LET’S AVOID LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES OF ‘FIRED BULLETS’ OUR THINKING MUST TRANSITION FROM “WHO” TO “WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE”

Opinion
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Hilbert Morales
EL OBSERVADOR

To begin let’s look at this piece, (Trauma and Emergency Room) “Doctors are ready to share their stories from the frontlines of America’s gun violence crisis” (Source: Megan Ranney, Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, U.S.C., 03.26.2018:

“My patients’ stories are not unique. Each of the 38,658 U.S. gun deaths and more than 80,000 gun-related injuries (during) 2016 were touched by someone in the health care system. As physicians, we are uniquely privileged to see these tragedies, and to give a human face to the legions of injured and dead.”

“Most of the post-Parkland media coverage has focused on mass shootings. Some (reports are) about gang violence. A few discuss suicide, or evidence-based injury prevention. Largely lacking from the discussion is the wide, messy arc of havoc inflicted by (gun violence incidents) on all aspects of (American) society.”

When it was decided to ‘ask’ for their perspectives, “Over the course of just two days in February (2018), hundreds and hundreds of stories about doctors’ personal experiences from gun violence poured in. Their stories were shared via Facebook, Twitter, and email. They came from every medical specialty, every state, and every training level. They came not only from doctors, but also from physician assistants, paramedics, nurses, physical therapists and community health workers.”

“Overwhelmed by the response during just two days in February, 2018, (tens of thousands of) stories (poured in relating their) personal experiences from gun violence.

“Some stories were about the face of the shooting victim who was about to die. Some were about the families left behind, and the horrible job of having to tell a mother or father that their child was gone.”

“Some (stories) were about the long-term consequences of gun injuries: “The decades that a gun violence survivor spent in the nursing home; in a wheelchair; or in a vegetative state (were communicated). Some were about their patients’ post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and depression (and about payment of medical billings and funerals) that followed a gun injury or death.”

“And many stories were personal. These talked about a co-worker, friend, or relative who had been shot and killed. About the burnout and depression and sadness that was caused by the accumulated burden of lost lives. About the attempts to keep going, in the face of horror.”

“To quote from one of the Twitter stories shared: “These patients are forgotten by our society.” Their anecdotes are difficult to read, but they bear witness as no numbers (and statistics) can.”

“My (hopeful purpose) is that these stories remind us that the struggle to stop gun violence is not a struggle between partisan sides; It is not about gun control versus Second Amendment rights; Nor is it about statistics.”

“This struggle, and these stories, are about protecting our society (i.e., all of this American nation’s residents) from fear, from injury, from death, and from the incalculable long-term consequences of (bullets fired from guns).”

MANY HAVE BEEN “Scarred by school shootings: More than 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at school since the Columbine (1999 incident). MANY ARE NEVER THE SAME AFTER EXPERIENCING SUCH A MASSACRE.” (J.W. COX AND S. RICH, The Washington Post). The cost of collateral damage, especially human pain and suffering (PTSD), is often never considered when making assessments and analytic reports.

In the aftermath, gun violence may be categorized in many ways: As violence, gun injuries, gun deaths, domestic violence, prevention, mass shootings, gang violence, substance abuse, PTSD, public health issues, social costs requiring public welfare assistance, family member’s pain and suffering, and probably many more categories. All of which serve to divert our attention to the real issues and consequences.

“In United States politics, the (Dickey Amendment) is a provision first inserted as a rider into the 1996 federal government omnibus spending bill which mandated that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

“In the same spending bill, Congress earmarked $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget, the exact amount that had previously been allocated to that agency for firearms research the previous year, for traumatic brain injury-related research.”

“The amendment was lobbied for by the NRA. The amendment is named after its author, Jay Dickey, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas. Many commentators have described this (DICKEY) amendment as a “ban” on gun violence research by the CDC.” (Source: Wikipedia: Dickey Amendment 1996).

Regarding gun violence it is important to understand that up until recently news reports usually dealt with WHO was responsible for the violence. Some gun violence resulted in deaths. Lately, the focus has just shifted to WHAT was used to create the havoc of massacres (defined as incidents wherein more than three deaths resulted). The reality is that the killing of individuals or self-inflicted gun violence (suicide) all add up to very large numbers.

Gun manufacturers have made substantial profits while achieving having sold 89 weapons for every 100 residents living in America. The easy access to guns designed to deliver very high firepower during military combat use, such as the AR-15, were used to murder 17 individuals in the Parkland, Florida high school massacre on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. Very similar to all the prior massacres.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN MOVEMENT’ was formed by the surviving student leaders of that gun violence incident. What those teenage NAM leaders need to include in their advocacy is the following:

A) Repeal the Dickey Amendment to permit unimpeded collection and analysis of gun violence data needed to guide future public policy; B) Ban ownership of automatic weapons designed for combat use by military and law enforcement agency personnel.

C) establish a purchase age of 21 years; D) establish a waiting period of 3 days (or more) during which…E) A comprehensive personal background check is accomplished. F) Assemble and disseminate the factual listing of those members of the U.S. Congress who have accepted NRA funds. The purpose of this is to enable registered voter to elect replacement members of Congress who are not beholden to the NRA.

G) Advocate for a new voting procedure standard: Those members of the U.S. Congress who have become beholden to DARK MONEY funded understandings, must recuse themselves from voting because that acceptance of that DARK MONEY has established A CONFLICT OF INTEREST which has thwarted and gridlocked the U.S. Constitutional legislative process.

This American nation, especially its U.S. Congress members, must accept the reality that several nations have monitored and regulated ownership of guns and have prohibited civilian ownership of high performance automatic rifles (which are categorized as ‘military weapons’). These nations have experienced no gun violence massacres.

There needs to be established a MILITARY category of guns which civilians cannot own nor possess. There must be established a CIVILIAN category of guns which civilians may use to ‘own and bear arms’. These civilian guns may include pistols (clip capacity not to exceed 10 rounds); shotguns; sporting rifles (suitable for hunting and sportsmanship competition); and include draw bows and bows and arrows.

Ownership and possession of all military weapons must be restricted to the American military and its law enforcement agencies. Existing military weaponry currently owned by civilians must be registered and owners licensed to enable local officials to know who has these military weapons and where located. LET’S AVOID THE LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF GUN FIRED BULLETS.

OUR THOUGHTFUL THINKING MUST TRANSITION FROM “WHO” TO “WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE”. The enactment of legislation (laws) which implement the seven recommendations, A) through G) noted above, may accomplish the goal of gun violence mitigation. Hopefully, what needs to be done, will be done.

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