Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thinking about Violence as a Disease

From the New York Times:

"IN THE PUBLIC-HEALTH field, there have long been two schools of thought on derailing violence. One focuses on environmental factors, specifically trying to limit gun purchases and making guns safer. The other tries to influence behavior by introducing school-based curricula like antidrug and safe-sex campaigns.

Slutkin is going after it in a third way — as if he were trying to contain an infectious disease. The fact that there’s no vaccine or medical cure for violence doesn’t dissuade him. He points out that in the early days of AIDS, there was no treatment either. In the short run, he’s just trying to halt the spread of violence. In the long run, though, he says he hopes to alter behavior and what’s considered socially acceptable"

Seems to make sense to me. You can come to the same conclusion from even a basic psychological/political perspective: remove or neutralize the people most likely to incite violence, and you reduce the overall level of violence in the community.

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