Is Violence a Community Health Issue?

Murder came last month to the front door of the building where I live.  Murder came and took the life of the young man who I passed in the hall for twenty years.  Seems like just yesterday he used to sit on the stairs, hold the door for me when I came and help me with my packages. Twenty years later, Bang, Bang, Bang. I ran to the window,  “that sounded like gunshots.” I thought, and immediately gave, running to the window and looking out, a second thought, as I backed away praying no one was hurt.

But they are hurt, and killed; our sons, husbands, daughters, babies; our friends neighbors. Summer time when the “livin” is supposed to be easy, also seems to bring about more violence, both locally and nationally. According to statistics here in New York, crime is down, but murder is up.

By default, we have agreed that violence is the exclusive province of the police and the courts and the penal system. The talk is to, get tough on guns, get them off the streets, have more police presence in the community, have a peace march, man the corners.  We need to look for the source. Just as it “takes a village to raise a child,” it takes that same village to save the child from violence, both internal and external, to connect that child to it’s cultural roots, to teach, to love.

Asking the police to concentrate even more on the prevention of violence goes beyond the scope of their efforts.  (Certainly “Stop and Frisk” does not work).  The “village” has to come together and look at all the factors that shape the personalities that choose to solve problems through violence, including bulling and domestic violence.

Violence is a community health issue.  The factors that shape health – education, income, environment, social disadvantage, are all linked to violence. The health related professionals, and those who believe that all energy is connected to all other energy, will agree that violence has a direct impact on our health, even if we never saw a gun.

Look at the children. Witness, the body language, listen to the silence and look into the eyes of some of our youth as they huddle around the photos, the writing on the cardboard boxes with candles and wilted flowers on the ground, paying homage to their forever gone friend. You will see pain, but you will also see anger.

A gun is like a virus and gun violence is a social disease. Do we wait for yet another outbreak or do we combine our efforts, holistically, to do our part to prevent it now, and for future generations? What action can the village take?

Indirect exposure to community violence has health consequences. Those who witness violent acts and those whose relatives, friends, and neighbors are the victims of violence are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression, feeling unsafe and stressful; feelings that can have adverse health effects throughout life and maybe even influence subsequent generations.

Certain medications most notably antidepressants like Prozac, have also been linked to increased risk for violent and homicidal behavior. Our kids are being prescribed more and more so called, “safe” medication to keep them quiet, happy and in a  “normal” state.  A state that is so detached from reality that they think the world is a video game and they play it out.

We have been miss-educated.  We are digging our graves with our forks and dumbing down our children with fries, fried chicken and soda making them addicted out of their minds.

They have us thinking, that talking all that food stuff about eating more greens, a plant based diet with more raw and living foods, is weird; but that eating pesticides, herbicides, hormones,  and dead processed foods made in a factory, processed cheese products sold in BPA plastic, cows fattened with hormones and shot with antibiotics, is normal, and good for us. We have been miss-educated.

Billions of dollars are put into keeping us ignorant and blind to our own blindness, with advertisements that sell us a pill for everything and multi-bullion dollar businesses designing tastes that make us craving more of the very foods that are killing us slowly.  They have lied to us.


So what action can we take? Let the village move forward with open eyes that see the things in our society that are just as dangerous as guns.  Guns are an end result, as is rape, assault, even bullying and any other form of violence. Let us examine our own blindness to the dangers of the drugs they are giving our children and believe the statistic that up to 90% of the persons behind the guns are on prescription medication.


The role of holistic health professionals, the role of community warriors, is to lead the way to truth and positive values and to create an environment that empowers us, and our people; that connects us back to our spiritual roots; that helps us to make better decisions, to have more self-discipline and internal control of ourselves.



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