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Violence steals youth, children's advocate says


April 21, 1999
Web posted at: 11:58 a.m. EDT (1558 GMT)

From Parenting Correspondent Pat Etheridge

(CNN) -- It has happened in big cities and small towns and this time in Littleton, Colorado. Tuesday's shooting at Columbine High School may have been one of the worst instances of school violence in America, but it wasn't the first.

"It's everywhere. Guns and violence are in every nook and cranny of America," said Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). "Many children can get a gun quicker than they can get a book out of the library. That puts us all at risk."

CDF was founded in 1973 as an advocate for American children, particularly poor children, minorities and those with disabilities. It is a private, nonprofit organization that receives no government funds.

According to statistics released by CDF this week, 11 American children under age 20 are murdered each day, and 237 under age 18 are arrested each day for a violent crime.

"You just think of them playing baseball and basketball, anything fun, not waiting for someone to come out and attack them," Edelman said.

Children are growing up in a violent world, with violent images, she said, and the result is often numbing.

"I mean there is no buffer from the world," she said. "I mean it is a shame that they have been robbed of their childhood and robbed of their sense of security and robbed of their sense that the world is a friendly place."

According to Edelman, there are crucial lessons for parents in the Littleton tragedy.

"Parents need to keep a better hold on what their kids are doing, who their kids are with, where they're going, and monitor all their activities," she said.

Parents are the most important teachers in their children's lives, and they must make sure they are providing a good example, she said.

"You can only do your best at home with your kids, and hopefully they'll learn from that."

Are schools safe?

Poll: More parents worried about school safety
April 22, 1999
NRA trimming Denver meeting in response to school rampage
April 21, 1999
Investigators: 2 shooting suspects may have had help
April 21, 1999
List of injured from Colorado school shooting
April 21, 1999
Violence steals youth
April 21, 1999
Colorado legislators delay guns debate
April 21, 1999
As many as 25 dead in Colorado school attack
April 20, 1999

Swedish Hospital (patient conditions)
Littleton Adventist Hospital - Important Phone Numbers
Denver Health Medical Center - Home
APA HelpCenter
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  • Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
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Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
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  • Breaking News
Denver Rocky Mountain News:
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  • KMGH Denver: Breaking News
School violence
CDC: Facts About Violence Among Youth and Violence in Schools
Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Public Schools: 1996-97 / 98-030
The Denver Post Online
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