Harlem Focus
Dec 7, 2018 · 2 min read

by Stephanie Rosa

Jayden Ramirez, a 6-year-old, was running around the house while his mother Maria Ramirez sat in the living room. She heard a loud bang and rushed into her bedroom. She saw that Jayden had shot himself in the hand with a gun she and her husband had in the room. The bullet went straight through his right hand.

His parents rushed Jayden to the hospital. They hoped his hand could be saved. It turned out the bullet didn’t harm nerves or do serious damage. Maria was relieved and she and her husband learned an important lesson.

“I just kept thinking, what if my baby lost his hand? How could I live with myself? I am grateful that I still have my son and I never forget how lucky I was that day. Things could have been so much worse. After that we got rid of the gun and I always tell people: children and guns can’t live together,” she said.

According to the website Gun Violence Archive, so far in 2018 543 children ages 0 to 11 have been killed or injured. When looking at older children ages 12–17, the numbers are much higher at 2,303.

Julietza, a 25-year-old mother of two, remembers the first time she held a gun when she was eight. She never gave it a thought, and neither did her dad. She found herself lucky that she was never harmed. Now she can’t believe that things like that were normal in her home.

“My dad is a cop, and when I was a little girl he would always leave his gun laying around, I never really thought of it as dangerous until I grew older and realized just how much in danger I was. I would really pick it up like nothing and never once thought that it could go off. I would never have something like that around my kids,” Julietza said.

Parents need to be aware of this danger. According to a study published in the journal of Pediatrics, an average of 5,790 children in the United States receive treatment for gun-related injuries each year, and around 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional.

There are very simple steps to take to keep children safe.

· Keep the gun locked up in a safe box out of reach.

· Separate the gun and the shells. Don’t store them together.

Parents can also educate their children about the dangers of guns and warn them to not to touch them.

The NRA promotes gun use and is controversial, but it has educational videos for children. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle teaches children a four-step method to stay safe. The four steps are, STOP!, Don’t Touch, Run Away and Tell a Grown-Up.

Harlem Focus

Harlem Focus is a blog with an eye on community, culture, art, food and life in and around Harlem. It is a product of CCNY Journalism Program in collaboration with the Documentary Forum.

Harlem Focus

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We're blogging all things #Harlem at medium.com/harlem-focus. @docforumccny + @CityCollegeNY = #Squad

Harlem Focus

Harlem Focus is a blog with an eye on community, culture, art, food and life in and around Harlem. It is a product of CCNY Journalism Program in collaboration with the Documentary Forum.

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