Tag Archives: doctors

Disingenuous Doctor

For new arrivals, I’ve been writing to “news” outlets and the writers of published gun-related misinformation. Call it education or calling them out on lies, I’m trying to correct bad reporting. Mostly, I an simply ignored, which indicates they know they’re wrong, and are disseminating BS deliberately. Once it’s clear that the outlet/writer is not interested in allowing facts to run, I’ve been posting my attempts here.

Today’s entry is a little bit different.

A focus on gun safety – not control – leaves 2nd Amendment intact
Our civil rights are under attack, and have been for some time. The freedom to assemble etched out in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is under attack by the Second Amendment — and it shouldn’t be. Jason Aldean’s concert was a peaceful assembly ravaged by a lone gunman who, for all intents and purposes, had the right of gun ownership.

What is it with doctors lying about firearms issues lately? 744 words of misdirection and falsehoods. I sent a proposed guest column of 721 words to rebut. To the Orlando Sentinel’s partial credit, they didn’t ignore me completely, as usually happens.

They told me to pare it down to 250 words or less and they’d consider it for a Letter to the Editor.

I couldn’t do it. There were too many Levy lies for 250 words. I got it down to 444 (remember, even my original column was shorter than Levy’s offering), by leaving out some specific references, and using more abbreviations and… not-so-great grammar.

They turned it down. So here it is.


Disingenuous Doctor

Doctor Marc Levy’s October 27, 2017 column, “A focus on gun safety – not control – leaves 2nd Amendment intact,” is as lacking in candor as the very column title, suggesting that delaying and infringing on rights somehow protects them.

In bringing up the Dickey Amendment and tying it to research, Dr. Levy implies that the amendment stopped federal funding of firearms-related violence. Just to be clear, this is false. The federal government funds much firearms-related violence research. As one recent example, there is “In-State and Interstate Associations Between Gun Shows and Firearm Deaths and Injuries: A Quasi-experimental Study,” primarily funded by the NIH.

Levy attempts another bit of misdirection in noting that Obamacare has a provision that prevents the collection of information on firearms. I’m sure that a doctor in Florida is well aware that Medicare/Medicaid sidestepped the law by implementing a rule requiring doctors to use Electronic Medical Records software, produced by nongovernmental agencies, which include questions on patient access to firearms in the intake questionnaire. Any doctor with Medicare/Medicaid patients will be asking that, while the CMS innocently proclaims, “WE aren’t requiring it.”

Dr. Levy also appears to be a fan of “universal background checks” (more accurately called preemptively-prove-your-innocence”), so that criminals and other prohibited persons could not obtain guns. He avoids the little problem that most firearm-equipped criminals already obtain their weapons unlawfully, and that the Supreme Court’s HAYNES decision upholds
criminals’ Fifth Amendment rights to not self-incriminate by reporting their unlawful activity; i.e.- criminals cannot be required to undergo background checks.

Levy mentions “assault rifles” as he wonders why we don’t track firearms purchases. Either he is unaware that assault rifles are heavily restricted, regulated, taxed, and registered; or he doesn’t want readers to realize that he’s talking about semiautomatic sporting and defense tools. Perhaps he meant to say “assault weapons,” a term with no legal meaning in Florida or federal law; only a handful of states use the entirely subjective term.

The doctor claims that all “responsible” gun owners approve of his restrictions: registration, taxation, limits on ownership, prior restraint on the exercise of a right, and more. Since I do not, that is demonstrably false, unless Levy has invented his own bizarre definition of “responsible.”

Similar claims that “90% of Americans favor Universal Background Checks” don’t hold water. A few years ago in Washington state, polls alleged that 90% of Washingtonians wanted UBCs; but when it went to an actual vote (Initiative 594), fewer than 60% voted in favor, missing the claim by over thirty points, and more than 40% opposed.

Since recent research shows that background checks do not reduce firearms-related homicide rates (“Do gun laws reduce gun homicide rates?,”), the 40% had a valid point.

Levy sidesteps other questions. Estimates of American gun owners range from a ridiculous fifty-five million to a possibly overly optimistic one hundred-twenty million. Estimates of firearms range from two hundred sixty-five million to a three quarters of a billion. Given the lack of knowledge demonstrated by that remarkable uncertainty, how does Levy propose to determine who has what? How does he propose to pry “extra” firearms out of the homes of those with “too many?” Does he expect dubious owners, who won’t tell a telephone poller what arms he possesses, to self-report to a government intent on registration and confiscation? Or does he advocate searching every single, individual domicile in the country? That’s a lot of doors to kick in, and when the California legislature first proposed mass confiscations of “assault weapons” several years ago, a police union spokesman announced they’d see the largest outbreak of “blue flu” in history if implemented.

Perhaps Dr. Levy and the other estimated one million doctors in America will volunteer to do the door-kicking; they outnumber the FBI’s estimate of fewer than 700,000 law enforcement officers anyway.

Consider those fifty-five to one hundred-twenty million gun owners; then consider the roughly thirteen thousand firearms-related homicides. If each homicide represented an individual shooter and gun, that’s 0.01-0.02% of all firearm owners and 0.001-0.005% of firearms. While personal tragedies, statistically homicides are “black swan” events.

Those tiny fractions of a single percentage point do not point to a gun problem or gun owner problem. There is a criminal problem. Perhaps Dr. Levy should lobby for a gangbanger tax to fund criminal violence research.

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Boundary Violation? Doctor against hearing protection

Dr. Herring is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Dallas who thinks hearing protection is a bad thing, and really likes gun bans and confiscations.

I have a new definition of ‘gun silencer’
A silencer is a device that is attached to a gun in order to virtually eliminate the sound of the gun and the “muzzle flash” that accompanies the bullet. If the Las Vegas shooter had used a silencer, people would have just continued to fall over with no evident cause for heaven knows how long. No one would have known in which direction to look, and no flash would have been seen.

Now that we’ve established that Herring is an ignorant twit, let’s determine the extent of that lack of knowledge. As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been indulging my hobby of calling out published idiots.  Since the Dallas News helpfully published the not-so-good doctor’s email address, I sent him a letter. He hasn’t responded, so here it is. Enjoy.

Dear Dr. Herring,

I must say, I’m glad you aren’t my doctor. I prefer medical professionals who take the time to gather facts.

1. A silencer is a device that is attached to a gun in order to virtually eliminate the sound of the gun and the “muzzle flash” that accompanies the bullet.”

Incorrect. Suppressors (the preferred accurate term) generally reduce the muzzle blast sonic signature by 20-30 decibels, from a level that instantly damages hearing to a level that is still loud but doesn’t result in immediate hearing loss. I’d expect a doctor writing on the subject to know that.

You want to know how suppressors work outside of Hollywood and your imagination? Here’s a video in which a suppressed AR-15 is clearly audible at 500 yards.

A doctor advocating against hearing protection is, at best, committing a boundary violation, verging on malpractice. Cheap ear muffs or ear plugs work, but reduce situational awareness; a bad thing when handling guns. Electronic muffs help with that but are a lot more expensive. Electronic muffs that give 360 degree awareness can cost more than a suppressor. A group of people shooting a rifle can spend a thousand dollars or more on electronic muffs, or one guy can spend a couple of hundred on a single suppressor (pre-$200 tax) and protect everyone.

2. “In reaction to the mass shooting, Congress quickly pulled a bill that would have made silencers legal.”

Suppressors are already legal (federally, and in nearly all states). The SHARE Act would simply remove a $200 tax.

3. “The NRA has blocked any epidemiological studies of the effect of unrestricted weapon ownership relative to murder, accidental shooting, suicides, carjacking and home intrusion.”

Wrong again. Type “firearms research” into any search engine and you’ll find lots of research. The CDC was blocked from advocating and promoting gun control, not studying firearms death/injury. The federal government pours millions of dollars in grants to such research.

4. No civilian needs a high-powered repeating rifle like the AK-47.”

The AK-47 — a select-fire assault rifle — is extremely difficult to lawfully obtain. And it is not “high-powered,” being chambered for an intermediate power cartridge with ballistics very similar to the venerable .30-30.

5. “Australia, a country with as high a percentage of gun owners as the U.S., was able to implement effective and fair gun laws that dramatically reduced gun violence.”

It was so effective that they just had to run another amnesty to convince people to turn in gun they failed to turn in back then. Their government’s estimate of compliance — including this year’s amnesty — is around 15-20%. And arbitrarily declaring lawfully owned and used property illegal, and taking it without compensation, was hardly “fair.”

6. “The number of homicides dropped 23 percent in 2013 compared to 2007, the lowest rate in 25 years.”

The Australian homicide rate was dropping before the confiscation, and merely continued. If you look at a graph of the rates, you’ll see a surprising smooth decline with no discontinuity at the time of the confiscation.

7. “Prior to the Australian law there had been 13 massacres (defined as killing of 4 or more people). In the 14 years following the new regulations, none.”

Untrue. By the “4+ killed” definition there has been at least one mass shooting (ed: knife and rifle, technically), and at least two more with seven victims (2 dead, 5 wounded; 3 dead, 4 wounded). (ed: and in 2014, another mass shooting with 5 dead.)

There have also been numerous knife, vehicle, club, and fire attacks that killed far more people than firearms murders, but I suppose you think those don’t count.

If you are truly interested in educating yourself on the subject of firearms, let me recommend The Zelman Partisans’ (a Jewish pro-RKBA organization) “Gun Culture Primer” as a starting point.

You are entitled to an opinion, but if you know something about a topic before publicly pontificating, it will boost your — currently lacking — credibility.

8. “I have patients who have committed suicide with guns.”

That seems extremely unlikely. Perhaps your grasp of English matches your knowledge of firearms and you meant that you had patients who committed suicide, or that you have patients who attempted it.

9. “There are people who are known threats who should not own guns.”

And those are called — in federal law — “prohibited persons,” and are ALREADY… prohibited from possessing firearms. And they are a tiny minority.

Consider that estimates of US gun ownership ranges from a laughable 60 million people to an optimistic 120 million. There are roughly 11,000 firearms homicides per year (and a decades-long downward trend). If each individual homicide was committed by a separate individual (which Mandalay Bay shows isn’t the case, as well as all the repeat murder offenders in cities like Chicago), then that’s 0.009% to 0.018% of all gun owners. At most, less than two hundredths of one percent. But you want laws restricting human rights of the 99.982% who didn’t do it?

Perhaps we should ban doctors: Recent research indicates that medical errors kill 200,000 to 400,000 people per year. With approximately one million doctors in America, it appears that doctors are roughly 2,200 times more likely to kill someone than is a lawful gun owner.

But wait! You might say that number doesn’t reflect the lives doctors save. Your numbers also don’t reflect the number of lives saved by gun owners; even the anti-gun Violence Policy Center says there are 338,700 defensive gun uses per year. Other researchers think the number could be as high as 2.5 million (based on the assumption that most never get reported to police, which my own experience suggests may be accurate).

I’ll leave you with a final thought. A particular incident stands out in my memory from my law enforcement days. A group of convicted felons was watching a news program about a push for gun control. The criminal group consensus was that gun control was good, because as one violent felon (assault with a deadly weapon, as I recall), “Yeah, pass it! Then I’ll know they ain’t got nothing, and I can always get a gun.”

Sincerely,

Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger
Author: Net Assets, Bargaining Position, The Anarchy Belt, and more
www.bussjaeger.org
NRA delenda est

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Dear Dr. Rosen…

I recently read your letter to the editor of the Greensboro News and Record.  In it you claim that since “physicians’ advice to patients routinely includes urging safe sex to protect against sexually transmitted diseases; using seat belts and child car seats; urging smokers to quit; and providing vaccines against flu and pneumonia,” you should be able to give your patients advice on firearms safety – advice I’m not sure you’re qualified to give.

So I tell ya what…

Why don’t you provide documentation of your qualifications to dispense firearms advice — and please include any hard copy certificates, proof of knowledge about the mechanics of firearms, your training as a safety expert in the field, etc. — and I’ll think about allowing you to dispense said advice to my family.

If you don’t have said training, I would propose you increase your malpractice insurance coverage to include advice you’re not even remotely qualified to give based on the following batch of stupid, “Inquiring if there are guns in the home, and whether they are locked, kept separate from ammunition and out of reach of children is basic.

a) It’s none of your business.

b) Teaching gun safety to children appropriately and keeping an eye on them if there are guns in the house is basic.

c) Will you pay for the medical costs of the rape or assault victim after a confrontation with an armed thug, who took advantage of the precious seconds his victim took to fumble with the gun lock, retrieve the ammunition, thanks to your advice?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Now, I’m not a big fan of legislating silence. I wouldn’t be thrilled with a North Carolina legislative proposal that would restrict doctors’ ability to discuss guns in the home. Except, from what I’m seeing, that’s not what the bill does.

Any written questionnaire or other written form a health care provider asks a patient or the patient’s  parent,  guardian,  or  custodian to  complete that  contains  any  question  regarding  the patient’s lawful  ownership,  possession,  handling,  storage,  maintenance  of, or  other  conduct involving firearms and ammunition shall clearly and conspicuously contain or have attached to it a notice that the patient is not required to answer any question related to those matters. The notice  shall  be  located  or  provided  in  a  manner that  is  clearly  visible  to  the  patient prior  to completion of any questionnaire or other written form containing a question about firearms and ammunition as provided in this section.

It merely makes sure that the patient understands he or she is under no obligation to answer your questions or bow to your paranoia.

I’m pretty sure it will also allow the patient to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to keep you as a physician, since you feel yourself qualified to dispense medical advice without proper training in firearms or their safe handling.

Heck, I’d be finding myself a new doctor right quick.

Maybe that’s what you’re worried about?

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