March for our Lives

The student survivors from the Parkland shooting are planning a march in Washington on March 24th.

Their mission is to pivot America’s long-running gun control debate — which tends to flare up with each mass shooting — toward meaningful action.

“We want this to stop. We need this to stop. We are protecting guns more than people,” said Emma González, 18, one of five core organizers, whose impassioned speech at a rally in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday drew national attention. “We are not trying to take people’s guns away; we are trying to make sure we have gun safety.”

I’m going to try to make it. I hope as many people as possible attend. Let’s make this a point in the fight for sensible gun laws.

This, from the ABC News story:

“Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this,” the high school junior said of the shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 students and teachers at the school. “At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting this gun culture.”
Kasky said the point is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”

Question

Which is worth more: the right of millions of gun owners to shoot semi-automatic weapons at ranges for fun, or the life of one child?

There are too many guns in America. The weapons used in mass shootings are far too easy for killers to obtain.

The solutions are readily available. A semi-automatic weapons ban would be legal, feasible and effective.

We need to elect leaders who will take sensible step to protect children and everyone else from gun violence.

Major mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas

I’m deeply sorry to see that there’s been another mass shooting: this time in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas,  a rural town with a population of 1000.  Upwards of twenty people are dead and 30 wounded.  Our hearts go out to the people of Sutherland Springs.

It is not politicizing the tragedy  to say that these events do not need to happen.  No other country has mass shootings on the scale, and with the frequency, of the United Sates.  We know how to prevent them.  We summarized the evidence on public safety measure to prevent mass shootings in our position paper.  What it take is the will to act.

Your voice matters.  There are many groups active locally and nationally on gun violence prevention.  Consider joining or supporting one.  There are also several good bills to prevent gun violence pending in the Ohio legislature.   Your representatives need to hear from you that this matters.  You can also call your federal elected officials to support Chris  Murphy’s bill to expand background checks for gun purchases – a measure supported even by most gun owners.

Here’s the website to find your Ohio and federal elected officials.

Please speak out and support rational, feasible  measures against gun violence.  We can’t bring back the people shot in Sutherland Springs; but we can stop future massacres.

How to Prevent Mass Shootings – PAN Position Paper

On October 1, 2017, the United States witnessed the worst mass shooting in its history.  While innocent people were enjoying a country music concert 32 floors below, a man who had no criminal history opened fire on them from a hotel window and, using battlefield weapons and ammunition he had purchased legally, killed 58 and injured over 500 others.

Can catastrophes like this be prevented?  Sometimes it seems hopeless.  We’ve seen one horrific shooting after another in recent years, yet our political system seems unable to enact common sense legislation to prevent these events.  Many have come to believe in the myth of the invincible gun lobby.

The United States is not the only nation to suffer from mass shootings; however, the problem is far worse here than anywhere else in the world.  A comparative study of 171 countries showed a close correlation between the availability of firearms and the rate of mass shootings.  Americans own 89 guns per 100 persons, compared with a worldwide average of 14 per 100 (these are not evenly distributed – 66% of households have no gun, and 3% have more than 25).  Between 1966 and 2012, the international per-country average for mass shootings (defined as episodes in which 3 or more people were killed by the same shooter) was 1.7.  In that time, the U.S. had 90.

As physicians and public health experts, we’re accustomed to tackling tough, seemingly intractable problems.  Polio once ravaged the nation in recurrent epidemics.  Now it has all but vanished in the Western Hemisphere. Automobile fatalities have dropped more than 90% since the 1950’s due to research and implementation of motor vehicle safety measures.  Cancer is a devastating condition of enormous biological complexity; yet we can now prevent or effectively treat the majority of common malignancies.

Mass shootings have been increasing in frequency and severity over the past decade.  The easy, legal availability of powerful guns and ammunition greatly facilitates these attacks.

No single law or action would completely eliminate the possibility of a mass shooting.  However, we would like to propose several entirely constitutional and feasible measures that, taken together, could substantially reduce their frequency and severity. Continue reading “How to Prevent Mass Shootings – PAN Position Paper”