Back in 2004, the United States had an overall gun violence rate per 100,000 residents of 9.99. According to the CDC, this was the only year since 1981 when the per-100,000K rate for every kind of gun death (intentional, unintentional, etc.) dipped under 10.
In 2020, the most recent year for CDC gun-violence data, the per-100,000K rate was 13.58, an increase of only 36% since 1981. And when you go below the national number to the data from individual states, some states have gun violence rates truly beyond belief. The rate in Alabama is 23.49, in Louisiana it’s 26.14, Mississippi’s rate is 28.57 and Wyoming comes in at 25.85.
Want some comparisons? Try Colombia, where the gun-violence rate is 26.36, Brazil’s rate is 21.93 and Honduras clocks in at 20.15. These countries are considered to be extremely violent thanks to drugs and gangs. None of them have gun-violence rates that we find in certain U.S. states.
The bottom line is that the United States not only experiences a severe threat to community health and safety from guns which is worse than even some of the so-called ‘underdeveloped’ countries, but the problem is getting worse. And by the way, for every American who is shot to death each year, at least six or seven other Americans suffer life-shortening injuries from guns, an annual number that isn’t actually known because the CDC has given up trying to figure it out.
How has the medical community attempted to deal with this problem over the last several decades as the annual gun-violence rate continues to go up? Basically, they go yakety-yak at conferences and complain they need more research money to better understand the problem; in other words, they do nothing at all.
Let me give you a couple of examples, okay? There’s a group of emergency physicians who formed an organization called AFFIRM back in 2017. This group claims to “combine health expertise with the knowledge and traditions of responsible firearm stewardship to achieve consensus recommendations.” They use their expertise to create “actionable plans to reduce the incidence and effects of firearm injury on rural and urban communities alike.”
So far, their actionable plans consist of several conferences run in conjunction with the Missouri Foundation for Health, an outfit which claims to be helping the city of St. Louis ‘prioritize’ its programs to reduce gun violence. The state of Missouri is doing so well in this regard that in 2020 the state not only had a per-100,000K gun violence rate that was the highest rate since 1999 but has more than doubled since 2004.
Another group of physicians located at Boston’s Mass General Hospital are working on a curriculum that will serve as a “reality-based gun violence prevention training program for clinicians.” I assume they will develop some kind of script that doctors can use to help their patients understand the risks to health represented by guns.
That’s a wonderful idea, if only because just about every adolescent in the United States sees a physician to get the final pediatric immunizations which are given at the same ages (12 – 14 y/o) when kids first get interested in guns.
There’s only one little problem, however, which is that the physicians running this program don’t know anything about guns.
Here’s what happens when medical and public health researchers work on gun violence in the complete absence of any background or experience with guns. Every time that any gun-control group starts promoting some new gun-control initiative, they invariably cite the research by David Hemenway which makes a causal connection between our country’s high rate of gun violence and the fact that the civilian arsenal is now somewhere around 350 and 400 million guns.
David has been promoting this idea for the past 20 years but there’s only one little problem, which is that he happens to be wrong. Why is he wrong? Because the issue isn’t how many guns are floating around the United States, but how many guns are out there which are ever used in gun-violence events?
Know how many of those 400 million guns are rusted, old shotguns sitting in the basement or out in the garage? Nobody knows, but what we do know is that those guns are never used in any kind of gun-violence activity at all. I own a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle which I bought back in 1978. Remington has probably made 20 million of those guns and I guarantee you that none of them are ever picked up by the cops because they were used to commit a crime.
I published a paper based on analyzing more than 9,000 guns that were sitting in evidence lockers of police departments all over the United States. I did a search on all the guns using the names of gun makers who made rifles and shotguns for sporting goods sales: Remington, Winchester, Browning, Mossberg, Marlin, and Savage Arms.
Know how many times guns from these companies were connected to violent crimes? None. When such guns appeared on the list of confiscated weapons, it was because the owner didn’t renew his license to own the gun, or maybe he went hunting without first purchasing a stamp from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife boys.
My friends in public health and medicine can sit around from today until next year bemoaning the fact that they haven’t done enough research to understand how to reduce the violence caused by guns. That’s right. Despite what you may think and what the NRA says, it’s not the person who shoots the gun. It’s the gun.
Would doctors attempt to figure out a response to any other kind of health threat and bring so little knowledge about the problem to bear in their research? They wouldn’t dare.
And as long as we give law-abiding Americans access to guns which are designed solely for the purpose of ending human life, a lot of people will lose their lives. Because that’s the only reason why guns made by Glock and Sig and Springfield and Kahr and Smith & Wesson, okay?
Sorry, but you don’t use a Glock 17 to pop Bambi one in his rear end or knock birdy-wirdy out of a tree. And by the way, the World Health Organization doesn’t differentiate between violence which is ‘good’ and violence which is ‘bad.’ If you intentionally hurt yourself or someone else, you have committed a medically violent act. And there just ain’t no better or quicker way to commit such violence than by picking up that Glock and, as we say, popping a cap.
Finally, if you actually believe this nonsense being promoted by medical groups about how we have to find areas of ‘common concern’ with gun owners so that we don’t trample on their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,” I suggest you read Friedman v. City of Highland Park, which clearly demonstrates that public safety trumps the 2nd Amendment every, single time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR