What kills our children?

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Help me fill in and expand these data. Put additions or corrections in comments. Thanks.

Table 1
Time Period Chief cause of death for our kids
 Colonial America Epidemic contagious diseases
 19th Century and Early 20th Century Chronic and endemic contagious diseases 
 Lat 20th Century through early 21st Century  Accidents
 Recent Years  Gun Nuts, Republican Legislators, MAGA Judges, and the NRA 

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15 thoughts on “What kills our children?

  1. The term “children” encompasses people up to the age of eighteen. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of kids who die from firearms are not young kids who die in school shootings, but are mainly children of color killed in their own neighborhoods.

    They die because the War on Drugs has made illegal drug sales the profitable province of gangs. They die because of the culture which surrounds them and that culture has multiple causes that have little to do with the NRA or gun nuts.

    You want to lay this whole thing at the doorstep of the Republican party (of which I am no fan at all), but there are black intellectuals on both sides of the aisle who have criticisms of the Democratic party and black culture itself on this topic.

    This is a complicated, not a simple, issue.

    1. “Young kids who die in school shootings” is a small category, and yes, it is not a simple issue. (I’ve written over 500 posts on this issue, and no two are alike)

      It is not true that the majority of youths who die by the gun are children of color who die in their own neighborhoods. Most youth who die by firearms are suicides.

      But yes, the whole war on drugs thing is hugely important and a good number of gun deaths across all ages are from related violence.

      I lay this on the doorstep of the people who make sure we can’t change gun laws whoever they happen to be regardless of political party.

      Just yesterday in my state, the Senate passed a pretty good set of gun laws. 100% of the Republicans voted against them, 100% of the Democrats voted for them. This is a widespread pattern.

      So yeah, I lay this complex issue at the feet of the Republicans! Well observed!

      There is a thinly veiled nuance in my chart: regardless of the specific source of the problem, experts have finally concluded that the sheer number of guns, lack of red flag laws, and very permissive ownership and carry laws have a huge contribution to ALL forms of gun deaths. And that is because sensible laws can’t be passed.

      Feel free to suggest new wording for the lower right hand cell, but not “oh some black guys are also at fault”please!

    2. So, I am using your comment section incorrectly if I have a partial disagreement with you, is that it? Good grief.

  2. very permissive ownership and carry laws have a huge contribution to ALL forms of gun deaths.

    Yup. You only need to read about the influence relaxed “stand your ground” laws have had to see that.

    1. It depends on what categories one uses. The traditional “youth” category goes into the early 20s, and suicide by gun exceeded other categories. If you break at 18 (s the oldest in the group is 17) then gun deaths in the US are 55% suicide for 18+ and 32% suicide 17 and below, for exampl,e in 2021, a recent year with actual data. Roger, you can be all pissy about the number if you like, I don’t mind, but I’m trying to have a sincere conversation here and not play gotcha.

      Meanwhile, as of the last couple of years, 19% of kids 1 through 18 (so a slightly different age range) die of gun violence, and that is the largest category (motor vehicle crashes a very close second) . In the most recent stats, 30% of those are suicides. Among people of color, in this age range, homicide outpaces suicide while in white kids, suicide is more common. But, note that the black kid homicide death numbers, which are high, shot up in the last 2.5 year by about 50%. This shift is larger than any other change in death rates related to guns and youth. Most experts (including some I met with last week) regard this as a major change owing to Covid and related effects, which means, most likely, that it is a short term trend.

      Another major trend is the overall increase in very oung kids (9 and younger) getting killed, and middle school age kids dying by gun. Last yar the younger age range went up so much in suicide that almost half of gun homicides 17 and under were suicides.

  3. Roger, the parts of your comments I responded to were not you disagreeing with me. They were parts where you had hadn’t checked your facts yet.

    1. Really?

      Children who die by gun suicide are only 40% of the kids who die by gun violence.

      The majority are killed by other kids and young men who by and large are killing each other over drugs and gang territory and because of a gun culture seen in disadvantaged communities. At least, the FBI has said as much. Although, thanks to Republicans, we can’t know for sure, because we don’t have the data we should have about gun violence in the US.

      Are Republicans responsible for many parts of this? Of course. But that is not the ONLY story going on, which is what I was trying to point out. And to dismiss this as “oh some black guys are also at fault” is below you. And is pretty damned unhelpful in an era where this problem is growing while at the same time (thanks to the Republicans on the Supreme Court) our options to improve the situation become fewer.

  4. The most recent year for which statistics are known is 2021. Citing data from the CDC, Pew Research says this:

    Though they tend to get less public attention than gun-related murders, suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths. In 2021, 54% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (26,328), while 43% were murders (20,958), according to the CDC. The remaining gun deaths that year were accidental (549), involved law enforcement (537) or had undetermined circumstances (458).


  5. It is unconstitutional to prevent 18-20 year olds from buying guns:


    This district decision is correct and will no doubt be appealed to the Supreme Court – which will uphold it and overturn all laws preventing adults from buying guns – based solely on age.

    From a constitutional perspective, this decision makes perfect sense – as the 2nd amendment has no age restriction and history shows that 18 year olds were qualified for the militia (and the draft).

    So in a year or so, the law of the land will be that 18, 19 and 20 year olds will also be able to buy handguns, rifles and shotguns in every state – and conceal carry also.

    Makes one wonder about alcohol age restrictions, smoking age restrictions and car rental age restrictions – doesn’t it? If you are mature enough to go to war, and buy a gun – why not drink, smoke and rent a car? I always wondered about those laws.

    1. It is unconstitutional to prevent 18-20 year olds from buying guns:

      Maybe unconstitutional but nonetheless sensible. In this respect, given the rising toll of gun deaths the constitution is not fit for purpose.

      history shows that 18 year olds were qualified for the militia (and the draft).

      In the military firearms are strictly controlled and held in guarded armouries. Well that has been my experience from serving in the RN where I found myself at age 16 firing SMLE .303 and an assortment of machine guns Bren, Sten, Sterling and Lanchester. A totally different scenario which makes your point, ahem, pointless.

      Points about alcohol, driving and smoking are, ahem, smokescreens of little relevance in this discussion. Typical lawyerly distractions.

  6. Now that I’ve read the whole thing, I think Judge Payne makes a well-reasoned argument for the right of 18-20-year-olds to purchase handguns — that despite the age of majority in the time of the Founders being 21, the fact that 18-year-olds could (indeed, were required to) serve in the militias and expected to provide their own firearms logically implies they had a right to purchase.

    However, this view that standards extant when the Constitution was ratified take precedence over current norms opens a can of worms. Women were not allowed to serve in the militias at that time. Based on that precedent, should they now be prohibited from owning firearms?

    I raise this point not to advocate preventing women from arming themselves (Stand down, Emily Miller!) but to suggest that historical precedent is an unsuitable guide.

    1. That is an excellent question and fine legal reasoning. I think the answer would be that without the 14th amendment – your theory would probably be correct.

      However, the 14th amendment, and more particularly the equal protection clause would be the answer to your question. The constitution was changed by the 14th amendment to give women (any person) equal rights – so they can buy guns and be drafted also.

  7. The spread of concealed carry laws, as well as stand your ground expansions, is a major concern. The clowns who think concealed carry makes things safer are dangerous fools, and we know relaxing stand your ground laws simply gives license to kill without cause. It’s going to get much worse.

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