Speaking of epidemics and the need for cures

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence March to City Hall, August 8, 2015. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Author: Seattle City Council.

by Kathie MM

Racialopathy and ethnicopathy are intimately related to another form of social pathology —addiction to guns — a topic regularly addressed on Engaging Peace (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017).

A must-read article by David S. Bernstein in the Atlantic argues that despite media furor over mass shootings, “Americans Don’t Really Understand Gun Violence.”

Why? Because they focus only on fatal gun violence — the tip of an enormous, bloody iceberg of untold pain and suffering for victims of nonfatal violence and their families.

Although estimates suggest over  a million survivors of gun violence in the US today, “nobody really knows how often people are shot by their intimate partners, how many victims are intended targets or bystanders, how many shootings are in self-defense, how such incidents affect community investment and property values, or how much it costs taxpayers to care for victims.”

Ignorance includes assumptions that nonfatal shootings are generally confined to African American neighborhoods; however, data show that from 2001 to 2013, “nonfatal-assault victimization rates declined among African Americans and increased significantly for whites.”

The reasons we know so little about nonfatal gun violence are largely politically based. For example, in 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment “which, along with accompanying budget cuts to the CDC, effectively took the federal government out of the business of funding gun research. Though it was ostensibly designed to prevent federal backing of biased anti-gun propaganda, the National Rifle Association-backed law has had a huge chilling effect.…”

If we want to reduce the epidemic of gun violence, we need more information about it. Speak out against the suppression of information and in favor of research.For motivation, see this video.




This entry was posted in Armed conflict, Democracy, family violence, gun violence, Media, politics, Poverty, racism, Understanding violence, Weaponry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Speaking of epidemics and the need for cures

  1. Barbara says:

    Who ever knew or heard about the prevalence of non-fatal gun violence? Maybe a small group of family, neighbors, the local gossip queen, but otherwise few citizens are aware of this daily lurking menace. Shame on members of the National Rifle Association for promoting the tamping down of research into various forms of gun violence. Does it have to happen to one of their loved ones for them to see the crying – no, wailing need for restrictions on gun ownership? How many times have we read of curious children, displaying their parents’ lethal toy to their friends, only to end with the death of one or more of the innocent youngsters? Too many, according to the devastating headlines.

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