GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

Wednesday was the last Community Conversation until next fall at English Lutheran Church. Dr. Stephen Hargarten from Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin, an ER physician and researchist shared his work about dispelling myths, understanding science, strengthening prevention programs and policies in regard to gun violence.

The myth of a gun does not kill a person. A person kills a person is just that, a myth. It is important to understand the persons who decide to fire a gun and kill either themselves/others and the victims who suffer the consequences of the that gunfire are all part of the disease called gun violence.

Research monies for gun violence are needed in the same way we need monies for Lyme research for example . Just like there is an agent, vector, environment and host for Lyme disease these same risk factors exist for gun violence. Last year gun f violence resulted in 38,000 deaths (many of those suicides), 75,00o non fatal injuries with 40% needing hospital care, a leading U.S. cause of injury mortality and major cause of disability ie spinal cord injury.

Like a whole lot of people who die from other diseases, people die from gun violence. Enough people die, it is a health issue. Hargarten emphasized gun violence as a complex, biopyschosocial disease.

We can’t afford not to demand research monies as the numbers keep rising. We have a real epedemic on our hands.

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