Protect Children Not Guns
The 2010 report from the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) entitled Protect Children Not Guns describes in detail the impact of gun violence on the young people of America. 3,042 children and teens died from gun violence in 2007. 2,161 were homicide victims and 397 were under the age of 15.
The report also discusses non-fatal injuries- “Another 17,523 children and teens suffered non-fatal gun injuries in 2007 and the emotional aftermath that follows. Dr. John Rich a primary care physician in a busy Boston hospital realized that although little research had been done on trauma among young Black victims of violence, their stories were echoing research on responses to trauma in other groups like rape survivors and soldiers returning from combat. These responses include hyper-vigilance and the constant feeling of being in danger; being unable to feel at all and exposing themselves to more danger in an attempt to feel something; returning to danger to prove to themselves they had mastered their fears; or using alcohol or drugs to try to ease pain. It became easy to connect the dots and see how these common responses to trauma play out in the lives of many survivors of inner-city violence, and why, in many cases, they lead to more violence. When many survivors are concentrated in a single area, it’s also clear how these cycles of trauma and violence repeat themselves and infect that entire community.”
How many educators have received training on working with students who have experienced trauma? How many schools are equipped to protect our young people and stop these cycles of trauma and violence? How many effective programs in and outside of our schools are being cut as schools close and funding stops?
As the weather warms up and the violence in Boston increases we must be more aware of these issues.