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Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Can We Do But Cry?

What can we do but cry when a child's life ends in a hail of gunfire. When all the promise is cut short. When all that could be will never be. When all that hope for tomorrow will never be realized. When all those dreams will never come true no matter how hard you wish.

According to a report called "Protect Children, Not Guns" published in 2009 by the Children's Defense Fund:
The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 3,184 children and teens died from gunfire in the United States in 2006—a 6 percent increase from 2005. This means one young life lost every two hours and 45 minutes, almost nine every day, 61 every week.

Of these deaths, 2,225 were homicides, 763 were suicides and 196 were due to an accident or undetermined circumstances. Boys accounted for 2,815 of the deaths; girls for 369 deaths. More than five times as many children and teens―17,451―suffered non-fatal gun injuries.

The really sad thing is that most of these deaths go unremarked. There may be a brief notice in the local paper, but in big cities, especially if the child in question is black, that may not be the case.

This past week we had a national outpouring of grief for the death of a child - we should grieve for her. But why do we not grieve for the other 3,000 dead children. Are they not just as worthy of our notice, our grief, our sorrow? And if not, why not? What makes one child so much more special than another? Each child has parents who have hopes and dreams for their future. Each child has hopes and dreams for their own future. Each child has their own gifts to offer this world.

Where is our grief for each of them?

And when are we going to do something besides cry?