And a recent study reminds us just how deadly it can be, especially for our young people.
Researchers from the University of Colorado, Denver analyzed trauma center data from over 7,000 children and young people between the years 2000-2008. What they found was alarming: Younger adults and children with gun injuries were 10 times more likely to die than their counterparts who came into the ER with other injuries.
According to Global Post, the study also found:
—While only 2 percent of the young people brought into trauma centers were victims of gun violence, a whopping 13 percent of them died.
—Half of all gun injury victims needed critical care.
—Death rates for other injuries such as car accidents and falls were much lower: 1.7 percent.
—As the years passed in the study, the severity of injuries worsened, but emergency gun injury care improved too, helping keep more victims alive.
But what is placing younger people into the crosshairs and why are their injuries so fatal?
Unfortunately, the study’s researchers do not provide concrete answers to these questions. Nor does the study take into account the number of children, teens and young adults who died on the scene from being shot. But Dr. Angela Sauaia, the study’s lead author, is clear that gun violence is a serious health issue that needs to be addressed.
“Compared with other serious injuries, firearm injuries were more severe, more often required intensive care, and claimed more lives, justifying focusing on pediatric firearm injuries as a prevention priority.”
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 42 percent of African-Americans knew someone who had been shot — that’s more than double the general population.
The poll also found that when it comes to gun violence, Latinos and Blacks worry the most: 75 percent of Latinos were afraid compared to 62 percent of African-Americans. And honestly, we have a lot to be worried about.
Also, a 2012 report found that African-American youth ages 15-19 are eight times more likely to be victims of gun violence than white youth and that gun violence is their number one cause of death.
Watch BET.com’s "Murder to Excellence: Life & Hip-Hop in Chicago," a two-part video about gun violence here.
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(Photo: Jimmy Anderson / Getty Images)