Not long after COVID hit, a second epidemic — of gun violence — swept the country. Rates of shootings soared. New York City was no exception.
Often, coverage of gun violence fails to relate the human toll and the complicated causes of violence. Last year, The Trace partnered with Brooklyn-based BRIC TV to produce a series of documentaries exploring the nuances of violence, how individuals and their communities are coping with loss and disruption, and also how they’re catalyzing efforts to make their city safer.
Each installment of the series, The Damage Done, approaches gun violence from another angle. The first goes inside Kings County Hospital in the center of Brooklyn, a Level 1 Trauma Center that sees some of the highest volumes of pediatric, adolescent, and adult trauma cases, including gunshot wounds, in the city.
At Kings County, surgeons, nurses, and physical therapists work on the front-line of the fight to save lives and heal the damage done by guns. They are joined by violence interrupters and hospital-based violence intervention specialists employed by the Kings Against Violence Initiative, or KAVI. They aim to prevent further violence and help patients heal from their nonphysical wounds after they are discharged.
“Anyone that treats cancer wants to prevent cancer. Anyone that treats gunshots and stabbings should want to prevent them,” Dr. Simon Fitzgerald, a trauma surgeon at Kings County, told us. “The best thing would be if I worked myself out of a job and found something else to treat.”
This week, BRIC published this first installment of the series, which profiles the doctors and violence interrupters as they respond to gun violence. We also follow Divine, a survivor of a recent shooting that injured four people, as he heals from his wounds and navigates his recovery.
You can watch it here: