The gun violence carried out by an 18-year-old in Buffalo, New York on May 14 represents one of many mass shootings carried out in the United States recently. Public health experts say that gun violence in the US has been rising during the pandemic and that the rise can be linked to racism/hateful ideology, mental health issues, the gun industry’s marketing tactics and many other factors.
GW has public health experts who can talk about a range of issues related to the shooting in Buffalo. To interview one of the GW experts, contact Kathy Fackelmann at [email protected] or Lesley Swiger at [email protected]
Lynn Goldman, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, can talk about this recent attack and others that form at the intersection of racism and gun violence. She can talk about how hateful ideology can play a role in such violence.
“Collectively we must act to end hateful acts of violence like the shooting in Buffalo,” Goldman said. “Lawmakers must enact common sense legislation that could be put into effect immediately to reduce gun violence. We must also take steps to support the families and community members affected by this senseless tragedy.”
Adnan A. Hyder, is Director of the Center on Commercial Determinants of Health at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. He can discuss the gun industry’s role in the rise in gun violence. He says the gun industry has deployed aggressive marketing tactics to boost sales even as violence was on the rise during the COVID-19 crisis.
“While there are likely many causes for the Buffalo attack and other mass shootings, we can no longer afford to ignore the role that the US firearms industry plays in perpetuating this public health epidemic,” Hyder said. “Policymakers have a responsibility to reduce the burden of the epidemic of violence that is wreaking havoc on individuals, families and communities.”
Wendy Ellis, Director of the Center for Community Resilience at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, is an expert on how systemic racism, gun violence and other factors can lead to long term trauma and other health problems for vulnerable communities.
"The violent attack that was racially motivated and carried out with an assault style weapon reinforces our nation's need to prevent access to these types of weapons and address the increasing threat of radicalized white supremacists,” Ellis said. “What occurred in Buffalo is a prime example of complex trauma experienced in Black and Brown communities — the daily adversity of living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty that offer little access to mental health support and economic mobility. In addition to grappling with the horrific shooting that resulted in the loss of ten community members, this Buffalo neighborhood — a food desert — is facing a loss of access to healthy, nutritious foods because their only grocery store is now a crime scene."