The job of public health officials is to keep communities safe and healthy. A major focus of our job is on prevention.
When you keep people from getting sick, fewer people need medical care. The result is a savings in both lives and money.
But disease isn’t the only preventable risk to health. Our nation, and our state, also have a problem with gun violence.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the second-leading cause of injury death in Ohio and the United States.
In addition, firearm-related injuries also present a huge financial burden. According to a 2010 “Injury in Ohio” report by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the cost of treating such injuries in our state averages about $37 million each year. About half of this cost falls on taxpayers.
But these costs are not inevitable. The issues surrounding gun violence are complex and deeply rooted, but they can, and should be, explored to reduce these tragedies.
Part of the solution is treating gun violence as the preventable public health problem it is.
Our legislators must ensure that federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control have adequate funding to research the causes and prevention of firearm injuries and death.
They also must ensure adequate data are available to design focused gun violence prevention strategies.
We can achieve this through a nationwide expansion of the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, a state-based violent death prevention tool that links data from public health, law enforcement, medical examiners and social service agencies to create a more complete picture of the circumstances surrounding violent death.
Congress must act to expand background checks for all gun purchases and ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. These measures enjoy broad appeal among many Americans.
Finally, we must be aware that some of the deaths and injuries are caused by those who might benefit from increased access to mental health services and to ensure that state and local health systems have the resources to provide mental health treatment to those in need.
We need to take action that will save lives in Ohio and in communities across the nation.
Ohio Public Health Association
Editor’s note: Hudson is a program coordinator in the Communicable Disease Unit of the Summit County Public Health District.
Better the surrender of chemical weapons
I believe the United States should demand Syria surrender its chemical weapons to the United Nations because chemical weapons are already prohibited.
That would be a much more moral stance, as opposed to bombing Syria. Russia and China supposedly have already agreed to a chemical weapons ban. Let the United Nations enforce the world standard. We certainly don’t need another no-win military entanglement in the Middle East.
Powerful in its simplicity
Thank you for publishing a review of the Flight 93 Memorial (“Flight 93 tribute is stirring,” Sept. 8).
Having visited the memorial last year, I would encourage everyone to visit before its stark simplicity and awesome power are ruined by adding a visitors center, memorial gardens and the like.
This is a tragic event in American history, and the National Park Service has done enough already.
Americans never seem to understand the power of simple, understated symbolism, and need to state the obvious ad nauseam. Too bad.
Don’t perpetuate the destruction
Will we ever learn?
Even a limited attack on Syria, with drones or bows and arrows, would end up showing the rest of the world that we consider ourselves the world’s police.
Because Bashar al-Assad may have used poison gas on his own citizens does not entitle us to perpetuate more killing and destruction.
We don’t need more enemies, which our military actions will surely guarantee. With all the opposition and little support from other nations, it’s no shame to back away from the “red line.”
If President Obama is turned down by Congress, it is no attack on his prestige or reputation. In fact, since Congress is the representative of the people, and that’s the way our democratic system is supposed to work, this would be a good move.
We take away car keys from drunken drivers, and Obama appears to be tipsy on this issue.
The president has much more going for him besides action or inaction on Syria. His health-care plan will benefit millions, and is a big plus.
Other important policies in his favor are job training, education and voting rights.
Proceeding militarily in Syria could taint an otherwise great presidency before his second term really gets started.
Come to the rescue
The Dry People’s Club in Akron having to close because of lack of funding was a touching story (“Dry club in need of funds to operate,” Sept. 9). Isn’t there someone in our community who could help this worthy organization upgrade its fire protection equipment to comply with the law?
The organization provides a place where recovering drinkers can find a sense of community.
Why, out of nowhere, are public service organizations and churches forced from providing good works and help for the needy because of new regulations?
I hope good citizens will help the Dry People’s Club with financial support and help. They are all good people who could stand a leg up.
Just blame the suburbs
The real reason roads are going from four to three lanes is to make traffic more congested. The more congested the traffic, the more you will want to live in a city.
It is only one way Vibrant NEO 2040 plans to push people out of the suburbs and into urban areas.
If you attended the Vibrant NEO 2040 meetings, which perhaps five suburban residents did, you would know that the suburbs are what’s wrong with the region, and if we would all just move back into the city everything would be OK.
The meetings were packed with people who worked for the local governments, and those people declared Vibrant NEO 2040 a success.
Of course, in their futuristic vision, all government workers would have the cars, parking spots and corner apartments because they are just so much more important than you and I, and they’ll be the only ones with (our) money.
The poor, the disabled and the elderly will just be out of luck when the smart meters turn off the central air-conditioning in their downtown high-rise apartments.
Didn’t we tear down the tenements at the turn of the 20th century and the slums at the end of the 20th century because of the high crime, disease and how hard these communities were on the infrastructure?
Then why are they building them again now?
By the way, all those government people drove to the meetings — I didn’t see one bicycle. Well, that doesn’t seem right.
Sustainable communities means just that — you will not be able to flourish. Don’t even try.
Not encouraged by ‘encouragers’
As a proud alumnus, donating alumnus and season ticket holder for both football and basketball, I read with great expectations the idea of hiring “encouragers,” until I read the details ((“UA’s ‘encouragers’ to help students.” Sept. 4).
The idea makes a lot of sense for the targeted students who need help; my concern is why someone with a master’s degree would want to work for $8 an hour.
The university obviously places little value on their help if the instructors would earn more waiting on tables, and probably have a chance at benefits.
The trend at UA to employ educated people at minimum wages is not acceptable.
The time has come to re-evaluate how resources are being used and to start putting money where it best serves both the students and the community — not in administration, but in the classrooms, where the focus should be.