News / Health

American Doctors Speak Out on Gun Violence

American Doctors Speak Out on Gun Violencei
X
September 23, 2013 10:46 PM
After yet another mass shooting in the U.S., when a gunman killed 12 people at a military facility in Washington last week, members of Congress are again talking about gun safety. Deep divisions on the issue kept Congress from passing new laws on gun control earlier this year even after 20 children were killed in a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last December. But doctors are now adding their voices to the debate, as VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Carol Pearson
After yet another mass shooting in the U.S., when a gunman killed 12 people at a military facility in Washington last week, members of Congress are again talking about gun safety. Deep divisions on the issue kept Congress from passing new laws on gun control earlier this year even after 20 children were killed in a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last December. But doctors are now adding their voices to the debate.

Across the nation, doctors are speaking out against gun violence.

At Medstar Washington Hospital where victims of the Navy Yard shooting were treated, Dr. Janis Orlowski said there is an "evil" in U.S. society.

"I may be the chief medical officer of a very large trauma center, but there's something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries, there's something wrong," she said.

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine indicates that gun ownership does not make a country safer. The report also found another factor in the level of gun violence: mental illness.

Those who committed mass shootings in the past few years in Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Virginia were all men who had serious mental illnesses and access to guns.

"Mentally ill people who are not in treatment, are more violent than the rest of the population," said Dr. Eliot Sorel, who is a psychiatrist at The George Washington University School of Public Health.

According to The National Institute of Mental Health, those with a serious mental illness are more likely to be violent if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or during an extreme state when they are out of touch with reality. But the institute also reports that most people with a serious mental illness are not violent.

However, statistics show that in the U.S., almost half of adults with a serious mental illness are not in treatment.

"Mental health is somewhat relegated and still is, kind of like an orphan as part of health system. So the access to those services are very limited," said Sorel.

Sorel also points to cultural aspects of American society - the value of individual rights and the second amendment right to bear arms.

He says to reduce the incidents of gun violence, it must be treated as a public health issue.

"We have the tools in public health to do a disciplined review of what is going on and to come up with some recommendations," he said.

Polls show most Americans agree that those with serious mental illnesses should not have access to firearms, but they wonder if the current mental health system is comprehensive enough to prevent mass shootings.

Related articles and polls:

"Guns Do Not Make a Nation Safer,” Say Doctors"

"Americans Fault Mental Health System Most for Gun Violence"
 

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid