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A Statement on the Public Health Crisis of Gun Violence

Hospital News & Updates

My heart is aching.  My soul is searching for a moral north.  My mind is confused and angered, alternately.  Perhaps yours is, too.

My people are country folk: west Texas enlightened peace officers, teachers and farmers.  Eagle Scouts.  I come from a long line of skeet shooting deer hunters who enjoyed guns for sport and hunting and I was taught the skills to do it safely and with respect.

What our nation is experiencing at present is not that.  Not at all.

Our nation is wounded and bleeding with grief.  People are being hunted.  People are being de-humanized in order to be targeted: scoped in gun sights and chosen based on a perceived orientation, faith, nationality or race.  What is worse is these unthinkable acts are becoming – through our collective disbelief and cognitive dissonance – normal.

What level of tragedy must occur to take action if not the hunting of innocent children and frail grandparents?

Am I preaching to the choir?  Perhaps.  Yet this horrifying “new normal” leaves many Left-Coast liberal elites paralyzed: immobilized with incredulity that it has come to this and a sense of powerlessness when reason and the resolve of the majority of the American electorate has been thrown aside in favor of pandering to a well-financed lobby and vocal racist minority.

My role as President of the Saint Francis Foundation is to support a healthy Saint Francis Memorial Hospital so it can, in turn, make a deeper contribution to San Francisco’s health.  This aim is tested daily as we serve a disgracefully under-resourced community facing public health challenges which come from being based at ground zero of San Francisco’s homelessness and drug crisis.

This is me raising my, admittedly, considerable voice and speaking from a bully pulpit atop Nob Hill.  We do not have to experience the level of gun violence which endangers many U.S. cities to know that this is wrong: a line has been crossed.  Each of us are citizens of the world – a resident of Everyplace – our brothers’ keepers. We cannot stand silent any longer.

We make a difference by raising our voices and shining a bright light on unacceptable problems and injustices; illuminating dark corners and removing shadows where evil lives.  Raising our voices forces legislation.  THIS is how we, as Americans in this experimental democracy, create and institutionalize fundamental change.  In democracies, one voice is powerful.  Many voices are the very definition of the will of the people.

We speak out and demand action in the form of legislation.  At the Saint Francis Foundation, 100% of our thinking, collaboration, funding and advocacy is about removing obstacles to the health and wellbeing for ALL members of our community, especially our most vulnerable children, marginalized adults and frail seniors.

I am weighing-in because we will not stand by.  The Foundation’s stakeholders expect us to stand up for the health and safety of our community.  Today that goes beyond our Safe Passage program, our Emergency Department, our expanding Behavioral Health and Intensive Care Units: it goes further than Boeddeker Park to Gilroy.  To El Paso.  To Dayton.

Do something. Raise your voice with elected officials. I did.