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It has been one year since the horror of the Newtown shooting where 20 children sadly lost their lives. A lot of people thought gun laws would change. They did. They expanded in spite of the President and Vice President’s push to restrict assault weapons.
Combined studies show almost every state has enacted new gun laws. Nearly two-thirds of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners.
In an article on Slate, they asked the question, “How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?” Their answer? More than 11-thousand.
And while mass shootings tend to get everyone’s attention, suicides and urban gun violence kill far more people each year.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that whites are far more likely to shoot themselves while African-Americans are far more likely to be shot by someone else, usually another African-American.
Most of those shooting and killing each other are black people between the ages of 20 and 24, most of them men.
The latest CDC study shows the leading cause of death among black teens, ages 15 to 19 in 2009 was gun homicide.
That same year, black males were 8 times more likely than white males to be killed by a gun. The rate of gun injuries was 10 times higher for black children and teens than it was for white children and teens.
Black teens were 25 times more likely to be injured by a gun during an assault than white teens. There’s obviously a crisis of gun violence in the black community and no one knows it better than Reverend Sam Saylor of Hartford whose son was gunned down last year just before Newtown.
The more he watched the nation cry for the Sandy Hook victims the more frustrated he got because no one was crying for him or the thousands of dead young, black men like his son.
But after meeting some of the Newtown parents something clicked. Saylor says he realized quote, “Newtown is our town,” and began his mission to get people to pay attention to urban shootings like they do mass shootings.
There has been a lot of discussion this year about gun control and mental health. Gun control efforts so far have failed.
On the anniversary of Newtown, The President and Vice President have pledged 100-Million dollars towards mental health services.
Are African-Americans who perpetrate gun violence suffering from mental health issues? I don’t know. But, perhaps because of generations of poverty, neglect, racism, and plain ignorance some are suffering from soul health issues and have become way too dismissive of the value of human life.
And I’m not so sure there’s enough money in the world to cure that.