We’ve recently become very friendly with our new neighbors, who moved to New York from the U.K. They have two small boys (4 years and 18 months), and so it’s been interesting and eye-opening to compare cultural and political differences between the two countries. Especially in the context of parenting.
While our neighbors are happy here in the States, there is one issue that has them second-guessing their decision to move here: guns.
Of course their concern was amplified after the horrific tragedy in our backyard, but they brought that fear with them from the start. The gun violence here — which doesn’t seem to be slowing down — simply doesn’t happen in the U.K. Of course no country is immune to mental illness, domestic violence, and tragedies — but, as you’ll see in the following facts about children and guns, U.S. children are 65 times more likely to be killed by a gun than a U.K. child. That’s a tremendous statistic to consider as a parent.
Seeing the issue through their perspective — stripped of constitutional and political issues — suddenly makes it all look so simple. These are our children. Are we okay with parents being scared to raise kids here? Is that something we should be proud of?
And then I realized that perhaps American parents aren’t aware of just how dire the situation is. I mean, I found these facts to be pretty darn jaw-dropping — and I have a feeling you will too. Here’s the truth about guns and children in our country:
Children and Guns 1 of 16
All of these statistics come from The Children's Defense Fund's publication, Protect Children, Not Guns 2013, which analyzes data on gun injuries and deaths from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gun Deaths in 2010 2 of 16
And that's just deaths. When we're talking about total injuries from guns, 18,270 children and teens died or were hurt from guns in 2010. That's ONE YEAR.
America! 3 of 16
In the top 26 high-income countries, U.S. kids made up 43% of all children and teens. And yet U.S. kids made up 95% of all children killed by guns.
Seriously America? 4 of 16
U.S. kids were more likely to die from a gun homicide, suicide, or accident across the board.
1 Child Every 30 Minutes 5 of 16
And 351 children and teens died or were injured every week in 2010.
Deaths Every 3 Days > Newtown Tragedy 6 of 16
The Newtown tragedy — which is coming up on its one-year anniversary — killed 20 elementary school children and 7 adults, and snapped our eyes open about gun safety here in the U.S. Yet in reality, more kids are killed every three days.
Imagine 134 Classrooms of 20 Students 7 of 16
From 1963 to 2010, there's been an average of 3,470 children and teens killed by guns each year. That's enough to fill 174 classrooms of 20 children each year.
Leading Cause of Death 8 of 16
Only car accidents kill more children and teens every year.
Shouldn’t We Be Improving? 9 of 16
Good news: The rate of gun deaths dropped in 2010 for the fourth year in a row (although I fear that number may have jumped in 2012). But still, we have a higher gun rate now than we did in the early 1960s.
More Kids than Soldiers 10 of 16
Between 1963 and 2010, 166,500 children and teens died from guns on American soil.
Between 1963 and 2010, 52,183 U.S. soldiers were killed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq COMBINED.
Afghanistan War 11 of 16
Looking at just the Afghanistan war — and just in 2010 — the statistic is roughly the same:
15,576 children and teens hurt by guns in 2010 vs. 5,247 U.S. soldiers injured in Afghanistan in 2010.
More Kids than Police Officers 12 of 16
82 preschoolers, toddlers, and babies were killed via guns in 2010.
55 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2010.
No State is Immune. But Hawaii is Your Best Bet. 13 of 16
The deadliest state was Alaska, which was 21 times more deadly for children and teens than Hawaii.
National rate in 2010: 3.6 gun deaths for every 100,000 children
Alaska's rate in 2010: 8.7 gun deaths for every 100,000 children
Is This Right? 14 of 16
In fact, children are more likely to be exposed to violence than adults. According to the 2008 National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, nearly two-thirds of children and teens were victims or witnesses to violence within the year.
Leading Cause of Gun Deaths: Homicide 15 of 16
Yet the leading cause for adult gun deaths is suicide.
Black Kids Most at Risk 16 of 16
The rates for Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native children and teens were all higher than White children and teens — yet Black children are still the most at risk.
Here's an especially disturbing statistic:
Between 1963 and 2010 (47 years), 59,265 Black children and teens were killed by guns. That's 17 TIMES GREATER than the number of Black people lynched (of all ages) in the 86 years of lynchings.