High-risk youth are so desensitized that they approve of gun use and engaging in retaliatory violence, according to a new study that sheds light on a growing culture of aggressive youth behavior.
The research, published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics and reported by CBS News, looked at firearm possession by youth who were hospitalized in emergency rooms for assault. It was conducted by the University of Michigan Injury Center in Flint, Mich. Preliminary FBI data found Flint to be the most violent large city in the country, according to 2012 data.
Among 689 youth who were injured in the assaults and surveyed, nearly one quarter–23 percent–said they had owned firearms in the past six months. Of those gun owners, just 17 percent obtained their weapons legally, the study found.
Scarier still, 22 percent of the youth owned automatic or semiautomatic weapons and nearly a third–37 percent–said they kept their firearms for protection.
The youth surveyed were between 14 and 24 years old.
The study also found that a majority of youth surveyed agreed “revenge was a good thing.” They also approved of the statement that it was “OK to hurt people if they hurt you first.”