Is gun violence a public health issue?

Replied by ScienceChic on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

To me, this story highlights the importance of considering this as a public safety and awareness issue, if not public health as well because now you have to consider the trauma that this family, and the family of the boy who fired the gun, now have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Yes, it happened in a private home with irresponsible adults, but, as the mother said, her son was at the mercy of others. No, we can't protect our children every minute of every day, but perhaps a more aggressive awareness campaign will make an impact on the number of tragic deaths such as this.

One heartbroken mother's plea to other parents: Ask if there's a gun in the house
Ashlyn Melton TODAY contributor
June 20, 2014

On the night of December 30, 2011, Noah was shot and killed by his best friend with one of the four guns the friend had laying in his bedroom. They were not locked. The friend picked up the gun and was “playing” around and pulled the trigger. That "playful" action destroyed my life and created a sorrow in me that will never go away.

I’m not even sure that other people completely understand what it feels like to bury your child. Especially when it wasn’t because of anything he did or anything you did. It was because of someone else’s irresponsibility and poor judgment.

In all those years of play dates and sleepovers, I never had anyone ask me about my guns, and I never asked anyone else about theirs. I didn't think to ask. I would have never let my child go there if I had known they had guns lying around unsecured. That's something I live with for the rest of my life.

I am a gun owner. I believe in gun locks and following strict safety procedures around guns. I am always surprised that some folks view my beliefs as being against the right to bear arms. I am not against guns. Noah was raised around guns. He went hunting for the first time when he was three years old. The difference between us and a lot of other gun owners is that we understand the power a gun can have when not in the right hands or is handled improperly.

But no matter what we instilled in him, none of it saved him that night. He was at the mercy of other people.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh
27 Jan 2015 17:06 #31

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Replied by ZHawke on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

Edited to revise: Looking back at what I posted, I think I was pretty incoherent in what I was trying to say. Therefore, I'm going to try and start over.

I believe there's a disconnect, a disconnect that both pro-gun advocates and anti-gun advocates have when it comes to discussing the issue of gun violence.

I could be wrong, but I see pro-gun folks taking a somewhat defensive stance when the issue of gun violence is brought up at which point they tend to arguably go on the "offensive" and promote new legislation of their own. Invariably, the reaction seems to be one of they're trying to ban guns, they're trying to pass gun control laws that infringe on my rights, they're trying to penalize law abiding citizens, and on and on. And the legislation they propose to expand open/concealed carry laws, eliminate gun free zones, oppose legislation aimed at limiting domestic violence abusers and the mentally ill having access to guns goes directly to that premise.

I could also be wrong when I say that anti-gun folks seem to take an "offended" stance when the issue of gun violence is brought up - offended that pro-gun folks can't seem to understand where they're coming from, offended that pro-gun folks are so adamant in their refusal to even talk about what many consider to be sensible gun laws, and on and on at which point groups in this category start pushing for more legislation to limit, and therefore arguably infringe upon, the rights of law abiding gun owners to keep and bear arms by making it more difficult, if not impossible, to legally buy and keep guns at all.

And ne'er the twain shall meet.

Personally, I see all of these things being in need of discussion, not debate, discussion. The stakes are quite simply too high to ignore any longer.

Perhaps we should include gun safety right alongside gun violence when discussing whether either is, or both are, a public health issue. I don't believe gun violence and gun safety are mutually exclusive. Both would seem to me to be closely intertwined with the public health issue intent of the OP.

If both sides could find it within themselves to look at the broader picture of the impacts that gun violence and gun safety (or lack thereof) have on society, in general, we might be able to get somewhere. As your post clearly illustrated, SC, the long lasting effects, even of accidental shootings, is immense, both from psychological and economic perspectives. That, in and of itself, should be enough, IMO, that what we're talking about here translates into an issue to be addressed, and I believe it is, in fact, a public health issue.

Thanks for allowing me to ramble on.
Last edit: 28 Jan 2015 12:16 by ZHawke.
27 Jan 2015 21:11 #32

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Replied by ZHawke on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

A thought provoking message from a physician:

www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/gun...grief_b_6537844.html

Guns and grief are a bad combination.


I'd have to say yes, yes they are.
28 Jan 2015 08:15 #33

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Replied by ZHawke on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

Interesting - from a Catch-22 perspective:

File Attachment:


Question: Is the right to keep and bear arms based primarily in a perception that that specific right is critical to self-defense? Or is the right to keep and bear arms something broader?
Last edit: 28 Jan 2015 12:17 by ZHawke.
28 Jan 2015 10:28 #34

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Replied by ComputerBreath on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

I've been around guns all my life: My dad had several when we were growing up, mostly rifles used for hunting, but a couple times there were some handguns in the house.

We kids knew absolutely, without a doubt not ever, to touch those guns when he wasn't present and actually handing them to us.

When he said he'd blister our butts, but good, if he caught us or knew we so much as opened the closet they were in and showed our friends them, let alone handled one without his express permission, we knew he meant it.

He also taught us, and it mostly was angled towards my brother 'cuz he was the one most interested in the guns, to empty the weapon of ammo before the guns were taken inside the house and to sit down right away and clean them after use.

There were a lot of things we could get Papa to waffle on and we could wheedle him into or out of doing several of them, but gun control inside the house was a hard and fast rule.

When I entered the Air Force, then I had to handle a weapon at least once a year, sometimes more. Again, we were taught the correct procedures for handling a weapon and how to store it.

So, I learned at a young age and it was carried forward into my adulthood, a healthy respect of guns.

I believe something needs to be done about the violence that has become part and parcel of everyday living, but I do not believe that "better gun control" or more rules regarding guns or any laws passed for guns or weapons will help. I wholeheartedly believe that this nation has completely ignored the mental health aspect of this whole discussion.

I said that my sister's murder--I could call it a "death" or say that she was "killed": both are true, but she didn't just die nor was she killed--she was murdered, which is harsh and an ugly word and it really takes people aback when I say it. I've been asked by more than one person to "tone it down" and not use the word "murder" because it alienates people...so be it, let them be alienated. I'm speaking the truth and living in my world and if they choose to turn away because of the ugly truth...that is their problem. Anyways...I said that my sister's murder had an effect far and wide and still more than 36 plus years later affects people...I honestly do not know how many of the people it affected ever received counseling nor do I know how many people tried to cover the pain & anger with substances--I do know that two of my sister's living siblings are substance abusers and while I am not exactly sure, I believe a lot of that is because they are trying to ameliorate the pain.

So...while none of our immediate family used violence to deal with the pain...and thankfully, the substances abusers do not tend toward violence when they are inebriated...by covering it up and not talking openly about it, they have passed this unhealthiness on to their children, who because they don't know better and are doing what they were taught could likely pass it on to their children...and so on and so on.

OK...so where do "we" the people get funding for the Mental Health aspect of this? To make sure that people that have experienced traumas or tragedies get the help they absolutely need? Then, how do we make sure that no one who is in the throes of extreme grief can get their hands on a weapon to destroy anyone--and that could be a gun, a knife, a car, or poison? Who has the responsibility, when they see someone in pain and on a destructive path, to talk to that person and/or alert someone who has the authority to help?

Yes, gun violence is a public issue. And because it could affect the health of others, it is also a health issue. But, more than that...it is a PEOPLE issue. In my mind, we all, yes, I mean every single one of us, has the responsibility to our fellow man or woman to be aware of them and if we see something that alarms us, to act on it. Whether that is to invite the person to your home and cook a meal for them and listen to them or just to give them a hug and tell them you care. In my experience, a lot of times the authorities either do not want to get involved or if they get involved, will take extreme measures that aren't needed and that will make things worse.

Then the next question comes to mind: Who will provide the money or funds to provide this type of care for those that are in need?

So, in the meantime, we've got angry and scared kids who grow into angry and scared adults who try to damp down their fear and pain with substances or other things (sex, cutting, etc.) who create more angry and scared kids...really reminds me of the Elvis Presley song "In the Ghetto".

Z: I agree, there needs to be a discussion between anti-gun folks and pro-gun folks...and maybe the way to do it is to not sugar coat things and be honest...brutally so.

My last thought is that those of us being part of this discussion, right here on this board, are in the minority...we care and are looking at the problem instead of turning our heads and looking away or instead of looking past it. Most people don't want to be bothered with ugly...so they choose to look away, even when the truth is staring them in the face.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ZHawke
29 Jan 2015 21:21 #35

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Replied by ZHawke on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

Might something like this be a "part" of an answer?

www.thenewstribune.com/2015/01/31/361693...crowd-with.html?rh=1

Other groups that help fund and organize Saturday’s event included the University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Safe Kids Pierce County, and Sportco, which provided the gun lock devices at prices below wholesale cost.


There seems to be quite a few gun owners interested in this sort of thing. If costs for better safety devices were lowered and made available on a much larger scale, might it have a positive impact?
01 Feb 2015 08:37 #36

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Replied by ScienceChic on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

This story was linked in an article in which one of the parents of an Aurora theatre shooting victim was interviewed and asked the media to stop naming the killer and perpetuating their notoriety (a group previously mentioned by ZHawke, started by parents of another Aurora theatre shooting victim, No Notoriety ). It is about any type of cause of the loss of a child, but I thought it fit in this thread best given what's been posted here before.
What I Wish More People Understood About Losing A Child
By Paula Stephens
March 23, 2015

Losing a child is the loneliest, most desolate journey a person can take and the only people who can come close to appreciating it are those who share the experience.

The group of incredible survivors included parents whose children had been killed by drunk drivers, murdered, accidental overdose, alcoholism, suicide and freak accidents. Most of what I share in this article came from this meeting, but also from my own experience of having lost a child and being four years into that lifelong journey of healing from deep grief. The following five tips can be your compass to help you navigate how to give support to grieving parents on a sacred journey they never wanted to take.

1. Remember our children.
2. Accept that you can't "fix" us.
3. Know that there are at least two days a year we need a time out.
4. Realize that we struggle every day with happiness.
5. Accept the fact that our loss might make you uncomfortable.

Read more here: www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17928/what-i-wis...-losing-a-child.html
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh
The following user(s) said Thank You: ZHawke
26 Mar 2015 15:04 #37

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Replied by Green Mountain Guns on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

ZHawke wrote: Might something like this be a "part" of an answer?

www.thenewstribune.com/2015/01/31/361693...crowd-with.html?rh=1

Other groups that help fund and organize Saturday’s event included the University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Safe Kids Pierce County, and Sportco, which provided the gun lock devices at prices below wholesale cost.


There seems to be quite a few gun owners interested in this sort of thing. If costs for better safety devices were lowered and made available on a much larger scale, might it have a positive impact?


Federal law requires "all" handguns sold have a locking device with them at the time of sale. We carry simple and inexpensive ($2.00 includes tax) trigger locks to gun safes. We are happy to assist you in safety, training and just to talk about related issues. Stop by or call 303-985-7240.
26 Mar 2015 17:39 #38

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Replied by ScienceChic on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

Once again, John Oliver nails it. Yes, it's almost 12 min long - it's worth every minute.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health
Published on Oct 4, 2015

John Oliver explains how our national system of treating mental health works, or more often than not, how it doesn’t.


The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh
06 Oct 2015 10:02 #39

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Replied by ZHawke on topic Is gun violence a public health issue?

Watched it and hope others do, too. If nothing else is taken away, the very last line in the video speaks to this issue like none other.

My two cents.
06 Oct 2015 11:28 #40

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