Gun violence has become a public health epidemic. Despite countless deaths in mass shootings over the last 2 decades, the Dickey Amendment—a provision inserted into the 1996 spending bill which blocked federal funding for research on gun violence—remains on the books. While every politician, media pundit, and policy expert “know” the solution, the answers are not that simple.
Is the notion of adult males having sex with tweens considered quasi-acceptable by society at-large? After all, Epstein told the New York Post in 2011, “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’…It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” The pediatrician in me finds this notion reprehensible. The mother in me is scared beyond belief. Teenage girls are still children. It is high-time our society started seeing them that way. Bagels, however, will never quite be the same for me, again.
Whether we recognize it or not, we’re in a housing affordability crisis. Over a third of households in the U.S., carry a shelter burden that is beyond the standard of affordability – that is, costs usurp more than 30% of monthly income. Locally, rents have increased by 50% over the last 5 years and more startling, the number of evictions has grown by 90% in the last 3 years.
As a pediatrician, watching enforcement of “zero tolerance” on children at our southern border has broken my heart. Every child needs safety and a sense of belonging. It defines who they are and shapes their perception of the world. For a young child, the loss of a parent is so devastating there can be no repair, only salvage of the wreckage.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life, and the statistics show that specialist neonatologists practicing at high-volume NICUs are in the best position to provide it. Just because smaller community hospitals that have invested in state-of-the-art equipment can, technically, deliver preemies, doesn’t mean they should.
This week, I am sharing a podcast with David Introcaso. He invited me on the show after reading a piece of mine written in support of the National Walkout on March 14, 2018.
Why has so little changed in almost 20 years since Columbine? I don’t know. Why has so little changed since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook where 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in cold blood? I cannot understand. Why has the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida galvanized the nation? Because now, it is our innocent children leading the fight for meaningful change.
Hilary Clinton once said, “there’s no such thing as other people’s children.” Every child is mine. Every child is yours. Every child adds value to the world. By preventing just one child from bringing a gun to school, we could transform the life of not only that child, but also every student in attendance that day, plus every teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent, and community member working to support vulnerable young people.
While there have been no more 9-1-1 calls and unexpected visits from police officers, this experience is another one of those parenting life lessons. Most of all, I am thankful the deputies “dropped by” when the scene was calm. If they were on my doorstep on any other regular evening, things might have turned out differently. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and may you enjoy a day free of a surprise visit from your local Sheriffs’ deputies.
While childhood injuries will continue to be a rite of passage, pediatricians have the opportunity to reduce those with long-term consequences, such as skull fractures and intracranial bleeds. Educating parents will go a long way toward ensuring the next generation grows up to make their own mark on the world in the future.