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Larson Suggests Gun Control Is Not The Only Way To End Violence

by Hugh McQuaid | Nov 8, 2013 6:30am
(4) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Civil Liberties, Congress, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Public Safety

Hugh McQuaid photo

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson

U.S. Rep. John Larson suggested Thursday that Congress could make progress on curbing violence if it temporarily put aside the divisive issue of gun control and focused on ideas with broader support.

Larson hosted a forum with state Social Services Commissioner Roderick Bremby in the Legislative Office Building Thursday. They heard from a number of experts on issues like the impact nutrition can have on behavior.

Following the several-hour program, Larson said he was looking forward to taking some of the ideas he heard to his colleagues in Congress.

“I do believe there is a willingness down there [in Washington] if we can put guns aside for the moment and focus on both the nutritional aspects and the mental health aspects,” he said.

More than 9,000 people have died as a result of gun violence since the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Larson said. He said the country had to “come together in a comprehensive way” to deal with violence.

The departure from gun-related policy initiatives might be a reflection of political realities in Congress. Six months ago, Larson and other Democrats expressed optimism at an offsite congressional hearing that support could be mustered for policies like requiring background checks to purchase a gun.

On Thursday, Larson was hoping to make progress on less controversial issues.

“As important as universal background checks for handguns are or guns in general, let’s focus on the issues where perhaps we can get agreement in Congress,” Larson said Thursday.

Larson pointed to a study by Cpt. Joseph Hibbeln of the United States Public Health Service, which illustrated a link between nutrition, fatty acids in the brain, and behavior. He said the American “fast food diet” tends to include a lot of soybean oil, which is commonly used in fryolators.

“When [researchers] reduced that and did prison studies and other studies, it showed a reduction in violent behavior because there’s more of a calming sense,” he said.

Hibbeln’s studies have suggested that diets based more on the sorts of fatty acids contained in fish can improve a person’s well-being. At the forum, Hibbeln said he was looking to educate people and stress the critical role diet plays in the makeup of the human brain.

“If we look upstream for [violence] prevention, let’s look at the nutrition that forms the brain, that forms the human being,” he said.

Larson suggested there is an opportunity for Congress to encourage greater collaboration and use nutritional studies to inform policy decisions.

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(4) Comments

posted by: dano860 | November 8, 2013  9:32am

Behavior modification, that requires someone to stay right with the people they are trying to modify. You won’t get anyone to stay on this diet unless you spoon feed them for free. They don’t buy healthy food with the SNAP benefits. (spend an hour at a checkout watching the purchases) Even then how do you know your getting the correct person?
We need to remember, there are very few good grocery stores in the cities, most people live out of the convenience store.
It goes back to education and a cohesive family unit. Gangs can’t be the family they revere.
It isn’t firearm control or mind control it’s the family and education component that’s missing.

posted by: Historian | November 8, 2013  10:16am

“fatty acids” cause people to start shooting?  Reality is that guns are a convenient tool for really stupid people to act out. This is not new and will continue even if all guns were confiscated - which is impossible. Unfortunately, as in a war, we may just have to accept a certain number of tragic casualties. It has been going on for centuries..

posted by: Stan Muzyk | November 8, 2013  1:11pm

I do not believe that Rep. John Larson’s suggestion will not be properly addressed by our confused and ineffective Congress.  Our problem is not essentially gun control—but our members of Congress.

posted by: The Barefoot Accountant | December 5, 2013  2:28pm

Albeit tragic, I find it somewhat ironic that Sandy Hook continues to command so much attention even though our nation has been killing hundreds of thousands of people—including women and children—overseas for twelve years and the American people do not demand—DEMAND—an immediate cessation to these murders.  We all have blood on our hands for allowing our government to do such, just as the German people were guilty for their own complicity.