CINCINNATI — There’s a new tactic developed in Cincinnati to steer teenagers away from guns — a book and test that could end up in your child’s classroom.
Rev. Alvin Scales III wrote, “A Young World Drawn to the Gun” and created a test to go alongside it. The book covers topics like gun accessibility, emotional triggers and what could draw children toward guns.
“It’s a very easy read — kids as young as 12 years old can get through that book," Scales said. “Chapter Five tells me the consequences that I face for the rest of my life, things that make it hard for me to get a job or get an apartment in my name."
The quiz asks questions to test the children's comprehension like, “What type of guns are kids first exposed to?” and “What is taking the lives of young people at an alarming rate?”
“The contents were already in me," Scales said. "I already had it. So once I started writing it, it started flowing like a river."
For years, Scales has worked with nonprofits and been at nearly all Cincinnati homicide scenes to console families with "The God Squad," a group of Tri-State clergy members.
This year, there have been at least 147 shootings and 28 homicides, according to Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. Mike John, who tracks the data for the city.
“Both victims and, unfortunately, the people that are firing these guns as well seem to be getting younger,” John said.
According to the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, 16 children are in jail accused of murder or homicide as of June 3. The youngest arrested was 13.
John said the book could spark a conversation with children and quiz answers could shed light on what educational areas advocates should focus on.
“You have to reach them in school,” said Scales. “That’s the target market, but it’s a book that could help us all reduce gun violence and just show some respect to one another to help save our own lives.”
Scales is starting to get attention on the idea of adding the tool to the curriculum. Cincinnati city leaders are discussing it with Cincinnati Public Schools. The governor's office has the information as does the president. In the meantime, Scales said local businesses have donated money to help him get the book into children's hands for free by donating to the Cincinnati Faith Community Response to Crime Association.