From: Jayson Luma <[log in to unmask]>
> With drunks do we ban cars? They kill far more people then guns do each year...
--> This sort of comparison is not at a suitable level of debate for medical professionals. Please accept that there is a very minimal chance that there is someone on this List who has not yet heard it. It was originally intended to tempt people of low insight about statistics/logic into believing something one cannot prove.
It compares motor vehicles to guns, limiting its focus to a single aspect - that they can be used to kill. This is really silly, because there is no object on the planet, with a mass beyond 100-200Kg, which cannot be used to kill someone by impacting them. You could ban brick/metal buildings because they kill people if/when they collapse in an earthquake, while a tent would not. You could ban trains, because sometimes they crash into cars on crossings. You could limit ships to one per ocean, to prevent lethal collisions. Forget about jet planes. You'll have to ban big trees as well - seen reports of people killed when those fall over. And let's restart the ivory trade to reduce the risk of elephants being around in 20 years time when they might crush someone.
And we must accept that no matter how many people are killed by cause X, it is no reason to avoid doing something about cause Y! Remember that cars kill more kids than does meningitis, and we still want to do something about the latter...
Guns, swords, RPGs and the like can be used as weapons. However, they lack the OTHER uses of the objects listed above and, much much more importantly, people of any level of intelligence will generally associate them with the prime function of hurting people!
Those other objects have these other uses, which are not taken into consideration by this "argument". Take motor vehicles - which are objects heavy enough to be used to harm people. Here are some of the functions they do NOT share with guns, but which I think one is bound to consider before drawing a parallel with guns:
- Motor vehicles are used by medical professionals to reach their place of work, where they can save lives and help the sick and injured. If I had to walk to my nearest ED to work, I'd only manage around one shift a month. I'd be walking there and back the rest of it...
- Ambulances (which occasionally do kill pedestrians) are motor vehicles with a use we can all appreciate
- Motor vehicles are used to transport food & medicine to the poor in many charitable efforts around the world
- I'll save you the next one hundred entries on this list...
We're all medical professionals here. We can do better. Let's agree that we should not make cyanide pills widely available merely because other pharmaceuticals that can lead to death are still permitted, e.g. penicillin. Let's still not permit high explosives, hand grenades, etc. to be sold at "fares" to anyone and his uncle even though cars also can kill people...
What we need, as many are saying, is a culture change. Don't let us point at what the problems might be with changing. Let us not allow that old familiar strategy of pointing out something else which is wrong or which requires change and have that be used as an excuse not to change the gun problem!
Here is a list of problems. I'll stop at 3 because the principle is the same for any number 2 and up:
- Too much gun availability
- Insufficient psychiatric care
- Inadequate application of laws which already exist
If one tries to remove guns to try to deal with the 1st problem, one is rebuffed with something like "we must not look at that until we solve the 3rd problem". Try to solve the 3rd problem and someone says "don't bother - it won't make the difference until you have fixed the 2nd problem. Do that first, then we'll talk". And so on. For every problem, someone will use another problem as an excuse to stop the search for solutions.
To anyone who says don't remove the guns, but focus on implementing existing laws, the response is "thanks for volunteering to help to fix those laws - we'll do both!" And each at whichever pace we can manage and never let the speed of dealing with the one objective affect the speed of dealing with the other!
Finally, one thing I forgot to mention... Imagine where we would be if the medical profession had been banned from looking at the stats for smoking-related deaths? Or, as we've mentioned cars, medical professionals are permitted to research into deaths from vehicle accidents and developments into protective technology continue - seat belts, helmets, sensors, etc... When we talk about culture change, one of our first steps needs to be the removal of restrictions of such research on gun violence in the USA! The country with the worst problem in the developed world has a ban on research into it - that can't be assumed a coincidence! It's attitude and culture!
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