More Preschoolers Than Cops Get Shot Dead

shoot-your-eye-outMost people rightly believe that being a police officer in the US is a seriously dangerous job. But when measured in terms of the risk of being shot and killed, it isn’t: More preschooler’s die every year from guns than do cops.

According to a new report from the Children’s Defense Fund in 2008 and 2009 – the two years after the Virginia Tech shootings – 173 kids age five and under died from gunfire in the US. By comparison, 89 police officers were shot and killed during the same period.

Teens don’t fare any better. The CDF study, the twelfth annual report it has done on gun violence against children in America, reports that the gun homicide rate for teens and young adults ages 15-to-24 in the US is 42.7 times higher than the combined rate for 23 other industrialized nations.

Put differently, the 5,740 children and teens killed by guns during the same two years nearly equals the 6,661 US troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since those wars began. The most recent analysis of gun deaths shows that 87 percent of the children under age 15 killed by guns in these 23 nations lived in America.

“By any standards, children in America are under assault,” the Children’s Defense Fund states, adding “and by international standards, America remains an unparalleled world leader in gun deaths of children and teens.”

Yet the NRA and its Congressional supporters have the audacity to still insist the answer to the country’s obscene gun violence is more guns. How many more guns are needed? Already, there are more weapons than broadband connections in America.


As with many other things in America, race figures prominently in the statistics.

While blacks suffered 45 percent of all child and teen gun deaths in 2008 and 2009, they make up only 15 percent of the nation’s population of children. In 2009, black males who are between 15 and 19 years old are eight times more likely as whites, and almost three times as likely as Hispanics, to be killed in a gun homicide.

Basically, these children are dying needlessly, and only because it is too easy for too many people to acquire guns.

Frank E. Zimring, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, did a landmark study several years ago on gun deaths. He found that while most were unplanned – manslaughter rather than murder – having a gun handy dramatically increased the likelihood of someone dying.

Moreover, a Center for Disease Control study notes that states with higher rates of gun ownership and weaker gun control laws have the highest rates of gun deaths. The opposite is also true: States with strong gun laws and low gun ownership rates have significantly lower rates of gun deaths. While sensible gun laws may impose a small burden on law abiding citizens they also confer a significant benefit in the form of saved lives.

Gun death statistics were not collected by age until 1979. Since then, nearly 120,000 children have been killed by firearms in the US.

“Children dying simply because someone wants to own an AK-47,” states Dr. Howard Lindeman, an emergency room physician who has worked on children brought in with gunshot wounds that often were life threatening. “A gun owner’s ‘rights’ end before a bullet enters the body of a four or five year old kid.”


No one can rationally justify allowing the continuing spread of guns when you are more likely to be a baby who is shot dead playing than is an adult patrolling the mean streets? The Economist put it bluntly: “Only an idiot … could possibly pretend that no connection exists between those figures and the fact that 300-million guns are “out there” in the United States, more than one for every adult.”

The nation would not even be having this looney-tunes “debate” over the right to own assault rifles and high-capacity handgun ammo clips had five old white guys on the Supreme Court understood 18th century grammar and punctuation standards. Because they didn’t, they misapplied the Second Amendment to 21st century gun laws. As a result, gun control laws were struck down, dooming even more children to die needlessly.

The 2nd Amendment also talks about “a well-regulated militia.” In the 1700s, this was the term used to describe armies. The framers were not thinking of mulyuks wrapping high-powered, automatic assault weapons in “Swedish Bikini Team Coach” tee-shirts and hiding it in a closet to be brought out in case the federal government became unruly.

So now, Vice President Joe Biden is trying to thread a needle, finding common ground that doesn’t seem to exist between a Supreme Court ruling based on a false reading of the Constitution, the NRA’s unholy argument for all-guns-all-the-time, and common sense. On Tuesday, Biden is expected to announce a proposal for bringing a sliver of rationality to America’s gun laws after weeks of holding meetings with a broad range of vested interests. Pres. Obama ordered the review following the Newtown catastrophe.

When a five year old in America is 5.8 times more likely to die because of a gun than in all other high income nations combined, the country has a serious problem that could be easily fixed. Unfortunately, NRA along with the gun and ammunition manufacturers who bankroll it have billions of dollars at stake. The gun lobby along with the lunatics who want to own weapons more powerful than anything carried by World War II vets care less about children than about unneeded and unnecessary high powered weapons.

Charley James

Author and journalist Charley James’ next book is about his experience becoming homeless. When published, Charley will donate a percentage of his advance and royalties to homeless organizations.

More articles by Charley James Help keep Charley living indoors.

Follow Charley on Twitter @SuddenlyHomeles. Posted: Saturday, 22 September 2012 Charley’s next book is about his experience being homeless. When published, he will donate a percentage of his royalties to homeless organizations.

Published: Monday, 14 January 2013


  1. economicus says

    “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    – 2008 DC v. Heller ruling, written by Scalia

  2. Reverend Draco says

    Yes, auto fatalities have fallen – and we did it without limiting the amount of fuel a vehicle can carry. . . we didn’t ban SUVs or cars with a top speed of 2, 3, or more times the highest speed limits. We didn’t ban cars that look “scary.”

    Yet, the anti-gun bigots are calling for those exact measures as a “solution” to gun violence. . . limiting higher capacity magazines which can allow a complete tyro to defend themselves without having to waste precious time reloading. . . calling for a ban of guns that look “scary (so-called “assault rifles,” which are nothing more than stripped-down versions of hunting rifles). . .

    Guns are the only tools which are blamed for their misuse – nobody blames knives when someone gets stabbed. . . nobody blames baseball bats or chains or pipes when someone is beaten with one. . . nobody blames cars when a drunk wipes out schoolkids in a crosswalk. . . but let some mentally ill person go on a shooting spree, and suddenly – it’s the fault of the gun, not the drug-addled person pulling the trigger. . .

    • commonsenseguy says

      you’ve never heard of a “logical fallacy” have you?
      No, didn’t think so.
      You need to get some common sense, and maybe a brain to go with it.
      a person with a knife can’t kill 30 people in a matter of seconds.
      these are not “anti-gun” bigots but it seems you ARE a gun bigot.
      if proper gun control and ATF regulations were in place, then newtown would never have happened, or at least not to the extent it did. more guns are not the solution, gun control is, but you gun bigots will never agree to common sense rules no matter what, you’re fascists. and btw the 2nd ammendment had nothing to do with what you think it does, it was about keep slaves, no one does that any more, hate to burst your bubble.
      There is NO denying that less guns = less gun deaths.
      you can’t shoot someone if you don’t have a gun. its obvious!

  3. Reverend Draco says

    250,000 children are injured in car accidents every year – 2,000 of them die.

    Let’s ban cars – for the children, of course.

    The illogic of you anti-gun bigots is astounding.

    Just admit that the thought of a woman being able to defend herself against a rapist is abhorrent to you. . .

    • Carl Matthes says

      Licensing cars and drivers doesn’t mean banning cars, licensing guns and owners doesn’t mean banning guns.

      • Reverend Draco says

        Licensing is an unconstitutional restriction of a person’s rights. . . Sorry to have to be the one to tell you.

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