COLORADO SPRINGS — Shootings involving children and teenagers have been on the rise in recent years, and 2021 is no exception, according to the Child's Defense Fund. The agency says gun violence is now the leading cause of death for all children and teens ages 1-19. In 2019, 3,371 children and teens died from guns—enough to fill 168 classrooms of 20 children.
Experts say a lack of structured activity caused by the pandemic, coupled with easy access to guns, are major contributing factors.
This past weekend was marred with violence in Denver, Aurora, and Colorado Springs. There were at least a dozen violent incidents including shootings and stabbings, that occurred over a 48 hour period ,most on Sunday. Many of these incidents involved minors.
In the Springs, three people were shot during the memorial park incident. Two people including a juvenile died. There was also an altercation involving several minors on Kyle Lane. Bricks and bottles were thrown. No arrests were made and none of the people involved would cooperate with police.
Youth activists in Colorado say our teens are going through so many changes, and they struggled during the pandemic. Adults must step in to help our teens cope in a healthier way.
Jason McBride works with teens at the Struggle to Love Foundation, a non-profit that helps troubled youth. He told our news partners in Denver that teams are going through so much right now.
"Some of these kids, you know, honestly are like ticking time bombs, because they haven't gotten the mental support that they needed through the isolation to this pandemic. We're starting to see some of those things play out on the streets right now," McBride said.
Activists also say there is also problem with gang activity, and teens who join gangs are often missing the love and support they need at home. 1 and 3 homes in the U.S> with children, also have guns, according to the CDC. Experts say there needs to be a conversation about how our teens are getting a hold of guns, and at home, parents should talk to their kids about gun safety.
For more information on how to talk to your child about gun violence, click here.