Stay Away From Guns, Kids, Or You Could End Up Like This. - Uncover Ostomy
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-1499,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-10.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive

Stay Away From Guns, Kids, Or You Could End Up Like This.

As kids, we were taught many things:

Like how to tie our shoes. Or how to ride a bike. Or that eating the seeds from watermelons would lead to watermelon trees growing in our bellies. And that if you make a funny face for too long, it will stay that way forever.

Ok, so maybe I had a bit of a ridiculous childhood…

But that’s besides the point.

The point is, that growing up, we looked towards our adults, our professionals, our society leaders, to teach us what was what.

Despite the rolling of the eyes, the scoffs, or the “I’m not listening to you” looks into the distance, we were always kind of paying attention. And what they said would always play some role in how we viewed the world around us.

That is why I am beside myself with anger. Anger towards the Cincinnati Police Department.

As a lot of you already know, The Cincinnati Police Department has started a new campaign to scare kids away from guns. While I’m not opposed to ridding the world of gun violence, I am strongly opposed to how this particular department has chosen to do it – They’ve started a new campaign that will show at-risk youth “gruesome” pictures of gunshot survivors.

But not of bloody wounds. And not of kids lying dead on the street.

Instead, they are showing “gruesome” pictures of survivors with ostomy bags. The hope is that these kids will “think” about their lifestyle.

I mean, after all, they wouldn’t want to be like one of those “gruesome” people in the pictures they’re being shown.

I mean, come on.

I’m disgusting.


Who would ever want to go near me? Who would ever want to live the life I lead? Right?


According to the article,  Lt. Joe Richardson gives reasoning to the campaign:

“You’re not killed, but you’re walking around with a colostomy bag and that’s just not the way to get a girl’s attention by limping down Warsaw Avenue with a colostomy bag,”

“You’re not killed,” he says.

No, Joe. You’re not killed.

In fact, your life is saved because of it.

The point of this campaign, while a noble cause, is extremely misguided and ignorant. It’s just another example of the negative stigma still out there. Another example of the misunderstood saviour. Another example as to why we all have to keep fighting to spread the word.

By the way, Joe? I can guarantee that if you saw me on Warsaw Avenue – I’d get your attention.

Jessica Grossman
  • Nini
    Posted at 19:55h, 31 July Reply

    am trying to figure out how a colostomy bag has anything to do with “scaring” people. I am proud of my urostomy bag, and it certainly saved my life. They should rather show gunshot victims to make a point.

  • valleygirl
    Posted at 20:02h, 31 July Reply

    Great article, thank you!!!!! 🙂

  • Nancy
    Posted at 20:12h, 31 July Reply

    People need to do research before doing programs like the one the Cincinnati Police Dept is doing. If they want to scare these kids use pictures of people dead in the street, in cars and alleys. That is the real horror of being in a gang being dead!!! If they survive and have scars that is something they are proud of.
    Ostomy bags save lives. They help people live a more normal and full life.

  • George
    Posted at 20:14h, 31 July Reply

    I’ve got to say that there is a lot of reasons why people have ostomies. Personally I live in a part of Los Angeles where there is a lot of gang violence and a couple of months ago I was stopped by cops and once they saw my colostomy bag they repeatedly said if I got shot because of it, I said no and simply told them I’ve always had medical problems but they had a hard time believing me. For me personally living in an area where there is gang activity it just creates stereotypes for judging people with ostomies by thinking that the only reason for a colostomy is because they got shot which clearly sends the wrong message.

  • Paul Bonar
    Posted at 20:27h, 31 July Reply

    (Caution, I use very colourful language in this response, so please be advised to expect this!)

    I am RAGGING WITH ANGER after reading your article Jess, This police person Lt. Joe Richardson is a fucking ignorant moron, the majority of people who have colostomies have them from disease and not from gunshot wounds. How can an asshole like him get to a position of authority where he goes spewing from his arse about something that he has no idea about. I’m going to find out where I can contact this twit and put him straight and I will use my colourful language as well. How dare he infer that anyone with a colostomy has had anything to do with gun crime, fucking wanker!

    Thank you for informing me of this idiot Jess and if he did meet you, he would literally have to eat his own words!

    Paul Bonar

  • Joe Hastings
    Posted at 20:56h, 31 July Reply

    Wonderful article. I’m a Cincinnati native with an ileostomy. It’s sad how uneducated public service officials can be. This is precisely why we NEED ostomy awareness.

  • Paul Bonar
    Posted at 20:57h, 31 July Reply

    Just written to the Mayor of Cincinnati firstly and I will write to the US Ambassador here in Dublin as well! Fucking moron!

  • Joyce Dilda
    Posted at 21:05h, 31 July Reply

    I wrote Lt. Richardson this morning. In his response which really only expressed regret that this one sound bite was pulled from his speech, he did apologize in a roundabout manner. However, in the end, he did it again. He said he only used colostomy bags as an example because he is trying to appeal to the vanity of youth. So again we’re insulted. If you wear a bag, you’re somehow not attractive or desirable.

    I’ve had my ileostomy now for over 40 years. Going on 69, I’m not as desirable as I was at 27 when I had the original surgery. Who is? However, after rejoining the dating pool about 12 years ago, I’ve had no problem attracting men.

    I’m just saddened, because particularly in the early years of UOA, we worked very hard to go around the DC area and hold health fairs, etc., in an attempt to help remove the stigma of ostomy. Just as it’s been removed for mastectomies. Maybe this is, in a cockeyed way, a story that could turn into a positive for our community. It will bring attention to ostomies, if nothing else, and hopefully some discussion. I’ve written Dr. Oz trying to get him to do a program, because he is widely viewed. However, no reponse. If Katie Couric’s program continues, she would also be a good spokesperson, as her husband passed from colon cancer. More than anyone, she would appreciate the value of a colostomy. I don’t believe her husband got that opportunity, though I’m not sure.

    Thanks for your thoughtful blog. It’s right on target.

  • Joe Hastings
    Posted at 21:19h, 31 July Reply


  • Alex
    Posted at 21:25h, 31 July Reply

    I think someone must sue them for this clearly barbarian approach to solve a problem by making another. So to speak, if they want to clear the streets from the guns and other weapons, they ought to ban them for all except the police. That campaign is no better than racism. And this isn’t only about ostomies it’s about people that are having health issues and trying to socialize, trying to return to their normal lives, and don’t want to be treated like freaks or criminals.

  • Anne
    Posted at 21:40h, 31 July Reply

    In Australia there was a plan to use a picture of someone with a colostomy as part of an anti smoking campaign. the campaign was pulled after lobbying by various ostomy associations. I hope you can all lobby for a a similar outcome . So stupid !

  • Censie
    Posted at 21:52h, 31 July Reply

    I couldn’t have said it better. I am not an ostomate but my husband is. We were so horrified when we saw this article.
    Thank you for sharing. You my dear are beautiful. 😉

  • John
    Posted at 22:10h, 31 July Reply

    I’m going to take a slightly different tack…not only do I understand why they’re using this, but I think it’s a good idea.

    There’s a WORLD of difference between needing a colostomy/ilieostomy bag due to health reasons, moving beyond it and trying to make the world a better place and being a gang-banger who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. When you go through life as a drain on all those around you….and ostomy ain’t exactly a walk at the beach.

    The feeling that they won’t be killed is one thing (and fairly common among youths of ALL stripes) but the idea that they won’t be killed but WILL spend the rest of their lives using a bag taped to their side for a toilet MIGHT give them pause. And if that means one less innocent bystander getting killed?

    I’m all for that.

    • Karen
      Posted at 23:57h, 01 August Reply

      Do you know anyone with a ostomy?

      • John
        Posted at 01:31h, 02 August Reply

        Other than myself?


  • Bryanna
    Posted at 23:01h, 31 July Reply

    Disgusted by this. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mike Fitzsimon
    Posted at 23:57h, 31 July Reply

    Lt. Joe Richardson might be right-hearted, but he is also wrong-headed.

    Reinforcing ignorance about ostomates is not the way to get any message out. You cannot educate one group of citizens by putting-down another.

  • Fingers
    Posted at 19:29h, 01 August Reply

    Do you know this totally makes me mad. When I first asked my surgeon for an ostomy back when I needed one do you know what he said? “Who would want to marry you?” I’m thinking HUH????? I went back years later and brought my now ex husband but showed him that someone did marry me. I am going to write these people from this campaign and tell them off. I am outraged at this.

  • alessandra greco
    Posted at 20:01h, 01 August Reply

    I absolutely agree!!! I’m sorry, but I’ve to say that the campaign is something outrageous for those people (and I’ve been one of them for nine months) who DESPERATELY try to live their lives again in a “normal” way. You need to stop that campaign.

  • Deb
    Posted at 02:45h, 02 August Reply

    Thank you Jess. Your words were spot on.

    I have had an ileostomy for 30 years; I don’t limp, am not gruesome or a social outcast and am considered “one hot mama” by my husband of 40 years. My ileostomy not only saved my life, but allowed me to continue to live a productive and meaningful life. Lt. Richardson remarks were disgusting and ignorant. Perhaps he should have thought more before he opened his mouth and inserted his foot.

  • John McNay
    Posted at 06:18h, 02 August Reply

    Thanks, Jess, You are right on. I live in Cincinnati and I will have word with them about this.

Post A Comment