Last year, a Columbus resident younger than 20 was shot, robbed, threatened or kidnapped with a gun every day on average — more than 400 victims in all, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Columbus police data show that half of the offenses were committed by other teens. Thousands of Columbus children don't know life without guns: Shots heard outside bedroom windows. Weapons stashed in waistbands of men on the corner. Uncles, brothers and fathers killed by bullets.
When they're older, they start losing their friends to violence and sometimes pick up a gun themselves. “Shoot or die,” explained one boy, 15, who would give only his nickname, “Staino.” “It's expensive to let this problem just continue to go on and on,” said Deanna Wilkinson, an Ohio State University professor who has researched youth violence. “Maybe you don't have to drive through this neighborhood or know any of these kids personally, but you're paying for this societal neglect of a problem.”