- Has your community been directly affected by gun violence/mass shootings? Discuss the affects you have noted.
My community has not dealt with any mass shootings, but gun violence and shootings are common in the metro area. We don’t have frequent shootings, but they have increased in recent years. Suicide by gun is also most common method for suicide in my community.
- Discuss what you believe to be the greatest risk factor(s) in your community that could be associated with a potential for violence.
Risk factors in my community are drug use and gun availability due to it being a big hunting community. Also being a farming community, the stress of farming and middle age men is a risk factor for suicide.
- What are your thoughts about the Predictive Firearm Violence Risk Scale?
The Predictive Firearm Violence Risk Scale is a scale that developed to determine future firearm violence in an area or from an individual (Bakes, 2017). The scale goes over different criteria and determines points for each criterion based on severity. Serious fighting with in the past 6 months, friend weapon carrying, community environment, and firearm threats are all areas assessed in the 10-point SaFETy score. Each 1 point was associated with an increase in the risk for future firearm violence (Bakes, 2017).
- Will you use this scale in your practice? Why or why not?
I think this is a good starting point scale to use during an assessment of a patient after determining accessibility of firearms for the individual. This determines risky behavior that may lead to firearm violence (Goldstick, et al., 2017).
- What type of changes has your community made to help improve safety?
My community has incorporated gun safety classes as well as education for safe gun storage. There is also more education on mental health and suicide that has helped people assess accessibility to different methods of suicide. With guns being number one method in our community, gun education has been a huge topic for safety.
- What are your thoughts about the Columbine shooter’s mother’s TED Talk?
I can not image grieving the loss of a son to suicide after not knowing he was dealing with a mental illness as well as dealing with a community mass shooting and guilt he caused before his suicide. I think it is amazing that she took this experience and is educating people regardless of the attacks and guilt she has felt from the actions of her son. Getting information out to the public on mental illness and the ways that it can contribute to violence and risky behavior is vital to ending mass shooting and suicides. It is true that many times loved ones do not know that someone close to them is dealing with mental illness and contemplating suicide. Being aware of the warning signs and actions displayed by the individual can help prevent suicide and other violence towards others (Parekh, 2018).
Gun Violence and Mass Shooting
The United States of America represents one of the world’s developed countries that the rate of gun violence has substantially elevated. Within the gun violence, mainly homicides, contribute to disparities in life expectancy between white and minority group African American (Ludwig, 2017).
This discussion aims to elaborate on gun violence, mass shooting, and to answer the following questions:
1. Has your community been directly affected by gun violence/mass shootings? Discuss the effects you have noted.
2. Discuss what you believe to be the most significant risk factor(s) in your community that could be associated with violence.
3. What are your thoughts about the Columbine shooter’s mother’s TED Talk?
Gun violence/Mass shootings lead to many consequences including physical, social, psychological, and mental on the victims and the witnesses lastly economic where the victims would face the loss of wage, medical bill, and the need to adapt to a new lifestyle. In the US, this act of violence is currently categorized as a public health crisis that has a critical impact on the taxpayers, and the average cost per American is $700 a year. Overall, Gun violence/mass shooting cost America $ 229 billion a year which, 8.9 billion costs directly to the aftermath and half of this amount go for prison cost and indirectly 221 billion which over half of them would be used to the impacts on the quality of life of the victims. (Follman et al., 2015) A study was done between 2008-2017, published in 2019 by The Center of American Progress (2020) on gun violence in America related to a state-by-state analysis. Massachusetts ranked the first state with the lowest gun suicide rate in the United States of America.
Furthermore, “The Spirit of America” was placed after Hawaii, the second state with less gun death rate. This result could explain that Massachusetts’s laws create several obstacles that make the licensing and buying process far more difficult for people with ill intent. Nonetheless, this public health crisis is still a concerning issue in the state. The following impacts could be noted: deadly consequences on children and teens, it creates new anxieties for the younger generation of students in school mass shooting, affected more individual in the city that rural areas, disproportionately affected black, Hispanic and teens, when witnessed violence children are harmed in multiple ways (physical, mental, psychological and psychiatric (Everytown, 2020). Based on the statistic data related to Massachusetts gun Violence, its Model has been praised by different state and with the extreme risk protective order (ERPO) bill which stands as a court-issued civil order that prevents gun tragedies by reducing access to guns for the individual at elevated risk of endangering themselves and others (MCPV, 2018).
Several factors could contribute to gun violence or mass shooting, multiple studies have shown those factors dependents and or independents including jealousy, mercy killing, fight (argument, conflict, brawl, between two persons and intervener assisting victim), stressors (disaster, loss of housing, financial struggle, job issues, civil legal problems, criminal legal problems, traumatic anniversary, physical health, interpersonal related to family, violence perpetrator, violence victim, social network), Suicide ( thoughts, intent, attempt), substances abuse ( drugs, alcohol) and substance involvement, depressed mood, mental illness (Schwab-Reese & Peek-Asa, 2017 ). As some contributing factors, such as Antecedent of gun Violence and developmental issues followed by the antecedent of gun violence related to gender and culture, is more resistant to change with the gun accessibility (APA, 2013).
After analyzing the gun violence in Massachusetts, besides its role model in this emerging public health crisis in the United States of America. Two majors factors that could elaborate as follow:
1- Individuals at elevated risk to endanger themselves and others (mental illness, behavioral challenges, victims, stress unbalanced)
2- The accessibility to guns. Although the proximity with other states (Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire) that allow easy access to guns could interfere with Massachusetts’s safety and security policies.
Dylan’s mother, who stood for the shooter’s mother after healing and to keep healing herself from his son shooting in Columbine High School in Colorado, where he killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 and lastly killed himself, she decided to help others and become an advocate for gun violence. Based on her presentation, she has described gun violence and mass shooting as severe problems that everyone should pay attention to. This event associated with physical, mental, psychological consequences affect the victims, directly and indirectly, the witness and related family to the individual. She learned that mental illness and some form of depression associated with easy access to guns and some social, environmental disposition could contribute to the mass shooting. Until the crime, she thought that she knew her son enough, but realized two years ago his son was dealing with a severe depression that made him feel that killing people would grant him to commit Suicide. She has paid the impact of this event towards multiple diseases such as breast cancer, depression, anxiety, insomnia, isolation, and the worst was she fells that she would feel better if she could end her life. With a motivation to know and understand better, she decided to find help for her trauma, redefined herself, and decided to help others by educating them on mental health, access to guns as well presented her apology to every that her son might hurt directly and indirectly.
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