We know gun violence is a public health problem because more than 30,000 people a year are dying from it. It is the third leading cause of death for American children. Anecdotally speaking, Americans appear more likely than people in similar nations to be shot in church, in school, at a concert, watching a movie, or participating in a town hall.

Given gun violence’s wide-reaching impact, one would think we would be dedicated to rigorous research to provide evidence-based solutions to this American public health problem. Yet, that is not the case.

According to a letter, “Funding and Publication of Research on Gun Violence and Other Leading Causes of Death” published in JAMA in January 2017, gun violence doesn’t receive nearly an equal share of research dollars or publication volume compared with other injuries or illnesses that kill in similar numbers. Thus, we find ourselves in a situation where elected officials base arguments for and against gun control on feelings and anecdotes rather than rigorous research with replicable findings. Until we have this research, we will never be able to fix the problem.

As it stands, my two children are learning how to hide during lockdown drills at a Chicago daycare. We have truly given up as a society if we think teaching toddlers and preschoolers how to hide is our only answer to keeping kids safe from guns in the wrong hands. The time to focus on and allocate our resources to gun violence research is now.

Rachel Dunn, Bucktown

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Middle-class apathy lets 1 percent thrive

The average American citizen is so apathetic, he or she doesn’t give a damn. Apathy thrives on ignorance. What’s left of the middle class think they’re well off. But it’s an illusion. They are losing buying power. In contrast, the fat-cat one percent aided by most Republicans and some Democrats are grabbing the wealth solely for themselves, including the tax money that ought to be spent on potholes, and especially for education. The military sucks up an enormous share.

The stupidity of the fat cats in government is that they and corporate leaders don’t realize that to sell anything they need buyers. Statistically and historically, trickle-down economics never worked and never works. The rich don’t need to buy much, except luxuries. The poor need to spend all they have just to live and survive. And the lifestyle of middle Americans continues to diminish  — every year since Reagan. So paying skimpy wages and cutting welfare programs for the poorest is self-defeating. Not sharing the wealth leads to an economy grinding to a halt.

All the Trump administration does is lie, contradict itself, and brag about itself. How are the workers and middle class better off?

Marion J. Reis, Lombard

Trump finally pays up

Wow! It’s revealed that Trump paid 100,000 dollars in hush money funneled through his creepy “lawyer” fixer to a porn star/stripper. Probably makes all those people whom Trump allegedly did not pay for services, including people in construction who have worked on his numerous projects and whom he threatened to tie up in needless litigation in order to keep from paying them, feel like chumps. He really is an authentic advocate for the working person, especially the world’s oldest profession.

Edward Juillard, Morgan Park

Protect endangered species

May 18 is Endangered Species Day but every day must be Endangered Species Day. Too many of our nation’s imperiled and threatened fauna and flora are threatened with extinction. We have a president and governor who do not appreciate the splendor and intrinsic value of wildlife species that are under attack. Humane people of all races and creeds should do whatever they can to support endangered species preservationists, wildlife conservationists and nature stewards who admirably endeavor to protect planet earth and its majestic creatures on a daily basis. Respect for life trumps disrespect for life.

Brien Comerford, Glenview