Last Saturday, nineteen year old Sydney Aiello committed suicide. One day later, a classmate of Sydney's followed her down that long dark hall. Both of these teenagers were survivors of the shooting last year at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Authorities connected both deaths to "survivor's guilt" and post-traumatic stress. More than a year later, the death toll continues to rise.
You want a national emergency? Well, it seems we have one.
Since December 2014, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook, Elementary killing twenty children and six adults, seven thousand more have died by gunfire. The exact number is hard to determine. A much more defined total can be gained from the Department of Defense, which totals the number of soldiers killed overseas in combat since September 11, 2001, puts that figure at six thousand, nine hundred twenty-nine. A similar number, but the army got an twelve year head start. One might suggest that our children would be safer in a war zone.
An American Academy of Pediatrics report, which said about thirteen hundred children are killed by guns every year. In 2015, a Washington Post article gave us another creepy statistic. During that year, more Americans were shot by toddlers with guns than by foreign terrorists. Whether they were shooting on accident or on purpose, with intent or not, that just shouldn't be. The number of lives torn apart by gun violence that don't end in murder or suicide cannot be calculated.
Or maybe it can. Each year, kids in California participate in a survey reflecting their social and emotional learning skills and the challenges they face. Here in Oakland, when asked if they knew any friends or family who have died by violence, more than forty percent of last year's fifth graders answered in the affirmative.
Is this real enough yet? How many children do we need to sacrifice to our cherished Second Amendment before we look at it as a survival issue?