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Letter: Let’s focus on programs that reduce gun violence

Let’s focus on programs that reduce gun violence

Today’s debate over firearms violence is often mired in an emotional quagmire that seems designed to overlook “common sense” solutions. Imagine if wheel-spinning political theater were redirected to productively focus on solving the problem.

A substantial two-thirds of cited “gun violence” deaths arise from suicide. The remaining one-third come primarily from homicides. There are programs showing demonstrated promise in decreasing deaths in both of these areas.

Zerosuicide.sprc.org is one example. The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich., was able to lower suicide rates by 80 percent with such a program. A program based on similar principles is currently being piloted by Mid-Erie Counseling and Treatment Services in Buffalo.

There are programs that target homicide, too. Dr. Gary Slutkin, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, piloted a program in West Garfield Park, the most violent neighborhood in Chicago. This program reduced violent homicides over two years from 43 to 7, an 84 percent reduction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently developed a preliminary screening tool for the City of Wilmington, Del., with similar intent.

The enormous promise these approaches hold is that they break the “gun control” political impasse by bypassing it entirely. Those with an earnest agenda against this violence should focus their efforts toward actions and solutions that intervene at the heart of the problem: the human intent to commit violence.

Today’s emotionally charged distraction of “gun control” politics insidiously diverts us from broadly seeking and implementing real solutions.

Brian Murphy

Williamsville