It has come to this

If the United States as a nation makes it through the current epoch of violence, disunity, partisanship, governmental stalemates, sabre-rattling, corruption and failure of leadership, future historians will find one small, sorrowful turning point that sums up how out-of-control society has become. This was the week when the failure to get control of gun ownership by disturbed or maleficent people took a step back: If you can't prevent the shootings, help the wounded before they bleed to death. Mass violence in America has become so common, so inevitable, that now we must prepare citizens to do triage.

Nothing is more important than saving a life, and the proposal by a Connecticut trauma surgeon to teach people how to stanch bleeding will undoubtedly help in automobile crashes and other accidents. So will Dr. Lenworth Jacobs' idea of including a trauma kit with every new vehicle. His ideas have gotten the attention of Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who said at a training event Tuesday he will introduce legislation on the matter.

Do not for a second think, however, that the need for this life-saving skill is the same as the need for CPR after a heart attack or even an injection of Narcan after an opioid overdose. Tourniquets to stop uncontrolled bleeding have long been part of the training of Boy and Girl Scouts, along with treating snake bites. This is not that; the knowledge of how to stop bleeding has become urgent for civilians, as it has always been for soldiers going into combat.

A nationwide movement wants to place bleeding control kits in all the places where a shooter might seek to kill as many people as possible: malls, schools, airports, stadiums. These are all places where it has already happened and inevitably will again.

To be prepared is far better than for a victim to bleed out because no one nearby knows how to stop it. Thanks to the presence of trained first responders at the Boston Marathon when deadly explosives maimed many in the crowd, most victims' bleeding was controlled at the scene, and they survived.

It's a good idea to train more people in what to do. It's a desperate failure to have to fall back on saving the lives of those wounded by violence instead of preventing their injuries from happening in the first place.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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