Local view: There’s plenty we can all do to reduce gun violenceWe are all responsible for Newtown.
By: Drs. Richard Kanoff and Rahul Aggarwal, for the News Tribune
We are all responsible for Newtown.
More importantly, the two of us feel a responsibility for Duluth and our surrounding community. One of us is a pediatrician, responsible for the safety of children in our community. And the other is a child neurologist, responsible for determining which patients are dangerous and which ones are not.
As parents, we are responsible for keeping our children safe and for making sure our kids are not threats to others.
We are all responsible for Duluth and for all our communities, and we need to act responsibly before Duluth becomes the site of another tragedy. What needs to change is what is in our hearts, what we teach our kids and how we take responsibility. Changing hearts and minds takes time.
While that’s happening there are things that can be done to lessen the likelihood of Duluth parents knowing a day like people in Connecticut experienced on Dec. 14.
Have a gun? Great! Lock it up. Be the only one to have access to it. That is the only way to keep it out of the hands of someone, even a close friend or relative, who might use it in a wrongful way.
Assault weapon? We’re not really sure what that even means, but it seems to suggest the ability to fire tens, if not hundreds, of bullets within seconds, which is far more dangerous than one at a time. It’s too dangerous. If you want an “assault weapon,” prove you are safe to have it. Get it from the government after passing a government safety class and certification, and then keep
the certification up to date or lose it.
Secure our schools: one way in and out with other doors opened only with security personnel present. Say no to guns in schools but yes to a security officer outside. We do this at the bank for our money; why not for our kids? What is more important?
Doctors, ask the tough questions that need to be asked of patients and their parents: What makes you angry? How angry do you get? Do you think of harming yourself, others or property? Do you think violent shows or video games are great? Can you separate what happens on the screen from what you should do in real life?
Liability-free reporting: If your doctor or someone else thinks you are a danger, he or she should be able to tell someone. Maybe there is no real risk, but an investigation needs to be allowed to happen with a sound conclusion reached — and without violating anyone’s privacy rights. We do this with suspected child abuse; why not with potential gun violence?
Maybe you don’t agree with any of these ideas. That’s fine. We respect your view. We are sure many of you have better ideas. We ask you to ask yourself what you can do to make our community safer — remembering: way too many families throughout this country have empty seats at their tables.
Dr. Richard Kanoff of Duluth is a child neurologist. Dr. Rahul Aggarwal of Duluth is a pediatric intensivist.