Health Advice



Working together for protection of public health

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

John Wayne was shot and killed in five films: "The Fighting SeaBees" (1944), "Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949), "The Alamo" (1960), "The Cowboys" (1972) and "The Shootist" (1976). He bounced back, ready to star in another drama, after all but his last film, "The Shootist." That only happens in La-La Land.

No one comes back from a gun-related homicide -- not the victim and not those that know and love him or her. Tragically, that's an ever-increasing number of folks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, firearm deaths reached the highest number ever in America -- 45,222 -- as gun-related homicides surged by 35%, and more than half were suicides. In 2021, 20,726 more folks died from homicides, unintentional deaths and other types of gun violence (not including suicides). The country also experienced 693 mass shootings (with four or more injuries), according to the Gun Violence Archive.

This has to stop. As individuals, parents, communities, cities, states and a country, we have to create a world in which there is overwhelming social stigma against using guns for interpersonal violence: a world where those arrested for domestic violence, for violent misdemeanors and with mental health issues are prevented from licensing a firearm; where mental health care is readily available and there is outreach to people of all demographics that helps defuse and rechannel frustration and rage. Education, reduction of poverty, effective intervention against gangs and firearm education are essential. Let's all pledge to make this a safer country that protects and cares for each and every member of society.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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