Some disheartening news regarding the killing of Brazilian and American youth in today's newspapers. In Brazil's state of Ceará, a investigation by the Military Police concluded that the police officers who assassinated 13-year old Mizael Fernandes da Silva acted in self-defense. The teenager was killed inside his own home in the city of Chorozinho three months ago. The police officers claim Mizael was holding a gun. Mizael's family contests this narrative; according to them, the child was sleeping when he was shot. In the state of São Paulo, the Military Court of Justice released from prison the two police officers who shot 19-year old Rogério Ferreira da Silva Júnior in August. Rogério was killed on his birthday as he tried to run away from the police in a motorcycle. Although he possessed all the documentation for the motorcycle, he was not wearing a helmet.
Today's edition of the Washington Post also reports the violent death of 17 children in St. Louis this year. St. Louis Children's hospital has treated 114 children with gunshot wounds through October 8 -- more than in all of 2019. One of the children killed was 14-year old Victrail Mora. On August 12th, while babysitting his sister in his mother's apartment, Victrail heard a knock on the door and went outside to investigate. He was shot in the back of his head.
In Brazil, the Chamber of Deputies has been sitting on a bill that institutes a national plan against the killing of youth since 2018. I recently wrote about it with Estevan Muniz here and here. Several bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress to tackle the issue of gun violence against children and gun violence in general -- none of them have advanced in the legislative process. In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Violence Against Children Act of 2010, which did not move past the introduction stage. More recent efforts in legislative limbo include the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safe Act of 2020, proposed by senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Beatriz Rey is a political scientist and a writer based in Washington, D.C.