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June 1992

A Public Health Solution to Violent Crime

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118(6):575-576. doi:10.1001/archotol.1992.01880060023005

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On December 15,1991, the United States celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union officially turned off the lights, shut the door, and declared itself out of business. These two stunning successes—one demonstrating the staying power of democratic principles, the other the triumph of hope over conventional wisdom—showed America in its best light. Unfortunately at no time during either day, or during the 9 days separating them, was there so much as a pause in the grinding violence that grips our nation.

That violence shows America in its worst light and contrasts sharply with the international movement toward peace, democracy, and disarmament. Although communities throughout the United States are facing an alarming increase in violent crime, the problem is especially acute in cities, where state and local budgets for police and public safety are being frozen or cut because of the recession.

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