A new analysis of youth who were killed by firearms shows that it doesn’t make any difference where you live. According to the analysis published in the journal Pediatrics, children in rural areas are as likely to be killed by guns as young people in big cities; this finding runs counter to the popular perception that “firearm death is a big city problem” according to the lead study author, Dr. Michael Nance of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. While there were more homicides in cities, the number of suicides and accidental shootings in rural areas evened the score.
But what really jumped out at me was the number: almost 24,000 gun related deaths of young people under the age of 19 from 1999 through 2006! That is almost five times the number of heroic young men and women from our armed forces killed in combat operations in Iraq during the past seven years of that conflict.
How many doctors, teachers, scientists, plumbers, and auto mechanics have we lost prematurely to gun violence? How many mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers have been the victims of unnecessary firearms death? When will we learn that there are other ways to solve our problems and our disagreements besides with a gun?
Indianapolis is having its own violence crisis right now; 58 homicides already this year. It is up to us adults to make our communities safer for our children and youth and we can start by putting away our guns.