Artist Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon, talks about her start in graffiti and how that caused her to end up in the most unlikely of places, from her perspective.
Belgian police collected over 22,000 firearms and decided to do something useful with them by melting them back into usable metal. After being rendered, the guns were turned into 60 tons of recycled steel.
Around half of the guns were handed in by owners from across the country, many of them had inherited guns and didn't want them anymore. The other half were old guns used by the police.
Belgium melts more than 22,000 guns into recycled steel www.youtube.com
The guns were melted down by steel giant ArcelorMittal at a plant in Ghent. The covert operation took three days. This is the third time the Belgian government and the steel company have partnered to meltdown firearms.
"The result is impressive: 22,457 firearms have disappeared from our society," Carina van Cauter, the governor of East Flanders province, said in a statement. "It is obviously positive for the security of our citizens that these weapons are no longer in use."
Multiple studies show that van Cauter is right, the fewer the guns, the safer the people. This belief counters the notion held by many Americans that an armed society is a safer one.
A famous study from the late 1980s and 1990s by Arthur Kellermann, now dean of the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, studied 444 people who had been murdered in their homes.
"They found that a gun in the home was associated with a nearly threefold increase in the odds that someone would be killed at home by a family member or intimate acquaintance," Melinda Wenner Moyer writes in Scientific American.
Over 30 subsequent studies have confirmed the findings.
"There is really uniform data to support the statement that access to firearms is associated with an increased risk of firearm-related death and injury," Garen Wintemute, a physician and noted gun violence researcher at the University of California, concludes.
One reason that owning a gun makes people less safe is that it raises the chances of a situation escalating. "The fact that you have a gun may mean that you do things you shouldn't be doing: you take chances you shouldn't otherwise take; you go to places where it's really not safe, but you feel safe," says David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
So the added risk of owning a firearm may override the positive benefits of self-protection.
Belgium is home to restrictive gun laws. The country prohibits fully automatic weapons and only allows automatic weapons in certain situations. People can only own handguns if they get expressed permission from the government. The only guns not restricted by the state are long guns.
It's estimated that only 5% of Belgium citizens own a gun. The country's rate of homicides caused by firearms is 0.7 per 100,000 deaths.
However, in contrast with America, Belgium is much safer. In the U.S. the rate is much higher, with an average of 4.4. homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 people. In the U.S. there are an estimated 400 million guns. How many tons of steel could that create?
"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN
From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.
To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.
First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.
Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com
Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.
"The packages were personalized to each mother with their names, a hand-written love note from the nursing team and items based on their pregnancy stage (which trimester, pregnant/postpartum) including newborn items (bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, toiletries), toiletries and maternity clothes from the mother, as well as self-care items (journal, uplifting reading books, aromatherapy). My favorite part of the care package was hand-made quilts created by an 80+ [year old] retired doctor."
Courtesy of CeraVe
Continuing with her service, Richards is currently working on starting a non-profit organization, Our Mommas Heal, an expansion of the work that she's already doing in the community. "Our goal is to be the advocates for these at-risk mothers by connecting them to the necessary resources to ensure they have a high-quality, safe, equitable, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery: education, other organizations like nurse family partnership, vetted health care providers," said Richards.
As a dermatologist-developed brand rooted in the medical community, CeraVe® is committed to supporting and celebrating healthcare professionals like Nurse Richards. Richards' story is the first of four we'll be sharing in the coming weeks.
As part of its commitment to nurses, CeraVe® is also a proud sponsor of the ANA Enterprise and their Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ initiative, a movement designed to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. Through the initiative, ANA is connecting and engaging with nurses to inspire them to take action in five key areas: activity, sleep, nutrition, quality of life, and safety.
Additionally, over the past year, CeraVe® has donated more than 500,000 products to hospitals to help provide therapeutic skincare relief to healthcare workers and is continuing the product donation efforts. Nurses looking to engage with the brand and learn more about these initiatives can join the Shift Change: Nurse Essentials Facebook group, an online community hosted by CeraVe® where nurses come together for personal and professional empowerment.
To see more stories about nurse heroes, visit www.heroesbehindthemasks.com/.