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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Blowin In the Wind

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man

How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand

How many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

How many times must a man look out

Before he can see the sky

How many ears must one man have 

Before he can hear people cry

How many deaths will it takes til he knows

That too many people have died

The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind

The answer is blowin' in the wind.  

—Bob Dylan*

Today’s Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities features Peter, Paul and Mary singing an iconic Dylan tune they performed at the 1963 seminal March on Washington, organized around Martin Luther King's Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. Mary Travers is quoted as saying," At that moment, I believed it was possible for human beings to join together to make a positive social change."

History and data matter

Unfortunately, our divided country now has far more real or metaphoric cannon balls flying than during the turbulent 1960's or during the Civil War, when 620,000 American soldiers took each other's lives in a four-year culture of hate, death and mourning.

According to the CDC and the US State Department, between 2001 and 2014, there were 3,043 people killed in acts of terrorism. During the same time period, there were 440,095 deaths by firearms in our country.

Published 2014 CDC data on firearm mortality per 100,000 total population for each state suggests on average, 35,000 lives are lost annually in our country due to accidental or reactive emotionally charged decisions to use a gun. Fifty percent of firearm related deaths seem to be linked to suicide.

The bottom line: we are more than one hundred times more likely to take our own lives, or to be killed by a known criminal with a gun, or an accidental shooting by a family member or friend, than by Islamic or other faith-driven terrorists.

Back to Dylan's question: "How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?"

Based on the history and data above: let’s hope brave elected representatives who refuse to be bought will once again ban assault weapon sales to the general public and will vote to keep all guns out of the hands of those diagnosed with mental illness or suicidal tendencies, a record of felony conviction, and those with a record of domestic violence.

Our deepest and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured by emotionally unstable men with guns in the seven mass shooting in our country this past week.

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff

Biosyntrx strongly believes that appreciation, exploration, education and commitment to science, art, music, and humanities add significantly to the global greater good and are important parts of the intellectual whole.

*Bob Dylan was awarded the Swedish Academy Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.