Cell phones and easy gun access to blame for teen gun violence in Louisville, new study shows
Teens have said in a matter of minutes they can get a gun through Snapchat or Instagram.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Teens in Louisville are able to buy guns through Snapchat and Instagram.
It’s all part of a new research study focusing on gun violence among teenagers.
“Nowadays most kids don't want to be embarrassed. They don't want to fight, so it's just straight gun play,” said Shermonte Mayfield, who is part of a new research study.
And the outcome can sometimes become deadly, turning a quick decision into a lifetime of consequences. So as teen gun violence increases, many are left asking why? And how?
According to Dr. Shannon Cambron, Director of Undergraduate Work for the School of Social Work at Spalding University, it comes down to a couple reasons.
“One is technology,” Dr. Cambron said. “The other piece of it, to be really blunt, is the access to guns.”
Dr. Cambron is spearheading a research study on youth gun violence and is getting the answers straight from teens as well as parents and guardians. She says social media often fuels the flames.
“The cell phone makes the ability to transfer information about what he said or she said immediate,” she said.
And the response is often just as immediate, according to Mayfield.
“Just being in the heat of the moment, you're mad, you ain't thinking about it, bam. Then when it's done, you're like, 'dang I shouldn't have done that,'” Mayfield said.
Dr. Cambron said teens say, in just a matter of minutes, they can get a gun through Snapchat or Instagram.
“It's not even word of the street, down low anything. If you've got a phone, you can get access to a gun,” Dr. Cambron said.
So she says long gone are the days of fist fights after school.
“As strange as it sounds, the fact that they're willing to take action, although its extreme at this point -- that willingness to take action indicates there's a value," she said. "It's not a disregard for life. It's a value for life. Who I am is important enough that I'm going to defend myself. "But right now, the choice of defense often times ends lives. And that's the crisis point that I think that we have.”
“[I’ve been] losing a whole bunch of people around me since growing up ... So it’s good to explain to people that want to know, to learn how to help us,” Mayfield said.
Dr. Cambron said what's important with this study is not to tell teens how to fix the problem. She said in helping them create their own solution to the crisis, they will be more invested to stop, think and change the violent culture.
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