Kerry Harthcock, MD, FAAP
I grew up in a time when America trusted very few. We built armies and walls to protect ourselves as other nations did the same. We stockpiled nuclear arms at an alarming rate just to keep up with other nations. With time, our isolation changed to some degree as the United States became much more active in world politics. We became good at protecting the democratic process here and abroad. We developed policies locally and abroad to limit nuclear arms and to reduce their threat on all people.
On a more local scale, we as a nation seem confused, missing the ability to protect our most precious national treasure, our children. Bullies and haters are left unchecked to prey on our unprotected children with an almost unlimited access to weapons to carry out their hateful acts. America is divided on holding tightly to the 2nd Amendment, as some interpret it, or making changes that would limit certain weapons that go beyond protection of the individual and family.
I grew up with guns and learning gun safety. I spent seven years in active duty with the US Army. As a pediatrician, I know something about both sides of this argument. It is time to put our differences aside and walk across the room and sit down to find common ground to protect our children and young adults. This is how democracy works, and common ground does exist.
There is an attempt by local physicians and others in Washington State to find the common ground on responsible gun management. The Firearm Tragedy Prevention Network was established for this purpose. Through a network of community meetings, polarized groups can come together to discuss beliefs and opinions about gun issues and begin to understand each other. This understanding of each other and of our individual responsibility is critical for change. I applaud the group’s momentum and its mission for change. I am happy to be a part of the group.
The Washington State Firearm Tragedy Prevention Network Webpage is live and can be found here. Info on the network, how to join the network, and upcoming and past meetings are all included. The next Network meeting will be on June 14, 2018 in Kennewick.