Pop, Bang! When I had just heard it, I didn t think too much of what it might be. I was thinking, Why is someone doing fireworks in the middle of the day? BANG BANG! What is that noise? It s getting louder. Where s my brother? When is he getting home? I hope he has the keys because I forgot mine in the house. I saw my brother walking slowly down the street. Matthew, I called, hurry up and open the door! He must have seen the fear in my face because his innocent smile quickly disappeared. Screeching tires come around the corner; I see two cars racing down the street. MATTHEW GET OUT OF THE WAY! I grab my brother and pull him to safety. Get down GET DOWN! As my brother and I crouched behind a car, questions raced through my mind, and I burned for some answers. How can this be happening to us? This is my neighborhood, and it is suppose to be safe! CRASH! BANG BANG! Oh my God! That s been the noise I heard. It was the bullets from a gun. I finally understood that there was an actual drive-by-shooting on my street, again. Why can t these jerks just get over it! The fact is neighborhoods across the nation are afflicted with these dangerous, even deadly, crimes. This unwanted experience was a wake up call for me in that I realized how big a problem violence in America actually is. Unfortunately, violent acts are not confined to drive-by-shootings. Every time there is a conflict among youth in America it involves some type of weapon and especially guns. Alcohol, growing up in a violent home, and access to guns are some main reasons why youth are solving their anger with violence.
Violence is a major issue here in America and an obvious cause of violence is because of alcohol. Alcohol today is more than just a problem among adults, but it has become a problem among teens. During the past ten years we had witnessed a steady decline in the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in the youth population, but there is a rise also in alcohol consumption overall. Alcohol is a main reason for violence whether it is growing up with alcohol users and abusers or the youth using the alcohol substance themselves. High school students who drink alcohol or use illegal drugs, including anabolic steroids, are more than twice as likely to carry a weapon or get into a physical fight than teenagers who deny drug use, according to a study in the August issue of the AMA’s Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. A survey of more than 12,000 students in public and private high schools in the United States shows that the increased risk of violence is similar among male and female adolescents. Alcohol consumption indeed can show that alcohol is one factor that can spark violent behavior in youth.
In today s society, domestic violence is witnessed more in the home. Spousal abuse in the home is a serious problem and needs to be stopped. No one deserves to be hit, nor to be exposed to this monstrous behavior. Many young adults have been brought up in a family life where someone has been physically abused. As a result of witnessing violence, living in such a hostile environment could makes one s lifestyle change negatively. Nonetheless, seeing such battery to another teaches the child that violent behavior is normal and is the only way to express their aggression on another. Adolescent children raised in abusive homes are at higher risk of depression. Most times, these children blame themselves for problems that occur within their household. They soon say, The reason why my parents argue is because of me. I m the one making them do this. The young adult could then becomes suicidal because they think they are the ones to blame or even possibly start to lash out with violent behavior on people around them. They want to make their environment normal so they mimic what they seen growing up, abusing someone or trying to cause controversy that leads to violent circumstances. The normal activity then makes their life for the day or the week complete in their eyes because this type of violent behavior was witnessed while a child to solve anger.
Gun accessibility contributes to violence greatly and has been a major catastrophic problem in America. Everyone either has accesses to one or can get a gun easily. Guns only tell the person that is using the gun that they have all the control and the other person doesn t because the person with the gun holds the other person s life at stake. However, they are really the one s without any power and they cannot control themselves because they are not controlling their anger. Anger is what causes violence. Control is what prevents it. If we can only teach the youth how to control there own anger without the use of guns, then the violence amongst youth would be significantly down. According to S.A.D.D., Students Against Drunk Driving, surveys conducted by non-profit organizations confirm that violent behavior is a problem for young people. For example, the P.A.R.T.S. organization, Preventing Alcohol Related Trauma in Salinas, reported that 10% of participants volunteering in community service had recently carried a gun. Furthermore, there was a general concern about exposure to gun violence in schools and neighborhoods. That is 1 out of 10 young adults, children at that, that has carried a gun. I carry it for protection – Protection from who? Who are you protecting yourself from? Everyone.
The full involvement of the community is critical to developing a sense of ownership for the problem of violence and its solutions. Some effective strategies that could help to reduce youth violence is to include school-based curricula that emphasize the development of problem solving skills, anger management, and other strategies that help kids develop social skills. In addition, parenting programs that promote strong bonding between parents and children and that teach parents skills in managing conflict in the family, as well as mentoring programs for young people, are also very promising. If we can do these simple task we will have a much better and safer society to live in than what it is today.