higher education. Regardless of an individual’s national identity, even the top-tier public universities of Norway do not charge any fee for higher education. The government takes care of the university expenses by collecting a heavy taxpayer fund.

From undergraduate to Doctoral degrees, Norway has to offer a wide range of academic principles. The only downside of pursuing higher education in Norway is that you will have to be proficient in the Norwegian language as most universities only offer programmes in the local language.

3. Sweden

The state-funded institutions of Sweden are all free of cost for all the EU residents. Additionally, Swedish universities pay for the expenses of students pursuing PhD for their research work. Other international students, non-residents of EU, are also eligible to get merit-based scholarships, funded by the Swedish government to attract smart people from around the world. Sweden is also surprisingly a frontrunner in the world of online gambling, with it being one of the best places to run an online casino from. An example of such an online gambling platform is bet777.

Stockholm University, Karolinska University and Uppsala University are among the most renowned universities for international students that offer free of cost education. 

4. Austria

One of the most lifestyle friendly countries in the world, Austria also has a free higher education system. Great minds, such as  Erwin Schrodinger and Sigmund Freud were the products of the Austrian education system. Offering a wide range of degrees in the most advanced programmes emerging in the academic fields around the world, Austrian higher education is well-known throughout Europe.

Owing to its being at the crossroads of European trade routes, the environment of Austria is friendly and supportive towards the foreigners. The cost of living is also affordable. The University of Innsbruck and University of Vienna are the most popular universities for foreign students in Austria.

5. Finland

Known as the happiest country in the world, Finland also offers free higher education in most of its public universities, regardless of nationality. Specifically the postgraduate and doctoral programmes are free of any cost. The ministry of Education of Finland funds the state-universities to maintain a high level of education without the collection of tuition fee, showcasing its quality nonetheless. 

The most renowned fields in Finnish Education system are Infrastructure, Design and Communications. University of Helsinki and Abo Akademi University are among the top universities of Finland for international students. The cost of living is affordable and the local Finnish population is accustomed to living among foreigners in peace.

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