Three years ago: what was once unimaginable, is no longer so
At their 12/10 meeting last week the Amherst Board Of Health spent 45 minutes (out of a one hour scheduled agenda ) tip toeing through a mine field ... while blindfolded.
They were trying to decide if gun violence falls within their perview as a public health issue. Like, say, tobacco. Although unlike tobacco, guns can be used safely. It's the 30,000+ annual deaths (mostly suicides) where guns were used not so safely, that concerns them.
And of course if you're a rational human being you cannot help but be affected by the tiny minority of major tragic events that seem to crop up more and more often these days.
Although it appears using those high profile incidents to promote gun control legislation has backfired, as any talk of added controls only stimulates gun sales in a country where guns now outnumber citizens.
The BOH decided to invite APD Chief Scott Livingstone to appear before them at an upcoming meeting to discuss guns, which are not a big problem in little Amherst.
Other members will reach out to national organizations working to reduce gun violence in the land of the free and home of the brave.
During the initial discussion, Board Of Health members seemed unclear if they had any jurisdiction or role in dealing with gun violence. But one outspoken member responded, "If not us, then who?"