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Thursday, January 17, 2013

King County Board of Health Calls Gun Violence a "Fixable Public Health Problem."

Posted by on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Gun violence is more responsible for premature deaths in the U.S. than illegal drugs or infant mortality, the King County Board of Health announced today, while passing a resolution calling for state and national lawmakers to address the public health crisis.

“We have a moral obligation to curb gun violence. Every jurisdiction must do what is within its power to keep our communities safe,” Metropolitan King County Council member Joe McDermott, the chair of the Board of Health, said in a press release. The 11-member board consists of three health professionals and eight elected officials from the Seattle and King County councils. However, it's unclear how much political sway, if any, a resolution from Washington's liberal armpit will have in Olympia's Republican-controlled senate.

Still, it makes for compelling copy: For example, 625 King County residents were killed by gun violence between 2007 and 2011, while another 512 people were hospitalized with nonfatal firearm injuries. Of the countywide gun deaths, 460 were self-inflicted.

“Gun related injuries are preventable,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health, Seattle & King County. “We know from past public health successes, like seat belt and tobacco use, that gun violence is a fixable public health problem.”

The adopted resolution also says with 31,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2010, making it one of the leading causes of premature death in the U.S. By contrast, only 25,000 infants died that year and only 17,000 people died from drug use.

This resolution comes in the wake of the Newton school shooting, the Aurora theater shooting, and grisly public shootings in Seattle, Portland, Orlando, Phoenix, and New York City over the past year (not to mention the every day acts of gun violence that barely crack the news cycle).


Comments (16) RSS

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It's a health problem? Is there a gangbanger vax yet and will Vashon island residents take it?
Posted by Can we fumigate instead? on January 17, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Removing people's rights as a result of some assholes good ideas. Fuck the health department.

I say we encase everyone In nerf, and mandate helmets. After all, if it saves one life it's worth it.

I like limiting the freedom of people I don't relate to, understand or like. It's my right as a smug asshole to limit the liberty of all law abiding citizens cause I think I know better.

You guys are rich.
Posted by They should stick to inspecting Chinese restaurants... on January 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this
Is there any evidence that widespread availability of firearms leads to a higher suicide rate? US has a higher murder rate than any other modern nation, but the same is not true of suicide. Belgium, France, and Sweden all have suicide rates that are significantly higher than the US. Private ownership of firearms is virtually non-exitent in Japan and South Korea, but those countries have much higher suicide rates than we do.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 17, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
bullshit ken.
Posted by bullshit. on January 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM · Report this
I'm curious about suicide rates too. If people don't have guns won't they find other ways to end it all?

Posted by Neurotic Cat on January 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
@3 Suicide culture is entirely different in Asian countries.
Posted by OOF POOF on January 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
There is a lot of data about gun availability as a risk factor for suicide in the U.S. Much of the research comes from the Harvard School of Public Health. The bottom line is that more guns = more suicides, at least among Americans, and, if you reduce gun availability, people do NOT choose other methods.

Particularly for adolescents and teens, who sadly show up way too often in the suicide statistics, a suicide attempt is an impulsive act, not something that was methodically planned. Access to a gun makes the suicide attempt effective nearly 100% of the time, a much higher "success" rate than with other means.

And, interestingly, people who do attempt suicide rarely attempt it again, so by reducing access to lethal means, particularly for children and young adults, means lives can be saved. Look for the "Means Matter" campaign or review data at the Harvard SPH web site.
Posted by Data beats conventional wisdom on January 17, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
"Suicide culture is entirely different in Asian countries."

Ah so nan desu ka!

Isn't suicide an evolutionary prerogative?
Posted by Hari-Kari on January 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
"625 King County residents were killed by gun violence ... 460 were self-inflicted."

So 165 people were killed by gun violence, and suicide is a much bigger problem. Maybe we should make suicide illegal?
Posted by Rotted Oak on January 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 10
A health problem? Like overeating and no exercise? Tobacco? The sheer volume of lives lost to diabetes, heart disease, etc swamps gun deaths. The above is slow suicide.

Somehow if you feel like going fast, suciciding with a gun, then that is bad, and gun violence.

Imagine how many lives would be saved with a mandatory boot camp like exercise regimen for all citizens, 2 hrs a day. "If it saves just one life...we have to try."

Save one life is the weakest fucking argument ever made.
Posted by Lew Siffer on January 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM · Report this
Why is it when you hustlers are trying to sell high rise condos, you say that violent crime is at an all time low.

But when you want to confiscate guns, you paint a picture of a city haunted by madmen.

Which is it?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 12
Also while we are at it lets tattoo a red bio hazard symbol on the foreheads of all people who are HIV+ it will prevent people from being unknowingly infected, if it saves one life it is worth it.

I find it a bit ironic that doctors are trying to classify firearms ownership as a disease considering that prescriptions written in illegible handwriting kill 7000 people a year…

Let's stop doctors from writing prescriptions if it saves one life it's worth it

Also do you know what kills more people than guns crime in the USA? C. difficile infections caused by antibiotics, again prescribed by doctors,, they kill an average of 14,000 people a year.…
Fecal transplants for everyone, if it saves one life it's worth it.

Let us also ban bodies of water and boating for they kill far more people than rifles…

Remember if it saves one life IT'S WORTH IT!
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM · Report this
@12 I love my AR. I'd really like to be able to get an AK, and a Sig556, and a PS90 to go with it. On a personal level I hope the congress refuses to pass any new gun laws. However, the United States has the highest murder rate of any modern nation and I think our permissive gun laws are one of the reasons for that. I don't want America to have stricter gun laws, but I think America probably should have stricter gun laws.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 17, 2013 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 14
Ok. Sorry, Cienna, but what is the point of this post? Something about guns, obviously. But what?

What are you saying? Your post is confusing.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 17, 2013 at 11:22 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 15
Cascadian Bacon, back for more idiot concern trolling.

Here's a thought or two to consider, CB.

Antibiotics: Only available via prescription, and only in small amounts. Consumers can't buy them, because one must be highly trained and certified to use them properly. So how about we make bullets only available "via prescription". You have to show a documentable need in order to get bullets, then you have to get them from a licensed dispenser, one that is only allowed (by law) to dispense you one or two day's worth.

And how about we license boats, since boats (and bodies of water) are dangerous. And require people to undergo a boating safety course before they are allowed to operate a boat. Because we know that boats can be dangerous if misused, and it's a fact that boater's safety courses (and requiring life jackets and other protective devices) makes boating safer.

Bonus points- how about we regulate boating manufacturers, and require them to build in passive safety features (such as padding and floatation elements) to help make boat designss safer.

Oh... wait, we already do that. Let's turn our attention to making guns safer now, since we've shown that fact-based reasonable approaches make other dangerous things safer.

Posted by Dr_Awesome on January 18, 2013 at 6:57 AM · Report this
Did they have any proposal as to how to fix this public health issue? I find that to be the interesting part this story doesn't have. You didn't even link to something with more information, so now I have to go out and find it.

From this post, I have no idea if the health department wants a ban on guns, or better mental health care availability and awareness. All I see is shock statistics meant to drum up feelings about guns and gun violence. If I wanted stories pitched and spun to lack relevant information and to shock/frighten/anger viewers, I'd watch Fox News.
Posted by jerk mcderk on January 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this

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