Just a few decades ago, growing up was supposed to be carefree and fun. Worries and fears were not known terms. They may have been familiar to the grownups of the world, but not among the youngsters.
Unfortunately, children today are just too familiar with violence and fear.
Consider the US in the last decade or so:
· A World Heath Organization report estimates the cost of interpersonal violence in the U.S. at more than $300 billion per year.
· U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other leading industrial nations, on par with the rates in developing countries and those experiencing rapid social and economic changes.
· Persons under the age of 25 accounted for 50 percent of those arrested for murder and 65 percent of those arrested for robbery in 2006.
· Nearly 60 percent of boys who researchers classified as bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24. Even more dramatic, 40 percent of them had three or more convictions by age 24.
Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary has drawn considerable attention to gun control, with politicians pondering another weapons ban, and stricter checks and balances when it comes to acquiring a weapon.
Yes, this will help, but more important is to focus on other factors in our society as well. Just as important as gun control, if not more.
Mental health care for example, or the exposure of our youth to violence for that matter!
Gun control by all means is a great step and a much needed one. But who is to say, a mad man, not finding a gun, will not go for arson or attack with a knife or disfigure someone with an acid.
Some factors that also need serious looking into are:
1. Exposure to Violence (Media)
3. Mental Health
4. Societal Norms and Values
5. Guidance and Counseling for Teenagers
It is a battle that must be fought on more than one front. Only then there can be hope for a peaceful society and a better world for our children.