Caught in the Crossfire: Unintentional Shooting Deaths Since Newtown

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to a study released on June 25,2014  by Everytown for Gun Safety, at least 100 children have died due to unintentional gunfire in the year following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. John Feinblatt, the president of the group who conducted the study, explains to HuffPost, “Too often we just say it is an accident or inevitable. But what this data shows is it’s preventable.” In Sam Stein’s article for HuffPost, 100 Children Died In Unintentional Shootings In Year After Newtown, that the report entitled Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths examines in great detail the frequency, causes and victims of these shootings. According to Everytown, 73 percent of the shootings counted were done by minors who are defined as 14 or younger. While 57 percent of the cases showed that the victims were shot by someone else usually an older peer, 35 percent involved the victim shooting him or herself and usually involved younger victims. Further data shows that the these shootings occurred in familiar placed to the victims with 84 percent being killed in their home, a friend’s home or a family car and ,in 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or family member. The shooting found in the study occurred in 35 states with most happening in small towns and rural areas.  Stein explains that the finding from Everytown come from extensive review of news stories and subscription service in the 12 months after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook. Any shooting found to contain any ambiguity as to whether it was accidental or not or could not be confirmed as accidental by law enforcement officials was left out resulting in a possible under-counting of the final results published in HuffPost.

The group, Everytown, itself has had its fair share of controversy due to the methodology used to count the school shootings which are kept in a separate database since Newtown, according to Stein. Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for the group, insists that the criteria used to calculate the findings were fair and arguments against it were driven by pro-gun supporters. The numbers calculated in the report are higher than what the Center for Disease Control projects which is an average of 62 children per year ages 14 and under. Stein figures that the 100 children killed per year works out to 2 children killed per week. The issue for Everytown with respect to gun control comes in the form of poor education about how to properly store firearms and the dangers. The group supports the idea of imposing criminal liability for irresponsible gun storage in the form of well tailored child safety laws as the report even cites Florida’s Child Access Prevention law. Feinblatt sums it up by saying,”There is no question when you look around the country you see a real patchwork of laws having to deal with child access, and yet we have research that is compelling that laws that impose criminal sanctions are effective. We only have to look towards the drunk driving movement. … It decreased and deterred people from drunk driving, which obviously we have come to accept as dangerous. And we need to come to the same acceptance.”

Casualties of Reform: The Children of Illegal Immigrants

(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Immigration reform seems to be the hot topic of the moment as thousands of people including men, women and children flood the country from across the border begging the question: What to do with all these illegal immigrants? Well let us not forget that at one point in this countries past, everyone except the Native Americans came to this country to pursue a better life either through legal means i.e green cards or settled here and never left (some called it illegal). Unfortunately, the issues is not so cut and dry when you look at all aspects of the immigration debate mostly due to the fact that you have those who choose to settle here and those who are born here or don’t remember anything of their past life. As Christopher Sherman and Astrid Galvan state in their article published June 18, 2014, Sights, smells of holding cells for immigrant kids, there has been a surge in minors mostly from South America into the United States and even the President has called the 47,000 unaccompanied children who enter the country illegally an “urgent humanitarian situation.” Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has struggled to get any action from House Republicans as they have no reason to move on legislation to address the millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States. In addition, despite calls from supporters of immigration overhaul, the president has refused to move ahead unilaterally on limited changes he can make on his own.

However as of June 20, 2014, the White House has decided to step up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country by expanding the government’s ability to process and deport people even announcing new funding to boost security in crime plagued Central American countries, reports Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal. The plan would be to increase the ranks of immigration judges, lawyers and asylum officers to quickly decide what happens to people at the border and to return them home. According to the article, White House announces steps to address illegal children in the country, officials also granted $9.6 million in support to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help them receive and reintegrate people who are sent back. The administation has also pledged $40 million to improve security in Guatemala and $25 million to provide services for youth in El Salvador vunerable to organized crime.

A New Kind Of Children’s Hospital

A New Kind Of Children’s Hospital.

More hospitals should take this alternative approach and take more care in the patient then what’s in their wallets especially when it comes to kids. The hospital provides an environment conducive to healing not just physically but emotionally. The children are allowed to decorate and paint the walls of their rooms like their rooms at home. As CNN put it best :” Set amidst a wooded expanse of central Florida, with theme park roller coasters peppering the horizon, Nemours Children’s Hospital is arguably the new high water mark for pediatric care in the United States. It’s a hospital that believes nature — and its healing properties — is as valuable as any IV or pill.” I agree it depends on the situation but medicine doesn’t cure everything plus it helps families to know that someone cares and wants the best for their kids.

Sandy Hook Parent Sends Message To NRA: ‘Return This Country Their Kids’

Sandy Hook Parent Sends Message To NRA: ‘Return This Country Their Kids’.

Again I understand what these parents are going through with the recent shooting but a whole nation has been broken by all the events in the last five years. 19 mass shootings is not normal at all and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out something is wrong. Gun control is only part of a larger national debate folks. Many if not all of these shooters have mental illness disorders that impair their ability to fully understand right and wrong. We must understand the psychology behind these horrific events to plan better besides focusing on one issue.

Connecticut school shooting: Sports world shaken by tragedy at Sandy Hook – Sporting News

Connecticut school shooting: Sports world shaken by tragedy at Sandy Hook – Sporting News.

Moments of silence and tribute are occurring all over the country. These are the tributes these kids deserve that they are not forgotten. It is in our darkest moments that gain the most clarity in that respect these children and adults who died did more than they will never know.

 

Adam Lanza, Newtown School Shooter, Was ‘Nerd,’ Honors Student

Adam Lanza, Newtown School Shooter, Was ‘Nerd,’ Honors Student.

There were many tragedies in this situation. The failures of our government to provide needed services and stricter gun laws. The fact that we are not more proactive in protecting everyone from this kind of violence. It is a known fact that we have very lenient gun laws compared to other countries. We protect the criminal more than the victims it is a sad reality of today’s world. I hope this was a wake up call to us all after so many other shootings. I thoroughly sicked by politicians who cannot do there job and only making it worse for everyone but what especially sickens me is the fact that they gave these insincere speeches about the shooting and made it all about them. I do applaud Obama for his speech but now do something about it.

Connecticut Elementary School Shooting: How To Help

Connecticut Elementary School Shooting: How To Help.

The system failed so it is up to us to pick up the pieces of this tragedy and never forget these angels that died today. I was angered by the fact anyone would do this but this is again another example of the failure of our legal system and mental health facilities to take the correct preventive measure to keep people from committing this horrible act. Let’s focus on how we as a people can help and pick of the broken piece since our government cannot.