For the past 15 years, Cure Violence has advanced the theory that violence behaves like a disease.  That violence is an epidemic is not a metaphor; it is a scientific fact. A cholera outbreak in Somalia shows the same epidemiological curve as the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda; killings in US cities, which appear as a wave sitting on top of a wave, resemble outbreaks of tuberculosis in Europe centuries ago. Violence has the characteristics of an infectious disease in how it is transmitted from person-to-person and how it is spread neighborhood-to-neighborhood, community-by-community and across the spectrum of violence.

The longstanding misdiagnosis of violence, which Dr. Slutkin, Founder and Executive Director of Cure Violence, often explains as being as archaic as the “solutions” that were used to “treat” the plague – flagellation movements; widows suspected of witchcraft drowned in moats or burned at the stake; Jewish communities, scapegoated as culprits, razed to the ground – have their parallels in increased prosecution, super max prisons, and mass incarceration. Now is the time to reverse the damage produced by this misdiagnoisis. If violence can be re-understood through the lens of contagion as a disease, it can be treated and prevented as one.

There are many great resources for understanding violence as a disease.  Below is a partial list, more to come:

Related Media