In the United States eevry year about 4.5 million firearms and 2 million handguns are sold.
The increase of gun violence needs to stop within our neighborhoods. Many do not see how it affects the streets of our neighborhoods as a whole, but it does in numerous ways.
More the 53 percent of teens’ deaths in New York are caused by homicides, and two thirds of those victims are black. The Health Department states that 200 kids ages 15 through 17 died from gunfire, more than any other cause of injury, between 2002 and 2011 in New York. This affects everyone, from the family and friends of the victim, to those of the shooter.
Most of these gun-related deaths take place in low income neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, where there have been 31 gun related deaths, High Bridge Morrisania in the Bronx where there were 16, and East Harlem which had nine deaths due to shootings in the past year.
This makes my blood boil. We’re out here killing each other over dumb things that probably won’t matter to us 20 years from now. But it never hit me that so many teens my age were being killed around me. When you hear the numbers — that 2,694 kids in the United States were killed from guns — you don’t realize that it’s the equivalent of 134 classrooms of 20 kids.
It didn’t hit me that there needed to be a change in these low-income neighborhoods until my close friends Raphael Sadonte Ward was killed on Jan. 4, 2013 by another very close friend of mine. It happened because of years of issues between the Jacob Riis Houses and the projects up the block, Baruch Houses.
The feeling of confusion when both of your close friends have their lives taken away from, one from a gun and the other from the system, is extreme. I started to feel like I was disloyal to both my friends because I felt bad for both. But at this time you couldn’t sympathize with both sides — you were forced to pick one and stick to it. I couldn’t do that because I knew both the shooter and the victim too well and loved them dearly. I was upset at the shooter for killing him and at Sadonte for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sadonte was an amazing person who was loved by everyone. He had dreams of becoming a baseball player and getting his mother and eight year-old brother out of the projects.
Ever since his death my neighborhood has been divided. One would think this loss would calm everyone down because both sides lost people who were very important to them and they wouldn’t want to lose anyone else, but instead every project began Facebook arguments with one-another, threatening the shooter’s family amongst other things.
On July 19, 2013 another friend of mine, Deontay Moore, was shot in his face by a young man from Sadonte’s neighborhood. Deontay was also a good kid just trying to make something out of the messed up living conditions of living in the projects. He was a funny kid who walked around with a smile on his face who always tried to find ways to make everyone smile even if he wasn’t really smiling in the inside.
More things need to be done to stop the gun violence. Teens should not be able to access guns as easily as they are. The city should do more gun exchange programs inside of these hoods. Most teens want money and if they know they can turn their guns in anonymously and receive money, they would do it with no problem.
There should be more after school programs placed around these neighborhoods. They should receive help from the government to stay open and help kids to realize just because you’re from one project or another you’re no different or no better. If kids learn this at a younger age it would stop problems between different hoods. Also, kids need role models to show them there’s a whole different life outside of the life they’re living and they can only see it if they get off the streets. Remember no mother should ever have to bury her child.