Over the summer, more than 200 teen reporters across the U.S. began working to document people 18 and younger killed in shootings during the year since last February 14’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. The stories came to include children lost to school shootings, as well as to armed domestic violence, unintentional discharges, and stray bullets. The 12-month period starting Feb. 14, 2018, saw nearly 1,200 lives snuffed out, reports The Trace and the Miami Herald. That’s a Parkland every five days, enough victims to fill three ultra-wide Boeing 777s. The true number is higher because no agency keeps a real-time tally and funding for research is restricted by law. On the anniversary of the Parkland massacre, The Trace is publishing portraits of every victim. In conjunction, the Miami Herald and McClatchy are presenting a series of stories on the year in gun violence against children.
When they weren’t taking cover from school shooters, young Americans died as a result of murder-suicides, jealous rages, indiscriminate drive-bys, targeted attacks and horrific preventable accidents. Several died in explosive video game disputes. Older teens were more commonly victims, followed by small children, ages 2 and 3. Cities were deadlier than rural areas. Among municipalities with a population over 50,000 Wilmington, De., and Youngstown, Oh., had the highest rates of gun-involved deaths. Although the data collected didn’t include race and ethnicity, it is clear that most victims were minorities in communities awash in firearms. “This is America. Anyone who wants a gun will be able to obtain one and at competitive prices,” said Thomas Hargrove of the Murder Accountability Project, whose searchable website murderdata.org features homicide data and analytic tools.