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A prescription for Newtown

2:00 PM EST, January 7, 2013

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As we begin a new year with new resolutions, I think it is important we move forward toward a more proactive society and less reactive one. One particular event that I believe truly points to this is the tragic shooting that occurred in Newtown, Conn.

As a pediatrician and a mother myself, my heart goes out to the families in Newtown. The most basic, instinctive need of parents is to protect their children. As pediatricians, so much of what we do is meant to help parents and caregivers do this. We cannot accept a national culture that tolerates tragedies like Sandy Hook.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advocated for changes that will give our country a better chance at protecting our most innocent and vulnerable. As a nation, we must ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines to the public, advocate for strict firearms safety laws and improve support for mental health services.

We must also push for changes in how the media report on acts of mass terror and the perpetrators, rethink a culture that sees violence as entertainment, limit children's exposure to media violence (through violent movies and video games), and invest in our youngest, most vulnerable members to foster their healthy, lifelong development.

Pediatricians, parents, teachers and all who care for children nationwide will continue to look for ways to comfort, support, nurture and protect them. We look to our nation's leaders to help prevent further atrocities like Sandy Hook.

Dr. Sylvia Owusu-Ansah, Crofton

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