Over the last six years, the number of teenagers, adolescents, and, in extreme cases, infants rushed to a Boston hospital with bullet wounds has surged as shooters seem to have abandoned any hesitation to pull the trigger, reports the Boston Globe. In the last three months, a 7-year-old was hit while playing kickball with friends in, a 4-year-old was shot while sitting on his porch, and a 5-month-old was wounded while cradled in her father’s arms.
The number of shooting victims 17 years and younger, fatal and nonfatal, has nearly tripled over a last half-decade, from 23 in 2002 to 67 in 2007. Young victims represent an expanding proportion of all shooting victims over the same period, from 13 percent in 2002 to more than 21 percent in 2007. The growing number of young victims has also caused the average age of shooting victims to fall nearly a year-and-a-half, from 24.6 to 23.2. Police, crime analysts, and community members say they are dealing with a generation that has grown so brazen that assailants will turn to guns as a first resort in even the most inconsequential disputes. “It’s no-holds barred,” said the Rev. Bruce Wall of Global Ministries Christian Church in Dorchester. He said that today’s shooters lack any of the code of honor that even the toughest of gang members of years past used to follow. In Boston, teenagers are shot for things as petty as looking at someone’s girlfriend, crossing the wrong street, or glancing at someone the wrong way, any type of perceived disrespect, said Police Commissioner Edward Davis.