Example poetry

Experience of violence – The poetry of science

thank you for
take the time to
on the nearby
to violence
in your life
and social networks.

You said you
know personally
X people who
could physically hurt
someone else.
How many of these injuries
involved a gun
and when
have they eroded
your sense of community?

You said you
know personally
Y people who
were shot
by someone else.
How many of these peoples
were shot on purpose
and when Y
become a number too
strong to count?

You said you
know personally
Z people who
own a gun.
How many of these weapons
pulled their wound
in other people
and when is life
in your neighborhood
looks like life
in a cemetery?

A protester at the 2018 March for Our Lives on De la Guerra Plaza and State Street in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Image credit: skolr via Wikimedia Commons).

This poem is inspired by recent research, who found that the violence is widely felt by millions of Californians.

Fueled by gun violence, cities across the United States are breaking all-time homicide records. According to the 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Report, homicides increased 30% from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase recorded by the agency since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s. Previous studies of exposure to violence have tended to focus on events such as direct or observed abuse, and there is ample evidence to suggest that such exposures may have long-term adverse effects on all parties and their networks and extended communities, especially where guns are involved.

In this new study, the researchers decided to focus on a wider range of experiences of violence in everyday life; for example, hearing gunshots, falling on a sidewalk commemorating a violent death, or learning about a violent event through a friend or family member. Researchers interviewed 2,870 adults from across California, asking them questions related to their own experiences of violence, and a total of 65% of participants reported one or more of these experiences, with 11% reporting three or more. Other trends included that knowledge of people who had shot themselves was highest among respondents aged 60 and over, and knowledge of those at risk of self-harm was highest among older people. from 18 to 29 years old. Ultimately, this research shows that in California the majority of people have at least one experience of violence and given that it is a state with relatively low rates of gun violence, this situation is likely to be much worse in other parts of the United States.

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