The silent epidemic of America’s problem with guns

Mass shootings dominate the national conversation on gun control, but two thirds of gun deaths are suicides. How do you solve a problem hardly anyone talks about?

Joel Gunter reports for the BBC:

“The night Brayden died was a cold, clear night in Helena, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Montana. Snow had fallen lightly on the city and lay drifted around the houses. Brayden was in his bedroom with his mother Melissa, watching reruns of his favourite TV sketch show. Across town, Brayden’s best friend Kase was with his own mother at the home of a family friend.

By that point, in early February 2016, Brayden Schaeffer and Kase Dietrich had been friends for nearly half their lives. They met aged nine, when Brayden joined late at the local elementary school in Helena and needed someone to show him around. Brayden was a bright-eyed boy with a wide, toothy smile and a fondness for practical jokes. Kase was a quiet boy with a shy manner. He was drawn to Brayden’s easy confidence.

The boys began hanging out every day, at school and after school, growing closer with time. Seven years went by like that, until, aged 16, Brayden and Kase were living a few miles apart in Helena, filling long summer days with each other’s company — playing basketball, swimming at the lake, or driving aimlessly in Brayden’s black ’91 Chevy pickup.

On a rare day they didn’t see each other they texted, exchanging hundreds of messages over the years. That night in February was no different. Kase texted to say he’d left a pair of jeans at Brayden’s house; Brayden replied saying he hadn’t finished his homework. Kase pulled his friend up on the homework.

‘Dude, you need to do that,’ he wrote. ‘Don’t fail school’.

‘I won’t dude,’ Brayden wrote back. ‘Okay, just making sure,’ Kase replied …”

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