Scaring Kids Straight Off Guns

Jon Hurdle reports [NYT] on an “unusual program” run by the Temple University Hospital:

[Cradle to Grave] brings in youths from across Philadelphia in the hope that an unflinching look at the effects that guns have in their community will deter young people from reaching for a gun to settle personal scores, and will help them recognize that gun violence is not the glamorous business sometimes depicted in television shows and rap music. … In a 2010 paper published in the medical journal Injury, Dr. Amy J. Goldberg, the hospital’s chief of trauma and surgical critical care, and others cited data showing that students’ inclination toward violence decreased after participating in the Cradle to Grave program.

Prison Culture lost sleep over the report:

[O]n the same day that the Times published their article about the Cradle to Grave program in Philly, Ta-Nehisi Coates was featured on the opinion page writing about the trauma of gun violence for inner city youth. … [He] beautifully articulates the sense of foreboding and routine trauma that he and some of his peers carried with them growing up in an inner city community.

What good would it have done to take a young man like Coates into a hospital emergency room to see severed limbs and gun shot wounds? Wasn’t he already experiencing enough anxiety, worry, and pain? Isn’t he already surrounded by the fear of premature death? Why isn’t our focus to provide grief counseling and healing circles for young people who feel that they are living under siege?