Epidemiological thinking applied to reducing domestic terrorism and gun violence, a podcast

There is a contrast in epidemiology and public health between shifting a population as a whole to reduce the risk of some disease and screening for high-risk individuals then treating them.  In a 9-minute podcast, this contrast is applied to vetting or banning immigrants in order to reduce risk of terrorism on US soil and to screening for mentally ill gun owners who might commit mass shootings.


One thought on “Epidemiological thinking applied to reducing domestic terrorism and gun violence, a podcast

  1. terylcartwrightblog

    Thank you for the description of how policies for a general population lessening the opportunities for destructive behavior differ from identifying and limiting a smaller group in engaging in destructive behavior. I think it’s important for people to grapple with these two very different problem solving approaches. Even though in your post you dealt with the negative and restrictive solutions in all but one instance, this inconsistency reminded me that it might be helpful to look at how all the solutions, positive and negative, need direct correlation to show their effectiveness as opposed to other variables or any holistic success.
    Yet I want to most focus on the hope that someone who has chafed at lack of freedom would then most likely fight for someone else’s freedom. It was a brilliant to suggest those who feel restricted in a general population policy ‘walk the talk” and be authentic in their beliefs in freedom, not claiming it only for themselves or in only for one particular area.
    But the very restrictions placed on them might be the very solutions they decided to enact on others–higher taxes, longer waiting times, buildings or zones that are ‘free’ and so on. Some will even see this extension of thinking as fair. They might even demand to have their chosen freedom granted before helping anyone else with theirs because some may think fairness is the same as right and rights are conditional. Sometimes we act as doctors to prescribe a cure for others when we don’t want (or think we need) to take the medicine ourselves.
    I am also troubled by the comparison of immigration policies to smoking and gun control policies just because some may suggest this implies immigration or immigrants themselves are like carcinogens or weapons or even disease. That is how hate talks.
    It is one thing to offer concerns, another to share common ground with you in hoping and encouraging the best in people. Asking people to have a vision of a better future helps. Perhaps looking at the positive policies that have made a difference and comparing this to the best we can do in our immigration policies would help remind people of what they want for themselves. You had some of this in your recording and I hope to hear more; it was well done. Thank you. You have offered some thought provoking, compelling words for people to see themselves and to reflect on their beliefs; my hope is they are taken to heart and not apart.


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