I have just finished the remarkable book by Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which has been reissued in a 25th Anniversary edition. What Rhodes brilliantly describes is how scientists in various countries began developing a new branch of science – physics – in order to understand the behavior and structure of the atom, thus yielding a better insight into how our world and the universe functions around our world.

              Before World War I, these scientists lived and worked in Germany, France, the United States, and several other industrialized countries, but they kept track of advances in this new scientific field by coming together in public conferences where new research was discussed, criticized, and revised before any new consensus on an issue was accepted and then used to move the field forward as a whole.

              In that regard, I believe the scientific field known as gun violence research first got started with articles published by Philip Cook beginning in the late 1970’s and by Fred Rivara and Art Kellerman in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1992-93.

              Notwithstanding the absence of government funding for gun research from 1997 until 2019, the field has continued to grow, with research groups operating at numerous universities and private foundations throughout the United States. The academic collaborative website, ResearchGate, which is hardly an exhaustive listing, counts more than 50 articles and chapters on gun violence published this year.

              Yet with this newfound flurry of research into gun violence, one thing is still completely missing from the efforts of this scientific community to figure out what to do about a problem which kills and injures more than 125,000 Americans every year. As far as I know, and please correct me if I’m wrong, there is still no commitment on the part of this group to come together on a regular basis, present their research to others who are qualified in the same field, and to use the results of such discussions to invigorate and widen the knowledge within their own discipline and the scientific understanding of this issue.

              There are plenty of public meetings and events held each year which bring people together to think and talk about gun violence and what we should do to reduce the horrific human cost. But these meetings are not where the type of cross-fertilization and informed critiques occur that could create a more robust research field. In the main, they are events which advocacy organizations utilize to build more support for their cause.

              That’s fine for what it’s worth. But those meetings do not provide a suitable venue for public health, medical and other scientific disciplines to discuss critically and substantially the research which might ultimately provide us with the answers to solving gun violence which we still need.

              Back in 2020 and 2021, gun violence spiked at the same time the Pandemic was tearing through the land. I don’t have enough fingers on my two hands to enumerate all the statements that were made about how Covid-19 was creating a social environment which was conducive to more gun violence events.

              Sounded logical, right? A quick and easy answer was all very nice and well, but that’s all it was. Here we are in 2023, the Covid-19 virus is still around but is no longer considered a widespread threat, yet gun violence continues to occur on a level we have never seen before.

How did that happen? WTFK.

              I’m not pleased with writing about gun violence these days with having only the slightest understanding of what’s going on. But until and unless the gun violence researchers start coming together to exchange ideas, theories, and findings in an unrestrained, critical way, I’m going to keep reading and hearing the same old, same old about gun violence which has basically moved the field no further along than it was thirty years ago.

              And just to make it clear that I consider this issue to be as serious as the deaths and injuries caused by guns, I am willing to contribute $10,000 to any group of bone fide researchers who would be willing to organize and sustain such a commitment to their field on a regular basis.