Aiming for Prevention: International Initiatives

Medical Voices Against Violence
IPPNW medical professionals tell their stories

Germany, physician

"Have you heard about the school shooting in the South of Germany? Isn't that where you come from?" It's early in the morning, rounds have just begun, and my American coworkers at the hospital are worried.

The news is all over the internet: A 17 year old boy shot 15 people and finally committed suicide with his father's gun, everything happening 10 minutes away from where my family lives. In Arizona on medical training, I feel far away from the media craziness and the highly emotional debates developing in Germany. Who's to blame? Did the preceding shooting in Alabama serve as a trigger, is it all about violence in video games? Would stricter laws for gun ownership be an adequate preventive measure?

Four weeks later, I am back home. The local newspaper proudly announces that following the shooting, almost 400 firearms of all kinds and 250 kg of ammunition have been voluntarily handed in so far. I wonder how many more bullets are still stored by my neighbours, leading to a horribly dangerous illusion of security.

The camera crews have left, but the region still struggles with the consequences of the shooting, and there's loss everywhere. As a medical student and future doctor, I want to protect people from harming themselves and others with those deadly substitutes for trust and self-esteem.

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For more information about Aiming for Prevention, contact Maria Valenti, Campaign Coordinator, 1.617.440.1733 ext. 303.