I’m still shaken and in disbelief by yesterday’s tragedy at UNLV. I was there last week and due to go there next week to celebrate the holidays.
UNLV is not my Alma Mater (NSC whoo), but I defintely feel a kinship to the school being born and raised here you grow up attending Rebels games and for awhile it was our only University (yes Vegas used to be small).
Now as a Donor, I attend events there often, and as a Public Health professional, I have the privilege of working side by side with Professors there and call them colleagues. So needless to say, I am connected to UNLV and am disheartened, angry and sad about the act of violence on innocent lives yesterday.
This is the second active shooter that Las Vegas has experienced, and my fear is as the city continues to grow and become an entertainment and sports Mecca, the less control we will have to protect its citizens -IF WE DO NOT GET GUN VIOLENCE LAWS in place and in check.
Some blame the shooter and some blame the gun laws. Listen- we know as humans that there are some that needs rules to live in society and act accordingly.
So if we are to point blame, we need to look to US- the people who voted for the Legislators, Politicians, Administrative Leaders and State Officials who told us from the beginning where they stood on gun control. We can also blame those of US that did not vote to stop these folks from winning.
BUT there's good news, WE can push back against those who won’t implement gun control laws. Where there are numbers, there is POWER!
Gun violence is a Public Health Crisis in our country, and as many organizations and professionals there are that work in this field, WE should be standing up to our Legislators federally and nationally on this topic!
This may not be a popular opinion, and we may not take an oath as Public Health Practioners like police or doctors do, but we know that we entered this field to serve the public and do what’s best for the public dispite our personal beliefs (COVID was a true testament to that).
I urge my Public Health colleagues to get involved with gun laws, gun control in your state and federally -even if this is not your area of work, its certainly not mine but if we say we work on social determinants and health disparities and equity, gun violence hits all of those categories.
Tips on where and how to start making change:
Start working with the colleagues nonprofits, and organizations who are doing this work.
Get your neighbors, friends and family involved in contacting their Legislators.
Lastly vote these lawmakers and Legislators that don't believe in gun control OUT!
Let's Look at Data
👉🏾There has been 389 shootings since Columbine, which was 20 yrs ago.
👉🏾369,000 students across the U.S. alone have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.
Do we really understand the magnitude these stats are having on our daily lives. Living in fear and with anxiety. Not wanting to go to public places, not enjoying life outdoors or in public. Our mental and emotional well being as humans is being destroyed by guns!
The Questions is:
When will people choose people and fight back against those that don’t want to change gun laws?
Let us all remember that gun violence may one day come to your safe haven-your state or city or territory. Public Health professionals, let's do what our job title says we do, PROTECT THE PUBLIC’S HEALTH by getting involved in gun control laws NOW so our future generations as humans can live and thrive!
Alisa N. Howard