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February 2, 2024 36 mins

Episode 1 focuses on the aftermath of gun violence and how it impacts Black communities. It features Vanessa' Tyler's conversation with Wesley Hamilton, a gunshot survivor who became paralyzed from the waist down. Despite his injuries, Wesley was able to turn his life around and start an organization called " Disabled But Not Really " to help others with disabilities. The episode shines a light on the ripple effects of gun violence in Black communities and the resilience of survivors like Wesley.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Blackland. I'm Vanessa Tyler. Like so many, I
lost someone I loved to gun violence in my hometown
of Harlem, New York. But not every bullet kills. Some
just destroy and leaves the person alive. Emergency room doctors
can tell you that. On this episode, we talked to
two doctors from the very active Grady Hospital in Atlanta,

one an emergency room doctor, the other a trauma surgeon.
Both on the battle front of street violence. Two brilliant
black life savers doing more than just patching up bullet holes.
They're trying to stop the violence in the first place.
But first I talk with a gun shot victim. In
my news career, I've interviewed a lot of victims of crime,

people like Wesley Hamilton. He was shot, the bullet fractured
his rib and severed as spine. You would be surprised
how he turned around his life in the wheelchair and
at one point even meets and talks with the guy
who put him in the chair.

Speaker 2 (01:03):
The headlines always talk about black man being killed by
gun violence, but no one talks about the survivors of
the gun violence.

Speaker 1 (01:11):
Now, as a brown person, you just feel so invisible.

Speaker 3 (01:16):
Where we're from brothers and sisters.

Speaker 1 (01:20):
Are welcome you to this joyful and day and we
celebrate freedom.

Speaker 4 (01:23):
Where we are I know someone's heard something and where
we're going.

Speaker 1 (01:29):
We the people means all the people.

Speaker 5 (01:32):
The Black Information That Works presents Blackland with your host
Vanessa Tyler.

Speaker 4 (01:39):
Yo Shot Fired, sy shots fire shots fired.

Speaker 1 (01:46):
When a person is shot, they don't always die. A
lot live live with a lifelong injury. On this edition
of Blackland, Black Bodies and One Man's Mission to Build
Back Better. Physical trainers love to say summer bodies are
made in winter. The gym's perfect for the able body

to get in shape. But what if you're not. There
are so many permanent spinal injuries on the streets.

Speaker 4 (02:21):
Stop why did.

Speaker 6 (02:24):
You run for me?

Speaker 1 (02:26):
So many will never walk again, whether by cop or
by black on black crime. Many of those bullets land
right in the back. For Wesley Hamilton, it was the latter,
senseless street crime sentenced him to life in the wheelchair.

Speaker 2 (02:45):
I wash I in my abdomen two times and that
led to me having a spinal cord injury for the
rest of my life.

Speaker 1 (02:53):
Wesley Hamilton still wants to work out in a gym,
since not all gyms are for everybody. His mission is
to change that.

Speaker 4 (03:02):
Hey, thank you for having me. I truly appreciate this.
And yes, let's chat.

Speaker 1 (03:10):
Gems for the disabled. Great idea, talk about the need.

Speaker 2 (03:17):
Yes, you know, when you think about wellness, everyone needs
to be introduced to a healthy lifestyle. It brings longevity
and it helps, you know, take care of just health complications.
And when you think of people with disabilities, this is
a large community of individuals that do deal with health

complications depending on what their injury is. But the wellness
community has left these individuals out and so for me,
the need has always been there, but it's just time
to raise awareness for people to see themselves in a
community that they overlook.

Speaker 1 (03:59):
What do you gym's look because you know, we all
have in mind, you know, the different and of course
weights and the different machines, But how would they look?
Would they look the same?

Speaker 4 (04:10):
Absolutely? I think that.

Speaker 2 (04:12):
You know, when you think about gym equipment, there's a
lot of different variations of equipment, and most gyms sometimes
just go with the same company. They go with some
type of equipment that they think serves everybody.

Speaker 4 (04:30):
And to me, if people.

Speaker 2 (04:32):
Just kind of look and do their research on particular equipment,
they will find out that there is equipment that doesn't
change the aesthetic of the gym, but actually compliments everybody.

Speaker 1 (04:45):
Now, are you talking about gyms that would be exclusively
or just gyms that would have equipment that could accommodate.

Speaker 2 (04:51):
I'm just speaking from gym's period, because you know, when
you think about even what I've done and created a
model of a gem for individuals with disability, I did
that because most gyms aren't ready to make themselves inclusive.

Speaker 4 (05:07):
My whole goal is.

Speaker 2 (05:08):
That where I go work out, my family can too, right, Like,
that's how we look at inclusion. But when you go
into a global gym, it lacks equipment that actually complements
a disabled body. And most people might think it's a
lot of different type of equipment, but it's really not.

Speaker 1 (05:28):
And I was just thinking about the Americans with Disabilities Act,
which kind of made it things accessible, but they didn't
do it for gyms though.

Speaker 4 (05:39):
Yeah, a lot of things.

Speaker 2 (05:40):
I feel like there's so many layers when you think
of accessibility, and sometimes, you know, especially back when the
ADA Act was implemented, I don't think a lot of
people was, you know, thinking that individuals with disabilities will
want to go into a gym or go into like
the health and wellness are especially back in the seventies

and eighties. But as you've seen a change in the
last few years, especially with the pandemic, a lot of
people started focusing on health and that. At the same time,
when you see an individual with a disability working out,
it's still an inspiring thing to society when it should

be a normal thing to society.

Speaker 1 (06:25):
Your organization disabled, but not really what's the mission there?

Speaker 2 (06:31):
So the mission with disabledment not really is to help
individuals with physical disabilities find their identity after injury.

Speaker 1 (06:41):
You're a black man, and the way you became disabled
is a way so many black men are disabled. They're shocked,
usually in the back, either by police or equally tragic
by each other. Talk about that day, How long as
it's been, and when.

Speaker 4 (06:58):
Were you shot? Absolutely I was.

Speaker 2 (07:03):
I was shot eleven years ago, January fourteen, twenty twelve,
and it was after a verbal altercation with really just
me and another like an acquaintance of female And just
like most situations, you know, the person that shot me,
I never really even had a conversation with.

Speaker 4 (07:25):
It was just I can't speak for him and why
he did it.

Speaker 2 (07:29):
But what I can't say is that the energy that
was in the space did create eight whatever that end
result was, And for me, I was just.

Speaker 4 (07:41):
A product of my environment.

Speaker 2 (07:42):
So I was shot in my abdomen two times and
that led to me having a spinal cord injury for
the rest of my life.

Speaker 1 (07:54):
So you were arguing with someone else and this other
person came on the scene, Yep.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
Absolutely, And the person that came on the scene was
literally just trying to have I guess the other the
person that was in the house, trying to have their back,
you know, just literally looking out for them. And the
only reason why I noticed is because over time, you know,
after going through healing, I was able to meet the
person that shot me.

Speaker 1 (08:21):
It was a conversation years later, captured on video and
aired on Netflix Square Eye, Wesley Hamilton speaking to the
man who put them in the chair.

Speaker 3 (08:31):
I don't want to go back and forth to make
it like a you know, whose fault this was? The
fault there was. I don't want to do that to
get some kind of clarity on my perspective, what would
happen when I get there. I see your partner and
your woman at the time or whatever like that or you.

Speaker 2 (08:47):
So I understand that my actions and my feelings and
my emotions probably took the best of me that day,
but it was still more or less like.

Speaker 4 (08:56):
Why you.

Speaker 3 (08:58):
I've seen you bucking up to me my cousin, you
know what I'm saying, and he told me that you
had a pistol your partner. I see his pistol. We
got a thirty round magazine hanging out and I seen
the back and forth one and I'm like, damn, all
this over a bitch. That's when you started to come
over towards me. You know how the street short. You know,
I can't see years in my mind you got the
pistol too. I'm like, man, look I'm not going for that.

I can't. You know what I'm saying, risk me getting
shot or getting you know what I'm saying. So what
happened happened.

Speaker 4 (09:29):
It's crazy to hear it now.

Speaker 2 (09:33):
We lived in a place where we all strapped and
we don't care as long as we're trying to protect
somebody that we love. I could understand why you did
what you did. I was able to understand his reasoning
of why this all transition, and it was basically just

trying to protect somebody else that he knew.

Speaker 1 (09:56):
Talk about the growing population of black men parallel by.

Speaker 2 (10:00):
Bullet yes, I feel like, you know, I always the
way I always say it is like, you know, the
headlines always talk about black men being killed by gun violence,
but no one talks about the survivors of the gun violence.
And there's just a large number of individuals of color
that have been victims to gun violence, men and women, unfortunately.

And yeah, the number is rising because the gun violence
has risen. And with that, you know, again everyone don't die.
And because you know, being in a wheelchair and being
a survivor of gun violence or a victim, depending on
where you are in your story, that's just not represented enough.

So we don't even sometimes realize how many people in
our communities are you know, you know, and have a
disability due to some tragedy, because it's overlooked and not
seen as much as other communities.

Speaker 1 (11:06):
Most of us. Working out is physical, but equally important
working out is mental. What does this do for you
especially and probably for others in this similar situation.

Speaker 2 (11:20):
You know, I think that our whole goal, even with
my nonprofit is to push people past their mental limits.
We focus on physical fitness and nutrition, but the whole
goal is you know, most people in society, no matter
if you're disabled or not, there's something that you believe
you can't do unless you've overcame that. But having a disability,

most people don't think they can do too much anymore,
especially if you acquired it later on in life. You know,
the only thing that you knew is how to be
an able body. So what we do is we use the
gym to help people push and so it could be
something as simple as I don't think that I'm going
to be able to transfer myself every day. Well, if

we can get you to transfer, what happens is, yeah,
you did something physically good, but mentally you've just overcame
something even bigger. And that's, you know, more or less.
It's the way that we try to operate is that
within the disabled community, most people project that you're mentally defeated.

You're dealing with all these things, but no one's given
you the ability to think that you're more. As much
as they're like, oh man, you can't do this, you
can't do that, or even they think of themselves as
can't do this or that. So mental is very important
and it's the way that we practice getting our mental
health challenge, in our mental perspective challenge, because if we

can challenge it, we can overcome it. And then we
can overcome it, we can become whatever we want to be,
no matter what limitations we have.

Speaker 1 (12:56):
I think about those sporting events, and I mean, these
guys are so physically fit, their arms are strong.

Speaker 7 (13:04):
Urcu three very good shots at gold, including the defecting
Paralympic champion John franco Io to the twenty seven year
old from Garfield, New Jersey, who won this race in
Rio this year.

Speaker 2 (13:17):
He has rased the disable but not really is means
just owning up to disability based off of society's perception.
But everything that you become after that disability is so
much more. And with society limiting so much of what
you can do, you're disabled but not.

Speaker 1 (13:34):
Really, Wesley. Many listeners already know you. Maybe they saw
you on Good Morning America where you got a one
million dollar donation.

Speaker 5 (13:47):
Talk about that surprise, ah well, as you referenced earlier,
I am a black man that was a survivor of
gun violence started this nonprofit organization.

Speaker 4 (14:01):
Literally just wanting.

Speaker 2 (14:02):
To help other people that look like me with the
things that the tools that I used to give me to.

Speaker 4 (14:10):
Where I am today.

Speaker 2 (14:12):
And I say all of that because, you know, receiving
that award on Good Morning America, it was truly based
off of someone watching this journey and believing in it
enough to invest in it to grow more. And that's
something that to me, I will forever be grateful and

indebted to them because all I did was have a
vision to change the perception that I once believed and
to know that someone could be able to see that
in me and want me to do that for so
many more people. Yeah, it's one of those heartfelt moments
that I extend gratitude every day.

Speaker 1 (14:58):
And many will get to know you with your parents
on the show Queer I, which is on Netflix. What
will you be doing there?

Speaker 4 (15:07):
Yeah, So.

Speaker 2 (15:10):
I definitely love being able to be on Query with
Netflix and this last season that will be out this year.
I'm just coming back and using my tools and my
mindset and the stuff that I do is disabled, but
not really to help another individual in a wheelchair. The

young man is a young black man that has a
very powerful story that many might sympathize from, but within
a black community, I think you could empathize from it,
and his injury is something that will for me, I
empathize through the whole thing. And so I get to
come in and, you know, assist this young man in

trying to find and purpose in life after something happens
to him that has changed the trajectory of his life.
I'm truly excited, and I hope everybody can check that out.
I did have a first appearance with Querral where they
came in and did the same thing for me. It
was in the earlier season, but within that I was

able to meet the person that shot me on that
episode and tell them how grateful I was.

Speaker 4 (16:23):
So if you want to.

Speaker 2 (16:25):
Tap into either queer episode, I think both stories would
be very powerful for anyone that watches it.

Speaker 1 (16:31):
He's also given TEDx talks taking his compelling life story
on the road.

Speaker 4 (16:42):
By show off hands.

Speaker 8 (16:45):
How many of you can actually say you truly know
who you are, and in fact, how many of you
can say that you love everything about yourself. The reality
is that it really took me to be in a
wheelchair to find myself and through the adversity and challenges
that I faced every day helped me in that process.

Speaker 1 (17:08):
And then you said it took you being in a
wheelchair to love yourself.

Speaker 4 (17:14):
Why, oh yeah, that's so good. I think about.

Speaker 2 (17:22):
Being a product of my environment and not really having
a visual representation of a black man loving himself to
the point he creates his own reality. So when I think,
you know, back to my accident and what has happened
to me. I accepted that fate. I accepted being shy.
I didn't know I was going to be paralyzed, but

I accepted it. I didn't know anymore. That's not loving
yourself to a point you know that you can move
forward or have hope. That was literally the mindset and
how I saw myself. And so after being in a chair,
everything ain't just changed. I got healthier.

Speaker 4 (18:01):
I'm a single.

Speaker 2 (18:02):
Father, so you know, I feel like I became a
better father, you know, physically and mentally, just my career.
My life has changed in eleven years. And I loved
myself for that. And I don't think that none of
it would have happened if I didn't start looking in
a mirror and starting to be okay with the person

I saw, and I had never took that approach in
life before. So I think I ran the streets with
a negative mindset because I never truly knew or loved
the person that I was, because I didn't know who
I was. And now I do know who I am,
and I give all that thanks to being able to
have my life changed the way.

Speaker 1 (18:43):
It did before the shooting. You were pretty heavy or overweight, guy, Yeah.

Speaker 4 (18:49):
I was like, you know, like.

Speaker 2 (18:54):
I laugh about it, but I say within a black community,
it is because health and wellness isn't pushed the way
it's should be. We use the term big bonded, and
I was big bonded, and I was big bonded my
whole life. I believe that I was big bonded. There
was no change in.

Speaker 4 (19:14):
My size, you know. And and yeah, so yeah I
was big. I'm five four.

Speaker 2 (19:20):
I used to always try to get myself more inches
in height so people wouldn't hear the two hundred plus pounds.
But I was definitely like two fifty and I'm only
five four, So yeah, how.

Speaker 1 (19:30):
Can people connect with you? They want to follow and
reach out.

Speaker 2 (19:34):
People can go to disabled but not really this sounds
the same way as spelled and that's on all platforms.

Speaker 4 (19:40):
If you're looking just for.

Speaker 2 (19:41):
Me directly, you can go to im West Hamilton w
S and that's on all social media platforms as well.

Speaker 1 (19:50):
Wow. Wesley Hamilton on a mission to open gyms for
those with disabilities and his advocacy organization Disabled but not really.
Thank you Wesley for your power.

Speaker 4 (20:02):
Thank you, I appreciate you.

Speaker 1 (20:04):
Leslie Hamilton tells a story that's really common, but at
least his story has a twist. Here's the common part. Guns, bullets, sirens,
just seconds between life and death. That's just a typical
day at the office for doctor Maurice Selby and doctor
Randy Smith. You're both emergency room doctors at Greedy and

for those of us who are not in Atlanta, they
must hear that Greedy is probably the pre eminent trauma center.
So doctor Selby and doctor Smith, welcome to Blackland on
the black Information Network. Would you both tell me? I'll
start with you doctor Selby. First, you've heard Wesley's story

and you see the everyday aftermath of the gun war.
Talk about what it's like for you the moment you
clock in at the hospital.

Speaker 6 (21:00):
Just for a background, ladies and gentlemen, I'm an emergency
physician hailing from New York and new to Atlanta. And
you know, I'll start with because his story was very impactful,
and while we saw gun violence in New York, I
was really traumatized myself with my experience here in Atlanta, Georgia,
because when we talk about gun violences on a whole

different scale, I think the scale that's more reflective of
what we see around the country as far as injury
from violence. And what really struck me with his story
was the fact that I think a lot of when
we talk about injuries from violence, violent injury in general,
but especially from fire arms, I think a lot of

a conversation is centered around death. Right when we talk
about these mass shootings. Even if we talk about that,
a lot of the times you'll talk about how many
people were killed in those instances, but very few people
talk about the injuries that people live with after. Right injuries, Yeah, yes, exactly,

permanent injuries. We're talking about psychological injury, not just the physical.
And then if we talk about right, take that conversation
to how that person's life is impacted everything from their
ability to make a living, we talk about their interpersonal relations. Right,

we're talking about a life that is significantly altered, regardless,
no matter how seemingly smaller injury was. We talk about
that person's being on this earth being drastically changed for
the rest of their life.

Speaker 1 (22:34):
And doctor Smith, those injuries usually that you see that
you're in the operating room, those injuries are major. I mean,
these are people coming in with multiple gunshots and survive.
I mean, I think about fifty cents, he shot nine times.
But you're seeing what.

Speaker 6 (22:52):

Speaker 9 (22:53):
So I'm a trauma surgeon, So like you said, I
see people when they are in the trauma center, and
I sometimes have to take them to the operating room.

Speaker 6 (23:01):
And it's true.

Speaker 9 (23:02):
I see the worst cases where multiple organs are damaged,
sometimes intestines are damaged, and people have a colossomy bag,
sometimes temporary and sometimes for life. And then I see
some people who don't make it to the operating room,
either because their injuries are big or they're small. And
I'll say that you know what doctor Selby was talking about.

We know what happens to people when they are when
they expire, and we have those numbers, but we don't
have good data on how many people are actually impacted
by injury. Firearm injury is pretty prevalent in our country.
The latest estimates say that it's about one hundred and
twenty thousand about their people who are injured each year.

And that's just the individuals who are injured. We're not
taking into account their nucleus, their support system, their families,
their communities and neighborhoods. And so when you start to
think about how much this problem has expanded, how many
people are actually impacted, the number is quite extensive. And
I'll tell you from a trauma surgeon's perspective, it's quite tiring.

You know, my every day is dealing with gunshot wounds
and firearm injuries in some capacity and trying to mitigate
that from happening and trying to interrupt the cycle. And
I will tell you that talking to family members and
telling them that their loved ones have been injured by
firearm injuries is the worst part of my job and

it is something that I have to do on a
daily basis.

Speaker 1 (24:34):
I was going to ask you about that because you
both do have to deliver the news of whatever it
may be, whether it's death or you know, this person
will never walk again. That's got to be, like you said, tough,
doctor Selby, when you turn around and they're waiting in
the waiting room and then here you show up with

the news.

Speaker 6 (24:55):
Yes, it's tough. And I think part of the conversation, right,
is one thing that's sort of come to light, especially
with you know, COVID nineteen and everything that happened after that, right,
the fallout after that. One thing that's come to light
lately is sort of providers wellness and resiliency in the

face of this, right, in the face of a crisis
like that. So if we talk about, you know, just
as we talked about the challenges with COVID and how
that impacted the care that we're able to deliver, you
can make the same conversation or to have that same
conversation when it comes to gun violence, right, because I
can tell you from experience and from also talking to
my colleagues about how challenging it is to wake up

and go into that each and every day, right, Having
to break that news over and over again, having to
see young men, young black men, young black men around
the same age as myself, right, dealing with my own
mortality and seeing that happen over and over again, it
is traumatizing. And you know what I'm really afraid of

is that at some point we might get to the
point where they're no longer providers or enough providers to
care for individuals. If we continue in this rate right
over one hundred and twenty thousand injuries per year, as
doctor Smith said, right, we might be running up against
a point where it becomes more difficult to provide under
the best circumstances. Right us trying our best, we might

not be able to live up to the standard of
care we would like to provide because there's not enough
people to do it. Because it's that difficult.

Speaker 1 (26:29):
Because after you you heal them, doctor Smith, then they
obviously going to have to have multiple appointments. I mean
they're in the hospital at doctors' visits probably certainly every
week every other week after they are released from the
hospital with multiple gun shots.

Speaker 9 (26:46):
You know, I'll tell you some people do need to
come back week after week, and sometimes they need to
come just once. But the issue that we face is
that there's so many barriers of just coming back for
a follow up appointment. And when you think about it,
addressing gun violence, we really have to address the root
causes that lead there right there, are structural barriers. There

are social determinants of health, financial issues, you know, like poverty, homelessness, unemployment,
lack of education. I mean I could literally list all
kinds of thing, food and security. All these things are
things that lead to are like risk factors square violent injury,
but they also impede recovery and so yes, people do

have to come back to the hospital for follow up visits.
But what we find is that those barriers that led
to the injury are the same barriers that prevent them
from coming back to their follow up appointments. So what
we need to do is start addressing the root causes
and really invest in communities, invest in neighborhoods, invest in individuals,
and not just put a band aid on the physical

injuries that we see.

Speaker 1 (27:52):
Yeah, literally abandoned on it. And that's something I guess
that you're doing with your project, because if you're not
busy enough being a trauma surgeon in one of the
busiest hospitals in the country, unfortunately for gun violence, you've
also decided to go ahead on another mission talk about that.

Speaker 9 (28:12):
Yes, just wanting to be a part of the solution
and really address the root causes of violence. We started
a hospital based violence intervention program called the IVY Project,
and it stands for Interrupting Violence and youthing young adults.
And what it does is it brings people from the
community who look like our patients, who speak the same language,
who are trusted and respected by the community into the

hospital to provide immediate care, love support, and help with
navigating the hospital. This is remember the worst time of
someone's life, so to look up and see someone that
looks like them that they can connect with is actually
so helpful for their overall well being and recovery.

Speaker 7 (28:53):
And what the.

Speaker 9 (28:53):
Violence Intervention team does is they start to understand those
root causes that we just talked about, all the things
that we can do to interrupt the cycle of violence.
We start pouring in resources to them in the hospital
while they're here, and then we connect them to community
partners outside of the hospital and we really try to
break down those risk factors, but then also lift up

and leverage the protective factors as well. And we do
this with community partners supporting us. We have a very
strong network of folks here in the hospital. So doctor
Selby is one of the core faculty and has really
been remarkable and trying to think outside the box of
other therapeutic strategies like music therapy and the arts in

order to try to provide an outlet for people. But
we've been very successful with this because we are essentially
listening to the community, trying to understand what they need,
and then providing them what they need, not what we
think they need. If that makes sense.

Speaker 1 (29:55):
And it shaves back to Wesley, because boy did he
have a twist in a turnaround in life. He got
into an argument with someone. He was shot, I believe
through the stomach, hid his spine, you know, severeda's vertebrae,
and so he's permanently in the chair. Life in the chair.
But he took that and he decided to start an

organization disabled not really, he's on a mission to open
gyms for people who are disabled. That's that's the good news.
Are you seeing a lot of that as well as
you people kind of changing and turning around their lives
as a result. Frankly, he said the best thing that
happened to him was being shot, which is an odd,

odd thing to say. Are you seeing that, doctor Selby?

Speaker 6 (30:44):
When we talk about right and what it really speaks
to with Leslie is his resilience, right, But part of
resilience is not just in the individual, which I know,
right just from hearing his story, the work that he's done,
especially through the establishment of his organization. Right, he has
some personal characteristics of resilience, right of grit, if you

want to call it that. But part of our individual
resiliency lies in other folks, right, support systems, our family,
our friends, but also systems outside of our core network
of individuals, right, our communities, the communities that we live in.
And so by having right resources in the community to

address housing instability, food and security, to address lost wages
right from a devastating injury like Wesley suffered, That's exactly
what doctor Smith is talking about, right. We're talking about
building a system of resiliency, or that foster's resiliency when
individuals suffer injuries like that. That is something that we

are seeing through the establishment of programs such as IVY
and other hospital based volunte intervention programs across the country.
But I would like to take it one step further,
because there is a concept of community resiliency, right, which
could when we have enough of it, we can prevent
the injury in its entirety, right, because when you start

to address the issues that doctor Smith mentioned that lead
to violence not only need to an initial injury, but
can lead to re injury of patients. If we address
those basic needs, as we said, food insecurity, making sure
individuals have opportunities through education and access to employment. If
we do that, we can prevent a lot of these

injuries altogether. If we got individuals living in safer neighborhoods, right,
and they don't need a firearm or don't think they
need a firearm enough. You know, one thing that we
don't often talk about is the number of injury injuries
that are accidental, So accidental discharges of firearms not just
into personal violence, but we're talking about injury from cleaning

your gun at home. Why do you have a gun
you feel unsafe your neighborhood. Well, what if we created
safer neighborhoods right through addressing some of these social determinants
of health or these basic needs, we wouldn't need guns
in the first place.

Speaker 1 (33:11):
I mean, people are really into guns in America, so
I don't know, true, but.

Speaker 6 (33:15):
It's also addressing the culture, right, and there's a whole
thing we can talk acknoledgement about addressing basic stuff even
as what masculinity is. Right, Yeah, this person stuffed my
shoe or stuffed up, but my whole being as a
man is not just you know, tied up in how
my shoes look. You know, we can redefine manhood and

that can help us deal with some of the issues
that lead to violent injuries.

Speaker 1 (33:40):
How many fights have been over somebody stepping on someone's sneakers.
It's unbelievable, doctor Smith.

Speaker 9 (33:46):
No, I was just going to say that this just
brings up a very good point that the way that
we frame this issue is so important. There's so much
political divide, and there's a lot of culture, and culture
is very different geographically when you move around the US.
But that's why we like to say that violence is
a public health issue. Right, We're talking about health and

safety and well being of individuals. We're not even focused
really on gun control. We know that in areas where
there's more gun and liberal gun laws, there are more injuries.
But if we frame this it's like we're just trying
to keep our kids safe. We're just trying to keep
our grandparents safe, right, because we see it all We
see people like children that come in, and we see

seventy year olds that come in, Like literally, this is
impacting people across the lifespan, and I think we just
need to frame it as such. This is a public
health crisis. We want people to be safe, well and whole.

Speaker 1 (34:39):
And a lot of the people you see, of course,
are people who are just victims of stray bullets. I
mean there's on a bus, they're in a car and
the bullets start flying. And we all know bullets have
no names, correct, you know, Well, I have to thank
you both for what you do. It isn't easy. You're

saving lives and you're also trying to prevent the injury
in the first place. So you know, God speed with
the work that you're doing.

Speaker 9 (35:10):
Thank you so much. Thanks just strength and number and
we have each other, so that's what makes it all
so great.

Speaker 1 (35:18):
Doctor Selby, Doctor Smith, I will let you get back.
I'm sure it's time for you to to get back
to the emergency room because as we speak, I'm sure
you're needed. Thanks to those doctors who are on the
front lines of life and death, saving lives of so
many of us who are victims of gunshots. Gunshot violence

leagues out streets and every black community in every city
in the country. The next time, when black Land, We're
going to also continue in the vein of life and death,
but this time it's about living in the rural South
with HIV. I talk with the black woman who is
on a mission to make sure people see her as

is not a victim, but a survivor and an advocate.
I'm Vanessa Tyler. Join me next time on black Land.
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