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.”