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Kids and guns: three assumptions, two choices, one goal

You know what they say about assumptions. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and make some assumptions about you. Because you’re reading this blog post, I assume that you care about children. You care about their health.

Because you care about children, I’m going to also assume you already know what the #1 killer of children in our country is. That it isn’t car crashes or cancer. The #1 killer of kids in our country is guns.

Now here goes my third assumption. Because you care about kids, and you realize the thing that kills them more than anything else is preventable, I’m going to assume that you feel frustrated, maybe even defeated, that the problem isn’t getting better. I sometimes feel that way too.

This is where the two choices come in.

When something is frustrating and seems intractable, it’s easy to become cynical. To resign ourselves to believing things will never change. We choose to feel that way and it’s totally understandable. But there is another choice. And that is to get involved.

Here’s the tough thing about getting involved in an issue like gun violence. As you well know, it is a partisan minefield. People are incredibly passionate and divided when it comes to the issue of guns. But I believe there is common ground and a reason for hope. I believe it so much that I wrote a book about it, “Saving Our Kids: An ER Doc’s Common-Sense Solution to the Gun Crisis.” The book will be available in a few weeks and all proceeds will help Children’s Minnesota patients and families.

As a father, a pediatric emergency room doctor, and the CEO of Children’s Minnesota, I’ve seen up close, for many years, the devastation guns cause in children’s bodies and their lives. I’ve also seen recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, how our country can contain a public health threat and save millions of lives.

And that is the way forward, as I lay out in my book: using lessons we all learned during the pandemic, addressing the gun crisis as a public health crisis, because that’s exactly what it is for our children. It is their #1 health threat.

We don’t have to accept this. I wrote this book for people like you: people who care about children and want to learn a new way to think and talk about the gun crisis so we can take action to make things better. The good news is that there are so many of us: health care professionals, educators, parents and grandparents. When we join together, we can be unstoppable.

Defining guns as a public health issue, not a partisan issue, will lead us to solutions, just as it did for COVID-19. It will lead us to our goal: a day when guns are no longer killing thousands of American children every year.

Dr. Marc Gorelick

Marc Gorelick, MD
President, chief executive officer

Marc Gorelick, MD, is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Children's Minnesota. He is deeply committed to advocacy issues that impact children's health, sustainability and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Julianna Olsen