In the wake of yet another preventable American gun violence tragedy—one that involved the slaughter of 21 people, including 19 children in a Texas elementary school—doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, health experts, and scientists are once again demanding a long-overdue, evidence-based public health response to the uniquely American public health crisis of gun violence.
This is “very much our lane,” Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, a pediatric surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told NBC.
She spoke vividly about the immediate impacts that AR-15-style weapons have on a human body—particularly the smallest ones. In the Uvalde, Texas school shooting this week, the gunman used an AR-15-style rifle (the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 rifle), which he bought online. AR-15-style rifles are often used in mass shootings. They use a common military-caliber ammunition. The bullets don’t always pass cleanly through flesh, but can instead become “unstable” and tumble, causing devastating damage that can leave victims unrecognizable and with an exceptionally low chance of survival.
“It’s not just the hole you see on the outside. It’s a huge blast effect,” Naik-Mathuria told NBC. “You see completely shredded organs. Vessels are completely disrupted. There’s no way to salvage them…”
“We have our hands inside these people, these children, trying to save them,” Naik-Mathuria added. “How can anyone tell us that it’s not our problem?”
Time to speak out is long overdue. Don’t just count we who have been speaking out for years, look at those whose lives have now been touched – in person or even witnessing the terror we’ve seen in the press, on TV, online.
Time to act is long overdue.