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Homicide: Number Two Killer of Teens in America

By Christopher Wager     Mar 6, 2013 in Crime
Homicide and teens are two words which are being used together at an alarming rate. With school shootings or attempted shootings reported daily, parents and officials struggle to understand this tragic trend.
If you were to ask any parent what their worst fear is, they would probably say the loss of a child. It’s this fear which compels parents worry when their teen starts driving or the one-thousandth warning not to get in a car with anyone who has been drinking. Anytime their teen is put in a situation where they as parents are unable to watch over them and protect them.
To lose a teen suddenly in an accident is tragic, to loss a teen to homicide as in the case of so many recent school shootings is horrifying, shattering the lives of everyone it touches. Experts have tabulated what they feel to be common traits and behaviors shared by school attackers in the U.S.
They are thought to be individuals who threaten violence, a history of blaming others for their problems, poor coping and social skills, access to firearms, fascination with weapons including explosives, and well organized for attack. There were other facts included in this study that were not common to all attackers, however, could have played a role on case per-case bases to contribute to the deadly outcome.
Statistics of youth violence
In 2010, The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reportedly took a national sampling of students from grades 9 through 12, which produced some startling results. To put this into perspective, 4,828 teens & young adults between the ages of 10-24 were victims of homicide of a killing; or 13 deaths a day with 82.8% being killed with a gun.
According to the study 5.4% reported carrying a weapon (gun, knife, or club) on school property on one or more days. 7.4% reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property one or more times.
In 2011, 707,212 young people ages 10 to 24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from physical assaults. The report goes on to say, in 2010, 784 juveniles under the age of 18 were arrested for murder, 2,198 for forcible rape, and 35,001 for aggravated assault. During the 2009-2010 school year, 17 homicides occurred at school with some victims as young as five years old.
Stopping the cycle of violence
It’s clear from the CDC report our schools have become a battle ground, with the police and school facility caught in the middle which leads to the question: What is being done to stop the violence? Because if students are more worried about making it home alive every day it would conclude there is little learning going on. And if there is little attention being applied to academics these students aren’t being prepared for the future and the cycle of violence, drug abuse, and killing continues.
However, there are positive steps being taken in order to try and prevent shootings in the U.S. It has been reported in the document, THREAT ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOLS: A GUIDE TO MANAGING THREATENING SITUATIONS AND TO CREATING SAFE SCHOOL CLIMATES.
Released by the U.S Secret Service and the Department of Education outlining their joint efforts to help schools create a plan of action, not just spot potential threats but also to cultivate a climate of safety for students. The Secret Service has been working closely with schools since 1999.
Causes of vehement behavior
Some experts have speculated to the cause of such violence in today’s youth. Some risk factors which could lead to violent behavior or acts include, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry or AACAP, previous aggressive or violent behavior such as:
 Being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
 Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
 Genetic (family heredity) factors
 Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies, etc.)
 Use of drugs and/or alcohol
 Presence of firearms in home
 Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
 Brain damage from head injury
Also there has been much talk about the level of violence kids are exposed to in popular video games, claiming kids are becoming desensitized to murder and violence. One point is clear it is up to parents, law enforcement, and school officials to work together to help our young people survive and find a path beyond the hate and violence to lead full and meaningful lives.
National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. Produced by: Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC using WISQARS™.
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