Global warming is currently drowning people along the California coastline, President Donald Trump is “deeply and dangerously psychologically disordered,” and the 2nd Amendment is going to kill us all. That’s according to the proclamations of a growing army of scientists and medical experts working overtime to advance the leftist agenda.
The American political left is using a tried and true marketing practice to convince American citizens that it is right. That is, having so-called experts tell us that we’ll be healthier and safer if only we listen to what they’re telling us. In recent months, the tactic has become especially visible in efforts to undermine the Trump administration and limit American 2nd Amendment rights.
Almost immediately after the tragic shooting in Las Vegas earlier this month, American newspapers began publishing editorials and public appeals written by medical experts keen on declaring American firearm ownership a public health crisis.
An October 13 piece published by The New York Times’ editorial board declared outright, “Gun Carnage is a public health crisis.”
The piece did little to back the claim with facts and statistics, instead lamenting that the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t study gun violence in the same way it discovers virus outbreaks and declaring that a very small segment of the U.S. population is endangering the majority by simply owning guns.
From the editorial:
In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was barred from spending any funds “to advocate or promote gun control.” Full and accurate federal information has been choked off repeatedly since then. Research ordered by President Barack Obama following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of 20 children in 2012 was never carried out. California, by contrast, has chosen a more enlightened path. Reacting to the 2015 gun killings in San Bernardino, the state in July created the Firearm Violence Research Center at the University at California at Davis to get beyond the hobbles the gun lobby and Congress have put on federal researchers.
If there is any bright spot it is that little more than a third of American households own a gun now, compared with 50 percent in earlier decades. Still, this has driven the industry to try to sell more guns to fewer Americans, from battlefield-type weapons to the concealed-carry pistols marketed as stylish vigilante accessories. According to a 2015 study by Harvard and Northeastern Universities, 3 percent of American adults own half the nation’s guns — averaging a startling 17 guns apiece.
And as the National Rifle Association pointed out this week, mainstream media efforts to push the idea of medical funding for research into firearm fatalities has some doctors looking to make a name for themselves in the field.
The NRA provided as one example California-based ER physician Garen Wintemute, who urged medical colleagues to sign a pledge vowing that they will begin asking patients about firearm ownership during office visits in an op-ed published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Mass shootings are reshaping the character of American public life. Whoever we are, they happen to people just like us; they happen in places just like our places. We all sense that we are at risk,” the doctor begins his appeal.
He later adds:
In fact, there is a growing literature on when such conversations are most appropriate, how to ask the questions, and what to do with the answers. The key, as always, is to make clear that we are asking because we care about our patients’ health and well-being. Materials for both physicians and patients are available, and more are in development. Many professional societies, including the American College of Physicians, have agreed that talking about firearms is something a physician should do.
With all that in mind, here is what you can do right now to help stop firearm injury and death: Make a commitment to ask your patients about firearms when, in your judgment, it is appropriate, and follow through. If you need to study up in advance, so be it.
While primary care doctors certainly should be keeping close watch on patients’ mental health, it shouldn’t be based on the idea that the people coming to see them may own firearms and could become mass shooters.
That’s because looking at gun death statistics, mass shootings carried out by mentally ill individuals make up only a small percentage of those killed by firearms each year. According to the Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence, a leading proponent of stricter gun laws, around 31,537 people die each year in the U.S. from firearm related incidents. The majority of those deaths, 18,783, are suicides. Homicides account for 11,583 of the deaths, with the remaining loss of life being attributed to accidents, police shootings or “unknown” causes.
Despite how mass shootings garner massive headlines in the U.S. when they occur, they account for a pretty minuscule number of firearm deaths. Just take a look at murder statistics in Chicago, a “gun free” city, if you’re wondering what is behind the bulk of non-suicide firearm carnage.
The answer is gang violence and drug disputes. And it’s probably not a massive stretch to assume that most gang bangers aren’t heading into the doctor’s office for regular checkups where they’re going to be discussing a hit planned later in the day.
What makes mass shootings so terrifying to the masses is that most of us don’t put ourselves in situations where gang violence or a drug deal gone wrong are going to lead to our demise. When things like the Las Vegas tragedy occur, we realize that any law abiding citizen enjoying a concert could be shot by a madman. Unfortunately, many of these shooters fly under the radar. But, based on the evidence we have so far, no doctor in the U.S. could have predicted that the Vegas shooter would carry out his evil deed. So what difference would it have made if his regular doctor knew how many guns he owned?
Couching the the gun debate as a medical issue is as ineffective as it is dishonest. And at its heart, the effort is aimed at creating a narrative that gun ownership is itself a symptom of mental illness. Who, after all, but a maniac would allow one of these killing machines into his home?
And if the medical establishment wants us to believe that gun homicides are a massive public health issue, it should also preface everything it has to say with warnings about its own menace to public well-being.
As the NRA pointed out: “Recent reports indicate medical error is the third-highest cause of death in the United States, estimating more than 250,000 deaths per year at the hands of medical practitioners. Another 21 percent of patients report having survived a medical error. Other research warns of increasing opioid overdoses and abuse, noting an overwhelming increase in prescription narcotics abuse among children. Increasingly, physicians are even being criminally prosecuted for fatal overdoses.”
Those are problems it would seem the CDC and medical professionals like Wintemute are in a far better position to examine.
And those would be good problems for Congress to direct resources toward investigating. Unfortunately, some in Congress are far too busy consulting armchair psychologists about President Trump’s mental well-being to be bothered.
As BuzzFeed reported this week:
A member of the House Intelligence Committee is going where many of her colleagues have not: reaching out to people in the mental health field to talk about President Donald Trump.
“It’s one thing from my non-professional, non-clinical standpoint [to] believe that someone does not have the capacity to do the job, it’s another thing to talk to experts and [those] who can deal with mental psychosis on a daily basis, so I wanted to hear from them,” Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, told BuzzFeed News.
While many Democrats have steered clear of speculation about Trump, Speier appears not to be alone in talking to mental health professionals. Half a dozen lawmakers have contacted Bandy Lee, a psychiatry professor at Yale, to talk about the president’s mental state over the past several months, Lee told BuzzFeed News. Although Lee wouldn’t identify the politicians, she said they were Democrats in both the House and Senate.
Speier said she has not spoken with Lee, but that she reached out to two experts to discuss Trump’s mental health, including John Gartner, a psychologist. Gartner is the founder of Duty to Warn, a network of mental health experts across the country making a concerted push into politics and who appear to be circumventing their profession’s own rules about diagnosing public figures they have never evaluated themselves. (The traditional concept of a “duty to warn,” ingrained in law in most states, says mental health professionals who have reason to believe a patient may become dangerous or violent toward others must reveal that information, or else risk legal liability.)
Without having directly evaluated him, the group is arguing that the president, as Gartner put it recently, is “deeply and dangerously psychologically disordered.”
And, though they may not at once seem related, reports of Trump’s purported mental problems and the push for doctors to identify gun-owning patients are related. If the nation is willing to allow “duty to warn” to be perverted in such a way that it would allow medical professionals to diagnose the president with a mental disorder from afar, what does that mean for patients who told their doctor about the firearms they own? What’s the threshold for the doctor to notify police “just to be safe?”
Doctors, like journalists, are humans. And that means, especially on matters as politically charged as gun ownership and presidential fitness, they are incapable of absolute objectivity.
So when the leftist political and MSM establishments attempt to explain to you that gun murders are a national health problem or the president is unhinged because “doctors said so,” remember what Big Tobacco used to tell Americans: “More doctors smoke camels than any other cigarette.”