If reporters covered gun violence with greater empathy and context — including telling the story from the victims’ perspectives — instead of doing the more typical episodic reporting, it could reduce psychological harms of and potentially affect the prevalence of gun violence, said Jessica Beard, M.D., M.P.H., a trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital.
Approximately 45,222 Americans died from gun-related injuries in 2020, the highest recorded number in U.S. history, according to recent CDC data. Firearms were involved in 79% of all homicides and 53% of all suicides.
The suicide rate increased most for American Indian/Alaska Native people while the homicide rate grew most for Black people.
In spite of the risk that guns pose to households, one in five American families bought a handgun during the pandemic, according to University of Chicago NORC research.
A Philadelphia police officer’s recent, fatal shooting of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., as he wielded a knife, dramatized how, according to the numbers, those with mental illness are less likely to do harm than to be harmed, including by law enforcement.
In its most recent report on this topic, “Overlooked in the Undercounted,” the national Treatment Advocacy Center said persons with mental illness were 16 times more likely than those without mental illness to be killed during encounters with law enforcement. While the mentally ill account for 1 in 50 adults, they are estimated to represent 1 in 4 adults who are approached by police, the center’s researchers wrote. Continue reading
As journalists, we focus on the increasingly common phenomenon of mass shootings. They are appalling, they are terrifying and we don’t fully understand them.
But gun violence is far more common, far more widespread, and far more insidious than those high-profile events – both murder and suicide. And we aren’t doing enough to think about and address firearms deaths as a public health problem, rather than a law enforcement problem, panelists told a Health Journalism 2019 panel in Baltimore on Friday. Continue reading
As I write this post, I can’t even recall what the most recent mass shooting was. I know it wasn’t the Pittsburgh synagogue because that’s been a few weeks, and then there was the one at a country music club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., that came after that not long after. (The later incident sticks out in my mind because one victim had earlier survived last year’s Las Vegas mass shooting, also during another country music concert.) Continue reading