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 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.
I remember the first time someone threatened my life as a physician. It was my day off, so I was not in the clinic that day; a Children’s Hospital specialty group was working there instead, and after a staff member called the police, she notified me. A father had walked in saying he wanted to kill me for “taking his children away from him.” Wracking my brain as to this man’s identity, I drew a blank.
Children with foreign bodies requiring extraction are usually between the ages of 2-7 and I suspect they are curious as to whether or not the item will fit in the space; they never think about the inevitable removal process. They probably swallow coins or marbles for the same reasons; not thinking about the potential consequences. Sometimes, the foreign object ends up in its unexpected location completely by accident.
“My eyes are burning, oh my eyes. Mommy, help me.” My daughter was upset and screaming in pain. I went tearing out of my room and ran into the bathroom. “Ow, my eyes are stinging.” It was hard to decipher exactly what she was saying besides having pain in her eyes. “What happened?” I asked, thinking to myself, how did you damage yourself unattended in less than 60 seconds? “It sprayed me.”
The take home point is weapons used in play can be fun and even constructive, but if used to hurt others can be damaging over the long term. Teaching children the significant differences between the two is crucial. So my slightly apprehensive self, did indeed, find the very important “weapon” for my son’s Lego man. And yes, I confess, it was a small gun. He made lots of “bang-bang” noises right after I handed it to him and it freaks me out less now than it did before writing this.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, a child dies every two weeks in this country from a tip over incident involving a TV, a piece of furniture, or a combination of the two. Every 24 minutes a child is admitted to the emergency room because of a TV or a furniture tip over.