Applying Psychological Science, Benefiting Society

What Can Our Kids Tell Us About Gun Violence?

By Tina Wolridge (Communications Coordinator, APA Public Interest Directorate)

It seems that gun violence is all around my life.  Homicides, assaults, robberies, shootings, and weapon violations are all a part of this world.  Gun ownership is so deeply rooted into the lives of Americans that we must re-evaluate our strategy and approach gun violence as a public health concern. Gun violence is an important national problem leading to more than 31,000 deaths every year and 78,000 nonfatal injuries every year.

Gun violence is drowning not only our lives but our children’s lives as well.  APA recently released a report by a panel of experts called, Gun Violence:  Prediction, Prevention, and Policy; it describes the facts about gun violence in the United States and steps we can take to prevent gun violence.   I asked a group of teens to review the report and share their perspectives on the report and on gun violence.

The report is divided into two major areas: antecedents to gun violence and “what works” — i.e., tactics and policies that have proven effective in gun violence prediction and prevention. Among its major conclusions:

  • Behavioral threat assessment teams — composed of trained experts who gather information and determine whether a person is on a path to violence — are the most effective tool currently available to prevent episodes of mass violence like those in Newtown, Conn., Fort Hood, Texas, and Washington, D.C., Navy Yard.
  • For those at risk for violence, access to mental health care can help prevent acts of violence, but exclusive focus on mental health issues will not solve the problem of gun violence.
  • Because a propensity for violence can begin early in life, there needs to be a focus on family and community environments that promote healthy development and a continuum of care for troubled individuals.
  • Research has shown that early intervention with at-risk families can improve parenting skills and disrupt the pathway from early-onset aggression to violence.
  • To reduce gun violence at the community level there must be a comprehensive, coordinated approach taking advantage of the training and skills of law enforcement, educators and mental health providers.

I invited five high school students to review the report and share their thoughts about gun violence.  They created this slide show with a powerful message concerning gun violence.  I invite you to watch it and share it.   The experts can tell us what the research says about gun violence.   I believe these high school students have something important to say as well.

Related material:

Press release: APA Report on Gun Violence Identifies Precursors and Promising Solutions

How Can Gun Violence Be Prevented? 5 Findings from APA’s New Report

No Silver Bullet: Why We Need Research on Gun Violence Prevention

APA Resolution on Firearm Violence Research and Prevention

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Categorised in: Children and Youth, Violence

2 Responses »

  1. i find it incredible that none of those high school students wanted to limit access to guns beyond background checks – seriously? no strategy is realistic without a serious attempt to change our culture that makes gun ownership NORMAL

    Like

  2. @ Michelle. These are kids. As such, their treatment of this persistently malignant national illness is far more intelligent than the majority of our elected officials in both houses of Congress. Congratulations to them for speaking out.

    I invite the managers and readers of this blog to follow my kindred spirit blog: http://www.endthemadnessnow.org

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Contact

American Psychological Association
Public Interest Directorate
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-6056
Email: publicinterest@apa.org
%d bloggers like this: