I apologize for I had a massive brain fart on Friday and posted an article out of sequence….my bad…..
A continuation of my series on op-eds around the nation on the subject of gun violence……please keep in mind that these are op-eds not my thoughts I may add my feelings but the main body belongs to others.
These posts are about the prevention of gun deaths…..but first a little background….
The massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, resurfaced many troubling facts about America’s exceptional propensity for gun violence. But perhaps one of the most disturbing is that firearms are now the leading cause of death among Americans ages 24 years and under.
While guns have long been a fixture of American life, the emergence of firearms as the leading killer of young people is a relatively new phenomenon.
For years, cars held that distinction. But over the past two decades, motor vehicular deaths involving Americans between the ages of 1 and 24 plummeted, cutting the rate by nearly half. And sometime in the late 2010s, those two lines — deaths by car and by firearm — crossed paths on the graph of leading causes of death for young people.
In 2020, the most recent year for which data was available, firearms killed 10,186 young people, the highest number in two decades.
To me that is a very disturbing stat…..
But is there an easy solution?
The horror in Uvalde, Texas, last week was horrifyingly familiar to Mary Ellen O’Toole. Part of a small group of academics, law-enforcement professionals and psychologists who published some of the first research on mass shootings in schools more than 20 years ago, O’Toole knows the patterns these events and perpetrators all follow — and the opportunities for prevention that seem to just keep being missed.
I first spoke to her in 2018, after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, but she has been studying school shootings for more than 27 years. In that time, she and other experts say little has changed. The risk factors they identified two decades ago still apply. The recommendations they made are still valid. And every time another batch of Americans die in this way, researchers like O’Toole are forced to watch in horror, thinking about what could have been prevented and why it wasn’t.
“Honestly, I … I feel very, very angry,” O’Toole said to me last week. There is always another new example of mass gun violence in America. But mass gun violence in America is no longer new — and neither are efforts to stop it.
Then there are those that believe that jobs and such could save lives…..
Americans are once again looking for answers after the deaths of at least 19 children and two adults in last week’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Beyond questions around the police response and whether the massacre will lead to meaningful gun control, a big, fundamental concern looms: Why are guns such a problem in the United States, and what needs to happen for the situation to change?
Mass shootings are a distinctly American horror. What’s perhaps even more horrific is that, while each one is devastating, mass shootings cause only a small fraction of the gun deaths in America. The US has an unusually high rate of gun homicides among developed countries — for children 14 and under, almost eight times the rate of the next country in the ranking — and total gun deaths have only been increasing over recent years.
Legal restrictions on gun ownership, including mandatory waiting periods on handgun purchases and laws against children and youth carrying guns, could result in fewer deaths. But passing such legislation is a heavy political lift. In the absence of federal action, can anything move the needle on firearm deaths?
There is growing evidence that non-gun-control measures — including interventions to support at-risk youth and programs to improve access to mental health care — can and have been very effective, says Jennifer Doleac, associate professor of economics at Texas A&M University and the director of the Justice Tech Lab.
My thoughts on this is that these ideas looking for more band-aids…..
Please let your thoughts be known.
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