Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Traditional public health injury control does not apply to violence
  1. Les Fisher
  1. Archivist, American Public Health Association, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section, Management/Safety Consultant, 97 Union Avenue, S Delmar, NY 12054, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr Fisher.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Violence is ancient. It is much more complex than just injury control or public health practice. In Genesis, Cain's “grandchildren” found that Bronze Age weapons were a more efficient means of inflicting violent harm than their hands.

Which injury control practices can really make a difference in reducing juvenile violence morbidity and mortality? When I first began working in this area in 1964, the field had just begun to transfer its preventive thrust to more safely designed childhood consumer products. The “human factors” approach, reminding everyone to be more “careful” had failed. Instead, my efforts focused on the products themselves (toys, flammable nightwear, playground equipment, car safety seats, household toxic substances, etc). At the time, I thought injury control had all the answers and concluded that its paradigm was suitable not only to non-intentional but also to intentional injury.1–3

However, by 1985, my ideas about the causes and possible control of adolescent suicides, many of which were related to firearms or to sexual experimentation with inhalants, had changed. They included some controversial applied biochemical research suggesting that levels of biomines found in the brain, such as serotonin, might increase aggression and the risk of violence. It seemed it might even be possible to determine high risk individuals by this …

View Full Text

Linked Articles

  • Editorial
    I B Pless