D.C. gun violence continues to affect our children. When will it end?

It is not unusual to hear gunfire in D.C. According to the Washington Post, gun violence is the norm in a city where at least 54 people are dying every day from gun violence.

But beneath the current gun violence epidemic and with deaths projected to outdo last year, our children are among the casualties. It might be easier to bury our heads into the sand regarding the reality of our children dying from gun violence, but that does not mean it is not happening.

July this year, a mass shooting in Southeast D.C. led to the death of a 6-year-old girl; she died alongside five adults. Six-year-old Nyiah Courtney had her life cut short by a senseless drive-by shooting outside a liquor and convenience store.

In a statement, the executive assistant police chief said, “There’s too much gun violence, still, perpetuated in this city and too many children are being harmed – innocent children- by gunfire.”

However tragic little Nyiah’s death was, her death isn’t the first of its kind. According to research, children and teens are most likely to die from gun violence than any other cause. A fact that has remained true even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In 2018, for example, gun violence was the leading cause of death among our children, surpassing deaths by motor vehicle accidents. In 2019, a year before the pandemic, 3 371 children and teens were killed in gun violence- a number high enough to fill more than 168 classrooms, according to the children’s defense organization.

In 2020, 4,142 children aged between 12- 17 died or were injured from gun violence. An additional 999 children aged between 0-11 were killed or wounded in gun violence. In 2021, 849 teens and 255 children aged 0-11 have been killed in gun violence. And even sadder is the fact that with every child killed, an additional five are injured from gun violence.  And according to the gun violence organization, at least 2,896 teens and children have been injured in 2021.

Gun violence affects all children, with children of color, especially black children, face the most significant risk. Black children and teens are four times more likely to be killed in gun violence than white counterparts.

The events that unfolded in July and the labor day weekend where at least seven children were killed in Chicago represent the tip of the gun violence problem. And with 2 million guns sold last year and more sold this year, the problem is about to get more outstanding.

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