In an op-ed published today in the Orlando Sentinel, Sarah Peck, director of PHAI’s #UnitedOnGuns initiative along with Northeastern Professor James Alan Fox consider the impact of lingering trauma from the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting, which occurred 5 years ago on June 12, 2016.
Peck and Fox note that the psychological toll on survivors, families, first responders, and others in the community is substantial and long-lasting. Recovery requires time and resources. Unfortunately, Florida Governor DeSantis has slashed funding for families and survivors of the attach who are in need of recovery services. These needs are not only relevant to the Pulse Shooting survivors and families, but to those of all mass shootings.
In many ways, the recovery response of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has been a model, but continued funding is needed to assist with recovery services that are still needed more than five years after such a traumatic and tragic event.
PHAI’s Sarah Peck, director of #UnitedOnGuns, along with James Alan Fox, the Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University, published an opinion piece in the Mercury News of San Jose, where a tragic public mass shooting at a light rail yard resulted in 10 deaths, including a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the shooter. Peck and Fox note that public mass shootings almost inevitably involve suicidal ideation on the part of the shooter. They write that this fact, “provides hope that some of these horrific crimes can be prevented by focusing specifically on suicide prevention.”
In fact, focusing on suicide prevention may be the most effective way to reduce death caused by guns in the U.S. as nearly 2 out of 3 gun deaths are the result of suicides. In the various gun narratives, this is hardly a dominant theme. Nor it the fact, pointed out by the authors, that, “the risk a household member will commit suicide is increased threefold when there is a gun in the home.” Peck and Fox recommend 2 policies to help reduce gun-involved suicides.
1) Temporarily remove a firearm when a household member is in crisis, and
2) Safely secure handguns and long guns bought for sport or protection, especially if there is a minor in the home.
The first of these policies is known as a “red flag” law or “extreme risk protection order” (ERPO). Evidence to date suggests that ERPO laws may, indeed, help to reduce suicide. Guns as, by far, the most effective means of successfully carrying out a suicide attempt. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that while, overall the 8.5% of suicide attempts result in death, 89.7% of suicide attempts involving guns are lethal. Safe storage of guns have been found to reduce gun-related injuries and death.
The Boston Globe has published on opinion piece by PHAI’s executive director, Mark A. Gottlieb, which summarizes the organization’s legal research concluding that paid Daily Fantasy Sports games are illegal under Massachusetts law. The piece, entitled, “Fantasy Sports Gambling is Illegal Under State Law,” explains the law and several reasons why it is important to enforce it.
Gottlieb argues that Daily Fantasy Sports games operated by DraftKings and FanDuel are a consumer rip-off as currently operated with almost all of the winnings going to full-time professionals. He goes on to criticize Internet gambling as posing a threat to current and potential compulsive gamblers, and that it is inconsistent with the limited casino gambling authorized by the state.
Massachusetts is among several states considering regulatory approaches to these games. Six states have banned them entirely.