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Guns and health

As a physician, I must look at gun violence with the same lens as the dangers of the Zika virus, Lyme disease, and severe influenza, each a healthcare crisis. You may see that locked gun cabinet as a symbol of safety and responsibility, but I see it as a symbol of the great danger we face in this country. You may see guns as security, but I see the evidence that guns increase the risk of accidents, suicide, and homicide.

You may argue that self-preservation is guaranteed by arming yourself, but on June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia, Republican Representative Steve Scalise was critically injured, despite personally being armed and also protected by an armed police officer, who was injured in the shootout as well.

As federal and state governments are weighted down by the financial power of the NRA, we must look to the reality that gun violence is not just a Second Amendment right but also a public policy issue of human safety.

The editors of four major medical journals asked: "What would happen if on one day more than 50 people died and over 10 times that many were harmed by an infectious disease?" The answer is obvious. Gun violence is a similar public health crisis, demanding the same attention. We watched the fight over seat belt laws and motorcycle helmet laws, but the results are also obvious.

As a physician, I committed myself to the safety of our community and am compelled to start this as an unemotional conversation about protecting not only our rights but also our lives.


Cobbs Hill conflict

I nominate the Coalition for Cobbs Hill Park for the Double Speak Award. It has taken Rochester Management's Cobbs Hill Village proposal, which increases low-income senior housing by 38 units and upgrades 60 existing units, and calls it the demolition of low-income housing. Or how about using the euphemism "return the land to parkland" rather than saying the eviction of 60 existing senior residents and the reduction of the low-income housing supply by 60 units by 2041?

Support the continuation of low-income housing on private land surrounded by Cobbs Hill Park beyond 2041. The existing housing has been there for more than half a century with no problems. Why not continue it for another half century or more?


Sixty apartments for seniors with very low incomes will be lost if plans to replace Cobbs Hill Village go ahead.

That's what the coalition of 29 neighborhood groups has been saying. The proposed replacement project has many flaws, as noted by the Planning Commission January 11. But worst of all is the fact that rents presently averaging $417 will be doubled, with some as high as $1,200. And after a transition period when present residents are "grandfathered" at the same rent, the city will have lost 60 apartments where seniors with minimal incomes, in the range of $9,000 to $12,000 a year, can live comfortably with funds to spare for life's other necessities.

Gentrification will be the result if the demolition and new construction is approved. The adjacent neighborhood associations have all said: YIMBY, Yes, in my back yard!


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