Gun violence epidemic: let’s try a public health approach

By | 2016-07-08T12:20:57+00:00 July 8th, 2016|7 Comments

Citizens shot by police. Police shot by citizens. Citizens shot by citizens.

Too many victims. Terror. Tears.

Somebody else’s neighborhood. Never in mine.

Racism, disrespect, mental illness, hatred, anger, economic inequality, hopelessness.

Rationalizing? History. Reality.

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The Gun Violence Archive lists more than 27,390 gun-related incidents in the U.S. which have occurred since January 1, 2016. The result includes nearly 7,100 deaths. Some of the latest additions are those who sadly made this week’s headlines: Officer Lorne Ahrens, 48, Philando Castile, 32, Officer Michael Krol, 40Alton Sterling, 37, Officer Michael Smith, 55, Officer Brent Thompson, 43, and Officer Patrick Zamarripa.

Treating gun violence as a public health problem is a special focus of the American Public Health Association (APHA).  The association’s executive director, Georges Benjamin, MD, urges policy makers and the public to use the term “epidemic” to characterize our country’s gun violence problem. In a commentary published in The Guardian he wrote:

“To reverse the gun violence epidemic – and it’s important that we use the word “epidemic” – we need to do the same thing we’d do for any infectious disease outbreak. …Time and again a public health approach to solving health threats is a proven, evidence-based approach to improving health and preventing injury. That approach looks upstream to prevent bad things from happening downstream, and then doing everything possible to prevent them.

Looking upstream is the uncomfortable task we continue to avoid.

 

 

About the Author:

Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH
Celeste Monforton is a fellow in the Collegium Ramazzini; a lecturer at Texas State University; and professorial lecturer at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. She receives funding from the Public Welfare Foundation.

7 Comments

  1. See Noevo July 8, 2016 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Looking a little farther upstream…
    “… Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.”
    http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler

  2. dean July 9, 2016 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Do you have a point sn, or are you just leaving partial information in another of your racist rants?

  3. Lyle July 11, 2016 at 12:32 am - Reply

    One thought Gun Violence costs the country over 2 billion in medical expenses: Why not tax bullets to pay for the medical expenses (and funeral expenses in some cases). Say for example $1 per bullet. sold. Then you could provide coverage for costs for ems and hospitals etc.

  4. JustaTech July 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Lyle; Chris Rock had a great bit about how bullets should be expensive, like $1,000 each, so if you wanted to go shoot at a guy who said something nasty about your girlfriend, you’d have to get a second job first.

    (Obviously, Chris Rock is much, much funnier than I, and tells it much, much better. )

  5. Lyle July 15, 2016 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    One thought alcohol related Violence costs the country over 2 billion in medical expenses: Why not tax alcohol to pay for the medical expenses (and funeral expenses in some cases). Say for example $1 per ounce of alcohol sold. Then you could provide coverage for costs for ems and hospitals etc.

    ———

    If peopel can sue gun companies for the actions of violent idiots why can I not Sure Ford Motor company or budweiser if I am in an accident? same concept.

  6. earonn July 20, 2016 at 8:38 am - Reply

    @Lyle2
    First of all, think long and hard about what a gun is for and what a car is for

    Second, tax on alcohol (or raising the existing tax) – great idea.

    As for those people sueing gun companies – any example? Because people have totally sued motor companies for the death of loved ones.

    @JustaTech
    Thanks for sharing that nice piece from Chris Rock! 🙂

  7. Robert J Kolker August 2, 2016 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    however one “treats” gun violence please recall that the right to keep and bear firearms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

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