Due to the rise of gun violence, Black life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports gun violence is a growing problem in the United States across racial boundaries, with guns having killed almost 40,000 people in 2017, according to HuffPost.
If you do the math, that means 109 Americans were killed by bullets every day. Black men made up more than half of those victims, even though they are only 7 percent of the population, reports Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Last year marked the third year in a row where gun violence killed more people than car accidents.
“It’s unacceptable that the number of deaths from shootings keeps escalating while Washington D.C. refuses to even debate policies we know would help save lives,” said former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who founded the organization. “But activism leads to change and come January, more gun safety champions will be joining Congress and making this public health problem a priority.”
Giffords herself was shot in 2011.
A recent study published by BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine sheds further light on the effect guns have on Black Americans. The authors found gun violence takes 4.17 years off the average Black American’s life expectancy, compared to 2.23 for white people, reports The Boston Herald. People under the age of 20 make up the majority of victims, according to the report.
Life expectancy in the United States dropped overall to 78 years and six months in 2017, a 0.1 percent decrease from 2016, reports the BBC.
Suicides contributed to the drop in life expectancy and the rise in gun deaths. White men, in particular, were found to be most likely to shoot themselves to death. However, the Black community should also be concerned about suicide. A study done by JAMA Pediatrics in May reported Black children between ages 5 and 12 are twice as likely to commit suicide as their white counterparts.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
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