Youth Violence and Guns

Youth violence has always been a critical component of delinquency, the modern epidemic is marked by high rates of gun violence. The youth in our city possess and carry guns on a large scale, guns are often at the scene of you violence, and guns often are used in the committing of crimes. Guns play a vital role in initiating, sustaining, and elevating the epidemic of youth violence.The demand for guns among youth is fueled by an atmosphere of danger, made up of street gangs, expanding drug markets with high intrinsic levels of violence, high rates of adult violence and fatalities, and cultural styles of gun possession.  You might say that guns have become a symbol of respect, power, identity, and manhood to a generation of youth, in addition to having strategic value for survival. This relationship between guns and the violence that our youth participate is very complex. The effects of guns are mediated by structural factors that increase the youth demand for guns, the availability, and culture and scripts that teach kids lethal ways to use guns.

The drastic increase in youth gun violence in the past decade, and its concentrated and severe consequences, suggests to me that it is an epidemic with moral, social, and health ramifications.The health impacts are readily visible and straightforward.  The concentration of youth gun violence among nonwhites in the inner city reveals the  social effects of this trend. The increase in youth deaths from firearm injuries is really disproportionately concentrated among nonwhites, especially among African American teenagers and young adults..

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