We all know that it continues to happen… no one should be surprise by it. But each time it happens… something else in the narrative just seems unthinkable. In a nutshell, gun violence in America should be officially labeled as a disease and treated as such. We need to find a cure for this new disease that is affecting our quality of life and certainly plaguing our communities. Of course there are a lot of root causes that feed into this new disease, including poverty, hopelessness, unemployment, mental illness, lack of education, racism, prejudice, neglect, self-worth, wealth, public policy and social status.
In a recent report by the Children’s Defense Fund, “The State of America’s Children 2014” paints a clear picture of what is occurring. This report is just “eye opening and jaw dropping” and is a report card that reveals just how deep the “rabbit hole” is. I must warn you that this report could be too much to handle for many and will require some time to process for most. This report contains what most of us fear, hear about, or have seen firsthand in our communities… that gun violence is having a great impact on our youth.
Here are some of the facts cited in the report: guns kill or injure a child or teen every half hour. In 2010, 2,694 children and teens were killed by guns and 15,576 were injured by guns. Guns killed more infants, toddlers and preschoolers than law enforcement officers in the line of duty. US children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from gun violence than their peers in 25 other high-income countries. Since 1963, three times as many children and teens have died from guns on American soil than U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In 2010, Black children and teens were nearly five times and Hispanic children and teens were more than three times more likely to be killed by guns than White children and teens. The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies possess 4 million guns, US civilians have 310 million. Every year American companies manufacture enough bullets to fire 31 rounds into every one of our citizens.
As you can see, there is a need for some fresh ideas to deal with our addiction to guns and the impact it is having on our future. If we are unwilling to deal with this long term problem, there will be no end in sight and this new normal will become permanent. Additionally, this report is not alone in painting the picture of our nation that is in serious trouble with its future generations, but also a nation that is in trouble in its defense of its true principles and its moral compass. What do you think?
Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter #AC53, or call 414-571-5015. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee.