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Does The Public Health Approach To Gun Violence Work?

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              Want to reduce gun violence?  It’s simple.  Take the strategy employed by public health to reduce fatalities from car accidents and apply the same strategy to guns. Here’s a summary of the results: “This public health approach has saved millions of lives. We can learn from public health successes – like car safety – and apply these lessons to preventing gun violence.”

The above quote is from a Washington, D.C. outfit called the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, one of many groups founded after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

And here’s what a pediatrician writing an op-ed for The New York Times had to say about gun violence in 2016: “Please, can we stop framing this as an issue of rights — and see it as the public health crisis it is? We’ve organized to prevent deaths from cars and tobacco. It’s time we did this for guns, too.”

              So, we seem to have total and complete agreement within the groups that want to reduce gun violence that a ‘public health approach’ is the best strategy by far, and the proof of the value of this strategy can be found in how deaths from auto accidents has dropped year after year.

              There’s only one little problem, however. And the problem is that not only have fatal car accidents stopped dropping, but they have begun to show an increase at the same time that the number of cars on the road and the number of miles being driven by those cars is way down.

              The National Safety Council estimates that total vehicle deaths for 2020 will be at least 42,060, which is an 8% increase over 2019. The mileage death rate for 2020 will probably increase by 24% over 2019, largely because the total number of miles driven last year has decreased by 13% from the previous year.

              In case you’ve forgotten, 2020 was when the economy almost came to a complete halt because of Covid-19. Which is why the number of cars on the road and the number of miles driven by those cars went down from the year before. That being the case, how come we experienced such an increase in vehicle deaths when, if anything, the fatalities from car accidents in 2020 should have been way down? Duhhh…

              Last year when gun fatalities spiked everyone immediately knew the reason. It was because so many people were going into gun shops and buying guns, a buying surge which is still going on. Now the fact that the reporter who covered this issue for The New York Times derived her evidence by using the number for all calls received by the FBI-NICS call center which basically is twice as many calls as the center receives for gun transfers, oh well, oh well.

              It turns out that if you look at the trend of fatal car accidents from 1999 until now, deaths stayed above 40,000 from 1999 until 2006, and then began dropping to 35,000 until they levelled off in 2010 and stayed roughly the same until they increased again in 2016 and then went way up this past year.

              This trend, believe it or not, happens to be more or less the same trend for gun deaths over the past 20 years: increased numbers until 2005, then a decline until 2014, then an upward trend again with really bad numbers in 2019 and even worse last year.

              So, we have more guns and gun deaths go up. We have less cars on the road but car deaths also go up. Is there a chance that maybe the reasons for gun violence has nothing to do with how many Americans own guns?

The Deadliest Pathogen: Guns and Homicide (Guns in America): Weisser, Michael R.: 9781792317866: Amazon.com: Books

Critical Race Theory Meets The 2nd Amendment.

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              Last week I reviewed a book by Professor Carol Anderson on how the 2nd Amendment has been used to discriminate against Blacks and helps maintain systemic racism, her book being a contribution to critical race theory (CRT) which has generated controversy on both sides of the current political debate.

              In last week’s review, I paid most of my attention to Professor Anderson’s analysis of how and why the 2nd Amendment was inserted into the Bill of Rights. In today’s column I want to look at how Anderson frames an argument about what the 2nd Amendment means to Black Americans today.

              Anderson cites two examples of how racism has been used in the contemporary period to define gun ‘rights’ – California’s  Mulford Law which prohibited carrying guns in public and was signed by then-Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967, and the Federal Gun Control Act which created the national regulatory system for guns which was signed by then-President Lyndon Johnson in 1968.  Both laws which, according to Anderson’s interpretation of CRT, were designed to protect America from violence committed by Blacks.

              The Mulford Law was passed in California after the Black Panthers showed up at the State Capitol, carrying rifles, to protest police brutality and lack of effective policing, particularly in Oakland and Black neighborhoods in L.A. Anderson is absolutely correct in pointing out that much of the political rhetoric and posturing which accompanied Mulford Law was not-so-thinly-veiled messaging about how Whites needed to protect themselves from crime and violence committed by Blacks.

              Anderson basically makes the same argument about the political and racial context surrounding the debates and ultimate passage of GCA68, quoting Michael Waldman’s judgement that the law was defining gun ownership as a “white prerogative” because the categories which defined unlawful behavior, lumped under the rubric of ‘dangerous people,’ tended to be behaviors that allegedly occurred much more frequently among Blacks than among Whites.

              It was in the aftermath of GCA68, however, that gun regulations began to clearly show a racist slant. I am referring to the spread of concealed-carry permits (CCW) which were issued in only 9 states without any kind of police discretion as late as 1986. As of this year, there are now only 8 states where the cops can deny a CCW application without cause, and every one of those states happens to have large, inner-city Black neighborhoods where it is simply understood that Blacks don’t need to waste time trying to get a CCW license because it won’t be issued, whether they meet the legal qualifications or not.

              States like California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,  Massachusetts Rhode Island – have cities with high levels of gun violence but are also cities where the cops don’t want anyone to own a legal gun. Want to protect yourself by carrying a legal gun when you walk down the street? Move to Wichita, KS or Des Moines, IA. Blacks can get licensed for CCW in those cities, no questions asked.

              The fact that Anderson could write an entire book to show how the 2nd Amendment has been used to discriminate against Blacks and never seem to be aware of the racial differential in issuance of CCW licenses tells me that her understanding of guns, gun laws and CRT represents nothing more than an ability to go on the internet and do a bibliographical search. Another expert writing about gun violence who wouldn’t know one end of a gun from the other end.

              But here’s the real problem with thinking about gun violence within the context of CRT. Would it be better if the laws on gun ownership and gun access were completely color-blind, thus making it easier for Blacks to buy and own guns? Isn’t it bad enough right now that a White guy can walk into a gun shop, buy a Glock 17 with 5 extra hi-cap mags, and walk around town with the gun just because he passed a two-minute background check?

              Want to get rid of the systemic racism that defines how we try to control the ownership and use of guns? Why don’t we make everyone equal and simply say that nobody can own guns?

Catalog | TeeTee Press

Want To Get Into Politics? Learn How To Shoot An Assault Rifle.

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              Way back in 2000, Charlton Heston stood up at the annual meeting of the NRA, raised a plastic version of a flintlock musket over his head and vowed that in order to take away his gun, the government would have to take it from his “cold, dead hands.”  I was at that meeting, but I didn’t attend Heston’s speech. What I do remember is that after the speech, lots of kids and even some adults went walking past my booth with a clenched fist in the air and shouted, “from my cold, dead hands.”

              The use of a musket to represent what makes America ‘great’ has been a fixture of American culture for years. After all, it’s how Davey Crockett ‘kilt’ him a bar when he was only three.’ Or maybe he was six. I don’t remember which was which.

              Then of course there was the Alamo where Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis held off Santa Anna’s Mexican Army for almost two weeks with their trusty flintlock guns.

              But time moves on and things change. And one of the things which appears to be changing is the use of AR-15 rifles as prop in campaign ads for candidates from both sides.

              As of last week, six Republicans have announced their intention to run in the 2022 election to replace Missouri’s retiring GOP Senator, Roy Blunt. One of those candidates is none other than Mark McCloskey, the idiot who stood in front of his house and waved an AR-15 at some BLM protestors who were marching by. He and his wife, who was waving a pistol at the crowd, copped a misdemeanor plea last week so McCloskey immediately went out and bought himself another AR-15.

              How do we know he now owns another AR-15 to replace the gun taken from his ‘cold, dead hands’ as part of his plea deal?  Because he immediately posted a pic of himself with the gun on his Twitter page, where else?

              It goes without saying, of course, that McCloskey’s Senate campaign will probably be based on trying to get every gun-nut in Missouri to show up and vote to protect their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ I mean here’s a guy who used a gun to defend himself, his wife, and his home from a Black ‘mob.’ Which trigger-head in Missouri wouldn’t vote for him?

But let’s not sit back, my fellow members of Gun-control Nation, shake our heads in dismay and assume that only members of the red team believe that using a gun as a stage prop is a quick and easy way to pile up the votes.

Back in 2017, Montana held a special election to fill a House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke who was picked to run the Interior Department for Trump. Both candidates ran TV ads showing them shooting guns. But the guns in their ads were old-style, lever-action rifles right out of the Old West. You don’t see guns around like that anymore. Those lever-action guns are just as old-fashioned as the flintlock that Charlton Heston held over his head.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

    

   What Is An Assault Rifle?: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798728410980: Amazon.com: Books

      

        

         

       

     

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

Move Over Donald. There’s A New Defender of 2nd-Amendment ‘Rights.’

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              Back in 2015, a 60-year old Black man was sitting in his living room watching TV in St. Louis when he heard noises out in his back yard. Grabbing his gun, he went out on the back porch and saw someone jump out of his car and evidently start to run towards him. The man raised the gun, pulled the trigger and a 13-year old kid was dead.

              The would-be teenage car burglar was actually trying to run around the car so that he could jump the back fence and retreat. But under Missouri’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) and Castle Doctrine (CD) laws, the shooter who had committed a felony years ago, was found guilty only of possessing an illegal gun.

              Missouri has some of the most expansive SYG and CD laws of any of the 50 states. Basically, what their laws say is that if someone comes on your property and after being warned to retreat doesn’t immediately back away, you can presume you are facing a serious threat, pull out the old shootin’ iron and bang away.

              You may recall that a year ago June, a man and his wife, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, stood on the front steps of their home in St. Louis and waved guns at a group of BLM protestors who were marching in the street. The McCloskeys both happen to be attorneys, so you would assume that they would defend their behavior by claiming their innocence under the SYG and CG laws. In fact, they claimed that they were protecting their home and themselves from a ‘mob’ that was about to storm their property and do them in.

              They were indicted for unlawful use of weapons an immediately became the poster children of the Trump campaign’s stupid attempt to make the 2nd Amendment a centerpiece of his failing re-election campaign, up to and including an appearance at the GOP convention when Trump was nominated for a second term.

              On Thursday, these two schmucks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor which means they won’t do any jail time and can keep their licenses to practice law. Mark McCloskey is now running for Senate and here’s what his website says: ‘On June 28, 2020, and then again on July 3, 2020, Mark McCloskey and hie wife Patty, held off a violent mob through the exercise of their 2nd Amendment rights.”

As of today, contributions to the McCloskey campaign listed by the Federal Election Commission are – ready? – zero. Or as Grandpa would say – ‘gurnisht.’ Or better yet – ‘gurnisht helfen,’ which means it’s not going to work at all.

I think the Prosecutor in this case, Richard Callahan, got it right when he said, “We still have the Second Amendment rights. It’s just that the Second Amendment does not permit unreasonable conduct.”

On the other hand, when the President of the United States defends this kind of behavior, when he defends protestors who march up the steps of a State Capitol Building with their AR-15’s, when he says that a bunch of American Nazis marching around with their guns includes some ‘good people,’ he’s not just defending the 2nd Amendment.

He’s just pandering to the lowest, common mentality of all – the mentality which actually believes that walking around in a public space with an assault rifle is t he best way to protect yourself from the ‘tyranny’ of the Federal state.

Of course, somehow, don’t ask me how, the ‘tyranny’ of the national state only seems to appear when Democrats are in control or look like they may end up in control. When a Republican like Donald Trump or Mark McCloskey gets into office there’s nothing to worry about because they respect our 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

If we learned anything from the 2020 election, it’s that at least 81 million voting Americans don’t buy into such nonsense and are willing to help decide the country’s political stance on more realistic and honest terms.

I suspect this is also true of most voters who vote the Republican ticket whether they like the names on the GOP line or not.

The truth is that maybe, just maybe, all this nonsense about 2nd-Amdnement ‘rights’ may be ending up where it belongs. 

Want To Go Into The Gun Business? Machine Guns Are Fetching A Good Price.

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              There’s a guy down in Texas who’s my kind of guy.  He’s 73 years old and still trying to make a living in the gun business. I’m 76 years old, so this guy’s in my league when it comes to sticking around in Gun-nut Nation until you croak.

              The guy’s name is William Scott Simms, and he lives in McAllen, TX, which is all part of the problem. Because McAllen happens to be located right smack dab next to the ol’ Rio Grande, which means that the town’s southern border happens to be Mexico. Which means you just walk down ol’ South Depot Road a bit, hop across the railroad tracks and you’re in the land of tortillas and fried beans.

              You’re also in the land where Americans have been selling machine guns that allegedly fetch a better price over there than over here, at least this is what the U. S. Government is saying is the reason they arrested ol’ boy Billy Simms. He was indicted back in May for getting’ ready to take eleven machine guns that he manufactured and sell them south of the border for – ready? – $10,000 apiece! 

              That’s a hundred grand for sittin’ in the kitchen, slapping together some plastic and metal parts that you can buy online for a couple of hundred bucks, then plopping a full-auto sear into the metal band above the trigger, attaching the sear to a loading spring and you’re good to go. In case you’re interested folks, I just told you how to make a machine gun.

              Billy Boy Simms was not only charged with the possession of ‘unregistered’ machine guns, which means the guns didn’t have serial numbers, which means they are so-called ‘ghost guns,’ he is also charged with exporting these guns to Mexico, which is a violation of export laws.

              As to the fact that the guns didn’t have serial numbers, the DOJ press release says that “On April 8, President Biden issued executive orders specifically targeting the manufacturing and transfer of ghost guns.” Uh-oh. Our man Simms is now in real deep doo-doo because he’s going up against a regulatory system which finally is going to get rid of those ‘ghost’ guns.

              Except the statement happens not to be true. Joe can issue all the executive orders he wants to issue about ghost guns or anything else, but if the order requires a change in the Federal code or the wording of any Federal law that defines the behavior of any government agency, such a change can only be made after a 90-day period which allows for the public to make comments about the new text has elapsed.

              When it comes to illegally exporting guns to Mexico, the Federal Government has machine guns on the brain.  You may recall that between 2006 and 2011, the ATF forced gun dealers in Arizona to make illegal sales of semi-automatic rifles which were then allegedly turned into full-auto guns in a car repair shop in Phoenix that would then be sold in Mexico as machine guns, i.e., the ‘Fast and Furious’ mess.

              The whole thing turned out to be nonsense, not a single machine gun was ever found anywhere, and if the Republicans sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee hadn’t been so ga-ga about using their investigation to embarrass Obama and instead done some clean-up of the ATF, maybe we’d actually have a government agency responsible for regulating the gun business that would get something done.

              These days, everyone seems to have machine guns on the brain. The Associated Press just ran a story about how almost 2,000 military guns seem to have disappeared, including more than 1,000 rifles, all of which are full-auto guns. And here’s the headline: Some Stolen Military Guns Used in Violent Crimes.” Except if you actually read the story, you discover that a) we have some 2 million military guns sitting around so how could we not be missing a few, and b) the only military gun used in crimes is the Beretta M9 pistol, which is a semi-automatic gun.

              Now how come I can’t seem to find the full-auto sear that I want to plop into my AR-15?

Gun Trafficking in America (Guns in America) (Volume 5): Weisser, Mr. Michael R.: 9780692386125: Amazon.com: Books

A New Book On The 2nd Amendment

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              For all the noise made by Gun-nut Nation about how they are always on the verge of losing their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ a new book by Carol Anderson, who runs African-American Studies at Emory University, focuses on the 2nd Amendment as a device which was stuck onto the Constitution to help maintain the slave system and is still being used to foster what she calls the ‘fatal inequality’ between Blacks and Whites.

              I am convinced, incidentally, that if Donald Trump hadn’t flipped three states – MI, PA, WI – by 3/10ths of one percent of the total votes cast in those three states, he wouldn’t have won the 2016 election and the growth of concern about endemic racism – BLM, The 1619 Project, critical race theory, Anderson’s book – would probably have never occurred. If Hillary had been President when George Floyd was killed, she would have rounded up the usual suspects, appointed a Presidential Commission to publish a report, and that would have been the end of that.

              The first half of Anderson’s book is a detailed discussion which tries to revise the standard explanation for the 2nd Amendment, which says that the existence of local militias comprised of citizens who carried their own weapons was designed to maintain the political and military supremacy of the individual states. Against this view, Anderson posits the thesis that the existence of the militia was primarily to maintain slavery by chasing down runaway slaves and suppressing slave revolts.

              As far as I’m concerned, you could have it either way.  The fact that the way gun ownership is regulated today is couched in legal terms that which dates from the eighteenth century and grows out of a legal tradition which nobody really understands, may be an interesting discussion-point for a seminar on Constitutional law, but really doesn’t enlighten today’s argument about gun violence at all. If the NRA and Gun-nut Nation want to believe that the Founders understood the necessity to maintain their vigilance against the ‘tyranny’ of the national state, good for them. The guys who commit 125,000+ gun assaults against themselves and others every year aren’t thinking about whether they have any kind of ‘right’ to walk around with a gun.

              Professor Anderson makes a convincing argument about how the 2nd Amendment has been used in the modern period to enfranchise Whites with gun ownership while denying the same enfranchisement to Blacks. In particular, she cites recent instances in which Blacks who were in legal possession of guns (Philando Castile, Jemel Robertson, Emantic Bradford) were shot by cops even though the cops weren’t in any way threatened by the behavior of these Black men.

              The author also notes that exceptions to 2nd-Amendment guarantees fall disproportionately on Blacks, in particular the whole idea that only ‘law-abiding’ citizens can own guns. And since the incarcerated population is overwhelmingly minority-based, obviously any withholding of the ‘right’ to self-defense from members of minority groups hurts more than helps these individuals protect themselves and their families once they get out of jail.

              On the other hand, what Professor Anderson does not want to acknowledge is the fact that even though 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ are seemingly reserved for members of the White race and denied to Blacks, it cannot be said that this particular type of discrimination makes Blacks more vulnerable to gun violence perpetrated by Whites. In fact, gun violence is overwhelmingly almost to the point of universality, an intra-racial event. When it comes to using a gun to hurt someone else, Blacks shoot Blacks, Whites shoot Whites. And it certainly can’t be argued that by restricting legal ownership of guns only to law-abiding Whites, that this practice has made it difficult for residents of inner-city, minority neighborhoods to get their hands on guns.

              Carol Anderson has written a lively book and there’s no reason to ignore the fact that there have been too many, much too many instances of Blacks getting shot and killed by cops, whether the victims were armed or not.

              I just don’t think the issue of gun violence will be better understood by viewing through the vortex of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

Are Guns Here To Stay?

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              Back in November, the Gallup Organization published its annual national survey on what Americans think about gun control, something they have been doing since 1990, and to the delight of Gun-nut Nation, support for stronger gun laws has slipped back down to where it was somewhere around 2016-2017, having hit its all-time high in 2018.

              This dip in the public’s perception of not needing stricter gun laws was then taken up by our friends at the NRA to kick a little bit of dirt onto the shoes of Everytown and Shannon Watts: “Reality provides clear evidence for why Shannon Watts and other professional gun controllers seek to tie themselves to every unrelated issue and crisis. It’s because their gun control agenda just isn’t popular. Everytown just doesn’t get it. No amount of focus groups, talking points, or double-speak will ever trick the American people into giving up their Constitutionally-affirmed right to keep and bear arms.”

              Of course, if you take the trouble and drill down into the details of the latest Gallup poll, there’s a lot more for the gun industry to be worried about even if the support for stricter gun laws has dropped a couple of points. If anything, the underlying trends found by Gallop point to a real possibility that gun laws might become much stricter in the years to come. Let’s look at the details, okay?

              First and most important question: Do you have a gun in your home? The ‘yes’ was 42%, up from 37% in 2019, but down from 43% in 2018. So, this number hasn’t really changed.

              Should gun laws be stricter? The ‘yes’ was 57% but for women it was 67%, for men it was 46%. As the age of respondents goes up, the ‘yes’ percentage goes down, from 62% for ages 18-34 down to 59% for anyone over 55 years old.

              Here’s the big one – race. White respondents wanted stricter gun laws by 48%, non-Whites – ready – by 75%! Hey – what happened to all those African-Americans out there allegedly getting into guns? 

              Finally – education. Two-thirds of college grads want gun laws to be stricter. 49% of respondents with ‘some college’ opted for less strict gun laws. The phrase ‘some college’ usually refers to guys who get certified in some kind of hands-on skill-set like HVAC or IT.

              For all the talk and hot air coming from Gun-nut Nation about how all these new groups like women and minorities are getting into guns, the American home which contains a gun is still, on average, a household headed by a White male with some college, above age 50 and it goes without saying, considers himself to be a conservative and votes for the red team.

              In other words, when it comes to who comprises Gun-nut Nation, plus ça change, plus la même chose. Or as Grandpa would say, “gurnisht macht gurnisht.”

              And if that’s not a problem for the gun business, I don’t know what is. Because right now, White males over the age of 40 comprise about 10 percent of the total population, and for the first time, a majority of the population under age 16 is non-White.  In other words, the demographic profile on which the gun industry is not only solidly rooted but continues to show basically no change, happens to be a profile which is going to fade away over the next several decades.

              For those of you who are committed to seeing gun violence disappear, twenty to thirty years may seem like a long time. But let me tell you something. When my mother was pregnant with me in 1944, her doctor told her to stop smoking until after I was born. How long did it take the FDA to finalize warning labels on cigarette packs? Try 40 years.

              Guns happen to be a very old technology. More than anyone else, the kids like things that are ‘new.’ There may have been a line in front of some gun shops at the height of the Pandemic, but I have never seen the Apple store anything but filled.

              If I wanted to plunk some money into the stock market, I’d take Apple over Smith & Wesson every time.

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

Do Cops Need To Carry Guns?

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              Now that the surge in gun violence seems to be getting worse while the spread of Covid-19 seems to be getting better, I’m waiting for my friends in Gun-control Nation and my friends in Gun-nut Nation to come up with a new theory as to why so many Americans are walking around shooting at so many other Americans on a daily basis. 

              Here’s the basic argument that divides the two sides: More guns mean more gun violence versus more guns means more people can protect themselves from violence. So, either we take the guns away from people who use them to commit violence, or we take guns away from people who use them to protect themselves from violence.

              But the one group whose access to guns has never previously been questioned, and this group happens to use guns for both purposes, are the cops. After all, cops use guns to shoot people, which is the definition of gun violence, and they also use guns to protect themselves and others from people who would commit violence, right?

              It turns out that this question has now become an issue in the heated New York City mayoralty campaign when Maya Wiley, the ‘progressive’ candidate, who has been endorsed by that Communist or whatever-she-is rabblerouser, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stated in a debate that she ‘wasn’t sure’ whether NYPD officers should be walking around with guns.

              Wiley got slammed by all the other Democratic candidates who couldn’t get over their joy in being able to shit attention away from having to explain exactly how they would go about cleaning up the mess that has been created by eight years of Bill DeBlasio’s tenure in City Hall, with our friend Eric Adams saying how ‘alarmed’ he was that someone would want to take away the tools needed by the cops to deal with the ‘thousands’ of guns flooding the city’s streets.

              The only problem with what Adams and the other mayoral candidates is saying is that it’s really not clear whether there really is a connection between the cops protecting the city from crime and the cops walking around with guns. The idea that a cop needs to have a Glock on his hip while he stands in the middle of an intersection directing traffic has never been questioned except there have just been too many recent incidents where cops shot the wrong people with their guns.

              So far this year, at least 400 people have been shot and killed by cops, although the rate of cop shootings is actually slightly lower than it has been in any year since 2015. So far in June, there have been at least 20 fatal cop shootings around the United States and in only one case was the shooting caught by a body cam, so we have to rely on the account by the shooters themselves as to what actually took place. And I hate to say it, but why should we assume that how a cop describes why he shot someone is necessarily more accurate than how a civilian describes doing the same thing?

              My friends who do research on gun violence are always quick to trot out the idea that we suffer so many shootings because we are the only country which gives all law-abiding residents access to guns. Wouldn’t the same argument apply to cops?

              The United States has a rate of cop killings which is 10 to 20 times higher than any other country in the OECD, which is about the same difference in the number of guns floating around between the U.S. and the rest of the OECD

              The cops will tell you that the reason they need to carry guns is because all the ‘bad guys’ out there have guns. But there have just been too many cop shootings recently, like the shooting of Patrick Warren in Killeen, TX where the victim was completely unarmed.

              I know cops have a tough job. I know they are underpaid, underappreciated, and usually undertrained. But that doesn’t change the fact that a Glock in anyone’s hands is a threat to public safety, okay?

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

A Surgeon Talks About Gun Violence.

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The author of this piece is a surgical resident in Pennsylvania and this column, along with her painting (above) was published in the June 10th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives dramatically is an understatement. The population of North Philadelphia is no exception. In a city where gun violence was rampant before Covid, bloodshed has only increased with the upheaval of the structure of everyday life. Over the past year, there have been more than 2200 shooting victims and 500 homicides in Philadelphia, reflecting increases of 54% and 40%, respectively, over 2019.1,2 In November 2020, while completing a trauma rotation, I witnessed the aftermath of such violence. One boy, along with many others from that time, will always haunt me.

When he arrived in the trauma bay, he was alive. He had been shot in the chest. I immediately started working to gain access to his femoral vein as another doctor monitored his airway. His legs were kicking as he screamed, “Help me! Help me!” As I focused on securing the central line, I noticed that the nurse holding his legs down no longer needed to apply as much force. His writhing had slowed, then stopped. I looked up at the head of the bed, where the trauma chief and the attending stood, and glanced down just in time to see the light in the patient’s eyes go out. “Don’t leave, don’t die. We’re here,” I pleaded silently.

Everything happened so quickly, like a choreographed dance. The urgency in the room was palpable. Everyone had a role, and all those roles were equally vital to the objective. One resident was intubating the patient. The chief resident took a scalpel to the left chest, just caudal to the nipple, curving cranially as he drove the knife to the bed. He saw me beside him and handed me the scissors. I opened the chest to find blood, as another resident placed a chest tube on the right. Blood sprayed out under pressure. I knew what that meant. I wielded the metal mallet and hammered the bladed bar across the sternum, extending the thoracotomy into a clamshell. We placed the Finochietto retractor, opened the pericardium, and cross-clamped the aorta. Blood was everywhere.

I scooped blood and clots out of his thorax to identify the injuries. And there they were. An 8-cm hole blown through the right atrium and a 10-cm hole in the posterior inferior vena cava. We did our best to clamp the holes and attempt cardiac massage. The clamps were not big enough. They would not hold, as blood leaked around them during attempts to squeeze the heart. We started sewing urgently, in an attempt to stop the bleeding and pump the heart. Even with our best efforts and several transfusions, there was no bringing him back. He had left us. What I saw before me was a teenager covered in his own blood, his chest flayed open in the attempt to save his life. The dance was over, and it had not been fast enough.

The attending called out the time of death. The room had quieted, and the teams shuffled out. I stayed, alone with the shell of a human, left to close the chest that I had opened. I closed his eyes and covered his lower body in a blanket, then began meticulously sewing his chest closed with silk.

When I was finished, I trudged to the locker room to change my scrubs – my pants were soaked in dark blood. I was shaking from the adrenaline crash, and my eyes were swimming with tears. As I pulled off my scrub pants, I realized the blood had seeped through to my skin. A nurse in the locker room looked at my shins in horror and brought me chlorhexidine wipes, a gentler solution than the bleach wipes I was using to scrub away the blood. I knew I had to pull myself back together. I knew my pager could go off any minute for the next trauma. I walked the halls and did what was required of me to finish my 24-hour shift. I felt numb as I walked out to the garage the next morning. I called my sister on the drive home, and I finally let myself fall apart and cry. “I am a surgeon. I am supposed to be able to stop bleeding.”

Over the course of the 6-week rotation, I was involved in seven emergency thoracotomies in patients with gunshot wounds. It was difficult, but over time I found peace in the quiet after each procedure concluded. I gently closed the patients’ empty eyes, covered their bodies, and sutured. Somehow, in making that closure perfect while I thought about their too-short lives and the loved ones they’d left behind, I felt that I was honoring the victims. Looking back now, I think that maybe in choosing to take on the task of approximating the skin of those corpses, I was really trying to put myself back together. I had been changed by what I had seen, and I knew it. I spent time coping outside work by painting a picture of that first boy (see image). I let myself feel the pain again with each stroke of scarlet paint across his body.

I wanted others to know about these violent deaths. I wanted people to know what I had gone through, what I had seen. I wanted them to understand it on a deeper level than the statistics they read in the news reports.

As I attempted to tell the people around me, however, I realized it was too heavy, too painful. It made them uncomfortable. My brother, an Army Ranger, who had recently returned from deployment overseas, pulled me aside. “We signed up for jobs where we see horrific things,” he said, “so that those we love don’t have to see them.”

Later, I was recounting the gory details of my rotation to one of my attendings, explaining how angry and frustrated I was. This was not what I had signed up for, I told him.

“Yes, you did,” he assured me. “You just didn’t know it.”

His response will stay with me, along with the faces of so many patients in their final moments. I am certain that no one can fully prepare for what they will encounter in medicine, nor what the profession will require of them. I certainly did not foresee the coming of a pandemic before starting this career. The reality is that we are often witnesses to the lowest and darkest moments in many of our patients’ lives. Residency takes from us in myriad ways; above all, it demands our time. I now know that it is paramount to set aside time to cope with loss and death — not only for our immediate well-being, but also for our self-preservation. Three years into my career as a surgeon, I am beginning to understand the true gravity of what I signed up for.

The Dumbest Gun Law Passed This Year.

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              I used to think that the dumbest gun law ever produced came from Matt Gaetz who, when he was a State Senator in Florida, introduced a law (which went nowhere) that would have allowed patrons who were shot by someone in a gun-free zone to sue the owner of the property who had made his space gun free.

              But the Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, is about to sign into law a bill which is even dumber than the law put out there by child-molester Gaetz. This is a law called the ‘2nd-Amendment Preservation Act,’ which prohibits the police in Missouri from enforcing federal laws which would be “considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States.”

              Exactly what laws are they talking about? The most egregious infringements on gun ‘rights’ in Missouri would be any federal law which would result in “any registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition.”

              So, if a local police department shows up at a crime scene, let’s say a murder, and finds a gun next to the corpse which was evidently used to kill the guy, according to this new law the cops can’t ask the ATF to trace the gun in order to figure out who may have actually committed the crime.

              And why do the good people of Missouri need such a law? Because according to the Governor’s office, this law will “empower people to protect themselves.” The Governor’s spokesperson, Kelli Jones, actually said this. She actually stated those exact words.

              In 2019, the most recent year for which we have data, Missouri was one of 7 states with a murder rate in double digits, specifically the rate was 10.23 murders per 100,000 residents. There were only 4 states in 2019 which suffered from a higher rate of murders where the killer used a gun. So why not make it harder for the cops to figure out who pulled the trigger when they find a dead body on one side of the street with his head blown off and then find the gun on the other side of the street?

              Obviously, the guy who got his head blown off wouldn’t have been a murder victim at all if he had taken the trouble to ‘empower’ and protect himself, right? And how could this guy have empowered himself to make sure he didn’t get his head blown off by someone else?  That’s simple. All he needed to do was go out and get himself a gun.

              I can certainly understand why the head of Missouri’s gun-control group, MOMS, would issue a statement calling this law something with no benefit at all. But that’s not completely true, because after all, as the fear of Covid-19 abates and less people feel they can protect themselves from the virus by buying a gun, the guys who own gun shops in Missouri will need to find some way to boost sales.

              Know how many guns were purchased in Missouri last month? Try 40,192.  Know how many guns were sold in Missouri in April? Try 51,356.  In March it was 65,739.  So, over the last three months, gun sales in Missouri have dropped by almost 40%! That’s no good. No good at all.

              If it weren’t for the idiot state legislator, Jered Taylor, who sponsored this bill, and the idiot Governor, Mike Parson, who signed the bill, the gun business in Missouri might collapse, and then all those state residents who still need to empower themselves to keep themselves safe would be sh*t out of luck.

              Maybe what those poor folks would have to do is sneak into someone’s house when they’re not around and swipe one of their guns. And if the neighbor reports the theft to the cops and the cops want to trace the gun, then the local cops will also be sh*t out of luck.

              Missouri’s known as the ‘show me’ state. Want to show me a law that is dumber than this new gun law? 

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

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