Wired: How will history judge our response to gun violence?

Epidemiologists argue that violence is a disease that spreads from person to person, thriving in certain social conditions. They say exposure to violence is conceptually similar to cholera or tuberculosis, and that acts of violence are the germs.

So, a recent article at Wired.com asks: Is It Time to Treat Violence Like a Contagious Disease?

Children watch from a stoop as police investigate the crime scene following a double shooting at F and Ontario Streets in the Kensington section of Philadelphia at about 6 p.m. Sunday. Joseph Kaczmarek photographed the scene for the Gun Crisis Reporting Project.

Children watch as police investigate a double shooting Sunday in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Joseph Kaczmarek photographed the scene for the Gun Crisis Reporting Project.

Wired: “A century from now, people might look back on violence prevention in the early 21st century as we now regard the primitive cholera prevention efforts in the early 19th century, when the disease was considered a product of filth and immorality rather than a microbe.”

This isn’t just a phenomenon, according to epidemiologist Gary Slutkin of cureviolence.org, but a dynamic that can be rigorously quantified and understood.

“The epidemiology of this is very clear when you look at the math,” said Slutkin. “The density maps of shootings in Kansas City or New York or Detroit look like cholera case maps from Bangladesh.”

Locally, the public health response model is practiced by interrupters from Philadelphia Ceasefire. We took a walk through North Philadelphia with them during last summer’s National Night Out:

Read the complete article at wired.com: Is It Time to Treat Violence Like a Contagious Disease?

Wired adds that Slutkin helped organize a National Academies of Science workshop that in October published “The Contagion of Violence,” a 153-page report on the state of his field’s research.

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