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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

 
Who needs research on gun violence?

by digby

This happened:



On Wednesday morning, a group of doctors in white coats arrived on Capitol Hill to deliver a petition to Congress. Signed by more than 2,000 physicians around the country, it pleads with lawmakers to lift a restriction that for nearly two decades has essentially blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting research on gun violence.

Joined by a handful of Democratic lawmakers, the doctors spoke about the need to view gun violence as a public health epidemic and research ways to solve it – as the country would with any disease causing the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.

“It is disappointing that we have made little progress over the past 20 years in finding solutions to gun violence," said Nina Agrawal, a New York physician and member of the advocacy group Doctors for America, according to the group's Twitter feed.
I wrote about this nonsense for Salon a while back.
At the same time the right is telling doctors what they are required to tell their patients about abortion, they are passing laws requiring them not to talk about other things. Think Progress had this from Texas last month:
Under a proposed bill currently being considered in Texas, doctors wouldn’t be allowed to ask their patients whether there are any firearms in their homes — and could be subject to punishment from the Texas Medical Board if they do initiate any conversations about gun safety in the office.

The lawmaker who’s sponsoring the measure, Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R), is backed by the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association. He believes that the federal government is inappropriately reaching into doctors’ offices to figure out who owns gun.
That’s correct. They are proposing to censor doctors from speaking to their patients about gun violence. And their ostensible reason for doing this is because the federal government in reaching into doctors’ offices. It’s hard to believe their brains didn’t explode from the dissonance.

And Representative Spitzer’s rationale is almost as ludicrous as the old John Birth Society “Commies put fluoride in the water” theory:

“Pediatricians are asking children away from their parents, ‘Do you have guns in your house?’ and then reporting this on the electronic health records, and then the federal government, frankly, has access to who has guns and who doesn’t.”

Clearly, the federal government’s real agenda is to engage in a clandestine sweep of pediatricians’ young patients’ electronic medical records to determine whose parents have guns. And then obviously they are planning to send in the jack-booted thugs to confiscate them. So in order to stop such a terrible overreach of state power, the “let’s get government out of our lives” people are no longer just interfering with doctors who treat the elderly and women but now they must interfere with how they treat children as well. Evidently, their vaunted fealty toward individual rights does not extend to the examining table.(And if there’s one place I think most Americans would really like to have some individual rights and privacy it’s there…)

The reason the American Medical Association recommends that doctors talk to their patients about gun safety is because NRA, which used to consider that its primary goal, is so devoted to collecting money from its members, lobbying on behalf of gun manufacturers and flooding the streets of America with as many deadly weapons as possible it no longer wants to do this job. This isn’t a back-door attempt to make firearms illegal. That would quixotic in the extreme. It’s an attempt to cut back on the huge numbers of tragic gun accidents in this country — something which nobody is out there defending, not even the NRA. (If someone’s saying that we all have a constitutional right to accidentally shoot people, I haven’t heard it.)

Researchers are trying to gather statistics on gun violence and that is seen as an assault on gun rights, something which has long been blocked by the NRA and their minions in the congress. Only a very insecure movement would be afraid of such data. It carries no meaning in itself, it’s just numbers and observation. After centuries of debate the Supreme Court finally declared the 2nd Amendment to mean that an individual has a right to bear arms and that is highly unlikely to be reversed. They can relax about that. Information won’t kill them. A gun accident might, however, and it’s downright nihilistic to believe that trying to prevent them through education and research must be stopped, especially by preventing doctors from discussing it with their patients.
Just one more example of the lunacy we are living with every day.

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