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Dr. Robert Sege, director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center

Gun control advocates remind me of the Talking Heads’ song Crosseyed and Painless. They want the facts to show that guns are killing children in droves. But facts don’t do what they want them to. In 2010, 208 children died from firearms-related causes. Tragic yes, but not the kind of “gun violence” pandemic that convinces Americans to abandon their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. To amp-up the anti-gun rhetoric, gun control advocates count teenagers as “children.” Three words for that protocol: teenage gang bangers. So when you read the headline Twenty young people a day hospitalized for gun injuries you know the FUD is strong. Here’s a taste . . .

Almost one child or teen an hour is injured by a firearm seriously enough to require hospitalization, a new analysis finds. Six percent of the 7,391 hospitalizations analyzed resulted in a death, says the study in February’s Pediatrics, released today. [ED: Click here to read.]

The damage caused by gun-related injuries rarely gets the same attention as fatalities, “but that every day, 20 of our children are hospitalized for firearms injury, often suffering severe and costly injuries, clearly shows that this is a national public health problem,” says Robert Sege [above], director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and a co-author of the study.

Despite declining rates over the past decade, firearm injuries remain the second leading cause of death, behind motor vehicle crashes, for teens ages 15 to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Note the quick aside about declining rates and, more importantly, the discrepancy between the headline’s use of the term “young people” and the Boston gun control campaigner‘s use of the word “child” to characterize the his “study.” Let’s be clear about this disconnect: “Researchers analyzed a nationally representative sample of discharge data collected on children and adolescents (up to age 20) in 2009.” Need I say more? Just this: teenage gang bangers.

I know the context sounds callous. A life is a life, after all. But it highlights the fact – yes fact – that America has a gang problem, not a gun problem. In areas where teens don’t join gangs the incidence of gun-related death and serious injury is practically nil.

This is what’s commonly called an “inconvenient truth.” Or, if you prefer, a politically unpalatable fact. Which is why you get this kind of BS when Dr. Sege’s study plays the race card.

The study detailed a significant racial gap: Black children and adolescents comprised 47% of all hospitalizations, 54% of hospitalizations resulting from assaults, 36% from unintentional injuries and 54% from undetermined causes.

Noting the significantly higher poverty rate for young black males compared with young white males, Sege says the data did not allow researchers to “separate the effects of poverty from the effects of race.”

Huh? How about studying the effects of gang affiliation and drug-related criminal activity on the incidence of firearms-related death and serious injury? While we’re at it, what does Dr. Sege mean by “the effects of race,” exactly?

Never mind. As USA Today’s writer mentioned (in passing), firearms-related death and serious injury amongst “young people” has been declining for more than a decade. A recent NRA-ILA Alert highlighted the trend:

As longtime readers of the Alert well know, anti-gun advocates have often exaggerated the number of firearm-related deaths among children by counting deaths among juveniles and young adults ages 15-19 along with those among children. However, firearm-related deaths among all persons ages 0-19 decreased 33 percent through 2009 and 37 percent through 2010.

More importantly, the per capita rate of such deaths has decreased to an even greater extent. Among persons ages 0-14, it dropped 44 percent from 1997 to 2009, and 48 percent from 1997 to 2010, while among all persons ages 0-19 it dropped 42 percent through 2009 and 45 percent through 2010.

Dr. Sege’s study doesn’t go there. Obviously. Instead it heads to the conclusion favored by proponents of civilian disarmament who can’t say what they really, really want (a total ban on guns).

In the absence of such research, Sege says, the best advice is to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that “the safest home for children and teens is one without guns,” and if there are guns in the home, they should be “stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked away in a separate place.”

So the safest place for children and teens are countries without Second Amendment protections for their citizens’ natural and civil right to keep and bear arms. Countries where the government has banned private gun ownership entirely. Oh wait.

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  1. I don’t know why you would want to cite facts that just don’t feel right. This is meant to make you feel bad for the children (teenage gang bangers). The anti-2A will never really look for the true cause as it goes against their goal.

    Thank you for the good reporting.

    • “The anti-2A will never really look for the true cause as it goes against their goal.”

      More accurately, gun grabbers don’t care about the true cause of anything; all they are doing is trying to verbally browbeat us into submission.

      We have to drive this point home to everyone — gun grabbers, uninterested parties, fence sitters, and gun rights supporters. No matter what anyone does with water, it is always my right to drink, cook, and bathe with water, period. Similarly, no matter what anyone does with any or all firearms, it is always my right to keep and bear arms, period.

  2. By blaming guns for the deaths and injuries that are really caused by gang violence the establishment refuses to address the real problem: poverty, poor economy and the failed drug war.

  3. The study detailed a significant racial gap: Black children and adolescents comprised 47% of all hospitalizations, 54% of hospitalizations

    So black gangsters are half the problem right off the bat and I wonder what % adder is when you throw in Hispanic gang numbers? What makes me think that the racial makeup of these injuries will correlate very closely to the % composition of gang memberships? So as stated above…. a gang violence problem rather than a gun violence problem.

    In reality aren’t these incidents of “gun violence” in reality an “occupational hazard”? Can’t we just agree to hand this issue of to OSHA and have them implement some regulations for the gang leaders.

    • Your thoughts on percentage are exactly what I was looking at; if one were to include hispanic numbers the percentage totals would likely encompass pretty near 100% of gun related injuries and deaths among the “children” this study attempts to analyse.

    • I wouldn’t assume every hospitalized black teen was involved with a gang. While a large portion might be, many are simply caught in the crossfire because they don’t have the resources to leave the gang infested areas.
      A group of kids with one unknown gang member friend can get all of them sent to the hospital. A rival gang member walking down your street can result in you getting struck by wayward gunfire.

      • “A group of kids with one unknown gang member friend can get all of them sent to the hospital. A rival gang member walking down your street can result in you getting struck by wayward gunfire.”

        No one said every black kid in the hospital with gunshot wounds is a gang-banger, but the ones who aren’t thugs were probably put there by one, which means smackit’s statement still sticks. In both of your examples, whether he’s the shooter or shootee, the gang-banger is still the problem.

      • Chris makes a good point. If we are going to be a source of facts and truth about guns here, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than the gun-grabbers, and not fall into the trap of gross generalizations and racial stereotyping where that can be considered racist, by virtue of an unfortunately flip comment or bit of sarcasm.

        Forgive me for seeming to be the PC police/speech nanny, but remember “clean well-lit space” (Hemingway) is what will draw and keep the undecided moderate middle looking to be educated, and if we dont set and reinforce that culture here, then trolls and sockpuppets will take advantage of it to besmirch us all.

      • And that is the fault of the normal gun owner who never “popped a cap” in someone’s ass for dissing them?

  4. Eliminate organized crime’s power and revenue by legalizing drugs. It’s already underway, and when the states that are so underwater (i.e. CA) realize how much CO is benefiting and raking in from their foray into uncharted territory, the movement will only grow. Prohibition for consenting adult behavior is just as foolish and destructive as when it was tried for alcohol at the beginning of the 20th century. If you have a moral objections to drugs, then you should be consistent and have a moral objection to alcohol.

    Let the local gangbangers become the modern equivalent of the Anheuser, Busch, and Pabst families. It’s not like we are producing much of anything anymore. Will there still be organized crime? Sure. But if you take street gangs’ main source of income, they will be forced to either go the legal route or find something else to do. If they go the legal route, they won’t have any incentives to commit these violent crimes against one another. Quite to the contrary, they will start acting like rational human beings and they will work hard to preserve the capital that they have generated.

    • Slight problems, CO legal dealers are already being told to expect extortion attempts by gangs for exactly the reasons you mentioned, which puts their business and more importantly personal safety at risk. On a national level I would expect things to get dangerous quickly. Not to mention that due to the federal ban, banks won’t deal with these businesses, which means they have to do everything in cash, meaning they are very vulnerable to assaults, burglaries, etc. Legalization is not a panacea.

      • Incorrect. CO dispensaries are in trouble specifically because they cannot look to the courts or the police for much help. As it currently stands, these businesses are running afoul of many federal laws. The extorters know this, and this is where their current leverage comes from. A legalized national solution means that they could deposit their revenues into any bank account, they could call the cops, and they could use the courts. Complete national legalization would severely hamper organized crime. When was the last time that MillerCoors or your local wine shop had to worry about paying extortion money to mobsters?

      • Legalization is an eventual panacea where as the present system perpetuates criminality and violence. Do you have another solution?

        • Only the Democrat one, disarm everybody except the rich, famous, politically connected or criminal. That way Bloomberg, Nancy, Barbra, Diane, Chuck and the rest can “feel Safe” looking down their noses at the common peasants. After all they are the only ones who are important enough that it would matter to the world at large if they felt unsafe.

  5. lazy. the CDC actually tells us how many injuries were classified as “assault” and in 2012, at least 66% of injuries ages 15-18 were assaults. says so right there on the goobermint website. It takes all of 10 minutes to find this.

    • That is actually almost exactly the percentage in this study as well. If you look at their source material, 67% of the injuries in the 15-19 age group they site were due to assault.

      • Now I see it, table 2. Maybe he should have concluded we need fewer 15-19 yr olds assaulting each other.

        Gotta get back to unicorn fart sniffing now.

    • But that’s 10 minutes of time previously allocated to unicorn fart sniffing and rainbow chasing!

  6. The whole journal article is online here and the “Summary and Recommendations” section say it all:

    “Although the US Supreme Court ruling in the case of McDonald v City of Chicago struck down comprehensive local and statewide firearm bans, pediatricians should continue to advocate for the strongest possible legislative and regulatory approaches to prevent firearm injuries and deaths.”

    This so-called study is little more than propaganda disguised in a medical publication to give it an air of legitimacy and objectivity.

      • And I’ll have to look into this nugget from it, but is there really some federal ban on firearms research. WTH?

        In contrast, there have been no robust public health efforts to reduce
        firearm injuries, based, in part, on federal restrictions on fire-arms research.

        • There is a ban on FEDERAL funded gun crime research, but that is a far cry from what they are claiming. They would have you believe that this ban somehow prevents the gov from supplying the public with relevant statistical data, but if that were the case how could they have all the official relevant data to pull off propaganda like this study?

    • wow. That’s a “study”? Thats a collection of numbers I can get anywhere on the internet. I must be in the wrong line of work if this passes for publishable material

  7. It’s a shame this sort of reporting is tucked away in some remote corner of the interwebs, pursued primarily by those interested in such things …as opposed to being published in a widely-read national newspaper that is perceived as credible, true, and unbiased.

    • They sort of do in the conclusion:

      “The rates of hospitalizations were highest in 15 to 19-year-olds and in black males. Public health efforts should be dedicated to reducing this common source of childhood injuries.”

      I.e., reduce the number of 15 to 19-year old black males? Probably not what they meant. 😉

      • “… reduce the number of 15 to 19-year old black males?”

        No need: sadly they (15 to 19-year old black males) are doing it themselves.

  8. (“the safest home for children and teens is one without guns, and if there are guns in the home”), the most at risk child or teen is the one that brought the gun into the home in the first place.
    And often the gun is even stashed outside the home so a parent wont find it.
    Notice that the above “home” reference is trying to imply that these kids are injured accidently in the home by the dangerous gun that is there. They usually are shot by someone elses gun on the street on theirs or someone elses “turf”.

  9. As a pediatric emergency medicine provider, it is this sort of paper that infuriates me. I read the source article, and the author’s avoidance of the obvious fact that a HUGE percentage of these hospitalizations are very likely related to gang violence is a lie of omission at best, and in my opinion deliberately misleading. The fact that they included patients up to the age of 19 and allowed those numbers to so drastically skew their statistics shows their obvious bias. Sadly, given the history of the hoplophobic AAP, I am not the least suprised.

    • isn’t there a national clearinghouse or ethical board that we can complain to about this numbnut and point out his lack of integrity in publishing this crap? Lawyers have state bar boards. . . there has got to be somewhere to file a complaint and start an ethics investigation on this guy . . .

    • Medical journals are supposed to be filled with science, yet I can find far to many that are nothing but infuriating crap.

      This is not really new. People have been publishing “studies” on the “public health issues” of gambling, violence, alcohol, pot, sex, drugs, video games, rock and roll music, and whatever else the progressive prohibitionists think up.

      Some of the the ones from the early 1900s regarding drugs were nothing but thinly veiled racism.

  10. “… firearm injuries remain the second leading cause of death, behind motor vehicle crashes, for teens ages 15 to 19… .”

    I was gonna ask why the our leaders and the media aren’t loudly banging the drum for stricter driver’s licensing and training. But I think I know the answer.

  11. “Firearms-related deaths amongst children – defined as someone under the age of 13 – are statistically insignificant (58 in 2010).”

    I’m going to take this statistic apart a little bit. In the chart you cited, 58 is only for firearm homicides age 5-9, and does not include any firearm homicides age 10-14 (say, half of the 107 listed,) unintentional firearms age 10-14, (again, half of 26 listed,) and some portion of homicides age <9, (399 listed, but for firearms-related deaths maybe half again.) I won't count gun suicides, since we know from study after study that gun ownership does not correlate to suicide rates, but you know the Anti-s will. To make it look like 58 is the whole number for 'firearms-related deaths amongst children…under the age of 13' is disingenuous at best, and at worst is the kind of dishonest fact-shading that the Anti-s indulge in all the time, including in the study we're currently commenting on.

    Don't mistake my intent here. The Pediatrics 'study' is a flawed, agenda-driven piece written by people who want to get rid of evil death-machines. But when we have the facts on our side, as we almost ALWAYS do, any distortion of those facts to prop up our arguments, intentional or not, lessens our credibility and hurts gun rights. Using the guesstimates for the firearms-related deaths I proposed above, there were 325 deaths in 2010 in children under 13 due to guns. Still an insignificant number, but one less prone to attack. You can quibble all you want about my methodology, (and should, since I did this sitting on my couch in a bathrobe while watching TV,) or dispute the number I came up with. But ultimately, we need to be far more intellectually honest and rigorous than the Anti-s. They've got the president, and Pediatrics, and the MSM, and Piers Morgan. All we have is the Truth About Guns.

    • Isn’t it funny, though, that the same army of halfwits that poured over every Bush quote with a fine tooth comb for even the tiniest inconsistency can’t be bothered to take your careful and considered approach?

    • Oops. No deliberate shading. Just a lifelong problem crunching numbers. I blame Mr. Haas. Text amended,

      • wOOt. Again, not trying to be a douche, or disparage your otherwise excellent article. I just really enjoy destroying the ridiculous “stats” of the Anti-s, and I HATE it when people have the chance to do the same to us. Rock on, RF.

  12. The news of this article appeared today in NBC News, accredited to Yale child abuse researcher John Leventhal. Her are my comments on that article, that claimed 10,000 child deaths and injuries from guns each year:
    The article is MASSIVELY slanted–here is a link to a source providing FAR GREATER detail.
    Things to notice: of the 20 “children” admitted to hospitals each day, 3 are under 15–meaning that 17 of 20 are over 15. Further, black males are 10 times as likely to get shot as white males. About 84 percent of these shootings involved teens aged 15 to 19, and two-thirds of those were related to assaults. [Aside from the unexplained fact that all shootings are “assaults”, mathematically, this works out to over 50% of shootings are gang-related assaults.] While the study’s database does not provide specifics, Leventhal said it’s natural to assume that gang violence explains some of these gunshot injuries.( Just SOME!?!?! ) The study includes 18-20 year olds, who in my book are not children, and further notes that the statistics peak for this age group. And while it is literally true that ALL shootings relate to “access to guns” (how could it be otherwise–no gun no shooting) this begs the question of how many are related to access to legally owned guns and/or accidental shootings caused by leaving a handgun where young children can obtain access, versus how many are caused by stolen weapons.

    Of the 7000+ admitted to hospitals, only 6% die (about 420). The study does not control for use of stolen or illegal weapons–merely parroting the saw that an 18 year old can privately purchase a handgun; by this omission, the study implies that legal firearms are slaughtering our children, but adduces no evidence to support the proposition, and furthers the myth that 18 and 19 year olds, who are adults by almost any standard other than the purchase of handguns and alcohol.

    So let’s do some speculative math. If 30% of children hit by gunfire are under 15, then we are talking 3000 kids a year, of whom fewer than 1000 will die, and of whom a statistically insubstantial number will be killed because of accidents or poor weapons storage practices. Seems to be, the elephant in the room is gang violence, and no one wants to address it–or silently admit that their only solution, as bad as it is, is to ban guns and blame the lack of background checks for children who cannot buy guns.

    • No less an authority then Diane Sawyer HERSELF asserts that “1.7 million children live in a house with an unlocked and loaded firearm.” This implies that all child gun deaths are the result of parental negligence. But not all 325 children who died were killed by their family firearm, many were killed in drive bys, giving another example of gang violence skewing the statistics. Of course, there were probably a number of accidental child deaths in homes where the firearms were thought to be properly secured (kids breaking into safes, etc) but then of course the numbers would have to be adjusted to include ALL homes with firearms, secured or not, and that would push the statistic into the lower abyss of insignificance. That is why organized juvenile criminals MUST be included in the statistics, to pad the numbers. /preaching to choir

  13. I wonder why pediatricians aren’t treating the 18 to 20 year-olds that require emergency treatment in SWA and Africa? And what about the VA, treating 18, 19 and 20 year-olds in the US? No pediatricians there, last time I looked. Were those ER admissions included?

    This “Doctor” is a bold-faced liar. Period.

  14. I just have to say, Robert Farago, that you consistently do a great job of finding weaknesses in the antis’ baseless arguments ans twisted statistics. You are an asset to our community, and I hope you keep doing this for a long time.

  15. I’m really tired, so I may be reading the numbers wrong, but 20 hospitalizations (not deaths) a day in a country a big as ours is pretty damn good.

    Perhaps, aside from gang violence (violence brought upon oneself and/or matter of circumstance) and NDs (adults make mistakes, why wouldn’t kids?) some of those are other things? Like scopes hitting you in the eye brow (stitches), bad slide bite (stitches), lead/copper ricochet to the face, etc.?

    Taking all that out of the equation, how many case are actually motivated acts of one sided aggravated violence?

  16. Why do we keep going around in circles with liberal no nothing about guns but hate them bone heads who want to be victims of crime as they sing kumebya.
    I’m not talking to a lawyer who hasn’t been to law school, but we are suppose to discuss firearms and the Constitution to numskulls who no nothing about them or crime for that matter.Really? Why?
    The Law is on our side , not their’s If they don’t like it, tough! These Antis and their stupid leaders need to be taught a lesson.Gun owners need to unite and show them the sleeping giant .Callif and NY need to get their asses sued off.Get these cases to the supreme court.
    These dumb asses need to work on their gang and crime problems and leave law abiding gun owners alone or feel the political wrath as they did in Arizona.

  17. Given the deplorable methodology and obvious slant this study I’m left wondering if ‘children’ shot during a legitimate DGU and/or shot by the police were included.

    Another important distinction would be setting aside all those who were feloniously shot and looking only at accidental/negligent gunshot injuries. The criminal actions of another cannot be a ‘health problem’ for the victim but rather the intentional result of the criminal act.

    The study as written is irrelevant to medicine and serves only as antigun propaganda.

  18. On the plus side, this isn’t (quite) as shoddy as the last report like this that popped up on TTAG. It’s too far back for me to bother looking up, but IIRC the resulting statistics were EXACTLY the same. That study took samples from emergency rooms from something like 20 hospitals….all in the Flint/Detroit area.

    Teenage gang bangers indeed.

  19. The red flag for me was the “injuries” angle. Clearly they needed bigger numbers and the death they required was not there – so they expanded to injuries.

    Now can anyone guess how egregious the numbers would get for the categories of drowning, poisoning, asphyxiation, etc. would get if we included those that were injured but survived?


  20. Don’t know why we even argue over irrelevant things like gun violence stats. So the premise is that if guns are somehow used in a very small fraction of violence, they are OK and 2A opponents should concede. Wrong. A basic human right and one protected by the Bill of Rights needs no justification for existing. Period. Refuting the arguments of the stupid only serves to make two idiots.

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