76 kids shot during first half of year in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The frustration with this violence against children doesn’t stop with activists.

Trauma doctors said they are fed up, tired of seeing children shot, struggling to survive, some even dying.

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“It’s getting extremely frustrating that we have to keep having to have this conversation,” said Dr. Regan Williams, the trauma medical director at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

It’s the conversation about gun violence, and why so many children are getting hurt in the crossfire.

As the trauma medical director, Dr. Regan Williams gets a page for every gunshot wound that comes through the ER.

“I don’t think this is going to get better anytime soon,” she said.

According to new data from the hospital, 76 children were treated for gunshot wounds during the first half of this year.

This number has already surpassed the total for 2018 which was 67 gunshot wounds and it’s getting close to the total for 2019 which was 89 gunshot wounds and could possibly surpass 2020′s total of 134.

Dr. Williams said most of the kids are being kids when they’re shot like Kelby Shorty, the 7-year-old who was killed during a July 4 celebration when a car drove by and opened fire into a crowd.

“I feel like I’m a broken record when I say this over and over again, I really do think it’s an adult responsibility to keep all the children in our community safe and it takes all of us working together for that to happen,” she said.

Williams is also hopeful fewer kids will be in harm’s way as more schools reopen in the fall.

“Maybe some normal life can resume for them because certainly the last year of them being out of school and out of sports, and out of activities, I think really did take a toll on what our kids were doing during the day,” said Williams.

Whether a shooting is deadly or not, the impact goes far beyond the crime scene.

“I think it will have a ripple effect not just on that child, but the family and others in the community that knows that child, this stuff is becoming all too normal,” said Charlie Caswell, executive director for Legacy of Legends CDC.

The organization has been working with children who are coping with the emotional trauma of community violence.

“[It] affects the child like ‘I can’t do nothing.’ hey feel helpless seeing that their friend is going through pain and there’s nothing they can do about it,” said Caswell. “Then they are continually seeing others and children’s brain isn’t fully developed as an adult so trying to process is going to be hard for them.”

Caswell said they’ve been offering a free summer camp for youth within Frayser to keep them engaged in healthy outlets during the summer.