Category: Opinion Written by CNN
by Judith S. Palfrey
(CNN) -- Gun violence is a public health threat to our children. My husband, Sean Palfrey, and I are pediatricians. We are not specialists or experts in the field of injuries, but we are, sadly, all too familiar with the devastating impact of guns in children's lives. Firearms have claimed the lives of patients, friends and family members.
The shooting this week of a 6-year-old boy by his 4-year-old neighbor, who apparently had gotten hold of a loaded .22-caliber rifle from his home in New Jersey, reminds us that gun-related tragedies are daily occurrences in America.
Last December, in the days after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, my husband and I wanted the public to know that gun injuries are too common in our children's lives. We wanted doctors and nurses to redouble efforts to help families decrease the threat that guns pose to children and to offer hope and encouragement that there really are positive things we can do to increase our children's safety. So we wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine
For the article, we didn't have to look far to discover that guns are as much a threat to our children and grandchildren as infectious diseases and other health disorders. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,570 people ages 1 to 24 died from firearm injuries in 2010. That's 18 people every day and a staggering seven a day for children ages 1 to 19.
In 2010, firearms caused twice as many deaths as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as the recorded infections. Protecting children from gun violence is not a political decision, it's a public health imperative.
Guns kill teenagers who get into scuffles over weighty and trivial matters. They kill sad boys and girls who make the impulsive decision to end it all right now, and can because they have the lethal means right in their hands. And they kill little children who play act what they see adults doing around them or on television or the internet.
In October, a committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement on firearm-related injuries. The statement included technical background research and statistics, asked questions about how and why kids get their hands on guns and came to the evidence-based conclusion that if children have access to guns in their homes or neighborhoods, they are at risk of injury.
"The best preventive measure against firearm injuries and deaths is not to own a gun. However, if you choose to have firearms in your home, adhere to these rules for gun safety:
• Never allow your child access to your gun(s). No matter how much instruction you may give him or her, a youngster in the middle years is not mature and responsible enough to handle a potentially lethal weapon.
• Never keep a loaded gun in the house or the car.
• Guns and ammunition should be locked away safely in separate locations in the house. Make sure children don't have access to the keys.
• Guns should be equipped with trigger locks.
• When using a gun for hunting or target practice, learn how to operate it before loading it. Never point the gun at another person and keep the safety catch in place until you are ready to fire it. Before setting the gun down, always unload it.
• Do not use alcohol or drugs while you are shooting.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has awakened our nation into action. It prompted our president to declare that "now is the time" to end gun violence. It encouraged our elected leaders to come together to vote on legislation that can make children feel safe in their homes, school and communities. It mobilized advocates and parents to come to Washington. It spurred dialogue in local and national media.
We are at a tipping point. And we can do this.
We have increased automobile and bike safety and prevented drownings and poisonings by making simple but strict rules compelling Americans to change their habits. We can make our country safer, but only if we work together. Only if we look at these numbers and say: Enough.
Gun violence is an epidemic that we can treat over time. We must not only understand this, we must act. Through strong state and federal gun safety policies, through research into the causes and prevention strategies of gun violence, through doctors talking to patients about guns in the home, through reducing children's exposure to violence in the media, in their homes and in their communities, we can do this.
Medical professionals, clergy, government officials, police officers, families must collectively say, without relent or apology: We must protect our children.
Editor's note: Judith Palfrey is a general pediatrician and the T. Berry Brazelton professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior associate in medicine at Children's Hospital, Boston. She was the 2009-2010 president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has written expensively about community medicine, public health and child advocacy.
Last Updated on Sunday, 14 April 2013 16:30
Category: Opinion Written by Courier Newsroom
by Dion Rabouin
ATLANTA (RTNS)--Sports writers have long lamented the lack of seminal sports figures in today’s game. Folks say athletes willing to take a stand like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali are conspicuously missing in this generation.
Last Updated on Sunday, 14 April 2013 16:42
Category: Opinion Written by Raynard Jackson
Two weeks ago, President Obama met with three African presidents—Koroma (Sierra Leone), Sall (Senegal), Banda (Malawi), and Prime Minister of Cape Verde Jose Maria Pereira Neves. This was the White House’s way of rewarding these leaders for their examples of good governance. Receiving an invitation to the White House is one of the most sought after invitations in the world, especially for foreign leaders.
African leaders constantly complain about how they are negatively portrayed in the U.S. media, about how Blacks don’t invest in Africa, and about how there seems to be a disconnect between Africans and American Blacks.
My response has always been quite simple—It’s your fault!
Let me break it down based on the itinerary for the delegation that met with Obama two weeks ago. In most cases, the State Department takes the lead in setting up the program for foreign leaders, but they are free to add their own program in addition to State’s program if they so desire.
While in Washington, each leader participated in numerous meetings and events to strengthen bilateral cooperation on a range of shared priorities. Joint events included a dinner hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) to discuss trade and investment opportunities with representatives from U.S. businesses; a public discussion on democratization in Africa at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP); an economic and development roundtable with U.S. government officials; and a meeting with Secretary of Defense Hagel to discuss cooperation on shared regional security and peacekeeping objectives in Africa.
Notice anything interesting here? Let me help you. Dinner hosted by CCA—mostly Fortune 500 companies (White-run companies). Many Africans accuse “corporate America” of only using Africa for their natural resources—well duh, you invited them to your country; a discussion on democracy at USIP. I have tried, to no avail, to get Howard University interested in engaging with African heads of state, but they have shown absolutely no interest. I think I can get a meeting with Obama easier than I can get a meeting with the president of Howard University. Meetings with government officials (i.e. White officials, other than former Ambassador Johnny Carson). Meeting with Secretary of Defense Hagel.
So, I guess these African leaders couldn’t find any Black NGOs to meet with or maybe their White lobbyists would not give them permission to meet with successful minority businessmen like David Steward, CEO of World Wide Technology in St. Louis—a $ 5 billion privately held firm.
Maybe their White lobbyist wouldn’t give them permission to meet with the NNPA, a federation of 200 Black-owned newspapers in the U.S., or give a speech at a Black university.
So, to my African heads of state, if you are looking for positive media coverage from the U.S., then sit with our Black media and tell them your story. If you are looking for investment in your country, then invest some time by meeting with Black businessmen when you come to our country. If you want Americans, especially Blacks to tour your countries, then take a tour of our communities when you are in the U.S. So, stop complaining and be what you are looking for.
Africa has a lot to offer as far as investment opportunities, tourism, and even education; but Africa has not made its case to the American people. Until they do, they will continue to be like the tinkling cymbal or the sounding brass, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
(Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223)
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:06
Category: Opinion Written by Van Jones
by Van Jones
(CNN) -- Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama became the first Democratic president ever to propose cutting Social Security.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 15:27
Category: Opinion Written by Courier Newsroom
The errant ways of Pittsburgh’s former Chief of Police Nate Harper can be best described as Machiavellian at worst and dumb at best. Another fallen public figure just adds to the popular consensus that “they all do it and it just so happens this guy got caught”.
The fact that the former Chief of Police is the culprit adds insult to injury. His slam-bang act of contrition even further rankles the taxpayers as he sheepishly admitted to the error of his ways. Like so many other quickly confessed wrongdoers he seems to be admitting to the error of his ways only because he got caught.
The head cop had ample opportunity to learn about right and wrong at home, in church, in school and/or on the job. Even if no one else enlightened him, he still had 60 years to have figured it out on his own. Didn’t he spend decades wearing a badge proclaiming his public commitment to truth, justice and the American way?
However, forgiveness and eventual redemption will probably be his end game. Harper appears to be a first time sinner and the amount of miss-appropriated loot looks like chump change compared to how much public money is squandered daily. The best news is that no one seems to have been physically harmed in this smarmy affair. Harper will quickly become a footnote in local history.
His betrayal of the public trust speaks for itself. We have a legal system that will dutifully resolve Nate’s fate. My personal wish is that there will be no prison time. In most instances sending first time white-collar criminals to the slammer is just not an efficient expenditure of tax dollars.
However, Nate has caused lasting damage to those of his skin color. His stumble from grace will surely cause pain to others of color in current and future public positions in our City.
The disgraced Harper may have unwittingly advanced the cause of bigotry. His failings have added another “I told you so” moment to the racist agenda of hate.
There are those who are already making a poster boy out of Nate Harper. They are showcasing him as an African-American who secured his job only because of his blackness. They allege that he was hired because of some kind of liberal quota system. They say that the proof is in Harper’s failure.
Earlier this week I read a prejudicial posting where the cowardly author spoke for many of his slimy brethren when he wrote that “this is what affirmative action gets you”.
Letting down fellow African-Americans may be Mr. Harper’s enduring legacy.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:08
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