Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue

Posted: August 13th, 2013





Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue

            Gun violence is a prevailing problem in the country as many incidents resulting in numerous casualties and deaths of citizens have been experienced. This has proven to be a significant problem that requires drastic measures to curb. Ceasefire is a program that treats violence like any other infectious disease. It is evident that violence spreads in the society as fast as an infectious disease does and in order to completely eradicate violence, the approach of dealing with it needs to change. Violence is an infectious disease that affects the society, and it could infect anyone at any time, just like an infection that afflicts anyone without looking at race or social status. It is therefore necessary to treat gun violence like any other infectious disease and take up preventive measures that would avert its spread in the members of the society, and this needs to be addressed from its roots.

Every society has values and norms within which it operates. Despite having these norms, gun violence continues to haunt the society. The citizens disregard the law by taking part in shootings that cause fatal deaths to other people. Some even are imprisoned for years and after their release, they still find themselves committing the same crime repeatedly. This is an indication of a disease since they seem to have little control over it. In the film, there is a demonstration of gun violence behavior transmission from parents to their children. This may be due to the lack of proper guidance for the children who pick up the traits from their violent parents. Alternatively, children could adopt this behavior to seek revenge for the sufferings of their criminal parents. This creates a sequence of transmission of behavior from one generation to another, and it becomes a challenge to interrupt the transmission.

If an infectious disease is not treated, it continuously spreads until the cure is administered. This is the case for gun violence. If not stopped, the offenders provoke the victims who respond in a violent manner. This scenario replicates itself in the society until someone, police for example, intervenes. However, the police’s efforts have not been enough to completely eradicate this problem since they do not address the source of the problem but instead concentrate on punishing the offenders. Gun violence is like an eruption triggered by the first time offender, then the victim who responds in the same manner and any other aggrieved party that is bound to respond in the same manner. This may have negative implications on the psychological health of the society and it may result in mental health problems that again contribute to the rising number of violent incidents.

Various measures have been undertaken to curb this problem of gun violence in the society. One of the effective measures is the Ceasefire program that treats gun violence like the infectious disease. It adopts methods to curb the violence at its roots to prevent its spread into the masses. These involve identification of disputes in the initial stages to prevent the eruption of violence. They refer to this as an interruption of violence since this ensures it does not erupt in cases of disagreements. Behavior change is also part of their agenda, since this would permanently solve the problem in question. Changing of social norms that condone gun violence is also an essential part of the program, though it requires a lot of time for effectiveness since it is a gradual process. If the program runs as is intended, the positive change will be as infectious as the spread of gun violence.



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