And the God-complex raises it's ugly head again.
Gun regulation is not a public health issue, according to more than 80% of some 2,000 respondents to a MedPage Today poll.
When the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine decried the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the District of Columbia's handgun law, they did so claiming the issue is a matter of public health. Now doctors in the trenches have weighed in with their own views.
The responses from physicians who are registered members of the site was remarkbly evenly divided. Just over half (52%) said Yes, that gun control is a public health issue.
But for readers as a whole, it was another story -- with 83% of the 2,023 respondents saying No. And as a further measure of interest in gun control, there were 36 comments posted with the poll. Some posters weighed in more than once to further the conversation.
For the first few days of the week the poll was open, the voting was nearly even as a whole. Responses were characterized by a pharmacist, the first to post a comment: "When the lethal toxin -- in this case lead bullets -- are delivered from the barrel of a gun instead of the vapors from a smoldering cigarette, our community seems to be equally divided. Let's just ask this question of the emergency room staff and see what answer we get."
He argued, as did many who voted Yes, that gun control is no less a public health issue than second-hand smoke.
But that view held no water for many. "Tobacco is a public health issue," said one nurse. "One's decision to use is a health risk to many, whereas a firearm properly used poses little risk."
"The Supreme Court was correct," said a surgeon who said he had a "moral and ethical obligation" to protect his family. He was one of many who related personal incidents that argued for the value of having a gun on hand.
But, he said, his father told him of the two cardinal rules of firearms -- there's no such thing as an unloaded gun and don't point a gun at anything you aren't planning to shoot.
Those rules were cited by several of those who spoke up against hand gun regulation.
Said another doctor, "Gun regulation is not a public health issue; it is an emotional issue. Those who intend to use guns, or knives, or garrottes or any other kind of weapon will find ways to get and use them. None of the proposed gun laws stops the use of guns by criminals, so what, actually is the purpose of having such regulations in the first place?"
"Yes," he acknowledged, "there are accidental injuries and deaths from having guns in the home but there are accidental deaths from a host of other sources. Guns, however, evoke an emotional response because their purpose is to injure and kill. The Supreme Court dealt with the issue from a rational intellectual perspective rather than an emotional one and that is the appropriate perspective."
But, citing killings in neighborhoods that are not even considered high-crime and children who know where the guns are in their homes and how to get them, a child psychiatrist said, "those who think this is not a public health issue need to get their heads out of the sand."
A nurse with 40 years of experience countered, saying that the medical community needs to stay out of areas it has no business in -- and guns is one of them. "If you're taking care of a hole in the abdomen, do your job, take care of the medical issue before you, don't take your emotions into the home, street, farm, ballot box, legislature. Medical knowledge and experience is not a license to drive social and moral culture."
Another nurse would like to see a study of the benefits of gun ownership. "States that allow concealed carry and have castle doctrine laws consistently experience far fewer injurious/deadly crimes compared with their gun-controlled counterparts. Washington, D.C., is the perfect example -- with its ban, it boasts the highest murder rate in the U.S. per capita. The numbers steadily increased after the ban was implemented in the late 1970's."
This with comments from both sides of the argument quoted the Second Amendment to the Constitution. But none was as vehement in his interpretation as the M.D./Ph.D. who said, "Most certainly, it is a public health issue. Why does the CDC track violent deaths?"
"The assertion," he continued, "that James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights so that racists, sociopaths, and psychopaths could slaughter innocent children, women, and men with hand guns and assault weapons is one of the most despicable notions that an irresponsible minority has tried to force on its potential victims."
Taking a less passionate approach, one doctor noted that "the value of gun control is something to be debated by criminologists and sociologists. Medical personnel do not have any special training to address this issue," he said.
Another physician wondered "why our profession should get embroiled in this debate when one looks at the big picture." Noting that the number of firearm deaths a year pales in comparison with the number of deaths attributable to tobacco and the problems of the obesity epidemic, he said, "We should focus on the big picture of where to spend our resources to benefit the maximum number of patients."
At the end of the day, one doctor summed it all up: "Gun control in Texas means being able to hit what you aim at!"
And the God-complex raises it's ugly head again.
Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."
gee, more edumakated moroons
Well... if guns were as dangerous as the New England Journal of Medicine like to say... wouldn't that be good for doctors, as a steady supply of gunshot victims would boost their paychecks? Or do they hope that by spreading this propaganda, crime will increase, and improve business?
Er... surely there can't be an ulterior motive...
Gun "safety" is about as much a puclic safety issue as gun control is a crime prevention issue.
George Lundberg says to turn in your guns, I like how someone tells him to turn in his prescription pad.
But it is a public health issue ... when I roundhouse kick idiots who support gun control.
Wow!! I can't wait to get home and tell my boy Elroy that Chuck's in the house.