Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Will We Ever Learn?

wWill we ever look at a six-year-old the same way again? Will we ever feast our eyes on the child’s spontaneity and spunk without thinking of 20 kindred spirits? Twenty children caught up in their morning lessons: sounding out storybooks, counting beyond their fingers and toes, arts-and-crafting, singing seasonal songs.

Will we ever be able to keep ourselves from then snapping our mind’s eyes shut, contorting our faces into countenances of disgust and sorrow, as we recall the horror that invaded the world of of twenty first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School?

Will we remember to keep in our hearts the other children and teachers of Sandy Hook? Hundreds, besides the twenty children and five educators who lost their lives, who - every day, as survivors-  will relive the terror they felt as they crouched in hiding or ran to the firehouse for sanctuary.
Will we finally come to our senses about the lethal mix of guns and mental illness ?  In the last few days President Obama and former senator Joe Scarborough have  eloquently voiced the tipping point Sandy Hook has tragically brought the nation to, the President during the memorial service in Newtown Sunday night and the senator at the start of his morning show, Monday.
Will the rest of us then reopen our eyes to the statistics that have been mounting for far too long,? The numbers linking kids with guns ( listed below). Newtown's  gunman was only 20 years old.-a  troubled young person still living with his mother, whose life he took using her gun, before moving on to Sandy Hook Elementary School with her arsenal in hand.
Each year, there are 34,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. How many of those deaths are children, and has that number increased in the last few years? Here are the facts.
Safety Expert Gavin de Becker has found in researching his books, The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift that:
  • Everyday, about 75 American children are shot. Most recover –- 15 do not.
  • The majority of fatal accidents involving a firearm occur in the home.
  • Gunshot wounds are the single most common cause of death for women in the home, accounting for nearly half of all homicides and 42 percent of suicides.
  • An adolescent is twice as likely to commit suicide if a gun is kept in the home.
  • More teenage boys in America die from gunfire than from car accidents.
  • Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys in America (white, African-American, urban, suburban).

Researchers at familyeducation.com have collected the following statistics on kids and guns:
  • Twenty-nine percent of high-school boys have at least one firearm; most are intended for hunting and sporting purposes.
    Six percent say they carry a gun outside the home.
    The National Institute of Justice, 1998
  • From 1980 to 1997, gun killings by young people 18 to 24 increased from about 5,000 to more than 7,500.
    During the same period, gun killings by people 25 and older fell by almost half, to about 5,000.
    The US Department of Justice
  • There are about 60 million handguns in the United States.
    About 2 to 3 million new and used handguns are sold each year.
    US Senate Statistics
  • Nearly 500 children and teenagers each year are killed in gun-related accidents.
    About 1,500 commit suicide.
    Nearly 7,000 violent crimes are committed each year by juveniles using guns they found in their own homes.
    Senator Herb Kohl, sponsor of the safety lock measure.
  • In 1994, every day, 16 children age 19 and under were killed with guns and 64 were wounded in this country.
    National Center for Health and Statistics, 1996
Will we ever learn?

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