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Ignoring a huge public health crisis

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

* From the Illinois Department of Public Health…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the first bird to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois for 2016. Douglas County Health Department employees collected the blue jay on May 20, 2015, in Arcola Township.

* Also from IDPH…

Bats are starting to become more active, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has already had 10 bats test positive for rabies this year.

* But isn’t this a far worse threat to public health?…

* Memorial Day weekend closes with 69 shot in Chicago, many of them on West Side

* 6 dead, 63 wounded in Memorial Day weekend shootings: Six people were killed, including a 15-year-old girl, and at least 63 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago over Memorial Day weekend.

* 69 shot over 76 hours: A look at every shooting over holiday weekend

* Thugs stalk couple at lakefront, ends in woman’s death

* 17-year-old boy shot in Little Village

* Holiday violence: ‘Every time you look up, it’s a shooting, it’s an innocent’

* Man, teen charged with string of North Side robberies: A man and teenage boy have been charged with committing four armed robberies in just over an hour this weekend on the North Side.

* Man, 29, stabbed on CTA bus

And that’s just a few of them. There’s more. Lots more.

* If we weren’t so insane in this state, we’d have an urgently coordinated response to this disaster.

So, no offense at all to IDPH. They have a tough job to do and they seem to be doing it well. But I’m far less worried about West Nile and rabies (and the 2014 campaign “issue” of Ebola) than I am about the future of my state’s largest city.

/rant

* Related…

* The History of Violence as a Public Health Issue

* The Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention

* Violence as a Public Health Risk

* Is Violence a Public Health Problem?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    Safe to say that more people were shot and killed in “Chiraq” than Bhagdad this weekend? NOT LOL.

    I believe that most of these shootings are pretty concentrated in relatively small areas in certain communities. It would be interesting to see how many patrol car miles are spent in these districts compared to other city communities.

    I also understand that most of these shootings are outside, so a real heavy patrol approach should work. Is this happening?


  2. - Ms. SHEESH - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:14 pm:

    Not Safe to Say–These shootings and acts of violence are now on the Northside, On Lakeshore Drive around exclusive wealthy areas. Yes, places like Ceasefire and afterschool programs that provided counseling to troubled youth are now seemingly taking to the streets.


  3. - JackD - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Neighborhood segregation is probably a major factor in the wave of violence. It’s hard to know how to change it. It’s still true, as Martin Luther King said many years ago, Chicago is the most segregated city in the country. Judge Richard Austin’s order in the 60’s requiring scattered site public housing just sits there without compliance.


  4. - Honeybear - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    I hate to say it but I think this will be the worst summer on record for gun killings. I did 2 student chaplaincy stints at Northwestern Memorial when I was in seminary. It’s where I did my first “viewings” for family. We had a special room for it. You’d get the body out of the morgue and bring it to the room. Unzip the bag over the face, push it down a bit so that you could wrap a white sheet around the face (supervisor called this the mother mary treatment). Then you’d cover the rest with another sheet so that basically only the face was showing. Then you bring in the family and facilitate the grieving. Viewings were done when someone died in the ER and the family didn’t make it there in time or was coming from out of town. As the on-call night chaplain I had to do this a couple times a night. Many many loved ones had been killed by gunshot. It’s totally a public health crisis.


  5. - Huh? - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    The local public health departments have been cut back due to the budget crisis.

    The local public health department tracks infectious diseases such as measles or TB. They also are responsible for tracking down causes of food borne illnesses like listeria or salmonella. As noted above, they track rabies infected animals, west Nile virus and Lyme disease.

    They run immunization clinics for the elderly and poor. If you need a vaccination to travel to Africa, South or Central America, it is likely that you can get the shot at the public health department.

    Failure to adequately public health is immoral and seriously endangers the lives of every citizen of the State.


  6. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    IDPH agrees with you in principle Rich and they even have an Injury & Violence Prevention Program.

    As with everything else, funding is going to be a problem in the Rauner administration. I’m sure Rauner will try to convince all that violence will go down once we start lowering union wages and we’ll experience massive growth from the frozen property taxes and cheaper WC rates. (Said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.)


  7. - Fred - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    CPD needs to be part of the solution, but there are so many burned bridges that need to be rebuilt.

    Without a change in the CPD rank and file culture, increased enforcement is going to be marginally effective at best and counter productive at worst.


  8. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:48 pm:

    I know this is more of a national issue, but remember when the NRA (and the Senators they control) were holding up the nomination of our Surgeon General because he dared to say that gun violence was a health issue?

    For some reason, large amounts of people do not see gun violence as a health issue for for some reason our society does not want to confront the issue.


  9. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    mosquitos and bats can’t go to school and they don’t have human parents to, ostensibly, keep them in line. people do. start doing a better job of tending kids.

    but more bats can take care of the mosquitos, so that’s one good thing about bats.


  10. - illini - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    The numbers are staggering and overwhelming and the response is no budget, reduced funding where it is mandated, forced furloughs or layoffs, elimination of proactive programs to deal with the complex issues!

    Oh, I forgot - the TurnAroundAgenda will make all these problems becoming a thing of the past.

    Sorry, Bob, but I do not believe the solution is nearly as simple as you would have us think.


  11. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    35 thousand die each year to guns….. but many Americans think guns are not a problem, and have a greater fear of muslims. Just imagine what we could do if we had a community fear of the actual things killing us and not the faux things…..


  12. - calling elected officials - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    especially those who represent these areas? do something, I hear/see nothing from the alderman, state rep.’s, senators, etc.. Lets just call it unacceptable and wait for the fourth of july and hope for rain.


  13. - Leapfrog - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    Where is the “enough is enough” outrage of the community and elected Officials??? poverty is a public health crisis..


  14. - DGD - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:24 pm:

    Violence is a human issue…a moral issue, the presence of a gun does not make one violent or more likely to commit violence. Too many young hooligans have no respect for human life and think its perfectly acceptable to shoot up their neighborhood because someone is scamming on their drug business.


  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    Ahoy- “…remember when the NRA (and the Senators they control) were holding up the nomination of our Surgeon General because he dared to say that gun violence was a health issue?”

    That’s because the vast majority of NRA members in Illinois are from all-white small towns and don’t really care about people in Chicago. It is profitable though for NRA to use black people from the south side like Otis McDonald as plaintiffs for their lawsuits.


  16. - anon1 - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    In order to survive, for the last 10+ years, Local Public Health Departments have been forced to chase the grant money for programs that may or may not address their most pressing issues in favor of simply saving jobs. In the same 10+ years, administrative tasks in the name of increasing transparency have doubled at the expense of direct services. Significant increases in the Local Health Protection funds that allow Local Boards of Health to combat community specific issues is the only way Public Health can make significant strides with whatever ails their county. Be it violence, housing, blight, lead, infant mortality, education, poverty, teenage pregnancy, etc… more programs with deliverables prescribed by Springfield/Washington is certainly not the answer.


  17. - John Reynolds - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:46 pm:

    I couldnt agree more Rich.

    Its a huge public health problem.

    63 Gunbola Infections over the weekend, and 6 dead.

    Well, as long as we break up the Teachers Unions everything will be ok….right?


  18. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    @illini

    Sometimes things aren’t as complicated as many believe. How many “programs” have we had in these communities that never seem to reduce the violence?

    There’s no doubt that the damage done by five decades of horrible, expensive social policy can’t be undone quickly or easily, but the “symptoms” of the gang violence that leads to the shootings can be suppressed by effective and determined law enforcement and courts.

    Take the profit out of the drug trade and the violence will be pointless and will decline.

    There are a lot of ways to take the profit out that I won’t get into here and now, but the root cause of dysfunctional culture that creates the violence will take generations to fix as it did to create, and we haven’t even taken the first step yet….


  19. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    I have family members who are now afraid to visit Chicago due to the high crime rate.
    I have friends who work in emergency rooms who have dealt with seven or eight GSWs in one shift.
    Hot weather raises human temperatures and tempers.
    I am afraid that 2016 will be the “year of the gun”.
    Sigh…


  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 6:39 pm:

    Guns and drugs are both public health problems.


  21. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 7:43 pm:

    There is no subject that Palos/AZ/IL Bob cannot pass by without tossing in his expert opinion.

    I can get you set up for a ride along on midnights with CPD in Englewood or Auburn Gresham. Then come back and read your post again.


  22. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:08 pm:

    ==I think this will be the worst summer on record for gun killings==

    False.

    ==the presence of a gun does not make one violent or more likely to commit violence==

    False.


  23. - Illinoisvoter - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:59 pm:

    Close to a third of all Americans will receive
    mental health treatment during their lifetimes.
    Most will not be hospitalized, but will get
    counseling
    and medications as out patients. And they will
    get no diagnosis because well let’s be honest
    that’s messy and the stigma is still here.
    So build a an industry around back ground checks
    and don’t question why it doesn’t impact the
    toil of violence on so many lives.


  24. - CeaseFire Supporter - Wednesday, Jun 1, 16 @ 3:22 pm:

    http://cureviolence.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/08-2015-CV-Chicago-Memo-1.pdf

    Excellent post. Read this report for an understanding of how funding for public health approaches to prevent violence has affected the number of people killed and injured. The current increase started in 2015, right after 100+ public health violence prevention workers were cut.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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