Guns in America.
24 years after the Columbine School shooting.
On April 20, 1999, a school shooting and attempted bombing occurred at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. 12th-grade students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher. Ten students were killed in the school library, where Harris and Klebold committed suicide. Gunshots injured twenty-one additional people, and gunfire was exchanged with the police. Another three people were injured trying to escape. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history until it was surpassed by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018.
I have three children and “Mimi” to two more. I shouldn’t have to worry that when my children or grandchildren enter a school building, they may be murdered. In 1999, I was a mother to a preschooler and only five years out of high school. I remember many years later somberly walking to pick up my second son from the bus stop after learning of the Newtown, Sandy Hook, massacre of children around the same age as my son. School shootings are now so commonplace it isn’t typically the headline on the news. It is scary to think that the place we send our children to learn could lead to their death.
Parents are not supposed to bury their children, yet it happens every day in America due to gun violence. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the United States. Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded, and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence. Children and teens in the U.S. experience staggeringly high rates of gun deaths and injuries. They are also harmed when a friend or family member is killed with a gun, when someone they know is shot, and when they witness and hear gunshots. Tragically, children and teens are at heightened risk of firearms in the home. Most child and teen gun homicides and unintentional shooting deaths and injuries occur in the house. More than 80 percent of child suicides involve a gun that belongs to a family member.
Four-in-ten U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun, including 30% who say they own one, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June 2021.
Gun violence reflects and worsens racial inequities. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. They experience ten times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and nearly three times the fatal shootings by police of white Americans.
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