01/20/2011 02:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Let's Use This Teachable Moment to Save Lives

In an open letter sent by the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama suggests parents use the Tucson tragedy as a teachable moment. It's a moment, she writes, for valuable lessons, "about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away."

PAX (The Center to Prevent Youth Violence) applauds the First Lady for sending this important and inspirational message and agrees that this horrific tragedy represents an important teachable moment.

PAX hopes this tragedy will inspire parents and kids alike to consider the very real things that can be done to prevent the tragic loss of lives from gun violence.

Eight children and teens die by guns in America every day. Most do not make national headlines; but most are preventable. They are the suicides and unintentional shootings that occur as the result of guns parents choose to keep in the home. It is the gang violence, urban shootings, even school shootings that occur despite the fact that young people knew about the attacker's plans.

PAX urges parents and kids alike to use this teachable moment to educate ourselves about what we can do to prevent the tragic and unnecessary loss of young lives.

Parents, consider the very real risks associated with having a gun in the home. Understand about the risks of suicide and unintentional shootings that lead to the death on average of about three young people every day. If you still choose to have a gun despite these risks, at least make absolutely sure it's stored safely.

Kids, know you are empowered to prevent violence by speaking up about weapons and threats and that you can do it safely and anonymously through the 1-866-SPEAK-UP hotline.

Most youth gun deaths can be prevented through these simple measures. If that's not worth teaching about, what is?

To learn more information about what you can do to prevent youth gun deaths, visit