Monday, February 4, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Gun Violence: A Public-Health Crisis

Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. $5.

Civics, Media Library, Special Programming

Across the nation (and at the White House), Americans are taking a fresh look at gun violence in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting—and the Aurora shooting, and the Portland shooting, and the Seattle shooting. In seeking ways to prevent such tragedies, this forum lays out a public-health approach to gun violence—tracing the extent of the problem, exploring evidence-based solutions, considering mental-health aspects and new alternatives, discussing new policies in Seattle-King County and Washington state—and considering what each of us can do. After an introduction by Dr. Howard Frumkin, Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, panelists David Fleming, director of Public Health Seattle-King County; Dr. Frederick Rivara, UW Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology; Amnon Shoenfeld, director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division; Beth Ebel, Director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center; and Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw offer local perspectives on a national crisis. The discussion is moderated by Steve Boyd, of MacDonald Boyd & Associates. Presented by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Town Hall.

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  1. sally.bagshaw
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Want to consider public health solutions to reduce gun-related violence. Join Dr. Howard Frumkin, Dr. David Fleming, Dr. Frederick Rivara, Amnon Shoenfeld, Beth Ebel, Steve Boyd and me on February 4, Town Hall!

  2. Marc Brenman
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    A detailed plan to reduce gun violence in the US is available here:

    Here are some of the topics:

    Keep the Situation in Perspective

    Reframe the Discussion

    Public Education

    Engage Stakeholders

    Move Quickly

    Improve School Safety

    Reduce Youth Gun Violence

    Prevent Suicide

    Check Backgrounds and Keep Records

    Control Manufacture and Sale

    Restrict Ownership Minimally

    Raise the Price and Increase the Cost of Illegal Gun Acquisition

    Train for Safety

    Report loss and theft of firearms

    Detect Incidents

    Store and Keep Arms Safely

    Retrieve weapons from ineligible individuals

    Notice the Link Between Gun and Alcohol Abuse

    End Trafficking

    Provide Mental Health Services and Screen

    Use Medical Services to Enquire about Safety

    Assess Threats

    Provide for Patient Safety

    Counsel about Lethal Means

    Repair the Social Safety Net

    Tighten Rules for Mandatory Reporters

    Restore Community Oriented Policing

    Demonstrate Gun Owner and Retailer Responsibility

    Get Media Coverage Cooperation

    Improve Product Liability Laws

    Introduce Consumer Product Regulation and Safety Devices

    Use Biometrics to Control Who Can Shoot the Gun

    Require Liability Insurance

    Divest from Uncooperative Manufacturers

    Advertise for Public Health/Use Social Marketing

    Recognize the Prevalence of Evil

    Tighten Rules on Concealed Carry

    Reduce Violence Against Women

    Recognize Limits on Privacy Rights

    Conduct Research

    Reduce Political Contributions

    Use a Public Health Emphasis and Approach

    Consider Buy-Back Programs

    Use Police Enforcement, Security Guards, and Surveillance of Potentially Dangerous People and Groups

    Get Ready for New Challenges

  3. Pub Health Advocate
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Attendees are encouraged to learn also what the field of public health has and also hasn’t done to address this issue, particularly in light of budget language that restricted research starting in the 1990s. Go here for article in JAMA, published by two firearms experts (MDs who both earned MPHs from the UW School of Public Health): And go to the Brady Campaign web site to read about how the NRA gets a courtesy “heads up” from the CDC when firearms research takes place:

  4. Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m organizing a related event to be held this Thursday, 2/7, 530pm, at the Wing Luke Museum. Please stop by! Details below:

    Reflections on Oak Creek: Critical Mourning and the Logics of Racist Violence
    Thursday, February 7, 2013
    Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Tateuchi Story Theatre
    719 S. King St. (International District)

    This event is free and open to the public.

    In remembrance of the victims of the Oak Creek, WI gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in August 2012, panelists Keith Feldman (UC Berkeley, Ethnic Studies), Anoop Mirpuri (Portland State University, English), Balbir K. Singh (University of Washington, English), and Jay Singh (University of Washington, Law), approach the concept of critical mourning to discuss racial-religious embodiment and the logics of violence. The panel discussion will be followed by public dialogue and conversation with audience members. Members of the Sikh and Muslim religious communities are especially encouraged to attend. Optional readings are available at

    Sponsored by the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, South Asia Center, and Hilen Fund. A special thanks to One America and the Simpson Center for the Humanities, Certificate in Public Scholarship.

  5. Nancy
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    We couldn’t get in tonight, but we understand there will be a webcast of the forum. If you could post or send us the link, we’d appreciate it!

  6. Robert Schneider
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I gave up something I really value to attend the Town Hall meeting on Gun Violence: A Public-Health Crisis. I went because, I would really like to see gun violence go down and because a Public Health approach has the potential to do that. I was disappointed. The panel discussion was labeled as the sharing of factual information so that evidence-based research and approaches could be shared to help stem gun violence.

    What I saw instead were most (one exception) of the panel members providing some evidence based information that can be used to reduce gun violence and then mixing in unsupported bias, opinions and false information. Instead of what was promised, an attempt to have a respectful and factual dialog, I felt that the Public Health experts had discredited themselves. I had really wanted to learn and had high hopes that were dashed.

    I was trained as a research scientist early in my career. I now am an expert in my field and listed in Marquis Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. Each year, part of what I do for a living is provide expert witness testimony before elected officials, judges, and regulatory agencies. When I do and am cross examined by attorneys I need to be absolutely factually honest, otherwise my credibility is destroyed. That means that what I say must be factual, if what I say is to be believed as fact. The panel obviously had a different agenda from the marketing materials and a different standard of what it means to be an expert in Public Health factual evidence based actions to preventing harm.

    Let me give you some examples. First the Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw was the exception. The moderator (Mr. Steve Boyd) should have stepped in and silenced her or at least asked her to document some of her false statements. Instead the moderator did a disservice to the audience by allowing her to blather on. Let me be very specific. She is a most pleasant and empathic woman, but when she talked about what people should do about to solve the gun violence problem she had NO EVIDENCE BASED information. She said that the reason we need universal background checks is because of the gun show loophole and how it is such a huge source of firearms for criminals. The Department of Justice has performed interviews on criminal/inmates in state and federal correction centers (i.e. prisons) and found that firearms acquired by convicted criminals represent less than 0.6 to 0.7 percent of all firearms used by those criminals (see Table 8 in the following PDF ). So “closing the gun show loophole” is not going to make much of a statistical dent in gun violence.

    Next Ms. Bagshaw stated that anyone can go to any gun show in this state and buy a firearm, all you need is money. Obviously, since she said “any,” I would like to call Bush*t and invite her to attend a gun show sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC), which runs the most and largest gun shows in this state. They typically have two each month. Only people who are “members” of the Washington Arms Collectors can buy or sell firearms. Anyone who buys a ticket to enter can buy T-shirts and a host of other non-firearms sold at the show, but only members can buy firearms. To be a member, you must go through a criminal background check! Rule 6 states, “Firearm sales to – or purchases from – non-members or persons prohibited by law from firearms ownership/possession are totally forbidden. Violation will lead to immediate and permanent expulsion as a member of WAC.”

    Actually the WAC has done a pretty good job of policing itself. There have been both law enforcement and media “sting” operations in the past attempting to have non-members purchase firearms. Ms. Bagshaw proved that she was not factual and unlike the Dept. of Justice survey of criminals was not using the Public Health approach of evidence based action.

    She then went on to talk about what people need to do to get legislation changed and urged people to go to Olympia to support changes in laws for which there was no evidence presented at the meeting, but which she “felt” would reduce gun violence. She further talked about how wrong it was for the State to prevent cities and counties from passing local laws that would implement solutions to gun violence. She discredited the entire panel and the meeting in my mind.

    I really felt for most of the rest of the panel members, as you could just read their faces and expressions during part of their discussions as they tried to be as honest and factual as they could. Most of them did a fair job of focusing on evidence based and factual information and actions. As a professional witness who is often hired by attorneys to examine opposing witness testimony for logical flaws, I found that they did a 70% to 90% job of being factual. But none did a 100% job and that is what is needed if they are to be believed as experts and not discredit themselves.

    For example, David Flemming did about a 90% job of sticking to the facts. He provided a lot of really good information, but lapsed when he talked about the US Constitution as an important element that needs to be factored into the gun violence debate and action. He however urge for changes in laws at the state and local level, but ignored to point out that in Washington, we have a State Constitution that is even more specific on the right to keep and bear arms than the federal constitution. As such any State or Local laws will need to pass State Constitutional muster. “….The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men…” It says nothing about a militia and it states clearly that it is both an individual right and a right to defense of the individual. Again, I felt Flemming did the best job of all the panelists.

    Doctor Beth Ebel did maybe a 70% job of being factual. She really discredited herself to me, when she stated that we need to close the gun show loophole. Experts need to take about things that they know and not speculate on things that they don’t. At least she didn’t go off the deep end like Ms. Bagshaw. But remember that Doctor Ebel’s is the Director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. I had to ask myself how honest is her research if she can jump from factual and evidence based to personal opinions and urging others to take political action on that basis.

    I found that Doctor Dr. Frederick Rivara while, shading a few facts, made a couple of really startling statements. First in answer to a question, he indicated that in a local study preschoolers who were encouraged to watch non-violent TV were less aggressive. That was exactly the kind of information I was hoping to learn about. He also admitted that it was the UW that was responsible for the federal Congressional backlash against funding or allowing the Center for Disease Control to spend money on firearms or gun violence research. What would have been nice and pulled everything together would have been for someone to have said that until Public Health officials can be true impartial experts, as opposed to slipping into propagandist, there will be those that feel they cannot be trusted with public funds to influence public laws or actions.

    That to me is why this golden opportunity to come to a dialog using a Public Health factual and evidence based approach was squandered. The Public Health community has failed to learn the lessons of the past. They still are holding themselves out as the independent experts with the answers, but don’t have the self-restraint to truly fulfill the role of “independent expert” on matters of gun violence.

    How sad, I had such great hopes. If only the panel and moderator had taken the marketing documents seriously, we could have had a very good discussion that just about everyone would have been able to listen to, discuss and learn from. As Dr. Ebel said even if we don’t agree, we can at least recognize that there are many different ways we can all work toward reducing gun violence; even if it is a 3-gun shooting sport enthusiast who makes sure his firearms are well secured in a safe when he isn’t using them.

    All in all I would rate the panel discussion at a 6 to 7 on a scale of 10. It would have been an 8 if Ms. Bagshaw had not been on the panel and much closer to how it the event was sold to the public.

    That is the last of these that I will be attending.

  7. Rock Denim
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    This true that the reduction of gun violence is the best way to increase the public health and it is treatment of health crisis.

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] “Gun Violence: A Public-Health Crisis” will be held at 7:30 p.m. next Monday at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave. Admission is $5. [...]

  2. By CHAI 2/3/2013 « Come Home Alive Initiative on February 16, 2013 at 12:58 am

    [...] February 4th at Town Hall, 7p-9pm (yes, tomorrow) [...]

  3. […] don’t want to see it that way. Many of the countries that have strict gun control laws have low gun violence rates. However, the same countries usually have excellent social services infrastructures and take […]

  4. […] want to see it that way. Many of the countries that have strict gun control laws have low gun violence rates. However, the same countries usually have excellent social services infrastructures and take […]

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