Dr. Charles H. Hennekens describes the death of so many young black men by murder as “a devastating epidemic”.
An article published in the April issue of the American Journal of Medicine titled “The New American Tragedy,” by Dr. Charles H. Hennekens, from Florida Atlantic University, reports that “More young black men die as a result of murder than those killed as a result of suicide, accidents and disease put together.” The study also found that, “In stark contrast, accidents are, far and away, the leading cause of death among young nonblack men and women of all races and ethnicities.” According to the study,
Black men are 6 times more likely to die as the result of and 7 times more likely to commit murder than their white counterparts. One eighth of the population is black, but one half of all homicide victims are black. Their reduced life expectancy of more than 6 years would be improved more from eliminating homicide than abolishing any other causes of death except cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The study cited evidence gathered on the deaths of young men, aged 15-34, from 1999 to 2009. In that time period there were 106,271 homicides, 85% (89,887) of which were men, and of those 49% (52,265) were African-American men. The report also points out that 91% of the homicides of African-American men were the result of firearms. Dr. Hennekens asserts that,
Public health practitioners are charged to identify threats to the health of the community and to bring scientific evidence to the attention of policy makers, even if the threats are lawful and whether or not policy makers choose to act on that evidence. For example, cigarettes are both lawful and popular, but public health support of laws controlling their exposure to the general population has contributed to the reduction of the premature mortality they cause.
As Dr. Hennekens states, “Death is inevitable, but premature death is not, including among young black men.”
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