Is It Time to Treat Violence Like a Contagious Disease?
A Proposed Scientific Theory Of Violence Control by Guns Or By Other Means.
Here at LGF the discussions about Sandy Hook and gun control have about run the gamut. This is a very calm place as compared to the larger ‘net. I probably represent the stronger pro defense/gun/2nd amendment position than most.
Others would focus on gun control, the gun and the gun. My argument is for the ‘no stone unturned’ approach. Some have posted very good Pages on funding research like this again. I’m open to universal b/g checks and restricting (without blanket bans) the most powerful or highest capacity guns.
Today I found a lengthy article by Brandon Kiem at Wired. Of course, I can only copy in a little and the links. I find the potential of the theory presented to be huge. In essence, violence has epidemics and other properties of communicable diseases. NY city has experienced waves of violence that came and went, came back stronger then faded away. Sound familiar? It should. That is just like the flu. These waves do not correlate with gun laws or the economy. Causation and coincidence mingle freely. We need the science to sort that out.
According to theory, the fact of learned behavior is what makes this ‘communicable’ violence. Now some will respond with a knee jerk thought such as all this is just to distract from gun control. Or that these soft sciences can never help. Or that some other personal opinion will be pwnd by the theory.
To those folks I would say stop a minute. Let the science be your guide. Be loyal to the facts as they can be found. Because from the NRA to HCI, advocacy groups have a first loyalty to their cause.
As a hopeful bottom line, this research could help us send resources to the right places. Some places need more safety net. Some more Police. Some, more intensive gang and gun law enforcement. Some places need new laws. Each time we misplace any of these resource, we waste time, money and ultimately lives.
A century from now, people might look back on violence prevention in the early 21st century as we now regard the primitive cholera prevention efforts in the early 19th century, when the disease was considered a product of filth and immorality rather than a microbe.
“It’s extremely important to understand this differently than the way we’ve been understanding it,” said Gary Slutkin, a University of Chicago epidemiologist who founded Cure Violence, an anti-violence organization that treats violence as contagion. “We need to understand this as a biological health matter and an epidemiologic process.”
Slutkin helped organize a National Academies of Science workshop that in October published “The Contagion of Violence,” a 153-page report on the state of his field’s research.
According to their theory, exposure to violence is conceptually similar to exposure to, say, cholera or tuberculosis. Acts of violence are the germs. Instead of wracking intestines or lungs, they lodge in the brain. When people, in particular children and young adults whose brains are extremely plastic, repeatedly experience or witness violence, their neurological function is altered.