‘These Tragedies Must End.’

Due to the recent unfortunate event that occurred this past Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., President Obama once again addressed our nation calling for a change. This time, sans political implications, the President requested that ALL American citizens change what we deem acceptable when it comes to violence in our communities.

“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law – no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that – then surely we have an obligation to try.”

As many of you already know, at Cure Violence we have one goal – to put an end to the contagion of violence, which has caused so much pain to so many. Not unlike AIDS or tuberculosis, we view violence as a disease that has infected our society to epidemic proportions.  And if any highly contagious disease is ignored, it continues to spread. At Cure Violence, we aim to reverse the spread of violence by using the public health methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting potential infectious events; determining the most likely influences to cause another infectious event and reducing the likelihood of transmission; and changing the social and behavioral norms, or environmental conditions, of the communities where it occurs.

Lately, it seems as though support for a science-based, public health approach towards violence prevention has been growing, and for that we are glad. The Cure Violence program has been featured in articles by some of the most reputable journals in the world – from The Huffington Post, to The Lancet, to The Global Journal. And, most recently, The Washington Post mentioned us as one of the most viable options that advocacy groups and think tanks across the country feel could reduce gun violence in the United States.  While we are grateful for all of the highly publicized support and nominations, we will not ignore the fact that there is still much work to be done. We promise to remain dedicated to understanding, combatting, and, one day, alleviating our world of this horrible epidemic.

“And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of the community, and the help of the nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.”

Today, here at Cure Violence, we publicaly support this Presidential call-to-action for all of us to get involved in becoming part of the solution. It is time for us to remove all of the self-inflicted barriers we create by focusing on all that makes us different, and come together to create real, sustainable change. Challenge yourself to get involved. Challenge others to do the same. Together, we WILL Cure Violence.

PHOTO (above): President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images