The MED to Start Violence Intervention Program

The MED to Start Violence Intervention Program

The old saying is revenge is a dish best served cold. And in Memphis, we serve up a lot of cold dishes - revenge and deadly violence go hand in hand. But there's a new soldier in the war on crime in the Bluff City: The MED.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The old saying is revenge is a dish best served cold. And in Memphis, we serve up a lot of cold dishes - revenge and deadly violence go hand in hand. But there's a new soldier in the war on crime in the Bluff City: The MED.

Respect is something most of us earn. Sometimes on the streets of Memphis, respect is thought to be earned with a gun and violence. Now when victims arrive at The MED, medical staff will try to talk them out of using violence to answer violence.

On the streets, life can come and go at the pull of a trigger. The trip to The MED emergency room can be the last ride for some. It can also be the place where plans are made for revenge by shooting somebody else.

Anthony Hicks works the streets for the mayor's "Gang Reduction Assistance For Saving Society" youth group, or GRASS for short.

"Retaliation is one of the most influential reasons why we have such violence in the neighborhoods, gang violence especially," he said. "One person getting shot can turn into ten people being shot because of one incident."

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton has been in several cities, checking in to see how those places handle young people killing other young people. He saw how hospital employees can talk shooting victims out of getting back on the streets and shooting the person who shot them.

"We are going to be following models that have been fairly successful in other institutions around the country," stated Dr. Martin Croce with The MED.

The reason it worked in cities like Baltimore is when victims of violence show up at The MED, there's a chance they might not live. So they listen.

"When they're out there on the streets, they're in charge. When they're in here, the doctors and medical crews are involved. And if somebody intervenes at that time, they've got sort of a captive audience," said Mayor A C Wharton.

People can change, just look at Eddie Marshall. He was a thug who might have been heading for an early death. Hicks took Eddie under his wing, and now he's just graduated high school. "Now I plan on going to Southwest Community College and be a nurse's assistant," he said.

Those in the program will be visited by staff members once they leave The MED, and other experts will be brought in if needed. It starts in August.

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