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Health Workers, Too, Feel Impacts of Gun Violence


Tuesday, June 14, 2022   

People across the nation are continuing to discuss gun violence in the wake of two prominent mass shootings in Texas and New York.

The conversation brings up painful memories for communities that have experienced them in the past - and are a reminder that this violence hurts a wide circle of people, including health-care professionals.

Lynda Pond is president of the Oregon Nurses Association and was working at a Springfield hospital when a shooter killed two and injured 25 at a nearby school in Eugene.

"You can't just look at the immediate impact of something," said Pond. "You have to look at the long-term impact, not just on families but every person whose life is touched - be it a doctor, be it a nurse, be it a social worker, be it a minister, be it the psychologist that takes care of them 20 years later as they're processing their PTSD."

On Sunday, U.S. senators announced they'd reached a bipartisan deal on a number of gun safety laws.

Victims of the 1998 shooting at Thurston High School were brought to Pond's hospital. She spoke in Washington D.C. last Friday at a media event before the weekend's March for Our Lives rallies across the nation.

Pond was again on duty in 2015 when another shooter killed nine at a community college in Roseburg. Several of the victims were transferred to her hospital.

She said she knows people who have been personally impacted by gun violence, especially at the Springfield incident, and who feel the anguish every time a shooting happens.

"A lot of folks that are victims of these traumas can't be activists for it because the pain is too deep," said Pond. "It's too real. So then it becomes the responsibility of those of us that have seen it, that are not that immediately impacted to take our experiences and their experiences forward and share the stories."

Pond said she hopes lawmakers can set aside their differences to ensure gun violence doesn't take any more victims.

"This shouldn't be a political issue," said Pond. "This is a humanitarian issue."

Disclosure: Oregon Nurses Association (AFT Local 5905) contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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