Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:57AM
An activist holds a placard during a vigil in front of the White House on August 27, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed as they conducted an on-air interview in Roanoke, Virginia. (AFP Photo)
An activist holds a placard during a vigil in front of the White House on August 27, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed as they conducted an on-air interview in Roanoke, Virginia. (AFP Photo)

Gun violence has once again become the focus of media attention in the US after the shocking murder of two journalists on a live television in Virginia and the suicide of the assailant.

It has raised the question: why do these kinds of violent crimes happen so often in the United States? US President Barack Obama says he is heartbroken over the deaths. He has publicly stated that Americans are overly focused on terrorism at a time when more deaths are being caused by gun violence. But the shootings continue. For instance, three people were killed and at least 25 others, including a 7-year-old girl, were wounded in gun attacks across Chicago.

These underline the shooting epidemic that has struck the United States - which now leads the world in mass shootings. During the last 50 years, this nation – with five percent of the world’s population – has suffered almost one third of all gun-related massacres, and towards the end of August 2015, according to the website Mass Shoot Tracker, there had been 247 instances of mass shootings in just 238 days – which, on average, is more than one a day.