Gun violence became an issue of public concern and public advocacy when a 20-ywear old kid shot his way into the Sandy Hook public school in Newtown, CT and killed 20 kids and 6 adults before killing himself. This event turned what had been a sporadic concern about gun violence into an ongoing issue, sparked partially by a failed attempt by Obama to get a new gun law passed, then a massive infusion of dough from Mike Bloomberg into gun-violence advocacy, and a stupid but unceasing attempt by Alex Jones to explain the whole thing as just another, liberal-led hoax.

              Behind these activities was an increased concern about gun violence as a threat to public health. And even though the CDC was prohibited from sanctioning research into gun violence from 1997 until two years ago, public health research groups at Harvard, Hopkins and other locations published plenty of research about how and why this country suffered from a unique health problem caused by the misuse of guns.

              What did all this public advocacy and research accomplish? Not one, goddamn thing.

              The CDC has just released injury data for 2021. The national rate for gun violence in 2001 was 9.95.  In 2021, it was 14.30. That’s only an increase just short of 50 percent. Big deal.

              What do we get from the so-called experts who do gun violence research? We are told that this increase is due to the stresses and strains of the Pandemic, even though the annual gun-violence increase became noticeable beginning in 2015.

              Now, if we want to put an end to this problem or at least show some degree of decline, these same public health experts roll out the same, totally incorrect nostrums and remedies they have been rolling out for years.

              At Harvard, we get the argument that America has so much gun violence because Americans own so many guns. Now the fact that many of those 300 or 400 million guns happen to be for the most part Grandpa’s old, broken shotgun sitting in the basement waiting to be turned in at a gun buyback in exchange for a gift card, oh well, oh well.

              The Hopkins group, on the other hand, tells us that gun violence would be significantly reduced if every state imposed a requirement that only allowed people to purchase handguns after they go through a specific licensing process for that gun, a process known as permit to purchase, or PTP.

              The Hopkins bunch uses as their ‘proof’ a study they conducted on what happened in Connecticut after that state imposed a PTP procedure in 1999. Except there’s only one, little problem. Connecticut doesn’t have a PTP procedure and never did. When I pointed this out to members of the Hopkins team, they were too busy to pick up the telephone and call any gun shop in Connecticut to inquire about the existence of PTP.

              So, here we have the two major public health research groups whose findings are used by all the groups advocating to reduce gun violence and the findings which these groups are using are totally and completely wrong.

              Incidentally, I send copies of every blog I post on my website to members of those two research groups, and if any member of either group would care to explain how and why they continue to promote strategies to reduce gun violence which are incorrect, I’ll immediately make a thousand-dollar donation to their respective schools.

              All that being said, there does seem to have been an interesting breakthrough in the efforts to reduce gun violence announced yesterday by the U.S. Marshall’s Service, whose teams arrested 95 fugitives, of which at least 60 had committed violent crimes using guns. The arrests took place in and around Baltimore, MD which has suffered from more than 300 annual homicides since 2015, which was years before anything known as what Donald Trump called the ‘king flu’ arrived on our shores.

              This operation finally gives all those public health gun researchers an opportunity to evaluate whether dealing with gun violence not as a symptom of inner-city stresses and strains, nor as the hopelessness of poverty, but as a violent crime, may actually yield some significant results.

              Of course, such an effort would also require these well-meaning, academic researchers to roll up their sleeves, get out into the streets and stop pretending they can figure out the ‘epistemology’ of gun violence by staring at their computer screens.