Small steps toward a better world

hr_age-raceMany of my friends in America are in despair this morning, after yet another mass killing, this one in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Moreover, even though homicides have declined in the last decade, they remain startlingly high among young black males (homicide is a major source of inequality). And the mass killings by young white males just keep coming.

It seems as if nothing can be done, because

  1. Small increases in gun regulation consistent with the 2nd Amendment — for example, banning huge magazines like the Aurora killer used — will not eliminate mass killings.
  2. Small decreases in hyper-violent media will not eliminate mass killings.
  3. Small — i.e., feasible — improvements in mental health services will not eliminate mass killings.

Nevertheless, each of these things would help a little. And many small interventions accumulate over a large population to many saved lives.  Despair is a mistake. Let’s take small steps to a better world.

About Bill Gardner

A health care researcher and a child and quantitative psychologist by training. I am an American living in Canada and am Professor of Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and Community Health & Epidemiology at Dalhousie University; and Professor of Pediatrics, Psychology, and Psychiatry at The Ohio State University. I also blog at The Incidental Economist ( and you can follow me @Bill_Gardner on Twitter.
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