The key to reducing gun violence in Missouri is to work to reduce investment in both urban and rural communities throughout the state. Panelists said in a digital discussion hosted Wednesday Star And Jewel’s American Public Square.
The event was part of Gun violence in Missouri: seeking a solution, A series of virtual events hosted by The Star Missouri Gun Violence Project — A two-year state-wide journalism collaboration investigating the causes of gun violence and possible solutions. The event was moderated by Caitlin Washburn, a reporter for the star gun violence team.
Wednesday’s discussions centered on a series of star reports released in March, which found that poverty and despair were responsible for the high rates of firearm murder and suicide. St. Louis, the largest city in the state, And mainly the countryside Southeast region.. Reporters from St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Springfield News Reader contributed to the article.
According to experts, lack of income, employment and housing in the two regions could explain their high gun violence rates.
The panel included Vice President Linel Phillips. Missouri Public Health Association, Registered nurse and associate professor at the University of Missouri. Marsha Keene-Frye, CEO Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center; Senior Policy Analyst, Ari Davis Union to stop gun violence And Jessica Myers, Project Director St. Louis Regional Violence Prevention Commission..
The debate over St. Louis’ economic situation is inseparable from racial issues and systematic withdrawal of investment, Myers said.
In St. Louis, she said, Delmar Boulevard is the line that divides the city along racial and economic lines. Poverty and violence are concentrated north of the “Delmer Division”.
According to Myers, the community north of the division feels over-reduced when it comes to enforcement and under-restricted when it comes to responding to calls for help.
“Therefore, there is less cooperation with law enforcement agencies in many areas where disadvantages are concentrated,” she said. “This leads to a cycle of violence in which the perpetrator is not arrested and is free to commit more violence, and you may be subject to retaliatory violence.”
The impact of the withdrawal of investment is also felt more seriously by the rural communities of the state, according to Keane Frey.
Mississippi County ranks 112 of 115 Missouri counties by child health risk factors, with more than 40% of children under the age of 6 in poverty.
“When people are desperate and don’t have much upward liquidity or opportunities for change, they do desperate things,” she said. “I feel that the economic situation in our community has a tremendous impact on gun violence and the opportunities people think they have.”
According to Davis, guns are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35 in Missouri, with more young people dying from guns than any other health factor in the state.
Certain interventions need to be tailored to different types of gun violence, including domestic gun violence, local gun violence, and gun murder, but at the root of gun suicide in rural areas of the state. He said the cause was that he stopped investing in the neighborhood of the city.
“It’s important to address social determinants of (health) like poverty,” Davis said.
According to Myers, you need to expand your home to address the financial disadvantages of the community.
“St. Louis has an affordable home trust fund that exists to help low-income households buy homes, but it’s not well funded,” she said. “Therefore, if you really want to break the generation cycle of poverty, you need to fully fund an affordable housing trust fund in the city and create it in the county.”
According to Phillips, poverty is a misunderstood culture and is ashamed of those who are experiencing financial difficulties due to their lack of understanding of what poverty means.
She said it is important to understand challenges, generational implications and different types of poverty in order to address policies that affect the poor.
According to Phillips, there is some good news.
With the federal reinvestment in public health by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state expects to receive funding to invest in local public health infrastructure.
She said it could be assigned to the county’s health sector to improve local public health infrastructure.
In recent years, she said, the county’s health sector has begun readjustments to address the social determinants of health in order to address the health of the region as a whole.
“Wealth is equal to health,” Phillips said. “Living in poverty has many implications for your health.”