Stopping Violence Involving Children

Thirteen-year-old children should not die of gunshot wounds. That is such a self-evident proposition that debating it would be absurd.

Yet they and even younger children are killed by gunfire regularly in cities throughout the United States. Sometimes they are innocent bystanders mowed down by bullets being traded by gang members. On at least one occasion a child was executed in an attempt to intimidate an adult relative. In some situations they are shot after firing their own guns at others.

But some die because of terrible mistakes.

It happened again a few days ago. This time, the victim was Columbus resident Tyre King, 13.

Columbus police responded to a call about an armed robbery. Officers saw several males matching descriptions of the suspects and attempted to talk to them.

One of the males, King, ran from police and pulled a pistol. Officer Bryan Mason shot him three times. King died.

King was carrying a realistic-looking BB gun. One of the teenagers with him told a reporter King had said he wanted to rob someone, using the BB pistol.

Some in Columbus do not trust the police to investigate the tragedy. They want an independent probe of what happened.

One should be launched.

But what was Mason supposed to have done? Remember, he was chasing someone he believed might have been armed with a real firearm.

A member of the People’s Justice Project in Columbus summed up the frustration many feel: “I can only hope and wish that (city officials) take the time to understand that our children cannot keep dying at the hands of anyone, whether it’s police (or) regular street violence,” she said.

Precisely.

It is easy to say something needs to be done.

But what?

COMMENTS