Posted in Calls for submissions, Gun Violence, The BeZine

Stop Gun Deaths

Special Section for Summer 2023:
Stop Gun Deaths

“Guns are now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. [aged 1–19].” Full stop. Think about that for a long moment.

As motor-vehicle caused deaths for children (ages 1–19) have declined steeply in the U.S. during the first part of the 21st C., gun deaths have risen. In 2020, guns became the leading cause of death for this age group, as the graph below from the New England Journal of Medicine shows.

Figure 1. Leading Causes of Death among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999 through 2020.
Children and adolescents are defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age.
Source: Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States
         N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1955-1956 (May 19, 2022; accessed: 27 April 2023)

According to the Pew Research Center, gun deaths for children under 18 increased 50% in number from 2019–2021. So, that gold line in the graph above keeps going up in the following year, as shown in the graph below.

Graph showing Gun deaths among U.S. kids increased 50% between 2019 and 2021. Data points given values are: 1999= 1,776; 2006= 1,593; 2013= 1,258; 2017= 1,814; 2019= 1,732; 2020= 2,281; 2021= 2,590. An angle shows that the difference between 2019 and 2021 +50%. Source: CDC
Source: Gun deaths among U.S. children and teens rose 50% in two years, Pew Research Center
         April 6 (accessed 27 April 2023)

These deaths include accidents, homicides, and suicides. What they have in common is one thing. Guns. It should be notable that in general, “Firearm homicide rates are highest among teens and young adults 15-34 years of age and among Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino populations” (CDC). While this is not the same age group, it is likely that these difference may continue below the age of 15.

Snopes confirms Barack Obama’s in the Tweet at the top of this page, with qualifiers about the age range (children under 1 are excluded because of unique causes of death. “The leading causes of death among infants (children less than 1 year old) were birth defects or preterm-birth issues” (Snopes). Also, motor vehicles accidents are slightly higher than guns as causes of death when looking at ages 1–17 (Snopes —this is because motor vehicle death rates are higher in that age group, according to Snopes).

Gun deaths are preventable. They are not caused by natural disasters or disease. They are caused by guns. Guns need to be safely stored in gun vaults in homes, away from children. We need gun control to keep military-style weapons off the streets and out of schools. Assault rifles are the “weapon of choice” for most mass shootings. Police need “red flag” laws that enable them go get court-orders to confiscate guns from people at risk of violence to themselves or others.

The fact that guns are THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CHILDREN IN THE U.S. is a damning judgment on U.S. politics, policy, and society, a judgment about how much influence the NRA wields with lobbying and financing. There is nothing pro-life, pro-religion, or pro-rights about this awful fact. The rights of actual living children to live are being violated at a horrific rate. Guns cause the most deaths of American children. The. Most. Deaths.

Guns can be stopped.

Guns must be stopped.

Special section for
the June Issue of The BeZine

Send us your work for publication in a special section of the June / Summer issue of The BeZine on the theme of “Stopping Gun Violence.” We would like fiction, non-fiction (including relevant book reviews), poetry, art, music—all that you usually see in The BeZine. Show us, move us, teach us, suggest solutions. Help us move readers to Stop Gun Violence Now.

Follow the submission guidelines. Be sure to send your work as an email attachment; please attach a short bio; if you wish, you may attach a jpg headshot (portrait perspective, ie, higher than wide). Put “Stop Gun Deaths” in the subject line of the email. Details about submitting at the guidelines.

Send by the issue deadline of 15 May 2023.

References and Resources

CDC. Fast Facts: Firearm Violence Prevention.

CDC. Firearm Violence Prevention — Resources.

Goldstick, J.E.; Cunningham, R. M.; Carter, P. M. Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States. N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1955-1956 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2201761. May 19 2022.

Gramlich, John. Gun deaths among U.S. children and teens rose 50% in two years.
Pew Research Center
. April 6, 2023.

Ibraham, N. Are Guns the Leading Cause of Death for Children in the US? Snopes.

©2023 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved

Stop Gun Deaths
Digital art re-purposing public-domain stock images
©2023 Michael Dickel


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