Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guns DO kill people

The National Rifle Association recently condemned doctors who are against gun violence, telling us to "stay in our own lane," and complaining we had not checked with outside experts (i.e., them). Last that I heard, reducing preventable deaths was exactly the main lane for doctors. Quite appropriately, this stance has led to a major reaction by doctors, one of whom, a trauma surgeon, posted a picture of herself and the operating team with a young patient who had just succumbed to his bullet wounds despite their attempts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report on firearm homicides and suicides, in MMWR 67(44):1233-7, dated November 9, 2018. They, in an understated way, said that "firearm homicides and suicides represent a continuing public health concern in the United States." During 2015-2016, the US experienced 27,394 homicides, including 3224 among persons 10-19, using guns. In the same period there were 44,955 firearm suicides, including 2,118 among youngsters 10-19. We are so much worse than any other Western democracy that comparisons are meaningless. As I point out in my new book, Prescription for Bankruptcy, people can attempt suicide by many means, but no other means is nearly as "successful" as suicide by gun. Many measures have been proven successful, and none of these would infringe on the legitimate use of firearms by hunters. If every state in the country had similar laws to those in Massachusetts, and a similar death rate from guns, tens of thousands of American lives would be saved. We supposedly live in a country in which the majority rules, respecting the rights of minorities. A clear majority of Americans want better gun control. We MUST stand up to the NRA and tell our elected officials they will not be re-elected if they do not grow spines.

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