Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Geoffrey Canada on Gun Control

Speaking of Newtown, here’s the incomparable Geoffrey Canada with an op ed in the NY Daily News:

America is facing a war, and our children are the casualties. Marian Wright Edelman wrote recently, “Since 1979, when gun death data were first collected by age, a shocking 119,079 children and teens have been killed by gun violence. That is more child and youth deaths in America than American battle deaths in World War I (53,402), or in Vietnam (47,434) or in the Korean War (33,739) or in the Iraq War (3,517).”

I keep lots of statistics in my head. I know which of my schools had the best state scores, how my high school students did on the state Regents exams and how many of my seniors went on to college. The one number I do not keep in my head is the number of children that have been killed since I began working at the Harlem Children’s Zone 30 years ago.

I’m a numbers guy, but some numbers I don’t want to remember. If I had to guess, I would say about 60. The late 80s and early 90s were my worst years. I was losing about a child a month to handgun violence. So if you figure I’ve averaged 20 children murdered a decade, Newtown, lost as many children in one day as I did in 10 years. America, welcome to my nightmare.

The National Rifle Association has bullied America’s leaders so thoroughly that we have not been able to have a serious conversation about gun control no matter how many children are murdered in America. And the bullying continued with Friday’s press conference.

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