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Medicine Lowers Homicide Rate?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Advocat, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    In a new theory which tries to explain the dip in homicide rates over the last few years, researchers are pointing at improved trauma centers and medical practices.
    (More technical...)

    In other words, new medical techiques allow us to save people with bullet wounds and other severe trauma who certainly would have died only a few years ago... leading to a more assault charges, and fewer homicides (while both types of crimes have fallen, the rate of assaults has not fallen as quickly as homicides).

    Additionally, this theory points out that poor/underfunded areas aren't as likely to have advanced medical equipment or clinics available... thus possibly explaining (at least partly) the fact that inner cities have a higher death rate than the suburbs.

  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Prozac? Zoloft? Viagra?
  3. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    Up to this point, most social scientists have tried to point to the aging population (young people commit more violent crime), changes in social programs, higher education levels and other reasons for the lowered level of killings... but mostly they just shrug their shoulders.

    Could it be something as simple as "medicine can now save more people"?
  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I have long had a theory that the reason we have increases in so many cancers is that we are outliving so many things we would have died with as recently as 100 years ago. Many simple infections we get could have been fatal before broad spectrum antibiotics. Refrigerated food and proper cooking have saved many more lives. So now cancer rates increase. How much because we just lived long enough? Don't ask for links, just a theory in the back of my pea brain.
  5. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Your theory(hypothesis?) makes sense to me, ST. We are living much longer these days, and I would bet that many more people would have died of cancer years ago had they not died of other things such as now easily treatable infections. Even though we eat more like hogs now, our food is generally much more nutritious than it was 100 years ago or more. I believe that is why scientists say we are slightly taller than we were many years ago. The average height of humans is quite a few inches more than it was even in the 1800's.

    Perhaps the holy grail that is curing cancer is the same cure for aging? Wouldn't that be a fascinating discovery? I don't find it the slightest bit far fetched to imagine that we could one day stop, or even reverse, the aging process.
  6. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    In this thread: <a href="http://www.globalaffairs.org/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5055">NY Times Year of Ideas</a> there was a link to the New York Times Magazine <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/index.html">"Year in Ideas"</a> Being the curious sort, I checked out some of the article. The one at the top of the list, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/15/magazine/15AMBU.html">The Ambulance-Homicide Theory</a> caught my eye.

    (If you don't want to register, log in to the New York Times online with user name - globalaffair and password: ethics ;) )

    Anthony Harris, director of the Criminal Justice Program at the University of Massachusetts asserts that
    The article goes on to explain how Harris came to this conclusion after many years of trying to figure out why
    He got his answer while watching the TV program E.R. during an episode in which a man had been stabbed in the head with a large knife and the heroic efforts of the medical staff saved his life. His attacker, instead of being charged with murder, only got aggravated assault.

    In the journal, Homicide Studies, Harris and three colleagues published a paper, "Murder and Medicine" in which they determined the murder rate is lower than it would be due mostly to swifter ambulance response, better trained EMS and advances in hospital trauma care. We aren't trying to kill each other any less, it's getting more difficult to kill because paramedics and ER doctors are saving more lives than ever before.

    One of the implications of this is that communities with less access to advanced medical care may have higher murder rates. Also, the murder rate for some racial or ethnic groups may also be "higher" due to the social or cultural reluctance to seek timely medical care. And then there is intent - the person intending to kill someone will be more likely to succeed in such a community, and would thus be punished more harshly. Another person with the same intent to kill may only serve time for aggravated assault. Their sentences would not be based on whether they intended to kill, or even the amount of force used, but by the availability of nearby medical care.

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