When taking aim at the causes of gun violence, healthcare providers should be careful whose "bandwagon" they goose-step behind.
Reporter Karen Pallarito recited the benefits of healthcare providers' trendy entry into the gun-control arena (Feb. 21, p. 26). After "health missions" directed toward anti-smoking and pro-seat belt activities, the latest social engineering activity seems to be organizing gun buy-back programs.
According to 1990 statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, about 19,000 of the nearly 37,000 gun-related deaths were suicides. Outpatient counseling rates and psychiatric hospital stays are very expensive; insurance policies usually cover only a narrow window of care, so the average person often can't afford it.
Of the approximately 16,000 homicides, about 14,000 were males aged 15 to 44. Physically healthy males seem to be the last group of people in our society who are offered support of any kind. How many of these were victims of other societal ills who could have been helped with early school or family counseling that was affordable?
There is a role for healthcare providers in curbing violence. Let's promote more accessible programs to care for the mental, emotional and addiction health problems of our youth and families. This could address some of the causes of crime and suicide.
Gun buy-back programs have been shown to increase thefts. Will the healthcare providers who support gun buy-back programs reimburse the victims of gun thefts they have caused? Will they return any stolen property to the rightful owners? I think not.
Healthcare providers should take aim at what they do best-providing first-rate healthcare-both mental and physical.
COLLEEN G. PIKE