The word itself conjures up images of bloodshed and death. Yet instead of instilling fear into people, American society has embraced guns and placed them in numerous homes under the pretence of protection. Add to that image - children. Children and guns should never have any association, yet has become somewhat commonplace because of the many incidences that involve the two.
In the age bracket of 10 to 19 years, guns are the second leading cause of deaths, after automobile accidents, in America. Of the 5751 deaths in 1993, 3661 were homicides while 1460 were suicides. One American in that age group dies every 92 minutes regardless of cause, and for every child killed, four are injured. Between 1996 and 1997, 6000 school children were expelled for bringing guns to school. .
In April 1999, two boys in Littleton, Colorado went on a rampage at Columbine High School where 12 students and a teacher were killed. Almost 20 other students were hurt during this incident. They turned the guns on themselves after the shooting was over. Then in May, a 15-year-old boy opened fire at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia injuring six students. He had taken a rifle and pistol from a cabinet of weapons in his home. .
In May 1998, in Springfield, Oregon, a 15-year-old, expelled from Thurston High School, returned to the school and opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students. His parents were later found shot dead in their home; it was believed that the son had killed them. .
The latest shooting took place in Michigan this past February where a six-year-old boy shot dead a classmate. Kayla Rolland, 6, was shot through the neck and died later in hospital. The boy was under the care of his aunt, living in a house where guns were within reach, and drugs were traded for stolen weapons. The six-year-old, suspended from school three times prior to the shooting, once for stabbing a student with a pencil, got the loaded gun from under some blankets on a bed at the house in which he was living.