New research suggests gun violence spreads like an infectious disease

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 18:45:27-05

A new study out suggests that gun violence spreads like an infectious disease. The more one hangs around people who have been shot, the more likely he or she is to get shot.

The study, conducted by Harvard and Yale researchers, said gun violence deserves public health and medical resources. You can read the full study here:

Dr. Edward Barksdale, surgeon-in-chief for University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, agrees. He also equates gun violence to a disease and warns his patients about it.

"I tell them that they have to make choices," he said. "They have to look at who they hang out with."

"More than 20 friends of mine have died from gun violence, and probably more than 20 friends of mine are still alive with bullet holes in them," said a Cleveland man who did want to be identified. He said he was shot in the leg at age 13.

He too believes that one's risk factor of getting shot increases if one associates oneself with others who have been shot.

"If you base yourself around people who are running around with guns all the time and play the game and shoot them, yeah, you will most likely be caught up in the crossfire or be likely to carry a gun yourself," he added.

The study adds that the risk of taking a bullet increases based on time and circumstances. If one associates with another who has just been shot, and the two commit a crime together, then one is even more likely to get shot.

As a way to interrupt gun violence, the research suggests more more mental health, educational, job training and housing services for at-risk individuals. It also suggests cleaning up neighborhoods.