This one is especially–and sadly–relevant given last week’s news from Parkland, FL. We tend to think that the phenomenon of children shooting children is new or goes back only to the Columbine killings in 1999, but I wrote the following in 1992, when American children were already killing others at alarming rates:
FEEL THE POWER!
The statistics are in at last, and it was another record year*:
148 in Boston
522 in Philadelphia
959 in Los Angeles
2,200 in New York
And in Washington, D.C., the capital of History’s Great Democratic Experiment: 483
Deaths, that is. Or, more precisely, deaths at the hands–and by the decisions–of others. Murders. Executions. Assassinations.
Something to be proud of, these records are, especially when we look at where the increases are taking place: among our children. Between 1984 and 1990 the number of teenage murder victims double. The number of teenage arrests for murder, too. Children killing children. OUR children killing OUR children. Killing them for money, for drugs, for satisfaction.
Raising them to be like us, we are, and we should be proud of how well they’re learning. Soon they’ll be able to help us arm the world, point our guns at uncooperative island nations, and contribute to the stockpiling of weapons in underground shelters and desert caches.
If they live to adulthood, that is.
*Figures are for 1990.
Heroes with guns.
Guns they use as easily, as often, as a toothbrush
On TV, in books, the neighborhood.
Presidents with guns.
Guns they trade for favors, employ for favors,
build for favors
from nations, friends, business leaders.
The excitement of it all. The power. The POWER!
Fondle it, take it to school, feel the POWER!
Use it. USE IT! It screams in the little, hairless hand.
© Michael N. McGregor 1992
Note: the featured image for this post is from the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance (CFSA), which has more recent statistics on children and firearms.