The Trauma That Lingers




Violence marks us with a fever.

A fever that marks:

The shooters or victims, who think they need to retaliate.

Those, who think they need to defend  or protect themselves by carrying a gun.

Those, who flee their streets, their communities, their cities wanting to protect themselves or their families or their businesses or whatever it is they think is endangered.

Especially those who carry the wounds of gun violence.

What help is there for them?

Here are two articles that raise the issue and then ask whether enough is being done.

This article from MSNBC begins:

By Trymaine Lee

CHICAGO— Keauna Wise knows death could come at any moment. So she waits with knots in her stomach and tears in her eyes. She’s often breathless, with anxiety that climbs from the bottom of her feet up into her gut.

And it makes it point here:

“Of all the destruction that gun violence has heaped on the residents of Chicago’s most vulnerable and depleted neighborhoods, physical wounds may not cast the longest shadow. It may instead be the trauma of witnessing repeated acts of violence, of losing loved ones and any sense of safety; of living – for all intents and purposes – in a war zone.

“There is a growing body of research around soldiers returning from war with post-traumatic stress disorder and a number of programs have been launched to treat them. But what happens when the war is at home, the soldiers are civilians and the trenches are city blocks, playgrounds and front porches?

“A recent study by Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, a Level-1 trauma center that treats many of the city’s shooting victims, found that 40% of patients showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Those wounded by gunfire were about 13 times as likely as others to suffer symptoms of PTSD, which include anxiety, isolation, anger and sleeplessness.

here’s the link to this article:

And this article from ColorLines looks at what needs to be done.

“Unlike homicides, however, non-fatal shootings and their impact on the health, educational, social and economic outcomes of survivors, families and their communities are vastly understudied. Yale University sociologist Andrew Papachristos reviewed six years of Chicago Police Department data, running through September 2012, and found that one in 200 black men are victims of a non-fatal shooting each year. That’s 12 times the city average. Further, they are concentrated in specific neighborhoods; roughly 70 percent of these victims can be found in small networks comprising less than 6 percent of Chicago’s population. The data suggests neighborhoods full of the walking wounded.

“Yet, in Chicago, advocates, parents and service providers told Colorlines that there are little to no victim services available for these wounded men—to the point that victims, their families and communities are shouldering alone the financial and psychic costs of crime. There does exist a national apparatus for helping people affected by violent crime recover—an $11 billion fund Congress established to support crime victims. But young black men have largely fallen through the cracks of these programs, in part because law enforcement often serves as arbiter of who’s a deserving victim and who’s not, deciding who gets aid and who must fend for themselves.

“Service providers in Chicago also say the lack of an organized response aimed at black male victims is a lost opportunity to stop the cycle of violence. The hours and days following a shooting mark a singular point of vulnerability and are therefore a sweet spot for intervention. Failing to respond in that moment not only wastes the opportunity, it also pushes young men even further off the grid and into the only system that will have them: criminal justice.

“People don’t think of African-American males as being victims of violence,” says Waldo Johnson, an associate professor of social work at the University of Chicago, who has studied the health of black men and boys on Chicago’s South Side for 20 years. “People think of young black males as the ones who perpetrate violent crime, and if they are victims, then that’s part of what they experience while doing things they shouldn’t be doing.”

here’s the link to this article:



Here is Dr. Gary Slutkin, who created the Cease Fire effort in Chicago. He explains his theory here.

And here’s a Wired article that explores this issue.

Have you done reporting that deals with this issue?

Are you wondering how to do it?

talk to me – digame, office 312 369 6400




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