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Child gunned down a day before starting second grade

Xavier Usanga's toy tricycle sits on the wall of his home as a school bus passes on North 14th Street on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, the day after he was shot and killed in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Xavier was to begin second grade today at nearby Clay Elementary. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

Regarding the op-ed “I’m tired of seeing dead babies” (Aug. 29) by officer Ryan Lynch. What a horrific experience it is for first responders to deal with the reality of children who do not survive their gunshot wounds.

Recently, much outrage has been appropriately directed to the murdered children, but the children who survive their gunshot wounds are equally deserving of outrage and urgency. Children are resilient, but doctors very often cannot repair the damage of a bullet that has torn through a child’s body.

Their families are left to suffer and mourn their loss, but the murdered children will suffer no more. The children who have suffered from gunshot wounds suffer long after the bleeding has stopped.

There is a profound heartache in pondering the potential that could have been realized had the child not been shot. Childhood should be joyful and carefree, but a bullet can destroy a bright future. A bullet can put an honor student into a special education program; a bullet can put a track star into a wheelchair; a bullet can disfigure the homecoming queen; a bullet can silence the drama student. The young survivors are as much the symbols of violence in this city as are the fatally injured children.

How sad that the safety and health of our children do not deserve the same reverence as the Second Amendment. Our children are paying an extremely high price for the right to bear arms.

Toni Goelz • Belleville