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This evening, I am frayed. After counseling another mother distraught
and sobbing about the death of her son from gun violence in Kansas City, Kansas there is little left to say. This week Family
Health Care (FHC) lost two of our own to gun violence and we treated two others with gunshot wounds. Social determinants of health are strongly evident
regarding gun violence. All these and the police officer shot last week were within a few blocks.
Those readers who are
ardent about the “2nd amendment” and interpret it to mean everyone in our country should be armed to the teeth
will want to stop reading now. It is true that people kill people. It is also true that humans kill more efficiently with
tools or weapons. The Neanderthals learned that when they developed spears to improve their hunting prowess.
The cost of terrible gun violence is great. Every day 31 people
in the US are murdered by gun violence. Every day 31 mother’s lose a son or daughter to a bullet. Sometimes it is because
friends lose their temper and fire off not only epitaphs, but deadly bullets. Without a gun they might hurt the other’s feelings, or even break
a nose or split a lip, but it is far less likely they will kill. The difference between an argument that becomes violent and
stops with recoverable injury and one that ends in death is often simply that a loaded gun is at hand. In three of the cases
affecting FHC this week, the person shot was dis-engaging from an argument. They were walking away when the shooter shot them
from the back. Two of them will never have another argument, they were hushed- forever.
More guns result in more death and more lifetimes of regret
for the survivors. Guns that fire off scores of killing bullets in a few moments like at Sandy Hook or Aurora
are even worse. Keeping guns and ammunition from the hands of known crazy folks or known violent people is a moderate idea
for prevention of some of these deaths. Prevention is the work we do each day. I am saddened by these deaths and I worry about
who is next. FHC is taking up a collection to help with the burials. Both of the young men who died got their vaccinations
at FHC as children. But, there is no vaccine to protect them from gun violence.
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