As I was taking a break between the two party conventions, I took a moment to watch the week-end political shows on the various networks. While doing so, one of the programs I watched was the “Melissa Harris-Perry” program on MSNBC. During a continuing discussion about healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act, [she] had a segment about a specific healthcare problem, one called “bullets.” Though not the normal track that gun violence discussions take, it adds another, a different, perspective on how we view this problem, and ultimately how we may find a way to deal with it. You can find the segment at this URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46979745/#48878328
We’ve discussed the collateral consequences of gun violence as it affects the victims and their survivors, but this is the first time, I’ve noticed, where the conversation was directed to the impact that it has on our overall healthcare cost. Ms. Harris-Perry asked, during the segment, “what if we make it a public health issue?” Emergency room visits, surgeries, rehabilitation, and the sociological/psychological cost to our neighborhoods and cities have, certainly, got to be factored into any consideration of solutions to this problem.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a segment taken from “Meet The Press” spoke about the fact that, though overall crime in his city is down, gun violence, especially gang-related shootings, is up. In fact, MHP pointed out that, in one 30 minute period, there were 13 shootings, and, during the week between August 23 and August 30th, there were 82 victims of gun violence. Now, Mayor Emanuel has asked for, and will get, support from the Department of Justice, including 50 agents from the FBI, to help stem the tide, but the total consequences remain, yet, to be addressed.
Allentown PA Mayor, Ed Pawlowski, a panelist on the show, was asked what he thought of Mayor Emanuels’ statement, and he added, “there are so many weapons on the street, it’s almost impossible to be able to put enough cops [to] really address this issue.”
Mayor Pawlowski went on to say, “It’s a whole network of social problems that come together, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the access to illegal weapons, whether it’s kid’s – the devaluation of life that seems to have occurred within this whole generation – within our society. All these things combine, it creates a combustible mixture that ends up with a lot of violence within our neighborhoods, whether it’s Chicago, or whether it’s Allentown, or whether it’s Philadelphia, or whether it’s New Orleans. [And], I mean it’s even rural areas…”
“We have to have an honest discussion about guns in this country, and you know what? No one wants to have that discussion,” he says.
Well, this is where I believe the mayor is wrong. In fact Mayor Pawlowski, at that moment, you and the panel were doing just that. Having it. We are having “that” discussion here, as well.
In many areas there are actions behind the words. Right here in Detroit, just recently, there was a gun amnesty program where “street weapons” were turned in. Across the nation “Funds for Guns” programs are being implemented successfully. Several of my associates, staunch 2nd amendment advocates, have participated in these programs and voiced their support for the reasons [that] they exist. To them, this is not about disarmament, this is about common sense.
I, personally, have turned in, to the local police, an unnecessary weapon. It’s not that the sale of that weapon didn’t cross my mind, it’s about the true cost of having one more weapon on the street. The cost, indeed, the value of my peace of mind, knowing that there is one less, out there.
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