"Gun Deaths" In Young People Tied To Poverty

“For ye have the poor always with you” – Matthew 26:11

While the good book has a ton of truth within its pages, this is one important bit that we’d do well to all remember, regardless of our faith. The poor will always be with us, no matter what we try.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to help the poor as best we can, but we’re not going to make poverty go away. Nor will we make any of the associated problems with poverty go away, either, unfortunately.

Especially since the violent deaths of many young people in this country at the hands of people with guns also appears to be tied to poverty.

Firearm deaths in children and young adults were vastly more common in the poorest versus richest U.S. counties, researchers said.

Analysis of CDC data on 67,905 firearm deaths in people age 5-24 during 2007-2016 showed the risk of dying by a firearm was more than twice as high for those living in counties with the greatest versus lowest poverty concentration after controlling for demographic variables, urbanicity, and gun prevalence by state (incidence rate ratio 2.29, 95% CI 1.96-2.67), reported Jefferson T. Barrett, MD, MPH, of Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

The association between poverty and youth firearm deaths was strongest for unintentional deaths (IRR 9.3, 95% CI 2.31-37.3), followed by homicides (IRR 3.55, 95% CI 2.81-4.54), and suicides (IRR 1.45, 95% CI 1.2-1.75), Barrett said at the virtual American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) meeting.

“We can target the most impoverished counties with public health interventions knowing that is where the highest risk is,” Barrett told MedPage Today. “Whether it’s with gun control, buybacks, community policing, or implementing community programs, these can be directed at the highest impoverished counties because they are at the highest risk.”

While they go on to try to blame the mere existence of guns in a given place for issues as well, it should be noted that the researchers controlled for gun prevalence in states and still found a link.

Why?

Well, for one thing, those who are economically disadvantages–you know, poor–are far more likely to see no way out of poverty except through criminal activity. These are the people who tend to join gangs, after all, and gang violence is one of the biggest causes of so-called “gun violence” in the nation.

Further, the study didn’t differentiate between gang members shot and law-abiding members of the public. In fact, I suspect the vast majority of the 67,905 fatalities were among gang members. Especially if you’re going to lump 24-year-olds in the category as five-year-olds.

Oh yeah, I didn’t miss that tidbit, and that tells us a lot about what the researchers may have been looking for in the first place. They wanted the biggest number possible and they wanted to use the group that could give that to them while also eliciting concern within the media.

After all, people will see that age range and focus on five-year-old kids, not the 18-24 group that’s far more likely to be involved in criminal activity.

Frankly, none of this should be surprising. Poor neighborhoods tend to be the rougher neighborhoods and we all know it. The link between poverty and criminal activity is well known, as is the link between poverty and gang activity. We also know that gang members tend to be indiscriminate with their violence, shooting innocent bystanders.

What’s surprising is that people with such advanced education can think things like buyback programs actually do anything.

 

Jun 20, 2021 11:30 AM ET