Dealing with trauma from dealing with the aftermath of gun violence.

Trauma affects people in different ways, but the effects are real and significant. Putting programs in place for those who deal with such trauma ahead of time is mental health common sense. Soldiers, Police Officers, Range Employees and Emergency Medical Personnel are all populations who should participate in trauma mitigation activities prior to inevitably encountering the aftermath of  gun  injuries, whether the cause be war, crime, negligence or suicide.

A recent article from NPR detailed “How Doctors And Nurses Cope With The Human Toll Of Gun Violence.” Unfortunately, the loudest voice in the gun community riled health care professionals with a poorly thought out attack against them recently, resulting in them speaking even more loudly about the trauma they suffer while dealing with firearms injuries.

“After the National Rifle Association told doctors to “stay in their lane” in response to a policy proposal from the American College of Physicians for reducing gun-related injuries and deaths, there was a backlash. Health care professionals shared heart-wrenching stories about treating people harmed by firearms.”

“Researchers call the psychological consequences of caring for trauma victims “secondary traumatic stress” or “vicarious trauma.” Choi says it can appear to be like post-traumatic stress disorder: nightmares, intrusive memories, and what she calls “trauma distortion,” or when normal events trigger thoughts of violence or abuse.”

The Article goes on to document the way several individuals deal with the trauma while pointing out that neither medical school nor hospitals generally do a very good job of addressing this area. It is important to remember that firearms are, ultimately, defensive tools. They are often used rightfully to stop attackers and defend life. In some of these cases, the defensive shooter, responding police officers or involved medical personnel may be affected negatively even though the use of the firearm was justified. The WTTA believes that more must be done before negative psychological impact manifests itself in any individual. Implementing proactive programs, starting by simply acknowledging that firearms injury aftermath trauma is real, into the firearms community and all of the communities affected by their use.