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It has almost become as predictable as a weatherman’s forecast with the daily news now revealing incidents in which guns were either used by teens leading to fatal outcomes or were the cause of senseless injuries or deaths of youth. 

And while the mass shooting in Buffalo serves as the most recent example of a teen gaining unfettered access to firearms and then using those weapons to inflict deadly harm on innocent citizens, America finds itself at the crossroads. 

Guns have become the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer. 

In a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the writers reveal that more than 4,300 died of firearm-related injuries in 2020 –a 29% increase from 2019. Their research analyzed several decades of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..

“In the last 40 years, and almost certainly before that, this is the first time that firearm injuries have surpassed motor vehicle crashes among kids,” said a co-author of the letter, Jason Goldstick, a research associate professor at the University of Michigan. 

Goldstick said homicides, rather than suicides, made up the majority of firearm deaths among children and teens in 2020. Gun killings, which disproportionately affect younger Americans, increased by 33% from 2019 to 2020.  

Most of the children killed by firearms in 2020 were 14 and older, Goldstick said, even though the legal age to purchase guns is 18. 

“Kids don’t buy firearms but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for kids to get access,” he said. 

In fact, the first issue which must be addressed remains the easy access to which youth have firearms. And while examples of violence, even the idolization of such acts, have become more prevalent in today’s society given the power and popularity of social media, we contend that the socialization of children begins at home. If we are serious about protecting our youth and ensuring that our future will be in safe and competent hands with the next generation, we cannot continue to give lip service to gun control or mental health services. 

It may be easier to say it’s not “my” problem, as long as our children or grandchildren are not included in the statistics but the truth is that it is “our problem.” 

And if Congress does not have the backbone to put the ship on a different course, the Village of Black Elders must intervene. Every life matters!! Let’s show our children, the nation and the world that we believe it. 

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1 Comment

  1. More of the same b.s. about restricting law abiding citizens instead of holding the criminals accountable.

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