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Monday, December 17, 2012

We Tried Once in Long Beach -- We Need to Try Again

Back in the 1990s I was fortunate to participate in an effort by the Carter Foundation -- founded by former President Jimmy Carter -- to deal with the problem of our children, our youth dying as a result of guns. The program was titled: Not Even One -- meaning not even one death of a child due to guns should be acceptable.

We tried to work on the issue -- identifying gun violence as a public health issue -- and as in public health cases -- we took the deaths of several young people in Long Beach and tried to do an examination of the events that led up to the killing. We tried to find the root causes of the violence and what could be done to prevent more violence.

Long Beach was one of only three national projects funded by the Carter Foundation. The other ones in Compton and New Mexico.

We tried to grapple with this problem locally. We need to try again..

See the following explanation from the Carter Foundation:

News & Publications
<SPAN class=genHeading>News & Publications</SPAN>

1 Dec 1997

'Not Even One' Program Seeks to Prevent Firearm Deaths Among Children In 1990 alone, nearly 4,500 children in the United States under age 19 died from gunshot wounds. In 1994, The Carter Center founded Not Even One (NEO), a program that calls on faith communities, schools, families, local governments, and public health and social agencies to reduce firearm violence against children. "The number of children injured or killed by guns every year is a national tragedy," said Wallace Woodard, newly appointed director of NEO. "Our program promotes the philosophy that 'not even one' death of a child by firearms is acceptable or inevitable." Dr. Woodard has spent his career working to improve the lives of children. Before joining NEO, he worked on public safety issues for The Carter Center's Atlanta Project. He has taught elementary and college students and led training sessions on runaway and homeless youth, gang violence, and drug prevention. "Protecting children must become the responsibility of every community," Dr. Woodard said. "In order for a program to work, people must be willing to listen. Citizen involvement must become the top priority in stopping this epidemic." Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, and the Emory University School of Public Health, NEO has developed the Community Action Team (CAT). CATs include community leaders and members of public health and police departments, schools, and social service agencies in high-risk areas. Teams have been trained at demonstration sites in Compton and Long Beach, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. A third pilot is planned for Atlanta in 1997. NEO will evaluate their efforts to develop a prevention model for use nationwide. "CAT members are being trained to gather and share information on possible causes of firearm violence that could lead to prevention strategies," Dr. Woodard explained. "They will use the same methods that public health professionals use to contain and prevent disease. Our hope is that those steps most likely to save our children will become habitual where they are most needed."

Save Station 18

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