Digital Journalism Literacy and Community
The Sandy Hook massacre took place 30 minutes from my home and we are still dealing with it.
perhaps we are more deeply greaved by the NRA and radical right's obsession with violence and addiction to weapons.
PerLarson, a friend posted this remarkable insight:
Mark Shields noted on PBS later on Jan 18 that twice as many Americans have been killed with firearms since 1968 as have died in combat in all the wars fought by Americans: 1,260,703 vs 659,000. Twice as many Americans were killed in the 42 years since Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated as were killed in 240 years of war: twice as many in one-fifth the time. By 2015 as many Americans will be killed by firearms as are killed by automobiles.
A Jan 7, 2013 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that public health measures used in the past 30 years to cut deaths due to smoking by 50%, poisoning by 75% and driving by 90% could be applied to guns : http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1556167#qundefined
Public health measures are common sense, practical measures - American ingenuity. E.G., safety measures to limit access to appropriate users, product changes, mandatory training, and national networks for prevention, targeting situations where risk is high, setting safety standards.
For detail take a look at the attached table by opening up the link above or reading the condensed version given with CAP headings below. Measures that succeeded in cutting deaths & injury from smoking, poisoning, and driving could all be applied to greatly reducing deaths and injuries from firearms.
This is a public health question.We know how to do this stuff. We've conquered other killers that stumped humanity for years: smoking, poisoning, and driving. We cut deaths due to driving by 10 public health measures. This table lists 18 public health measures that would start solving our firearms death problem now. This is American problem solving at work: a little bit of this, a little bit of that.
Let's apply another common sense measure, the 80/20 rule - which can help us focus on where the bulk of the problem is. Of 30,000 deaths by firearms in 2010, 2/3 were suicides, 1/3 were homicides. Of 75,000 injuries by firearms in 2000, 50,000 (2/3) were deliberate. And 25,000 (1/3) were accidental.
The statistics also show we're talking about people killing themselves - and those they know. Those killed by the mentally ill in public places is very small indeed compared to this; the 26 deaths in Newtown represent fewer gun homicides than the daily US average.
Here's how the measures used in those areas could be applied to reduce gun violence:
- SMOKING Here's how the measures used in those areas could be applied to reduce gun violence:
Taxation: Tax guns & ammunition to better represent and offset societal costs & to provide funds for gun safety & violence reduction programs
Change norms: Change depictions of gun violence in advertising, television, movies, video games & other media; broad media and spokesperson campaigns on the consequences of gun violence
Media campaigns: Sustained campaigns to reduce gun violence, suicides & accidents & learn how to identify at-risk persons
Counseling: routine primary care education to increase gun safety & minimize gun violence
Safety packaging: key or security code locking devices on guns
Toxicity & volume reduction: reduce magazine clip size; restrict rapid-fire assault rifles
Pediatrician counseling on safe storage & use: primary care education on safe storage & use of guns/ammunition, recognizing at-risk behaviors
National networks: hotlines
Safety standards: reduced magazine clip size, restrictions on rapid-fire assault rifles
Safety inspections: same, plus documentation of home storage and safety measures
Passive protection: smart guns with automatic security or locking devices
Active protection: safe storage of guns & ammunition
Driver education: mandatory gun safety classes
Licensing: periodic renewal, safety test and background check
Speed limits: reduced magazine clip size, restrictions on rapid-fire assault rifles
Drunk-driving legislation: stricter legislation & penalties for violators of gun safety & violence laws
Age requirements: minimimum age requirements for use of certain guns & ammunition
Governmental & private advocacy (MADD): strong active nonprofit advocacy focused on reducing gun violence. Community-based intervention in high risk areas (such as Operation Ceasefire) has worked in cutting deaths due to gang violence more than 85% - in a short period of time. We know how to do this. All we lack is focus and priority.
The challenge we face as a nation in deaths and injuries from guns is a public health challenge: suicide, rage homicide, and gun accidents. One place to start is with rapidly rising military suicides which are already far more than deaths on the battlefront. We are not talking about the Second Amendment nor about attacking gun owners or gun ownership. Just as cutting the mortality rate in driving by 90% did not pillory drivers but simply introduced product redesign for safety and automatic safety restraints it would be irrelevant to pillory gun owners or gun ownership.
All our best, Per & Gio