Commentary by Megan Ranney (dean of public Health at Brown University in Providence), Rhode Island
I am an emergency department doctor. I know firsthand how devastating an AR-15 bullet can be.
It can create large holes. It liquefies organs. It is very rare to survive.
However, as horrifying and shocking as mass shootings can be, the majority of handgun injuries are what I see in my ER every day. These are also horrible. Suicides, domestic violence, community violence... and many more.
No matter what gun is used, the way that a bullet cuts through a body is the same as how gun violence tore apart a community. Every bullet has a ripple effect. Not only for the victim but also for their family members, children and friends.
It's heartbreaking to talk to each one of them.
Gun violence must be treated in the same manner as other public health crises, such as drunk driving, heart disease, and COVID. Gun violence can be prevented before it lands people at my ER.
For all those who are losing hope, these are three steps we can all take right now:
First, make sure you store firearms safely in your home. This is more than 40% of Americans.
Know the signs of danger: dementia, depression, domestic violence and substance abuse, as well as hatred.
If you see these signs in someone you care about, put distance and time between them and a firearm while they are at risk of harming themselves and others.
I am tired of caring for victims and their families. But I have faith.
It isn't easy, but it is possible. It takes all of us.
Story by Sara Kugel Chad Cardin is the editor.