Some will blame the isolation and mental health issues that resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic. Others will blame the efforts underway in many communities to undermine the work that the men and women involved in law enforcement do. But, for whatever the reason or reasons, a huge spike in our nations’ murder rate has been confirmed. Statistics released by the FBI yesterday indicate the murder rate in the U.s. rose by 29.4 percent in 2,020 when compared to 2,019. That’s the biggest single-year increase in history. What is very troubling is that the federal agency says much of the increase in deadly violence has occurred in cities with populations that range from 10,000 to 250,000 people. The Fraternal Order of Police organization blames the increase on the growing animosity that’s been expressed toward police since 2,020. Mental health experts have been warning for months that serious issues like an increase in violence would be the result of the pandemic. Whatever the reason or reasons, the murder rate increase is as alarming as it is disturbing. It proves that small and mid sized communities are no longer immune to an uptick in violence we’ve long associated with major cities. That’s the way I see it.