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Yet another school mass shooting
Public health touches on all aspects of our lives, not just during a pandemic and not just with infectious diseases. Thanks to your feedback, this newsletter will continue with COVID updates but touches on other public health topics, too. To choose what topics land in your inbox, click HERE.
I wrote a post last night about evidenced-based solutions to mass shootings in schools. There are things we can do for our kids. Then I deleted it. Then I rewrote it. Then I was just mad about the whole situation and stopped. I need time before jumping into a space of solutions. I figured your inbox may need that, too.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the following.
Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children
There have been a total of 130 mass shootings this year— more than the number of calendar days. Before Nashville, 33 incidents of gunfire have occurred at schools resulting in 8 deaths in 2023. (In 2022, there were 177 events resulting in 57 deaths.)
Altogether, firearm injuries (at and away from school) are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. It surpassed motor vehicle crashes in 2020 for the first time.
We are failing our children.
The collective trauma is also real. Among survivors of school shootings, prescriptions of antidepressants (understandably) increases. In addition, a national poll found that 3 in 5 teenagers worry about a shooting happening at their school. This increases immediately following a mass school shooting.
None of us are immune. And we should not become immune.
For those looking for immediate resources, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network developed the following fantastic resources:
Below are previous YLE posts that are as relevant today as they were before. I hope they help you feel empowered. There are solutions and paths forward, albeit slow.
We can reduce gun violence in the U.S. —We’ve done hard public health things before.
It’s hard to explain (and fix) evil—But, it’s not mental illness. Focusing solely on it largely avoids confronting the real, more complicated causes.
Firearms: What you can do right now —There’s a lot.
Epidemiology of Mass Shootings —You’ll notice the Nashville tragedy follows some, but not all patterns of previous school mass shootings.
Take care of yourselves. I know I’ll be hugging my kids extra tight. Solutions to come.
“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” is written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD—an epidemiologist, data scientist, wife, and mom of two little girls. During the day she works at a nonpartisan health policy think tank and is a senior scientific consultant to a number of organizations, including the CDC. At night she writes this newsletter. Her main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health science so that people will be well equipped to make evidence-based decisions. This newsletter is free thanks to the generous support of fellow YLE community members. To support this effort, subscribe below: