Tag Archives: health

Gunning For Change: Gun Safety in America

Whatever one’s feelings about the 2nd amendment, individuals’ gun rights should not supersede the health and safety of the American people.

I was in middle school when the massacre at Columbine happened. Everyone was devastated and appalled – those kids were only a little bit older than we were! What if it had been us? Our school officials took that reaction to its next logical step and started preparing us for such an eventuality with “lockdown” drills. We turned off the lights, closed the shades, and hid – scrunching along the wall that bordered the classroom door to avoid scrutiny from the door’s window. We were told not to let anyone in, regardless of who they were or how much they begged and pleaded. Anybody could be a potential shooter or hostage. The exercise was equal parts terrifying and surreal.

That was 17 years ago and what scares me more than the possibility of my own demise is how commonplace such carnage has become in our country. The actions that shocked us in their gruesomeness have now become almost banal in their regularity. Reports on the number of mass shootings vary depending on sources’ definitions and available information, but tend to agree that that number has increased in recent years. The American Journal for Public Health (AJPH) published a report on the matter:

By most estimates, there were fewer than 200 mass shootings reported in the United States often defined as crimes in which four or more people are shot in an event, or related series of events between 1982 and 2012. [27, 28] Recent reports suggest that 160 of these events occurred after the year 2000 [29] and that mass shootings rose particularly in 2013 and 2014. [28]

As frightening as such occurrences are, people killed in mass shootings make up less than half of 1 percent of the people shot to death in the United States. Gun violence, including suicide, kills some 30,000 Americans every year. According to Snopes, toddlers actually kill more people (accidentally) than potential or suspected Islamic terrorists within the US. And yet, the frenzy of fear surrounding the latter group has fueled infinitely more federal and state action.

Vivek Murthy, served as the 19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States under President Obama and President Biden. was clear in his opinion that guns have become a public health issue. In fact, many cite the NRA’s lobbying efforts against him as the reason his nomination took over a year to receive approval. It makes sense, though, that he would be concerned about something that has such a profound effect on the safety of the American people.

“Guns are a consumer product. We’ve taken a public health approach to reducing product-related injury for every other product, from automobiles, to toys, to airplanes. Every product is regulated from a health and safety perspective with the goal of reducing accident and injury. The only exception is guns,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center.

 Comic relief: SNL’s take on the safety of consumer products.

 

Certain politicians enjoy passing this off as a mental health issue, reasoning that it’s not the guns, but the crazy people holding them that we have to control. It’s not actually that simple – most people who have mental illnesses pose no harm to themselves or others.

… surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes. According to Appelbaum, [25] less than 3% to 5% of US crimes involve people with mental illness, and the percentages of crimes that involve guns are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness. Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120 000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness. 26 (AJPH)

Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to be “crazy” to want to hurt someone (or act on that thought). Not only that, but the same politicians who use the mentally ill as scapegoats refuse to pass legislation that would actually benefit their wellbeing. Yes, we do need reform on how we treat people with mental illness, but that’s not the question at hand.

The real issue here is that we need to get serious about reforming our gun control laws. This isn’t even a radical idea – the vast majority of Americans agree that at the least, we need more background checks and enforcement of existing regulation.

Chris Rock has famously said that we would be better served regulating bullets (pricing them at $5,000 each) than guns. Maybe he’s right. In any case, we need to start looking into creative and common sense ways to fix this problem.

Latest Client News: Tournesol Treats Trauma, as Highlighted in TV Features

We couldn’t be happier for Tournesol Wellness, which was recently featured on NBC4 New York’s “The Good Fight with Pat Battle” and as part of a NY1 piece about how yoga and mind-body techniques can help veterans. Tournesol, an integrative and holistic health center, is the only place on the east coast to offer vibroacoustics on a liquid sound table, a customizable technology that has proven helpful for a plethora of problems, from knee pain to PTSD.

Tournesol’s Veteran’s Program, which both TV spots highlighted, includes:

  • Free 30-minute Holistic Health Review
  • Free 30-minute Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy Session
  • 30% off Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy
  • 50% off Yoga Classes
  • Two Class Guest Passes per Month

 

4/27 – Don’t Miss This Great Event – Three Women Transforming Healthcare: From the Battlefield to Veterans and Beyond; Using More Than Western Medicine to Achieve Optimal Wellness

A conversation with Amy Coleman, MD, Robin Carnes, and Peggy Huddleston, moderated by Tournesol’s Carey Davidson.

Creating institutional change isn’t easy. When will medicine be integrated with a vision for our highest selves?

Our medical care is defined by how it is administered in hospitals, the armed forces and to veterans. Sit with us and learn from these three women visionaries who are actively bringing yoga, mind-body techniques and inspiration-driven medicine to these three profoundly important institutions.

Event details:

Date:   Monday, April 27, 2015

Place:  Impact Hub NYC, 394 Broadway (between White and Walker Sts.) NY, NY 10013
Phone: 646-395-1114
Time: Doors open at 7pm; Discussion begins at 7:30pm.
Tickets:  Early Bird tickets (before or by April 20) are $30; after April 20th, tickets are $40. Buy tickets here.

A portion of this event’s proceeds will go to Warriors At Ease.

Produced by Tournesol and Body Local. Sponsored by GLOW Beauty, Health and Wellness Magazine


About the Speakers:

Amy Coleman, MD is President of Wellsmart, which empowers patients with inspiration-driven action plans and resiliency training. Dr. Coleman served as a Flight Surgeon for the U.S. Air Force where she was selected as primary physician for General Officer Staff, Special Forces Teams, NASA Shuttle support missions, and F-16 Fighter Squadrons. She was also appointed as the youngest and first female Commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Clinic. There, she guided global medical missions and built creative clinic systems including those employing complementary care methods still employed today throughout the U.S. Air Force.

Robin Carnes is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Warriors At Ease (WAE), which trains yoga and meditation teachers (and other mind/body professionals) to teach safely and effectively in military settings. Since 2009, WAE has trained over 500 yoga professionals in their trauma-sensitive, culturally-informed and evidence-based approach.

Peggy Huddleston is the author of Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster. She developed five steps to prepare for surgery using mind-body techniques. Research studies show her method significantly reduces anxiety, use of pain medication and speeds healing. Patients having colorectal surgery and knee-joint replacement healed faster, leaving the hospital 1.3-1.6 days sooner than the control group. Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster Workshops are offered for free to patients at hospital including NYU Langone Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

Carey Davidson is the Founder & CEO of Tournesol Wellness. Tournesol is an integrative medical center in midtown Manhattan providing personalized holistic and integrative care through its 40 vetted specialists and more than 30 modalities. Tournesol’s Live Well and Stay Well programs identify and treat all variables that contribute to a resilient body and mind. Carey also serves as the Co-President of the Manhattan Chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce building the visibility and viability of holistic businesses.

 

Fear of Ebola or Fear of Telling the Truth?

The biggest word in the news right now is Ebola.  Of course, the right wing has taken despicable advantage of this epidemic to try to strike fear into the hearts of Americans by saying, over and over, that the US is in jeopardy.  However, as someone recently said on twitter, “More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died of Ebola.”  While Ebola is a definite concern, since we should always be concerned when any other nation’s people suffer and the world’s health is in jeopardy, it’s clearly not an epidemic that will have an enormous impact here in the US.

Conservative forces have been successful, once again, in playing a game of three card monte with us; they are showing us the hand that isn’t doing the trick, distracting us from what’s really going on.  And, what’s really going on?  Aside from the obvious attempt to paint the current administration as incompetent and uncaring, they are masking their own major failure to protect our health; they have held up, for more than a year, the appointment of a Surgeon General. (And yes, the Surgeon General’s office does more than print those warnings on the side of cigarette packs.) There’s an acting Surgeon General who is not actually confirmed, so he has no power.

Oh, you say you didn’t know that?  You are not alone.  This fact has been well buried.  As reported in Politico, the nominee – Dr. Vivek Murthy – has had his confirmation held up by Republicans and conservative red-state Democrats because of his outspoken views on gun violence and public health.  It was apparently this tweet that sent right wing forces over the edge:

 

 

So it turns out that the real “fear” here is that the new US Surgeon General will openly make the case that rampant gun violence constitutes a major public health threat and that, in turn, will unleash the NRA’s public relations machine which, in turn, will try to defeat any Republican or Democrat who votes to approve Murthy’s nomination.

Unfortunately, fear does tend to work.  So, while spineless elected officials try to hold up the appointment of the Nation’s leading doctor for fear of not be re-elected, Americans are being told to fear a disease that is not killing them.

A confirmed Surgeon General would not only help focus American attention and resources on the real threats to American health – including gun violence – but would obviate the need for a so-called Ebola czar and create real US leadership on the issue.

Demand that Congress confirm Dr. Murthy now. NOW.  As a matter of fact, if you go here, you can sign a Credo petition that asks for the Senate to do just that.