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Thursday Update: Why Media Must Now Focus on Other Kids Killed by Guns | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Thursday Update: Why Media Must Now Focus on Other Kids Killed by Guns

Tens of thousands of Americans are shot and killed by gunfire every year, but clearly it took the deaths of just a very small number of them, ages 6 and 7, last Friday to finally galvanize sentiment and (who knows) maybe even federal action, against weapons proliferation in our country. But kids have been getting killed by guns in massive numbers for years without much attention from the media, or calls for action in columns or editorials.

There’s a valuable overview here on the risks of keeping firearms in the home. Kids in the United States are shot eleven times more often than in other developed countries.

It may be that it will take a fresh media focus on the carnage across the country to keep the momentum building after the funerals and initial mourning period ends in Newtown. Call it a new “childrens’ crusade.”

I’ve been tryng to do my bit by monitoring shooting incidents involving kids for the past several days. Here’s my report on just a handful of what I’ve found in the past two days—updated today (Thursday). These are all from the past week, right up to last night.

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a 16-year-old shot and killed—with a semi-automatic shotgun—a friend after an argument over paintball.

A girl in Memphis, age 2, got struck by a stray bullet from a gunfight outside and is now in critical condition. Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, in Maryland, another two-year-old shot—was being held by man who was gunned down and killed. Wednesday afternoon: teen shot in chest by another teen in Frederick, Maryland. A 4-year-old shot in head in Jacksonville outside his home. A boy, 11, shot and killed in Puerto Rico.

In Atlanta area, a boy, 14, killed during robbery at his home. Two teen girls wounded in Chicago drive-by.  Youth in Stockton, Ca., shoots girlfriend accidentally, he claims (she’ll survive).

A “little boy” in critical condition in Kansas City after being shot in a drive-by. Boy, 12, in Missouri shot dead by friend playing with grandfather’s gun.

Girl, 16, also in critical condition after being shot by her grandfather—who thought she was an intruder.

Child killed and police officer wounded in wild incident in Laurel, Alabama. In another incident in that state, man killed three of his brothers—and seriously wounds boy, age 19 months.

Boy shot dead in Denver. Girl, 16, shoots young man, 20, while hunting. Boy, 17, killed on street in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.

Missouri kid, age 8, accidentally shot by older brother in home. Boy, 15, shoots himself in leg while playing baskeball—in a church building.

Girl, 5, shoots herself in foot with dad’s gun in Philly. Several other recent incidents in Pennsylvania. Baby injured as man shot and killed in home.

Just another random murder of a kid, in this case, age 12, this time in Fresno, but with this twist—the boy’s heart went to save a little girl’s life. Meanwhile, his family holding fundraisers to pay for burial costs. And a boy, age 4, was struck in the head in Jacksonville last night in a drive-by shooting.

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Boy, 11, finds (unlicensed) gun in father’s house (where dad likes to “work on his rifles”). Shoots four rounds off in backyard with younger sister there and dad in house, who does nothing. Sister gets bloodied somehow. Kid then takes gun and uses in a carjacking—outside a church—with an accomplice, who is age 7. All in Portland. Full report here.

Earlier this week, boy in Houston, age 4, finds dad’s gun, shoots himself in head. Boy in Minneapolis, 4, shoots brother, age 2. Great quote: “Very clearly, a 4-year-old should never have access to a firearm, loaded or unloaded,” said Sgt. William Palmer, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department.

More, unfortunately, to come. Many more.

Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books on politics, history, nuclear issues, capital punishment and media. His latest, on the Obama-Romney battle, is Tricks, Lies, and Videotape.

Stop the senseless killing now. Read Todd Gitlin on “The Unbearable Elasticity of Gun Logic.”

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