The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Opinion

February 3, 2013

The lessons we must learn in Le'Angelo's senseless death

---- —  “There are two great days in every person’s life, the day they were born – and the day they realized why.”

Rick Warren, “The Purpose-Driven Life”

We have all been there.

In the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 20, my phone began to ring continuously. A myriad of thoughts went through my head in the brief seconds before I answered – none of them were good.

My fears confirmed, I received the report that one of our students, Le’Angelo Crumby Ford, had been shot and killed. Having watched Lee Lee grow up from elementary school, the

news was devastating.

The headline of Sunday morning’s edition of The Herald read, “High schooler shot to death.” The news brought great sorrow to a family, a basketball team, and a school community that had lost a well-liked and popular student.

Lee Lee was born on Jan. 12, 1996 and died on Jan. 20 – one week after his 17th birthday. While we all agree that his death was tragic and senseless, we must ask and answer some essential questions:

1. What can be learned from Lee Lee’s life?

2. What are the “takeaways” from his death?

3. How can we empower our young people with the lessons of this tragedy so that no similar tragedy will befall them?

First and foremost, teens and guns are a volatile mix. Consider the following statistics:

1. In 2012, a total of 85% of children aged 15-19 killed by guns in 23 industrialized nations lived in the United States

2. In 2008-09, a total of 5,740 children and teens were killed by guns. This was greater than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined – 5,013.

3. There were 34,847 children and teens injured by guns during 2008-09.

4. The number of firearms-related deaths of children and teens is second only to automobile accidents. In a 2012 survey, a total of 50% of teens said they are finding it increasingly easy to obtain a handgun.

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