Scott Charles walks briskly across a hospital lobby toward a group of high school students waiting to meet him.
"Welcome," he said, panning their faces, "I work with gunshot patients. How many of you know somebody who's been shot?"
Hands spring up into the air from roughly half of the more than 20 students. Without flinching, Charles continues his introduction.
"What we're going to do today is take you behind the scenes, pull back the curtain and let you see what we do in treating gunshot patients," he said.
It's all part of the Cradle To Grave program that Charles helped create to reduce violence in what is supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love.
Inside Temple University Hospital's trauma center, these high school students will relive the final minutes of life of a teenager who was killed by gun violence.
Among America's largest cities, Philadelphia's homicide rate is the worst. Guns are the weapons of choice, with more than 80% of homicides committed with a firearm, according to the most recent police statistics. African-Americans make up 85% of the victims
"Statistics suggest that as a young, black man, you have a greater chance of being shot and killed in Philadelphia than you would have if you were a soldier serving in the conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq," Charles said. "That's absurd to me."
Despite the daily gun violence plaguing American cities like Philadelphia, Chicago or New Orleans, it's the mass shootings at a school or a theater or a public event -- like the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora and Tucson -- that trigger outrage and a serious, nationwide discussion on gun violence.
"The tragedy of the parents isn't greater in Newtown than that of a parent of someone who was shot elsewhere," Charles said, expressing sadness for the lives lost in the school shooting. "At the end of the day, their kids aren't coming home, and there's no way to compare that anguish.
"Newtown has made us stare the (gun) issue in the face and ask ourselves if this is the price we're willing to pay."
Standing with students in a hallway leading to the hospital's trauma bays and holding an iPad, Charles tells the story of 16-year-old Lamont Adams, who was shot 24 times.
"That young boy stood over Lamont and fired 10 more shots into him," he said, the sound of gunshots playing in the background.
A few students gasp, while others stand stoically with hard-to-read expressions, as Charles leads them into the trauma bay.
One by one, he places 24 red stickers on the body of a student volunteer lying on a gurney. "He had a bullet wound here ... Lamont had a bullet wound right here ... Lamont had a bullet wound right here," Charles says, as he places each sticker on the student.
Across the United States, more than 5,700 children and teens were killed by guns in 2008 and 2009 -- a number that would fill more than 200 public school classrooms -- according to data compiled by The Children's Defense Fund.
That number includes 173 preschoolers, nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during the same time.
Responding to last month's Connecticut school shooting, President Obama created a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden charged with developing "concrete proposals" for dealing with gun violence no later than January.
Among those serving on the vice president's task force is Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, whose city had a bloody start to the New Year with five homicides in the first 48 hours.
Philadelphia has seen a slow uptick in its homicide rate. Last year, 331 people were the victims of homicides, up from 324 in 2011 and 306 the year before that.
But last year's toll marks a 15% drop compared to 2007, when the city earned the nickname "Kill-adelphia" after suffering more than one murder a day.
The fact that most of those killed in Philadelphia are victims of gun violence is emblematic of a national trend: Federal data for 2011 shows that more than 67% of all homicides in the United States were carried out with a gun.
So where's the nation's outrage?
Daily, inner-city gun violence has become "white noise," said Chuck Williams, founding director of Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence at Drexel University.