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October is National Violence Prevention Month
October is National Violence Prevention Month, but October 2017 saw the most American violence in many years. Not only were their political attacks over the handling of several major hurricanes in Southern States and Puerto Rico, but violent criticisms between our President and the NFL, leading to not only player "sit-ins" and kneeling during the National Anthem, but also to raising Black Power fists in end zones. On October 2, 2017 the worst mass shooting in our history occurred.
A Month of Peace Ruined by Violence
Multimillionaire real estate developer Stephen Paddock, a Baby Boomer at age 64, hauled 20 rifles and thousands of rounds of bullets and loaded gun magazines into the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. He then massacred a concert audience across the street. By the end of October 2, 2017 at least 59 were dead and 529 listed as injured.
Paddock had no history of violence or criminal records and was not connected with ISIS, although that organization attempted to take credit for his actions. The only link to his spree seemed to be his father's psychopathology. The elder Paddock had been on the FBI's Most Wanted List for a chain of bank robberies and associated mayhem.
Violence Spreading in America
The United States supports dozens of anti-violence organizations and yet, the problem of violence remains in our streets and in our homes.
Periodically, violence wanes in some of our metro areas, only to increase afresh as new forms of violence emerge. During the 2010s, cyber-bullying became a hot topic. It can and has destroyed lives and "cyber" sometimes turns to face-to-face bullying. New forms of social media technology bring about new forms of bullying every month.
The topic of suicide among LGBTQ teens in America is explosive. If some targeted youth aren't killed by bullies, then the bullying causes them to take their own lives.
People are committing suicide on Facebook,. recording the events to upload automatically. A disturbing 2017 movie has been released about this tragedy: "Friend Request."
Both unintentional injuries and those caused by acts of violence are among the top 15 killers of Americans of all ages.— Healthy People 2020
Astonishing Research About Violence and Age
In the year 1995, national agencies convened in order to establish a month to recognize the seriousness of violence in America and the need to remedy it at its roots.
At this time, my research group in preventive medicine at The Ohio State University investigated the nature of the Number One Problem in schools throughout our county from daycare to Grade 12. We came back with an astonishing answer: Violence.
National Violence Prevention Month was right on time.
We found that a woman placed 4-month-old son into a reputable daycare facility close to home in order to be able to return to her much-needed full-time employment. In just a few weeks, she began to find red marks and welts on her son's body.
A 2-year-old boy at the daycare had been hopping up into the crib and biting the infant on the back in an early display of bullying. Meetings between parents and administration resulted in the removal of the older boy from the facility. However, we hear similar reports form other facilities all over our country.
We also found that Homicide was the first largest cause of American infant-to-age-5 death in the early 1990s (Healthy people 2000 data from US statistics).
National Agencies Meet to Raise Awareness and Eliminate Fear
The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) in 1995 included the following agencies:
- Family Violence Prevention Fund
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- National Network to End Domestic Violence
October became National Domestic Violence Month and some communities dropped the "Domestic" out of the title.
Violence exists against all demographics of people everywhere. However, domestic violence hidden at home may be a larger creature than we think. Most of us know a scared woman, child, or man that wants to run away from it, but is afraid of being stalked and killed for their very escape.
The targets are afraid for other reasons as well, from losing possessions to losing a roof over their heads to having to enter a workforce they feel will reject them. This is not a simple matter to solve.
Technology, Mental Health, and Priorities
"A Jacksonville mother charged with shaking her baby to death has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Alexandra V. Tobias, 22, was arrested after the January death of 3-month-old Dylan Lee Edmondson. She told investigators she became angry because the baby was crying while she was playing a computer game called FarmVille on the Facebook social-networking website."
-- Story by David Hunt, 10/28/2010 in the Florida Times Union.
Long Term Anti-Violence Education and Prevention
The summary is that we have a constant battle against letting violence take seed and grow. In the run-up to the 2020 US Presidential Election, America became a nation of easily offended people in part and frightened people. Political rancor and venom escalated to heights invisible to the naked eye.
The escalation of violence must stop at the root: verbal abuse.
Many forms of abuse and violence begin with words and America became a nation of "I'll say whatever I want to wherever I want to." Unfortunately for those believers, some weer fired from their jobs for violently inappropriate language or placed into jail cells when verbal attacks escalated to weapons attacks with knives and automatic weapons.
While we cannot live our lives in a state of unhealthy hypervigilance, we can be aware of the signs of impending violence and how to diffuse it or how to get away and call for help. We need to teach every child about avoiding and preventing bullying, abuse, and violence.
Knowledge is the first step, deciding what to do about violence is the next, and National Violence Prevention Month hopefully helps.
Helpful Events and Organizations
- Alliance Against Workplace Violence: www.workplaceviolenceawareness.org/
- Gun Violence Awareness Month: June
- National Gang Violence Prevention Week: Declared By President Donald Trump to be September 17 through September 23, 2017. Federal Register Documant 2017-20378
- National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month: February
- National Youth Violence Prevention Week: First week in April.
- School Violence Prevention Week: Schools may choose their week. www.civiced.org/resources/national-violence-prevention-week
- Students Against Violence: http://nationalsave.org/
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2000. September 1990. Healthy People 2020. September 2010.
- Inglish, P., et.al. The Incidence of Violence in Grades Daycare and Preschool through Grade 12 in Franklin County Schools. 1995.
- The New York Times. Las Vegas Shooting Live Updates: Multiple Weapons Found in Gunman’s Hotel Room. www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooting.html Retrieved October 2, 2017.
© 2010 Patty Inglish