"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's a Gang Problem Not a Gun Problem

Over the weekend, I read a number of fascinating articles on gun violence in the U.S.  A great deal continues to be written about gun violence in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, and culminating with last week's shooting of 12 innocent people at the Washington Navy Yard.  All senseless, unnecessary shootings, but with at least these two there is a common denominator with the shootings in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater and the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona.  The shooters were all mentally ill.  But, yet the focus continues to be on guns.

Did you know that we have had the lowest number of gun-related deaths since 1981 in the US?  We have the highest concentration of gun ownership in the world, but yet the concentration of gun deaths occurs in our urban centers like Chicago, NYC, New Orleans, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.  These deaths are the work primarily of adult men between the ages of 18 and 39 with criminal records and a criminal past. Simply put, our high murder rate in urban centers is that of criminals killing criminals; these are gang members who are killing each other.  Those who kill innocent people like the above-mentioned incidents are mentally ill and those incidents are an aberration.   Those numbers, although horrific when they happen, are very low in comparison. 

Our high murder rates in the cities previously mentioned exceed the murder rates of most countries.  If New Orleans was a country, it would have the second highest rate in the world.  Over 80% of its murders are gang related.  If you look at the U.S. on a county-by-county basis, we are not a violent country.  The gun violence is in our major cities, not in rural America as the media and many of our politicians would like to have us believe.  As a country, the media should be drawing our attention to the need for more to be done for those who suffer from mental illness as well as the need to put the necessary resources into our urban centers to counter what has become a way of life to be a gang member.  There is a lot to be done, but playing the blame game isn't the answer.

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