Injuries from firearms send an estimated 7,000 kids to the ER every year, and an additional 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds before they can get to a hospital, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Doctors are pointing to the new data as further evidence of the serious public health toll that gun violence takes on America’s youth.
The new study drilled down some of the data from a 2009 survey of kids’ pediatric stays. That year, the majority of kids’ gunshot injuries — 4,559 — resulted from intentional assaults with a firearm. An additional 2,149 were accidents, and 270 were suicide attempts. About six percent of the children who made it to the ER ended up dying in the hospital from their injuries, which are typically open wounds, fractures, or brain or spinal injuries.
“This study reinforces what we know from the mortality data,” Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told NBC News. “We have an extraordinary health burden in our youth associated with firearms injuries.”
Webster pointed out that the United States’ rate of mortality from firearms is about ten times higher than the rates in other wealthy nations. “This is a very unique and abnormal problem that such a wealthy nation should have such high mortality and morbidity in youth related to firearms,” he noted. (Think Progress)
The total number of gang homicides reported by respondents in the NYGS sample averaged nearly 2,000 annually from 2007 to 2012. During roughly the same time period (2007 to 2011), the FBI estimated, on average, more than 15,500 homicides across the United States (www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1). These estimates suggest that gang-related homicides typically accounted for around 13 percent of all homicides annually. (National Gang Center)
And all of that leads this blogger to today’s posting…Ferguson.
Racism is alive and well. Whether it’s directed to a black kid on the streets of St. Louis or a Hispanic kid on the streets of Houston or a white kid who attends a predominately minority school….it’s alive and well. To say otherwise, is an insult to those across the world who deal with prejudice on a daily basis-whether it’s self-inflicted or not does not matter. We, as humans, judge one another by the color of our skin, the size of our checking account, our gender….it’s wrong…yet, we have all been guilty of prejudice at some point. We have all been a victim of someone’s prejudice towards us at some point as well. For the vast majority of us, that prejudice was fleeting-a one time ordeal. We cannot understand what it is like to live in world that every single day you are judged by the color of your skin. As a white female, I cannot understand what it is like to get pulled over just because I meet some “profile” of a “typical” offender. I won’t pretend that I do. I also won’t pretend it doesn’t happen. So, yes, racism is here.
I copied the information regarding gun deaths to children and deaths to gang members to show that maybe we are fearing the wrong thing…..gang members are killing far less than I thought they were-I had just assumed due to the media hype the numbers would be staggering….they are in that one life lost is too many….but statistics clearly show the vast majority of homicides in this nation are not committed by gang members….but by human beings that decide to kill. Not kill to protect, but to kill because in that moment they did not value human life. And maybe, just maybe that’s what Ferguson is really about. A community that has a small percentage that does not value human life. A small percentage that has become so consumed with anger and hate that rational thoughts and behaviors are no longer the norm.
A police officer, on that given night had to make a decision. Was he in danger? We do not know what it is like to patrol an area where you are hated, not wanted….yet…this man…because of his call to public service patrolled that community where he was not wanted. A man that has probably replayed that night a thousand times in his head….second guessing every single move he made. Yet, in that moment, was he in danger? I think the facts clearly state that he likely was. From there, things seem a little murky, but we have a judicial system in this nation and that grand jury was given more information than most grand jury’s get. Was there probable cause? No. An officer of the court made a snap decision on his safety and the safety of those around him. That’s their job. He had never fired his weapon before on duty. A grand jury must find probable cause. In this case, it wasn’t there based on the evidence and facts presented.
And then our President addressed the nation. Facebook feeds were firing away. And then, this little blogger who is just one voice in a sea of millions had that lightbulb moment as she read what people were saying about Ferguson, about our President, about all of it. We are a very angry nation-of all colors. We are a nation that has lost respect for authority and for the office of the President. (I didn’t say we had to like or agree with the President, but there is no respect for that office anymore.) We don’t respect our public servants, we don’t respect our teachers, we don’t respect one another. Is it any surprise when you accept that fact that we have a small percentage of a town tearing it into pieces? We are an angry nation. We all want to be a victim.
So, this little blogger’s answer is this-let’s cover our nation in grace. We need grace in abundance. We need to raise our children to see one another for who they are-not what they are. We need to be a nation that respects our public servants and our leaders, even if we don’t agree with them. We need to teach our children to respect their community. We need to teach all of that, model that. Anger serves no one when it is allowed to fester into what we are seeing in Ferguson. That anger isn’t about one kid…..that anger goes so much deeper. We need to teach the value of human life…and maybe that means taking away Halo, or Call of Duty or whatever has caused so many to view killing as an act with no consequences. We can’t just treat the branches of the tree that is broken….we must address the problem at the root.
Today, we pray for Ferguson and every community in America that is like her…and for one another.