While everyone's attention towards guns and gun violence goes way up after a mass shooting like Newtown, it is important to remember that there are many more everyday child and teen victims of gun violence in our country. In fact, about 20,000 children and teens are shot each year and almost 3,000 die from gun violence, including murders, suicides, and accidents.
Here is just some of the gun violence from the past week that you should be aware of and which will hopefully motivate you to join the American Academy of Pediatrics and others who are advocating for ways to keep our kids safe:
- a 16-year-old in New York City who was killed after being shot in the chest.
- a 3-year-old and her mother in Smithfield, North Carolina who suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot while walking to a nearby school bus stop.
- a 5-year-old in Pembroke Park, Florida who was shot in his mother's condo.
- a 17-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who was shot in the arm after having an argument with a group of people.
- a 12-year-old in San Francisco who was shot in the ankle on New Year's Eve.
- a 17-year-old in Queens, New York who was shot and killed outside a party.
- a 15-year-old in Oakland, California who was shot and killed while walking to a nearby train station from her home. She was going to the mall with a small group of friends. A 14-year-old in the group was also shot.
- a 14-year-old in New Haven, Connecticut who was shot in the shoulder while waiting at a bus stop.
- a 6-month-old in Ocala, Florida who was shot and killed by her 20-year-old mother who then shot herself
- a 16-year-old in Houston, Texas who was shot in the groin while hunting after his father had mistaken him for a deer.
- a 9-year-old near Grapeland, Texas who was shot in his arm while hunting with a friend.
- a 13-year-old in Las Yescas, Texas who unintentionally shot and killed an 18-year-old family member while they were hunting.
- a 10-year-old in Elkton, Maryland who died after she was hit in the head by a bullet that was likely shot as a part of "celebratory gunfire" just after midnight on New Year's Day.
- a 15-year-old in Flint, Michigan who was unintentionally shot and killed by his 16-year-old friend as the two were playing with a gun.
- an 18-month-old in Bessemer City, North Carolina who was unintentionally shot in the arm.
- a 13-year-old in Alvin, Texas who died after he unintentionally shot himself in the head while playing with a gun.
- a 14-year-old in Minor, Alabama who unintentionally shot a 19-year-old man in the face with a gun that they had been playing with.
- a 16-year-old in Dellwood, Missouri who was unintentionally shot in the arm and has a bullet lodged in his chest while he and another teen were playing with a gun.
- an 8-year-old in Bennettsvile, South Carolina who died after he was unintentionally shot in the stomach at his father's house.
- a 4-year-old in Ottawa, Kansas who was unintentionally shot in the leg by an adult in the home who was showing someone else how to handle it.
Gun violence isn't going away and our focus on preventing gun violence shouldn't go away in the days and weeks following a big tragedy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for improved gun safety legislation, increasing comprehensive access to mental health care, and lifting restrictions on federal gun violence research and prevention efforts to assure that all children are safe and feel safe in their homes, in schools and within their communities. Will you join them?