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For a country as wealthy as we are, the failure to do something about violent gun deaths suffered by children is really shameful. And it’s particularly shameful when we consider the disparities in between white and minority kids. Let’s look at the numbers.
From 2005 to 2009, there was an average of 3,500 fatal deaths per year, or nearly 10 deaths every day. About one in five of these victims was between ages 5 and 14, and the death rate for African-American children in this age bracket was three times higher than the rate for white children of the same age.
The problem with gun violence is that everyone wants it to end, but we can’t seem to get everyone on the same page. Today Wayne LaPierre from the NRA will be interviewed on television and whatever he says, you can be sure that the anti-gun folks will find every word he utters to be wrong. And at the end of the day, another 10 children will have been killed with guns.
So I have an idea. For once let’s all get together around some common-sense ideas that will unite instead of divide us. Let’s agree that if we all act responsibly around guns, they won’t get into the wrong hands. After all, every single gun that will be used today to kill those ten children was first sold legally to someone who passed a background check. But then the gun was lost, or it was stolen, or it wasn’t locked up or locked away. Let’s get everyone: manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, gun owners and non-gun owners to do the responsible thing.
If we can agree to be responsible, we can do something about this terrible violence against kids. And if we work at it, hopefully next year there won’t be ten kids killed each day but only eight, and the next year six, or four, or none! We’ll give everyone a little badge or a little pin for being part of the solution instead of the problem. LaPierre and Bloomberg can be the first recipients of our annual ‘responsibility’ award.
Now just to make sure that I’ve got my facts straight, I’m going to check the data on gun deaths one more time. It’s from the CDC. Oops. There’s a little problem. The overall numbers are correct as is the disparity between white and minority deaths. But somehow, don’t ask me how, what I thought were the alarming numbers about child gun violence turn out to be annual child deaths from – unintentional drownings! Boy, talk about misreading the data. Man, I really blew that one.
No biggee, we’ve already got things going and we’re gaining momentum every day. Need to change our logo a bit and re-print our mission statement. Now let’s find a nice, little backyard pool to substitute for the AR-15 and don’t forget to re-do our Facebook page. I’m sure the same people who are upset about children being shot by guns will be just as concerned about kids who fall into pools. And the good news is that safe swimming is just like safe shooting – it’s all about responsible ownership and doing the right thing.