Which is worse? Swine flu or violence?

Why is there so much worry about a mutated virus? Its spread is easily controlled with simple, inexpensive precautions, it is the target of some of the best teams of scientific and medical personnel in the world, and to date it has only caused one death in the United States. On the other hand, in 2007 nearly 17,000 people lost their lives and another 1.4 million were traumatized by an epidemic to which everyone seems to be comfortably numb. It costs the federal government $300 billion per year, and the victims pay $500 billion per year (World Health Organization).

The Center for Disease Control says this highly contagious and often fatal disease is violence. It is spread and fed through the media and dysfunctional family systems, school systems, prison systems, and innumerable misdirected agencies and laws. The efforts to repress violence, to repair and control its damage, are uncoordinated, single-issue, and inefficient.

However, in Congress there is a proposal (HR 808) for a whole-systems approach to coordinating and focusing prevention efforts. We know that prevention works. Restorative justice prevents recidivism. Alcohol and drug treatment prevents violent and property crime. Conflict resolution education in schools prevents bullying and bullies becoming criminals. Parenting education prevents delinquent children. Relationship and anger management counseling prevents domestic violence.

We can have recovery from this epidemic. We can restore “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to our nation. More information is available online at The Peace Alliance website.

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