The Fox Says…

The Fox Says…

By Nick Herink

For ten years, physician Gary Slutkin fought epidemics from Africa to Asia. After a decade of his work treating everything from cholera to tuberculosis to AIDS: TED Talks from April 2013 details that “When [Slutkin] returned to the United States, he thought he’d escape brutal epidemic deaths.” But he thought wrong: because soon after gun violence caught his attention, and he began to note, for instance, that the hotspots and clusters of shootings in Chicago mirrored those of cholera cases in Bangladesh (below). Wired of January 18, 2013 contends that at first this research might seem “like common sense. Intuitively we understand that people surrounded by violence are more likely to be violent themselves.”

So currently, we treat violence as a moralistic issue: you’re a bad person or something bad has happened to you, ergo, you do bad things. But Slutkin’s research suggests there’s something more at work here. Wired furthers, “A century from now, people might look back on violence prevention in the early 21st century as we now regard the primitive cholera prevention efforts in the early 19th century, when the disease was considered a product of filth and immorality rather than a microbe.” So his proposal?

We cannot eradicate violence, but we can cure it: because as he argues, violence is a contagious disease and spreads through fights, suicide, murders, or even the media. Considering the CDC reported that in 2010, 148 people suffered a violent death each day in this country, Slutkin’s research could offer a treatment previously overlooked. We’ll examine Slutkin’s theory and apply it, before drawing implications to this disease that has always been around: we just never knew it existed.

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