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Guns and Public Health

As a former Pediatrician, now public health and wellness advocate, I cannot let this opportunity pass without discussing the American gun crisis. As the killing of innocent children in schools has become horribly commonplace, we, as a society, need to scream “ENOUGH!”

The leading cause of death for children is now gunshot wounds, making it a greater pediatric public health threat than car accidents, Infectious diseases, cancer or drowning. Kids are now being regularly murdered by weapons that were designed for the military to be more effective killing machines. First responders who are called to to these horrific scenes report a level of carnage beyond anything they have seen previously, including decapitating car accidents.

My sister in law was murdered in a domestic violence murder/suicide situation that occurred only because of the availability of guns in her home. Ironically, it was a gun purchased by her and her abusive husband for “self protection.” Research show’s that the presence of guns on the home dramatically increases the possibility of household member being killed or wounded by gunshots. Some of my worst Pediatric ER memories come from witnessing the wounds of curious children finding and experimenting with the family firearms

Why has nothing been done to reduce the availability of these killing machines? Princeton professor Eddie Glaude had it right when he said the opposition to anti-gun efforts is due to three factors: Greed, Selfishness and Indifference. Greed because gun manufacturers want to preserve their profits - Americans buy 600,000 AR-15s each year. Selfishness because for most people, they can say, “I have the right to own a gun.” combined with indifference that “It’s \happening to someone else.” I dare say, if this trend continues, it will be harder than harder to hide behind selfishness and indifference. Greed will continue as long as pro-gun forces control congress.

Thoughts and prayers are nice, but when so many hearts are irretrievably broken, these hollow words mean little. In my opinion, our entire paradigm needs to shift, and for once, we need to prioritize the health and lives of innocent firearm victims. We have a responsibly to seek out and preserve public health. We did it with tobacco, seat belts and car seats. Why can’t we do it with guns?

I think we can. Join me in speaking out for our kids. Don’t be afraid to discuss these issues with family, friends and congressional representatives. Thank you for indulging me in this personally passionate issue. Feel free to share this piece with your social media networks and I welcome your comments.


Dr. John Monaco

(813) 541-6440

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