Gun violence is an issue that affects all people and generations, including children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, which does not mean it should be left for only younger generations to deal with. While it’s healthy that the youth want to take preventative action and have conversations that encourage the world to be a safer place, they shouldn’t need to.
As communities navigate accepting and dealing with the harm of gun violence, it’s time that society considers its developmentally stunting implications. In the article “The Impact of Gun Violence on Children, Families, and Communities” by Julie Collins and Emily Swoveland, the authors state, “With more than 25% of children witnessing an act of violence in their homes, schools, or community over the past year, and more than 5% witnessing a shooting, it becomes not just an issue of gun regulation, but also of addressing the impact on those who have been traumatized by such violence.”
Young people need a safe space and invested adults to properly treat their developing minds, especially with the added variable of gun violence affecting their growth.
Rose Hara, a sophomore at BHS spoke to this sentiment as she stated, “I think our younger generations, especially in light of recent years have had to grow up very quickly, and while some may feel like we do have the responsibility and capacity to grapple with this issue, we are still young and should not have to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders.”
It’s true that there has been an escalation in how shootings are affecting students and minors, as well as our society in general. According the Pew Research Center, the 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 were by far the most on record, representing a 14 percent increase from the year before, a 25 percent increase from five years earlier, and a 43 percent increase from a decade prior. With an intense uprise in shootings and gun violence, whether it be self-inflicted or otherwise, it is time that we take action in educating everyone about the burdens that come alongside it. It’s the older and middle generation’s responsibility to implement that.
It’s also necessary to take into account the fact that while there were 648 mass shootings in 2022 (as recorded by the Gun Violence Archive), there were 303 recorded shooting incidents in schools (K-12 School Shooting Database).
Given this knowledge, you can’t ignore that it is not a child’s place to deal with this issue single handedly, while they are simultaneously experiencing it.
Hara spoke similarly, “Many people still do not believe gun violence is truly an issue that needs to be eradicated. in order for there to be any sort of fundamental and systematic change, we all need to come to an agreement on where the problem really is and what needs to be done to solve it. Our society, our government, and everyone who lives in the world affected by gun violence no matters the age or other identifying factors.”
Gun violence induces trauma toward anyone combatting it. Given our society’s current lack of preventative action, this pertains to a tremendous amount of people.
It cannot be left to newer generations and swayable young minds to be made accountable for it.